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:
Author image: Motorbikes parking on the Vientiane riverfront.