Organizer: Barbara Watson Andaya, University of Hawaii
Chair: Deborah Ellen Tooker, Le Moyne College
Why Did Southeast Asia Fail to Industrialize Before World War II?
W. G. Huff, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Three features stand out in assessing the economic development of pre-World War II Southeast Asia: that the region achieved high and sustained economic growth from 1870-1929; that this led to remarkably little industrialization; and that after the turn of the century an unusually strict form of the gold standard known as the gold-exchange standard was in force. The first two of these features are generally recognized in the literature and have given rise to a major, though still unresolved, puzzle: how is the pattern of economic development to be explained in a region where, owing to a prolonged period of agricultural-led export growth, "rates of expansion were high by any standard" but where, despite this stimulus, "nothing resulted which could reasonably be described as a take-off." Specifically, why did pre-World War II Southeast Asia fail to industrialize?
The main aim of the present paper is to contribute to a resolution of this issue. I argue that a satisfactory answer to the question of Southeast Asia's non-industrialization requires full account to be taken of the third feature of the region's development indicated above-its adherence to a gold-exchange standard and accompanying currency board system which amounted to a classical price specie-flow mechanism. I show how-just when it might have seemed most promising for local entrepreneurs to enter manufacturing-the effect of the gold-exchange standard was to push up production costs and discourage such a move. The result was only vestigial industrialization in Southeast Asia.
Urban Neighborhood Interaction with the Environment: Viewpoints of Local-level
Leaders and Residents in Jakarta
Carla Chifos, University of Cincinnati
An environmental crisis is evident in the large cities of the world-water, air, land, green, are all beset by degradation; residents are suffering health consequences and reduced quality of life; and economies are in danger of reduced productivity. This phenomenon is particularly evident in many Asian cities, due to the high levels of primacy, fast economic growth, conflicts between traditional and modern economies, and the transformation from rural to urban societies. A prime example of this phenomenon is the city of Jakarta. Broad descriptions and studies of environmental issues and problems in Jakarta exist, but little has been done to explore the situation from the neighborhood and household levels.
In this paper, I report on the perceptions, aspirations, and viewpoints of neighborhood government and community leaders and residents regarding their interaction with the natural environment. The data for this study is from a household survey in a sample of six kelurahans in Jakarta, supplemented by interviews with government and community leaders. The realm of environmental concerns and problems, their perceived causes, their official solutions, their actual solutions, and suggestions for how to improve environmental conditions from the neighborhood-level point of view are explored.
On the Bangkok Traffic Jam
Sandra Cate, University of California, Berkeley
For Bangkok residents, as everyday reality and as dominating metaphor, the traffic jam represents a crisis in Thai modernity. Bangkok now claims the worst traffic (and perhaps the worst air) in the world. Images of the Bangkok traffic jam pervade the Thai imaginary as personal anecdote, Internet essay, literature, and art, as well as national party politics, public crisis, and pronouncements of the King.
Traffic jams create stress, disrupt family life, and endanger public health. Bad traffic increasingly threatens the very economic prosperity which has enabled socially-mobile Thai to buy automobiles. Tourists and investors now seek to avoid Bangkok. Yet, as the Thai government struggles to implement solutions to traffic congestion, individual Thai find ways of coping, expanding a Buddhist worldview of suffering and endurance to encompass traffic jams, while seeking alternate forms of community. Traffic becomes a new social space, fostering "virtual communities" bound by radio call-in traffic programs, cell phones, laptops, and fax machines. Thus Bangkok traffic stands at the intersection of old cultural values, new global economies, emerging political formations, public resistance and accommodation, and the transformations of Thai society they entail. This paper examines the complex cultural factors which impede traffic flow, and while grounded in the local situation, connect to the global "traffic" in status, finance, mass media, and trade.
Globalization and Its Effects on Labor Control in the Philippines
Kim Scipes, University of Illinois, Chicago
The process of globalization that has been effecting countries throughout Southeast Asia has also been effecting the Philippines, but in a different way. This difference is perhaps most obvious in the mode of labor control that is being used in the Philippines: while the Philippines has long had a "modern" labor code that has been designed to keep labor in check, this has been backed up by extensive violence at both the societal and organizational levels. While this violence became much more systematized after Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, it escalated during the Aquino administration and, although significantly reduced under President Ramos, still remains a significant threat to workers when they resist domination by either corporations and/or the state.
This paper looks at the Philippines' particular relationship to the global political economy, locating its development at the conjuncture of both internal and external forces, and examines the form of labor control in use today in the country. It suggests that the Philippines has a long-term and unique role in the region in regard to the global political economy, resulting in the development of regional economies and the development of multiple political and economic elites. Further, to understand developments of labor control and resistance, the development of each of these regional economies and its connection to the global political economy must be understood, as well as the approaches taken by the two main manifestations of trade unionism in the country.
Mothers, Midwives, and "Modern" Medicine: An Analysis of Midwife
Utilization Patterns in South Sulawesi, Indonesia
Julie Ann Tumbarello, University of California, San Francisco
Indonesia has a thriving population of traditional birth attendants, known as dukun beranak, and midwives, known as bidan. Dukun beranak annually help deliver over 65% of Indonesia's infants but with limited success: 250 mothers in 100,00 and 58 infants in 1,000 die annually due to birth complications. The Indonesian government is attempting to solve this maternal and infant mortality crisis in part by placing trained bidan in every village. Although the government's program can potentially decrease these mortality rates, women continue to call on dukun beranak for childbirth assistance.
This paper offers an explanation of childbirth assistant utilization based on fieldwork conducted in South Sulawesi, Indonesia between August 1995 and January 1996. First, I will present literature from the United States and Malaysia which demonstrates that a dissatisfaction with cosmopolitan medical methods, methods bidan use, exist in countries outside of Indonesia. I propose that this dissatisfaction also exists in Indonesia and is expressed in the underutilization of bidan. Finally, I will conclude with an explanation for the underutilization of bidan in Indonesia.