Disavowing Liberalism: Evolution of the Political Economy of the PAP Regime by Prof Chua Beng Huat

11 September, 2017

As a follow-up to the August launch of Professor Chua Beng Huat (Dept of Sociology)’s new book, Liberalism Disavowed: Communitarianism and State Capitalism in Singapore, there will be a talk by Prof. Chua jointly organised by Asia Research Institute (ARI), and Singapore Research Nexus at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. This will be held on 14 September 2017 (Thursday), 4.00 – 5.30pm at ARI, Seminar Room AS8.

ABSTRACT

Since the 2008 global recession, the globally hegemonic liberal democratic capitalism has been in ideological and practical crisis: government bailout of financial industry shows that the state is the last resort for saving capitalism; anti-globalisation of capitalism turns into anti-immigration and xenophobia, the much touted liberal cultural tolerance turns into Islamophobia. The crisis opens up space for emergence of old and new alternative ideologies to liberalism. So far, it has most prominently given rise to extreme right-wing political sentiments in Europe and America. The left appears still unable to seize the opportunity to reassert and claim its ideological space. Yet, socialism as a critique of capitalism remains an important and valuable idea that should not be discarded along with the failures of the European and Soviet socialist economies. Ironic as it may seem, I will argue that it is the institutionalization of the ‘socialist’ elements in the early years of the People’s Action Party as a social democratic government and the subsequent evolution of these elements that accounts largely for its longevity in parliamentary power, rather than continuing authoritarianism. It is also this social democratic beginning that all subsequent generations of PAP leaders evoke in their ideological disavowal of liberalism.

Registration may be completed at this link.