African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 389


The developmental state: An illusion in contemporary times

Ebrahim Shabbir Deen
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. 
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 August 2011
  •  Published: 31 October 2011



It has unanimously been acknowledged that state activity in the market was one of the key factors which facilitated the rapid growth of Japan and the East Asian tigers (Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea), hence this essay assesses the applicability of utilizing this model to induce development in contemporary times. It analyzes the various ideological, political, and economic changes that have occurred, arguing that the context aspiring developmental states face is vastly different than that faced by the successful Asian developmental states. Factors discussed include the ideological shift from imbedded liberalism to neoliberalism; the evolution of the structure and rules governing international trade; and the Cold War context which resulted in states enjoying more room to act in their economies’. The newly coined ‘Beijing Consensus’, and the consequences of China’s rapid growth are also   elaborated on.


Key words: Developmental state; African development; autocracy and development; Japan; South Korea; trade liberalization; labor; fairness.