East Asian welfare regimes in transition

East Asian welfare regimes in transition: From Confucianism to globalisation

Alan Walker
Chack-kie Wong
Copyright Date: 2005
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  • Book Info
    East Asian welfare regimes in transition
    Book Description:

    Eastern welfare systems have largely been neglected by Western social policy. There is very little information in the West about their operation and the differences between them. Yet, as China and South-East Asia emerge as a major regional economic block, it is vital to understand the social models that are in operation there and how they are developing. This book puts the spotlight on the Chinese and South-East Asian welfare systems, providing an up-to-date assessment of their character and development. In particular it examines the underlying assumptions of these systems and how the processes of globalisation are impacting on them. As well as specific country case studies, there is a valuable comparative analysis of Eastern and Western welfare states. The book provides a unique insight into the main South-East Asian welfare systems written by experts living and working within them. It focuses on 'Confucianism' and globalisation to provide an account of tradition and change within the South-East Asian cultural context. Eastern welfare states in transition will be essential reading for students of social policy requiring an understanding of non-Western welfare systems. Policy makers and practitioners who are interested in how Eastern welfare systems are adapting to globalisation will also find it an important read.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-124-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. Preface
    (pp. v-v)
    Alan Walker and Chack-kie Wong
  5. List of acronyms
    (pp. vi-vii)
  6. List of contributors
    (pp. viii-x)
  7. Part 1: Welfare in East Asia
    • ONE Introduction: East Asian welfare regimes
      (pp. 3-20)
      Alan Walker and Chack-kie Wong

      The aim of this book is to provide an up-to date, accessible and critical account of the welfare regimes of the main East Asian states and China. It puts the spotlight on the Chinese and East Asian welfare regimes – the so-called ‘Confucian Welfare States’ – in order to provide an assessment of their nature and development, their current dilemmas and their future prospects. It is also important that all the contributions to this book are either authored or co-authored by indigenous experts. Much has been speculated about the nature of the so-called ‘East Asian Model of Welfare’ by western scholars but,...

    • TWO Is welfare unAsian?
      (pp. 21-46)
      Ruby C.M. Chau and Wai Kam Yu

      Market ideologies have a significant influence in East Asia (Chau and Yu, 1999). They justify governments’ attempts to encourage people to sell their labour as a commodity in the labour market, to see private services as better than statutory and voluntary services in meeting needs, and to believe that creating an attractive investment environment for capitalists is a national goal. Despite their influence, market ideologies fail to fulfil two important functions of a dominant ideology in their application to Asian economies, especially in Hong Kong and mainland China. They are unable to provide a satisfactory explanation for important phenomena such...

  8. Part 2: The East Asian welfare regimes
    • THREE Social welfare in China
      (pp. 49-72)
      Joe C.B. Leung

      Over the past two decades, China has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Between 1978 and 1999, China’s GDP grew at an average of almost 10% a year, and an average of 6–8% is expected in the coming decade. More significantly, according to the 1998 World Development Report of the World Bank, the per capita GDP of China has reached US$860. Therefore China now ranks for the first time as a middle-income country (the upper limit for low-income countries being set at US$785 per capita). While the phenomenal successes of the economic reforms are substantial...

    • FOUR Hong Kong: from familistic to Confucian welfare
      (pp. 73-94)
      Sammy Chiu and Victor Wong

      In the words of Mr Tung Chee Hwa, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), “Hong Kong opened a new chapter in history” on 1 July 1997 (Tung, 1997a). Hong Kong was reunited with China after more than 150 years of British colonial rule and began a new identity of being China’s first special administrative region. According to the Joint Declaration signed by the British and Chinese governments in 1984, the Hong Kong SAR will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all its domestic management, yet China will be responsible for its foreign and defence affairs. Under...

    • FIVE Managing welfare in post-colonial Hong Kong
      (pp. 95-116)
      Chak Kwan Chan

      The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Mr Tung Chee Hwa, announced (1997a) several welfare measures that brought new hope for Hong Kong people who had been living under a colonial welfare system for over 150 years. As Tung (1997a, para 12) declared at his first Policy Address, “to promote the well being of the people is the most fundamental task of a responsible government”. In response to the housing problem, the new regime had three commitments: “to build at least 85,000 flats a year in the public and private sectors; to achieve a home ownership...

    • SIX The welfare regime in Japan
      (pp. 117-144)
      Makoto Kono

      Japanese welfare has increasingly attracted the interest of western scholars, yet they “have approached this topic mainly in brief overview chapters, or as an example within some broader interpretation of postwar public policy” (Campbell, 1992, p 22). In general, as Goodman and Peng (1996, p 193) suggest, Japan is regarded as “a variety of preexisting social welfare models conceptualised from a western framework” and is sometimes seen as “an ‘exception’ to the rule rather than as a new pattern”.

      The relatively inferior standard of Japanese welfare services has often been described in recent studies of welfare states; yet many of...

    • SEVEN Taiwan: what kind of social policy regime?
      (pp. 145-164)
      Michael Hill and Yuan-shie Hwang

      Comparative theory has evolved from convergence or modernisation perspectives in which either economic growth (Rimlinger, 1971; Wilensky, 1975) or the evolution of capitalism (O’Connor, 1973; Gough, 1979) were seen as inevitably leading to growth in state expenditure on welfare to a situation in which ‘regime’ analyses are dominant. Esping-Andersen (1990) has been the main influence on regime theory, replacing a rather functionalist sociology by an approach in which systems are analysed according to the extent to which they enhance ‘decommodification’ or social solidarity and political processes are seen as offering explanations of these differences. Esping-Andersen identifies what he describes as...

    • EIGHT The development of the South Korean welfare regime
      (pp. 165-186)
      Sang-hoon Ahn and So-chung Lee

      It is a crude generalisation to regard contemporary East Asian welfare regimes as being based only on Confucianism and then to create the hypothesis that eastern particularity coexists with western influence. Such hypotheses will be examined against the experience of the Korean welfare regime. First, the particularity of Korean society will be outlined and then the universality of Korean social welfare will be discussed.

      As well as there being a series of studies identifying Korean welfare regime as ‘Confucian’ (Jones, 1993; Hong, 1999), the legacy of Confucianism seems to have played an important role in the making of the contemporary...

    • NINE The welfare regime in Singapore
      (pp. 187-212)
      Vincent Wijeysingha

      Singapore’s developmental path over the past 40 years has led it from a third-world port station to a first-world industrial city exhibiting social indicators and standards of living on a par with the industrialised west. The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has governed Singapore during all this time through a mixture of Westminster democracy and social repression, chose a developmental ideology that was authoritarian and free market, verging on the socialist in the nature of some of its social provision, yet avowedly capitalist; and exhibiting the characteristics of a major first-world city while retaining aspects of its Asian patrimony.


    • TEN Conclusion: from Confucianism to globalisation
      (pp. 213-224)
      Alan Walker and Chack-kie Wong

      All of the authors in this book downplay Confucianism as a contemporary aspect of social policy in East Asia and, instead, emphasise the role of political ideology. What emerges is a sophisticated understanding of the role of Confucianism, not as a monolithic set of precepts but as being malleable to local circumstances. Moreover, while Confucianism undoubtedly played a critical political role in the industrialisation of East Asia, its cultural influence has been overestimated in the past as well as being so in the present. Japan shares a common Confucian root with China but, as Kono shows in Chapter Six, it...

  9. Index
    (pp. 225-235)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 236-238)