Asian Review


Trevor Parfitt

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This paper will apply Freeden's morphological approach to the analysis of liberalism and development to explore the centrality of trusteeship (as defi ned by Cowen and Shenton) in both modes of thought. There is an intellectual kinship between development as an idea and liberalism in that both emerged from a Western Enlightenment context that emphasized progress and the prospects for human development through the growing influence of rationalism and the application of scientific method to human endeavor. Both development thinking and liberalism bear the imprint of these influences, one of them being that of trusteeship. The morphological approach will be employed to examine the genealogy of development and to trace the various pathways that development thinking has taken, particularly with a view to illustrating its continued affinity with contrasting strands of liberalism. Such affinities extend from what Freeden might term the "social welfare values" implicit in Sen's Capability Theory to the so-called liberal turn of what many see as the hegemonic account of development today: neo-liberalism and its manifestations in the Washington and Post-Washington Consensuses. Some implications of this analysis will then be examined in the South East Asian context. A few of the central accounts of development to emerge from Asia, notably the analysis founded in Asian values and the approach to development implicit in the typology of the Asian Developmental State, will be analyzed to assess how far they bear any imprint of trusteeship. The aim of this analysis will be to draw some tentative conclusions as to the prospects for a liberal and Asian approach to development and the variant forms that trusteeship might take within that context.



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