Organizer: Michelle E. Maskiell, Montana State University
Chair: Itty Abraham, Social Science Research Council
Negotiating Terms of Multilateral Economic Cooperation in Asia-Pacific
Yong Deng, Benedictine University
International regimes are defined as sets of norms, principles, rules, and decision-making procedures around which states' expectations converge. The thrust of regime theory is that hegemony is the necessary and presumably sufficient condition for regime formation. But the paradox is that Asia-Pacific regime formation has gained momentum through the interlocking network of regional multilateral fora centered upon the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, when the US predominant power had started to diffuse toward a more balanced power configuration, a condition which is generally believed inconducive to regime creation.
This paper addresses the central question: What are the patterns of power and leadership characterizing the process of Asia-Pacific regime formation, and how do they shape the form and content of regimes?
This paper finds that on the one hand, hegemonic decline has mitigated the fear of big power dominance and thereby removed the critical obstacle obstructing effort for a multilateral order. On the other hand, without a predominant power to project an order and provide decisive leadership, the social purpose, upon which economic order and beliefs are based, is contested. The contention over social purpose does not reach a point to negate or bloc regime formation in Asia-Pacific. Nonetheless, an analysis of the normative frameworks, instruments, and institutional development of regional economic cooperation shows that the process of regime formation has displayed dynamics distinctive from those in other regions and under different historical circumstances.
Property in Contemporary China: Tension Between Traditional and Collective Based
Mark T. Kremzner, University of Victoria, Canada
This paper investigates the extent to which China's contemporary property law regime is being shaped by traditional or Western influences. Traditional refers here to China's Confucian/Legalist heritage as well as its more recent Marxist/Maoist experiences, all of which posited a collective based notion of property expressed through family, community, or state institutions. This is in contrast to the individual based notion of property expressed in the legal cultures of the West, particularly in Anglo-American legal systems.
With the ongoing implementation of its economic reform and modernization agenda, China has integrated its economy more closely with international markets and institutions. In an effort to accomplish this task, China's national leaders have used law as an instrument to restructure domestic institutions and encourage foreign investment. While foreign legal elements simultaneously have been sought out by the Chinese and forced upon them, the degree to which Western norms and concepts have been integrated into, or adopted by, Chinese legal culture remains an open question, as traditional practices remain deeply entrenched. Foreign joint venture partners, real estate developers, and international lending agencies, such as the World Bank, have urged China to reconfigure its rural and urban spaces based on a legal system recognizing private rights in land and real estate to ensure that cities and towns operate efficiently and enterprises can compete globally. Foreign recommendations or demands are alternately met with approval, institutional inertia, or political/ideological opposition. Whether the current reform of China's property law system will bear a foreign or traditional imprint will have significant implications for the development of the nation's economy, the configuration of its rural and urban spaces, and social and political relations. The paper presents theoretical frameworks on the tension between traditional and Western legal cultures as well as case studies analyzing local institutions, practices and attitudes towards property based relationships, rights and obligations.
Emerging Market, Emerging Contradictions: Politics of Market Reform in India
Atsi Sheth, Northwestern University
The process of economic liberalization, as it unfolds in India and elsewhere, has important implications for the role that the indigenous business classes play in the policy-making process. Depending on different factors, domestic business can be a brake on the speeding juggernaut of globalization or alternatively, the vehicle for the entry of the country into the global system. This paper probes the interests and actions of Indian business as the government attempts an overhaul of its industrial and trade policies.
I argue that the peculiar form that liberalization has taken in India reflects a compromise between the eagerness of certain sections of Indian business to ally with multinationals and the resistance of other sections to international competition. Thus, the decision to initiate the market reform process as well as the selectivity with which it is being implemented, must be understood within the context of the relationship between state and capital in India. The purpose of this paper is to examine the sources of power of domestic capital and to illustrate how policy tends to reinforce this power.
By comparing business-state relations during the 'self-reliance' phase with those in the liberalization phase, the analysis will demonstrate that while liberalization radically changes the content of policy, policy still privileges the interests of domestic capital. In doing so, the policy-making process itself reveals more continuity than change in Indian political economy.
Capturing Ideas: Institutions, Interests, and Intellectual Property Rights Reform
Michael W. Bollom, University of Washington
In the post-industrial age, economic and political power often hinge upon the access to knowledge. Over the last decade, an international political struggle has been waged over rights to certain types of knowledge. These particular rights have been commonly referred to as "intellectual property rights" (IPRs)-which include copyrights, patents, trademarks. The campaign to capture these rights on a global scale has been waged multilaterally (through the latest GATT negotiations), bilaterally (mostly through the US government) and at the level of NGOs (particularly by American MNCs). The results of this conflict will continue to have global effects, especially in many Asian nations, including China, Taiwan, Singapore and India.
This paper will present the results of two years of fieldwork research into the political economy of IPR reform in India. The study compares the political economy of copyright-law reforms in India to that of Indian patent-law reform. It attempts to explain why patent reform continues to be a contentious issue, while support for copyright reform was unanimous. The study concludes that where Indian and multinational business concerns have parallel interests in strengthening particular Indian IPRs, reform is smooth. This was the case with copyright reform given that India has profitable film, music, publishing, and software industries which favor stronger copyright laws. But where Indian business and international concerns have had opposing interests, there has been conflict. This has been the case in patent law reform, where Indian pharmaceutical firms fear they will not survive the transition to American-style patent laws.
Particularism and Developmentalism: Policy Networks in Technology Development in
Malaysia and Thailand
Greg B. Felker, Princeton University
Recent work in the political economy of industrialization has moved beyond the analytical dichotomy of state vs. society to emphasize the developmental efficacy of collaboration between those who control the state and those who control capital. However, precisely what makes such collaboration emerge and operate beneficially is still poorly understood. Why should closer interaction between state officials and private businessmen serve to accelerate rather than inhibit development; foster collective solutions to development obstacles rather than greater rent-seeking and waste? This paper addresses them through an examination of efforts to foster technological development in support of rapid industrialization in Malaysia and Thailand. It draws on the new institutionalism in political science to argue that, rather than the structural characteristics of the state bureaucracy, or the absence of patronage networks in business' influence on the policy process, the developmental effects of state/business interaction depend upon the political incentives to participate in collective bargaining for long-term joint gains. Three proximate variables affect the scope and character of state/business bargaining in industrial policy making: the form and extent of business access to intra-elite political competition; the strength and organization of representative business organizations; and the prevalence of institutions for information and political exchange, both informal patronage networks and explicit policy negotiation forums. The influence of these political variables is highlighted through a comparison of Malaysia's and Thailand's efforts in two areas of technological upgrading: fostering technological spillovers from multinational subsidiaries to local manufacturing firms; and reforming public technology institutions to support industrial technology development. The paper traces how these policy initiatives emerged, the roles of state and business actors in their formulation and implementation, and their ultimate effectiveness.