New Approaches to Building Markets in Asia

In March 2010, a new research project began at the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, under the title ‘New Approaches to Building Markets in Asia’. The project takes seriously the notion that ongoing efforts by state, private and non-governmental entities are shaping the world like never before, often in coordinated, trans-boundary and multi-scalar ways in the interests of constituting idealised forms of ‘market society’. Market society demands the adoption of particular codified standards (ISO, the Equator Principles, EITI etc.), regulatory consistency (the ‘enabling state’ advocated by the World Bank, for example), and the extension of market discipline (through public private partnerships and new financialisation measures), all ostensibly with the purpose of ensuring global competitiveness and integrity under late capitalism. While such efforts are not reducible to a monolithic super-structure (such as a transnational/supranational state), a discernible structure is perceptible and worthy of analysis, especially in a region such as Asia – home to sixty percent of the world’s population and central as it is within global production and consumption chains.

The project has three core components, each focusing upon a particular set of institutions/stakeholders involved in and/or impacted by market building measures: public organisations; private organisations and citizens. While the project is heavily influenced by extant political economy approaches, it is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to include perspectives of a theoretical and empirical nature from a diverse set of researchers.

Phase one of the project looks at the role of public organisations in the market building exercise and will involve an initial workshop in April 2011. The workshop will include participants from all over the world (a complete list of participants and abstracts is included in this dossier). Phase two is well under way, with a call for papers (CFP) presently circulating for a workshop to be held in October 2011. A CFP for phase three will be announced later this year for a workshop to be held in early 2012.