Social Sciences Lecture Series | Prof. Jonathan London › view all
Welfare and Inequality in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Paths to the Present and Future
Jonathan London (University of Leiden) on "Welfare and Inequality in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Paths to the Present and Future"
Since the 1980s, living standards in Southeast Asia have improved markedly but unevenly and alsomore slowly and less equitably than could plausibly be achieved. While uneven capitalist development has permitted significant and at times impressive improvements in material conditions, the market-liberalising policy suites, weakly universalist social policies, and targeted legitimacy-seeking social protection programs promoted by ruling elites have failed to greatly accelerate improvements in human wellbeing, even as inequalities in income, assets, and the accessibility of quality social services have increased. Variegation in patterns of welfare and inequality in the region reflect differences in dynamic configurations of power, capital accumulation, and social reproduction specific to each country. The overall result is a region that exhibits weakly universalist social policies, the commodification and escalating costs of essential services, increased inequality, widespread precarity, and the persistence of eliminable human suffering even as average incomes, consumption, and living standards continue to rise.
Jonathan D. London is Associate Professor of Political Economy - Asia at Leiden University's Institute of Area Studies. London's research interests span the fields of comparative political economy, development studies, and the political economy of welfare and inequality. Fluent in Vietnamese, London is sole editor of the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Vietnam (2023). His 2018 book, Welfare and Inequality in Marketizing East Asia developed a critique of theoretical literature on welfare regimes analysis and a comparative analysis of 10 East Asian countries. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This lecture is organized by the CRC 1342 "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" and part of the CRC Jour Fixe event series.