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More Growth, Less Freedom? Charting Development Pathways in Lao PDR

October 30, 2017

This month my latest book chapter was published as part of Brendan Howe's most recent edited volume, titled: National Security, Statecentricity, and Governance in East Asia. My Chapter "More Growth, Less Freedom? Charting Development Pathways in Lao PDR" discusses the relationship between persistent socio-economic challenges and the Lao government's poor track record on human rights and political freedoms. As the chapter abstract states: 

 

According to macro-scale measures and indicators the principal development narrative for Lao PDR is one of strong economic growth and continued socio-economic progress. However, the true complexity of socio-economic transformations to have occurred in the country are not easily captured by reductive macro-scale indices. In this chapter I problematize development success narratives surrounding Lao PDR by bringing attention to the relationship between persistent socio-economic challenges and the state’s poor track record on human rights and political freedoms. Here, I argue: (1) that privileging economic growth over political freedom is a threat to sustained poverty-alleviation; (2) the common myth that economic liberalization naturally leads to democratic reform is unlikely to materialize in Lao PDR, and; (3) attempts by foreign donors to depoliticize socio-economic inequalities have bolstered a regime that is responsible for intolerable human rights abuses.

 

The chapter is available for purchase online and can be accessed at the following link:

 

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-58974-9_7

 

Author image: Motorbikes parking on the Vientiane riverfront. 

 

 

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