Patronage politics and natural resources: a historical case study of Southeast Asia and Indonesia

Varkkey, H. (2012) Patronage politics and natural resources: a historical case study of Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Asian Profile, 40 (5). pp. 438-448. ISSN 0304-8675,

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As the modernisation of agribusiness became a more important driver of development for many Southeast Asian states, the region’s environment has become severely degraded. This paper argues that throughout the developmental history of Southeast Asia, the role of patronage politics has been a key factor behind environmental degradation. It presents historical evidence of circumstances preceding and surrounding early appearances of patronage networks in the region, particularly within the natural resource sector. Upon decolonization, the attitudes of the decision-making elite of the region shaped development to focus on elite-centred natural resource exploitation. With government structures, processes and policies often favouring the interests of big businesses, environmental exploitation has remained the major drivers of growth in the region. First, this paper provides a general overview of developmental trends in the region to show how political realities encouraged patronage politics, and then focuses on Indonesia as a select case study. This paper is part one of a two-part series by the same author, the second part of which will focus on Malaysia and Singapore and will be published in a subsequent volume of this journal.

Item Type: Article
Funders: University of Malaya, University of Sydney
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Helena Varkkey
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2013 01:44
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 01:44

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