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Pacific Asian Economies - Essay Example

This paper examines and elaborates the extent to which the development of these economies has led to the diminution of civil society. It also explores the examples from individual countries such as Japan and Singapore because of their particularly weak civil societies.
The Asia Pacific region has been at the heart of revolutionary industrial development that has taken place in the world through the last few decades. Countries like Japan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore etc have quickly climbed up the ladders of development leading to rapid urbanisation of mega urban cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Bangkok etc. Urbanisation of these mega cities led to the industrialisation and development of major Asia Pacific economies as global investors and corporations began to set up industries and bring bulks of foreign reserves. Consequently, the governments' attention shifted towards further acceleration of the process of development through the provision of various incentives, support and infrastructure to industries and corporations in the form of enhanced transportation and communication facilities. Hence these countries have continued to develop backed by their governments' keen focus on enhancing state revenues through foreign investment and rapid industrialisation (Douglass, 2000).

The region's progression towards development, however, has not been without heavy costs. These costs have been more social than political in the form of environmental hazards, pollution, mounting cost of living, rising urban population, health problems and city congestion (Douglass, 2000). Kim (1994) propound that air pollution in Seoul due to increased industrial and transportation development is dangerous for the health of the habitats of the city. Hence the cities are becoming unsafe for its citizens every day in the quest for development because of industrial pollution and environmental threats. Douglass (2000, 2328) also says that, "In Pacific Asia, with the possible exception of Singapore, the record is far from the ideal image. Rivers, land and air are polluted far beyond minimum standards set by governments for health and safety". Also an increased pressure on population from labours and immigrants is further leading to diminution of living space available to the citizens. The fact that is keeping governments to passively watch industries ruining the social and natural wealth is that these very industries happen to back up the economic development recently demonstrated by the region.

Civil societies exist as critics of state's actions and strategies that prove detrimental to the certain aspects at which the government seems to be less attentive. These societies educate people and foster social movement towards the negative consequences of state policies. In this way these organisations play a crucial role in directing state attention towards the aspects that have negative social and economic bearing upon the society. To better understand the concept of civil societies, it should be noted that, "civil society is a broader concept encompassing all the organisations and ...Show more
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Summary

The recent development demonstrated on the part of Asian Pacific economies happen to be spectacular. The rapid urbanisation and industrialisation of major cities in the region has also had some negative consequences for the society and economy both. The fast economic development owing to increased investment from industries and corporations has led the governments to suppress any civil society organisation or non-governmental bodies criticising and challenging the state policies…
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