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The Dangers of Decentralization: Clientelism, the State, & Nature in a Democratic Indonesia

[journal article]

Barter, Shane Joshua

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Abstract Throughout the Cold War and after, Southeast Asian dictatorships lay somewhere between predatory and developmental states, posting high growth rates but with equally high costs. Rulers such as Sarit, Marcos, and Suharto were surrounded by networks of patrons and clients that went all the way to the village level. These regimes were as agnostic towards environmental effects of their modernization programmes as they were towards democracy, the rule of law, and the rights of their citizens. Even though economic growth improved the livelihoods of their populations, Southeast Asian countries were left with weak states, clientelist social structures, and severe environmental damage. A solution offered by activists and academics alike was the creation of decentralized, democratic systems where communities could have greater control over political power and natural resources. The ‘Third Wave’ of democratization in Southeast Asia, from 14 October, to EDSA, to Reformasi helped realize these hopes. (author's abstract)
Keywords governance; good governance; democratization; modernization; environmental impact; environmental pollution; environmental policy; political system; decentralization; political influence; clientelism; economic growth; participation; civil society; Indonesia; developing country; Southeast Asia
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Ecology, Environment; Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 1-15
Journal Federal Governance, 5 (2008) 1
ISSN 1923-6158
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence