By the end of the twentieth century, it was conventional, among social and political theory circles in developed countries of the West, to assume that a liberal capitalist democracy would be the endpoint of political economic development. However, this hegemonic desire of liberalism has been frustrated by the apparent inability of liberalism to take root despite rapid capitalist economic development in East Asia. This is partly because the countries in East Asia are newly minted nations that emerged after the end of the Second World War and were immediately plunged into the cold war. Under cold war conditions, as long as the countries were anticommunist, authoritarian excesses of the governments of the new nations were condoned. This provided opportunities for political and economic developments in East Asia that were alternatives to the historically determined liberal capitalist democracies of the United States and Europe. Three alternatives are notable: the development of a very significant state capitalist sector in the economy; the modification of democratic electoral procedures and ideology to emphasize trust in government instead of representation; and, motivated by the perceived need to avoid community corrosive liberalism, a development of communitarian ideology. As these developments consolidate, and the social and economic benefits become obvious to the citizenry, the likelihood that East Asian nations will adopt the standard form of liberal capitalist democracy recedes.
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Chua Beng Huat; Disrupting Hegemonic Liberalism in East Asia. boundary 2 1 May 2010; 37 (2): 199–216. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2010-009
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