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Concepts: The Developmental State

Reading Response # 1:
Concepts: The Developmental State

Johnson presents some positive aspects of the developmental state model of (soft or hard) authoritarianism that are morally troubling because they are appealing in so many ways.It is hard to oppose growth that has solved so many problems that plague developing nations: growth with redistribution is more or less achieved; in Japan, the standard of living has considerably improved; success has brought legitimacy to controlling bureaucracies; and most importantly in view of the current destabilizing influence of financial markets, there are important political benefits to be gained from the ability to maintain long-term goals by not relying heavily on shareholders and stockmarket analysts for success.In the developmental states, the profit-motive does not undermine long-term goals for the public good as it so often does in the West.Of course there are concerns around the definition of the "public good" and more importantly who gets to define it, but in the developmental system the power granted to the government presents at least scope for the establishment genuinely equitable goals.While the West is left increasingly to the mercy of private interests of short-term gain, orientation of the economy towards long-term public needs is becoming impossible.And a long-term lens does not only refer to issues of continued growth, it is also absolutely necessary to begin to deal with issues of sustainability.As far as efficiency in carrying out long-term plans, the "soft-authoritarianism-capitalism nexus" has proven far more effective in conjuring the impression of stability and other incentives that are so crucial for enterprise, while directing it to the ends that have benefited a greater proportion of society than orthodox capitalist developmental states have managed to.

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On this point, however, Hein addresses the issue of redistribution more directly …

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