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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia: Illusion and Reality in Politics and Economics

Copyright Date: 1964
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    Southeast Asia
    Book Description:

    Southeast Asia: Illusion and Reality in Politics and Economics was first published in 1964. There can be little doubt that Southeast Asia occupies a critical place in the developing course of international affairs. Yet, in spite of the importance of the region on the world horizon, there has been a great deal of wishful thinking about and unrealistic appraisal of the situation. Professor Mills’ hardheaded, realistic account of political and economic developments will, it is hoped, provide the basis for a clearer understanding of the area and its problems on the part of general readers as well as students and specialists. The author analyzes the governments of the various countries, devoting major sections to the Philippines, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, South Vietnam, and Thailand, with lesser emphasis on North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. He shows, through his careful analysis, that all the governments are dictatorships or oligarchies, even though they exist on paper as democracies, and he stresses the importance of this fact in a realistic consideration of the problems involved. He goes on to examine the economic status of the countries, dealing at length with questions of financial and technical aid from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, and the basic economic problem of unlimited population growth. The book makes available for the first time in a single volume the background information needed by political scientists, economists, military and government personnel, and others concerned with the present and future of Southeast Asia.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6371-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-1)
  4. Map of Southeast Asia
    (pp. 2-2)
  5. I Nationalism and Democracy
    (pp. 3-15)

    The usual explanation of the political revolution in Asia is that it is a revolt against European imperialist control. This description does not explain the revolution in Thailand which overthrew the absolute monarchy. The country was not a colony but an independent state, and the monarch was not a foreign ruler but the descendant of a long line of kings. He was retained as a royal figurehead, but apart from this he suffered the same fate as the British, Dutch, and French governments of Southeast Asia. It would seem to be more accurate to write that Asia is in revolt...

  6. II The Philippines, Burma, and Malaya
    (pp. 16-62)

    The constitution of the Philippine Republic set up a democracy of the American type based on separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. The vote is held by all adults aged twenty-one, male and female, who are literate. This disenfranchises many of the poorer peasants, leaving roughly half the adult population qualified. The president is elected directly by the people, and has considerably greater powers than his American counterpart. The legislature has two houses, and the Supreme Court decides constitutional disputes. There are fifty-six provinces, each made up of a varying number of municipalities. Their power is very...

  7. III Indonesia, South Viet Nam, and Thailand
    (pp. 63-109)

    The original constitution was drawn up in 1945. It provided for an elected president, a premier and cabinet responsible to him, and an assembly. The latter was to be elected by universal suffrage when this became feasible, and until then it was to be appointed by the president. The revolt against the Dutch ended in 1949, but the president continued to appoint the members until 1955. The principal reason for postponing the election for so many years appears to have been that some of the parties were afraid that a popular vote would give them fewer members than they obtained...

  8. IV The Chinese
    (pp. 110-135)

    China’s trade with Southeast Asia has gone on for two thousand years or more. There were groups of merchants in the principal seaports, but the Chinese did not settle abroad in large numbers until the establishment of European rule had created stable conditions. From the nineteenth century onwards the majority of the immigrants were manual laborers and peasants, but they were unwilling to follow their former occupations when they reached Southeast Asia, preferring more lucrative forms of employment. Moreover, in some countries local laws prevented them from being rice farmers. They were exclusively interested in making a living and saving...

  9. V Communism
    (pp. 136-159)

    The tropical dependencies were given a significant role in the Communist plans for world revolution. They were an important element of strength to the capitalist countries because of their value as markets, sources of raw materials, and income from investments. If they could carry out a successful revolt the colonial powers would be seriously weakened, and the task of bringing about a Communist revolution in the West would become easier. The subject peoples were hostile to those they considered their capitalist imperialist exploiters and were struggling to gain their freedom. Their immediate aim was thus the same as that of...

  10. VI International Relations
    (pp. 160-187)

    Southeast Asia is of great economic importance, and the loss would be serious if it came under Communist control. It provides 59 per cent of the world’s tin and 90 per cent of its natural rubber. The development of synthetic rubber has made the natural product less essential but has not replaced it. A few years ago the calculation was made that American manufacturers used natural rubber for 27 per cent of their products and synthetic for 38 per cent. For the remaining 35 per cent the choice depended almost entirely on relative price. This analysis is only partially applicable...

  11. VII The Economic Effects of Colonial Rule
    (pp. 188-203)

    The nine states of Southeast Asia all have the same general characteristics which they share with the other underdeveloped countries of the world. Agriculture is by far the principal occupation, and 70 to 90 per cent of the population are engaged in it. In Japan the proportion is 35.5 per cent. Although fairly large estates worked by tenants or sharecroppers sometimes exist, e.g., the Philippines, the typical cultivator is a freeholder whose main object is to produce enough to support himself and his family. Surplus production is limited, and is sold to pay the taxes, meet debt payments, and buy...

  12. VIII Financial Problems of the Underdeveloped Countries
    (pp. 204-214)

    A Southeast Asian government which wishes to preserve itself from Communism must rest on the solid base of a contented peasantry. They can only be kept contented if they are enabled to own their own land, if they are freed from dependence on the money lender, and if their farming is made more profitable. The landowner caused dangerous agrarian discontent in the Philippines, South Viet Nam, and Burma, and in the first-named his position is substantially unaltered. In South Viet Nam and Burma he was eliminated after World War II, and his estates divided among his former tenants. Redistribution of...

  13. IX Private Investment Abroad since 1945
    (pp. 215-228)

    Statistics on the investment of private capital abroad since the end of World War II are incomplete and sometimes inaccurate, particularly as regards the underdeveloped areas. This is especially true if one tries to ascertain the amount invested in any one country. The general picture, however, is clear. With some notable exceptions such as the oil companies private capital has fought shy of the newly independent states of Asia and Africa.

    The United Nations came to this conclusion after a series of inquiries into the international flow of private capital since 1955¹ which showed that the bulk of the investment...

  14. X Western Investment in Southeast Asia
    (pp. 229-274)

    No reliable statistics exist for Western investment prior to World War II. The following figures should be regarded as an estimate which probably contains a considerable margin of error.¹ They cover only capital invested in business enterprises, since it was impossible to determine the nationality of ownership of government bonds. The total amount of foreign investment (excluding Chinese) was $2,715,000,000, and of this the largest single holding was that of the Dutch in the East Indies. Callis in his detailed study put it at $900,000,000, though other writers estimated it at anything up to $2,000,000,000. The Dutch also owned the...

  15. XI Economic Progress and Problems
    (pp. 275-308)

    The Philippines have made better progress than several other Southeast Asian countries in industrialization. There is hydroelectric power, the raw materials are available for light industries which manufacture consumer goods, and institutions such as the Development Bank provide long-term loans to industry and agriculture. Government enterprise is now limited to projects vital to the economy but unattractive to, or beyond the financial capacity of private investors. Several plans were drawn up by American experts for the development of manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and electricity. Experience showed that the earlier planning was too ambitious and had to be modified. Distinct progress has...

  16. XII Foreign Aid
    (pp. 309-323)

    Government aid to underdeveloped countries as a regular part of the annual budget did not exist before 1939. Very occasionally a colonial power might give financial help to a dependency in exceptional circumstances. The almost invariable rule, however, was that it must live within its income, and not expect the taxpayers of the ruling power to subsidize it. The scale of its social services was fixed by the size of the colony’s revenue, together with such loans as it was able to float locally or in the money market of the metropolitan power. The first real break with this policy...

  17. XIII Western Aid and Population Growth
    (pp. 324-346)

    The stage of economic take-off can be reached without outside aid as the United Kingdom achieved it in the late eighteenth century, but the process is much slower. Moreover, Britain had an advantage over most of the underdeveloped countries of today in her possession of a wealthy middle class which had long been accustomed to risk its money in promising ventures, instead of playing safe by hoarding or investing in land. Development is easier and faster if it can be carried out with the help of foreign loans, as in the United States in the nineteenth century or Canada and...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 349-359)
  19. Suggested Reading
    (pp. 360-361)
  20. Index
    (pp. 362-365)