Development Policies as Social Contract : Political leadership in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
Sammanfattning: This thesis will show how authoritarian governments rest legitimacy on their ability to create socio-economic development. It will point to some methods used to consolidate power by authoritarian leaders in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. An authoritarian regime that successfully creates development is strengthened and does not call for democratic change in the short run. It is suggested that the widely endorsed Lipset hypothesis, that development will eventually bring democratic transition, is true only when further socio-economic development requires that the economy transfers from being based on industrial manufacturing to knowledge and creativity – not on lower levels of development. Malaysia and Singapore have reached – or try to reach – this level of development today, but restrictions on their civil societies have still not been lifted. This thesis describes modern political history in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia in a Machiavellian tradition. The historical perspective will give a more or less plausible idea of how authoritarian regimes consolidated au-thority and what role development policies played in the leaders’ claims for authority. The conclusion will give a suggestion on how the political future in these three countries might evolve. It will point to the importance of an active and free civil society as a means to develop the nations further, rather than oppression. This thesis will try to point to the dos and don’ts for authoritarian regimes. The ideas of Plato, Machiavelli and Hobbes provide the structures and methods that authoritarian regimes apply. It will be shown that a regime will disintegrate when it fails to comply with Plato’s and Machiavelli’s ideas. Al-though ancient, Plato and Machiavelli provide methods and structures that seem to carry relevance to the modern history of Southeast Asia. I will point to how authoritarian rule can be maintained in the long run. What is required from the political leadership, what are their strategies and methods? What makes people to tolerate or topple authoritarian regimes? Why do some authoritarian regimes successfully create development while others do not? These are some of the questions this thesis will try to an-swer.
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