AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 292

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Session 292: Compliance or Confrontation? Emerging Models of Governance in Asia

Organizer: Subir K. Kole, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Chair: Soo Young Hwang, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Switzerland

Discussants: Sugato Dutt, University of Hawaii, Canada; Subir K. Kole, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA; Carl A. Polley, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Democratic and developing nation-states tend to comply with global, top-down models of governance, while non-state actors such as local communities, corporate bodies and grassroots organizations often resist them. This panel presents a representative range of governance models from India, China, Korea, and Bhutan that explore varied facets of interaction with global “norms” in Asia. Why do states comply with the dominant global order? Hwang takes an example from human rights governance in Korea, applying the “logic of appropriateness” to examine her case. She argues that the state behaves in an “appropriate” way to gain international legitimacy. Shaw explores how corporate governance structures in China determine top executives’ salaries by comparing the practices of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and non-SOEs given nationwide market-based reform policies. How are global norms confronted in Asia? Polley examines how Bhutan has challenged global standards of socio-economic development by adopting a unique development metric, gross national happiness (GNH), and compares GNH to the American concept of pursuit of happiness. Dutt explores how local peasants challenge global definitions of natural resources, state interests, and models of resource governance, suggesting that local norms and ethics of resource use should be incorporated as a strategy for conflict resolution. Kole examines the extent to which modern development and indigenous systems of governance are compatible objectives, examining his case with respect to public health care in India. This panel thus explains how emerging models of governance in Asia respond to the dominant global order.

The Logics of Appropriateness: Korea and National Human Rights Commission of Korea
Soo Young Hwang, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Switzerland

Why do states voluntarily constrain its power? Why do states permanently institutionalize agencies that curtail its own power and sovereignty? By 2010, despite this self-contradictory state behavior, about 120 countries installed National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in accordance with international human rights norms regime. This worldwide phenomenon was not exceptional in Korea. The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK), established in 2001after economic development and political democratization, received a great deal of domestic and international attention as a model example. But then, why did Korea create NHRCK? What did they expect to gain out of complying with international norms? Did Korea give in due to pressure from “above” and “below”? Korea’s decision on creating NHRIs, I argue, follows the logics of appropriateness rather than the logics of consequentialism; Korea behaved in such way not because it feared or favored the consequences of the behavior but because simply that behavior was an appropriate one. I also argue that Korea, a country that has been keenly aware of others’ view on themselves, accepted NHRIs because they desired international legitimacy by behaving as other “appropriate,” liberal and democratic countries do. By taking a constructivist approach, I show in this paper how political negotiations in Korea evolved into reaching consensus to create an NHRI to present itself as a good, appropriate, and liberal democratic country following the logics of appropriateness.

Weight of performance measures in Chinese top management contracts
Tara Shankar Shaw, Independent Scholar, USA

This paper provides evidence on the use and weighting of accounting versus stock market performance measures in Chinese top managers’ compensation contracts. The accounting performance measures the income generated from the asset available to the firm. The stock return measures how the market perceives the future profitability of the firm. I utilize a sample of virtually all listed firms over the 2001-2005 periods in the Chinese stock exchange. I find that both accounting returns and stock returns are used to determine executive’s compensation in China, but the accounting returns are weighted more heavily than stock returns. As the risk of the accounting measure increases, the weight of the accounting measure on the CEO compensation decreases. I also find that as the growth opportunities for a firm increase, the board attributes more weight on the accounting measure than on the stock performance for determining CEOs compensation. These findings reflect that the information emanating from stock market might not be a correct predictor of the CEOs productivity since stock market in China is a recent phenomenon and in its nascent stage of development. So, the board relies more on the measure of the accounting performance. Moreover I find that state-owned public enterprises (SOEs) rely more on accounting returns and less on stock market returns than non-SOEs. This is because a major portion of the stocks of the SOEs are not tradable in the market so the stock prices cannot capture the market value of the firm.

Towards sustainable development: Conservation values, resource governance and community participation in an Indian Tiger Reserve
Sugato Dutt, University of Hawaii, Canada

Western ethical traditions that prioritize intrinsic values of nature over its utilitarian values have resulted in much conflict in the practice of conservation in the developing world. Recent reforms seek to democratize management by building closer partnerships with the local community. A broad review of the literature nevertheless reveals the persistence of negative attitudes towards philosophical orientation of management. This suggests a closer analysis of the incentive structures that can elicit greater public support for the conservation agenda. This field-based research documents the behavioral norms present in the local community and their attitudes towards conservation legislation in a sample of 110 households spread over four rural settlements bordering the Buxa Tiger Reserve, India. Results reveal that the residents are concerned about the ecological security of the tiger and are willing participants in the policing and anti-poaching operations of the management. However, they are unable to relinquish their own subsistence level dependence on forest resources. Poor access to financial and human capital further obstructs their efforts to seek newer sources of alternative livelihoods. These findings establish that poor economic development in India’s rural areas exacerbate the phenomenon of economic dependence on her forests and suggest that facilitation of greater opportunities for wage income will increase collective action and consolidate the existing community-management partnerships. They also indicate the need to integrate local values and perceptions of forests in generating a resource governance model that aims at sustainable development as a broader management goal.

Establishing a State of Gross National Happiness: Emergent Structure in the National Identity of Bhutan
Carl A. Polley, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Bhutan has established a unique identity in international discourse on development, due to its use of gross national happiness (GNH) as a metric for socioeconomic progress. Adopting a methodological framework from cognitive linguistics, corpus-based conceptual metaphor analysis (Lakoff & Johnson 1980, 1999; Stefanowitsch 2004, 2006), I examine how GNH has been framed in Bhutan via novel metaphorical expressions. GNH is construed as a part of a theoretical structure, and as a tool in a mechanical system, the same as gross national product. However, Bhutan English frames the concept of happiness in a different way from that found in general global English. Specifically, happiness is construed in Bhutanese discourse not only as an individual emotion but also as a type of natural resource: shared, communal, and part of a living ecological system. Metaphorical expressions of happiness as a natural resource led to the productivity of the term and concept of GNH in Bhutan. Figurative expressions for happiness in political discourse outside of Bhutan, most notably “the pursuit of happiness” as stated in the American Declaration of Independence, evoke construals that differ from those of GNH. I compare the American and Bhutanese conceptualizations of happiness to show precisely, in diachronic linguistic terms, how Bhutan has established a distinctive identity during its transition to a modern and democratic state in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Are development and cultural preservation compatible objectives? An inquiry into the public health care in India
Subir K. Kole, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Post-development theorists have argued that development is an inherently violent form of Western domination over the marginalized, impoverished Other that presumes a superior, Euro-American way of being and existing as “normal”. They argue that development abolishes local, indigenous knowledge, cultural traditions, and practices, since the entire development project is premised on its subjects “developing into something else” – and that something else is the West. Hence development must be discarded by all means to preserve the indigenous local cultures, and traditions. This paper aims to provide a critical insight into what happens when this theory is applied to public health care in India. Based on the critiques of post-development theory, and theories of cultural preservation, this paper aims to unfold the dichotomy between these two contending paradigms. Through a critical review of literature, I aim to provide an answer to the question: Are these two paradigms compatible, or are they mutually exclusive? I first elaborate these two paradigms as conceived in the literature and then situate the public health in India in each context. I conclude that there exists a total disjuncture between the theory and practice of the post-development scholars and the concern for cultural preservation is rather informed by an aesthetic concern for the sensual pleasure of the elites. Drawing evidences from health care practices among various communities in India, I conclude that both development and cultural preservation are compatible objectives as they tend to reinforce on each other. Culture is both a means and ends of development.