It is widely accepted that development is not simply an economic phenomenon. Political processes are intimately tied up with economic development. Consider the following questions. Does the nature of the political system affect development? Does democracy slow down economic growth? What is the relationship between democracy and economic liberalism? As more and more countries have embraced both political freedoms and market-oriented economic reforms, should one expect both to succeed equally?
Consider some comparative questions now. Why have some countries industrialized faster than others? Why do some countries do better at poverty alleviation than others? Why have some countries been successful in solving the problem of food production, while others have not been? Are their different paths to agrarian and industrial development?
Since the Second World War, an enormous amount of intellectual effort has gone into understanding these issues. Asia has been at the heart of much of this literature. We will compare and contract the various Asian countries and models of development around themes identified above. The heaviest emphasis will be on China, India and South Korea.