Vol. 5, No. 1 (2009): 55–80.
It has been frequently argued that under globalisation, the state’s ability to make autonomous decisions declines and the state withers away as it adapts to the lowest common denominator of taxation and social services in order to attract global investment flows. This paper challenges the withering-state theory. States are not hapless victims of globalisation, but active facilitators. Through the case studies of Vietnam and Malaysia, it is demonstrated that the state makes decisions about globalisation—either to engage in it or to retreat from it—based on the state’s perceived interest. Moreover, the state is perfectly capable of reversing these decisions as state interests change over time.
Thomas Jandl is a doctoral candidate and adjunct faculty member at American University in Washington. His research interests focus on the impact of globalization on government and governance in developing countries. At the moment, he works on the impact of foreign investment on decentralization, migration and fiscal allocation in Vietnam. His recent publications include “Domestic Mobility and Elite Rent-Seeking: The Right to Migrate among Provinces and Vietnam’s Economic Success Story,” in State, Society and International Relations in Asia, edited by Mehdi Amineh, 25 pages. Kuala Lumpur: ICAS Book Series, Vol. 1, 2009; and “Malaysia and the Asian Financial Crisis: Rent Seeking and Economic Policy Choices in a Global Economy” in the Journal of Asiatic Studies 51, no. 4 (December 2008).