Dan Slater Profile picture
Aug 15 21 tweets 29 min read
Now out with @PrincetonUPress!

“From Development to Democracy: The Transformations of Modern Asia,” written with @JosephWongUT.

What do we argue? And how do we try to offer new thinking on #development and #democracy in East and Southeast #Asia?

A 📘🧵! 1/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT It might help to start by noting that the book’s working title was always “Democracy through Strength,” until the very last minute.

That’s our main argument, and it’s still the title of our theory chapter. 2/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT Most simply put, democracy hasn’t arisen in the region we call “developmental Asia” because weak dictatorships COLLAPSED, but because strong dictatorships CONCEDED. 3/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT This builds on an article we wrote in 2013 in @PoPpublicsphere called “The Strength to Concede,” focused on #Taiwan, #SouthKorea, and #Indonesia. 4/21 cambridge.org/core/journals/…
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere It also closely mirrors the argument we made in 2020 with @BeattyRiedl and @dziblatt in the Annual Review of Political Science, “Authoritarian-Led Democratization.” 5/21 annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.114…
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt There, we all agree that “democracy through strength” is a recurrent phenomenon across the globe and across history, even though “democracy through weakness” is much more commonly theorized. 6/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt But our new book departs from these articles in significant ways.

Most importantly, it is a book about DEVELOPMENT every bit as much as DEMOCRACY.

Hence the last-minute title change! 7/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt Theoretically, we stress how development can give authoritarian regimes a track record and achieve poverty reduction that lets them concede democracy without conceding defeat. 8/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt The heart of the matter is “victory confidence” and “stability confidence.”

When authoritarian regimes have them, “democracy through strength” becomes an available option. 9/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt But although we state our arguments generally and theoretically, this is emphatically a book about Asia!

We want to rethink Asian development, Asian democratization, and how they’re linked. 10/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt How?

For starters, by dividing “developmental Asia’s” 12 cases into 4 clusters of 3 cases each:

1) developmental statism (#Japan, #Taiwan, #SouthKorea)
2) developmental Britannia (#Singapore, #Malaysia, #HongKong) 11/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt 3) developmental militarism (#Indonesia, #Thailand, #Myanmar)
4) developmental socialism (#China, #Vietnam, #Cambodia). 12/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt The big point is that these developmental clusters correlate perfectly with democratic clusters.

Developmental STATIST and developmental MILITARIST cases all commenced democratic experiments in moments when they still had “victory confidence” and “stability confidence.” 13/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt The other two clusters, developmental BRITANNIA and developmental SOCIALISM, have avoided democratic concessions across the board.

Here’s what our 4 clusters of 12 cases look like: 14/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt There’s no simple theoretical story for why developmental clusters --> democratic clusters.

But we suggest a number of intervening factors that seem to matter, including geopolitics. 15/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt The empirical, historical chapters are where we really tease out these processes. #Japan, #Taiwan, #SouthKorea, #China, #Indonesia, and #Malaysia get the most attention, but all 12 cases get covered! 16/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt We split #China into 2 chapters.

First, why didn’t the CCP concede democracy in the late 1980s like #Taiwan and #SouthKorea?

Our theory suggests the CCP was too weak to concede and thrive in 1989, not just too strong to collapse. 17/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt In later chapters we explore #China along other “candidate cases” like #Singapore and #Vietnam where ruling parties are strong enough to concede democracy without conceding defeat, but haven’t – at least not yet. 18/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt Again, there’s no simple story for why only some strong dictatorships move “from development to democracy” while others don’t.

But we hope the book gets people thinking about a possibility that might usually seem like an impossibility! 19/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt Then in our conclusion, we think more broadly about democracy as a UNIVERSAL value, not a Western value.

But since democracy isn’t the ULTIMATE value, it’s always vulnerable everywhere unless it can solve problems of stability and development. 20/21
@PrincetonUPress @JosephWongUT @PoPpublicsphere @BeattyRiedl @dziblatt We’re thrilled that our book is finally out in the world where it can spark discussion, debate, and no doubt plenty of disagreement!

Everybody interested in development and democracy in Asia and elsewhere, please give it a look! 21/21

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Dan Slater

Dan Slater Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!