The 1997-98 Asian economic crisis raised serious questions for the remaining authoritarian regimes in Southeast Asia, not least the hitherto outstanding economic success stories of Singapore and Malaysia. Could leaders presiding over economies so heavily dependent on international capital investment ignore the new mantra among multilateral financial organisations about the virtues of ''transparency''? Was it really a universal functional requirement for economic recovery and advancement? Wasn''t the free flow of ideas and information an anathema to authoritarian rule?
In Transparency and Authoritarian Rule in Southeast Asia Garry Rodan rejects the notion that the economic crisis was further evidence that ultimately capitalism can only develop within liberal social and political institutions, and that new technology necessarily undermines authoritarian control. Instead, he argues that in Singapore and Malaysia external pressures for transparency reform were, and are, in many respects, being met without serious compromise to authoritarian rule or the sanctioning of media freedom.
This book analyses the different content, sources and significance of varying pressures for transparency reform, ranging from corporate disclosures to media liberalization. It will be of interest to Asianists who are keen to understand the contemporary political, economic and social effects of the Asian crisis.