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Public Governance in Asia and the Limits of Electoral Democracy

Edited by Brian Bridges, formerly Professor, Department of Political Science, Lingnan University and Lok Sang Ho, Dean, Faculty of Business, Chu Hai College of Higher Education , Hong Kong
This book documents the search for a workable model of democracy in Asia. It begins with two conceptual chapters that explore the role of electoral democracy as a governance mechanism in the light of other governance mechanisms, then reviews the various forms of Asian democracy, including those that many may consider to be in name rather than in substance, that have been practiced to date, and indicates where these models may have failed or succeeded. Underpinned by extensive case studies, valuable insights into governance and democracy in Asia – arguably one of the most fascinating and dynamic regions in the world – are provided.
Extent: 320 pp
Hardback Price: $149.00 Web: $134.10
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 628 1
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  • Asian Studies
  • Asian Politics and Policy
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Asian Politics
  • Public Policy
  • Regulation and Governance
This book documents the search for a workable model of democracy in Asia. It begins with two conceptual chapters that explore the role of electoral democracy as a governance mechanism in the light of other governance mechanisms, then reviews the various forms of Asian democracy, including those that many may consider to be in name rather than in substance, that have been practiced to date, and indicates where these models may have failed or succeeded. Underpinned by extensive case studies, valuable insights into governance and democracy in Asia – arguably one of the most fascinating and dynamic regions in the world – are provided.

The contributors chart the historical development of democracy (or democratic aspirations) within their respective countries/territories, and analyse both the positive and the negative influences on democratization. They assess whether the particular form of democracy (or lack of, as the case may be) that has developed brings benefit or harm to the people living in the countries and why. The extent to which policy-making has been able to produce benefits for the population, regardless of the degree of democratic development, is then addressed. Finally, the book evaluates whether lessons can be learnt from Asia’s experiences with democracy for other areas of the world.

Concluding that sound governance mechanisms, in particular the rule of law, – is the key to effective democratic systems, this book will strongly appeal to those with an interest in democracy, comparative politics, political economy and Asian studies and will be a timely reference or text in courses related to these areas.
‘The global financial crisis has demonstrated that good governance is not guaranteed by democracy; it has also shown that the capacity of electoral democracies to manage major issues of public policy has varied widely. This excellent comparative collection probes these questions through analysis of ten political systems in Asia, all of which have experienced major changes in recent years. By focussing on the concept of public governance as the key to preventing abuses of power and promoting the public interest, Bridges, Ho and their co-authors have moved the debate on Asian democratization beyond the narrow focus on electoral machinery to the wider issue of governance as the principal means to serve the public good.’
– James Cotton, Australian Defence Force Academy, Australia
Contributors: B. Bridges, W. Case, P.C-y. Chan, J.Y.S. Cheng, L.S. Ho, E.M. Jepsen, J.A. Rice, S. Shen, B.S.J. Weng, Y.-c. Wong, L.H. Yeo, B. Zhang
Contents:

Foreword

1. Introduction: Democracy and Governance
Lok Sang Ho and Brian Bridges

PART I: CONCEPTUALISING DEMOCRACY
2. Public Governance and the Ideal of Government for the People
Lok Sang Ho

3. Beyond Electoral Democracy: Promoting Good Governance in East Asia
Baohui Zhang

PART II: MAJOR ASIAN POWERS
4. Political Reform and Democratization in China under the Leadership of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao
Yiu-chung Wong

5. Japan: Political Longevity and Troubled Governance
Brian Bridges

6. Governance in Federal India: Democracy and Economic Development
Eric M. Jepsen

PART III: NEWLY INDUSTRIALIZED ECONOMIES
7. A Short History of Taiwan’s Democracy Movement
Byron S.J. Weng

8. Democratization in Hong Kong
Joseph Y.S. Cheng

9. Democracy and Governance in Singapore: The Sustainability of Singapore’s Political System
Lay Hwee Yeo

10. A Long and Winding Road: Democratization in Korea
Brian Bridges

PART IV: SOUTH-EAST ASIA
11. Democracy, Governance, and Regime Cycling in Thailand
William Case

12. Challenging the Transitologist Approach: Myanmar’s Troubled Democratization Process
Paul Chi-yuen Chan and Simon Shen

13. From Marcos to Arroyo – What Went Wrong for Democracy in the Philippines?
James A. Rice

14. Conclusions: Towards More Effective and Better Governance
Brian Bridges and Lok Sang Ho

Index