Phase 2 (Workshop 2 - Regulation, private sector authority and market building in Asia)

Constructing markets has been a central concern of Asia’s governments, seen variously as a means to economic growth, development, and social well being. The modality of market construction, however, has been a rapidly evolving one. While historically Asian markets were anchored in overtly national contexts and represented specific political accommodations between domestic capital, economic elites, political actors and state interests “most commonly expressed in the ‘developmental state’ ” increasingly such configurations no longer stand. Market building is now more overtly diffuse and situated among multilevel national and international actors, transnational mechanisms, and various new governance modalities that involve a complex interplay between the diffusion of transactional norms, property rights, and systems of proceduralisation and regulation.

Central to these emergent processes has been the agential authority of private sector organisations. Private and quasi-private organisations like export credit agencies, banks and financial institutions, domestic private sector firms, ratings agencies, capital markets, standards and certification regimes (ISOs, for example), and multinational enterprise, along with organisations like the World Bank and OECD, play an increasingly important role as agential mechanisms of policy diffusion but also as agents constructing modalities of governance that regulate, define, and discipline market behaviour. These modalities increasingly appear in the form of public-private partnerships, emergent transparency and accountability regimes, investment guarantees, reciprocity and non-discrimination in cross border investments, customs and trade practices, regulatory shifts in modes of corporate governance, risk management and mitigation, and regimes of financialisation in relation to performance, reporting and accounting standards.

The manner by which these governance modalities articulate in national and sectoral contexts, however, is far from uniform. Domestic sites of resistance, sectional interests, institutional and political legacies combined with differing national and institutional capacities make for wide variation in market composition, institutional forms, market governance, and thus the nature and efficiency of market operation.

This variation comprises the principal focus of Phase II of the project. Specifically, we ask workshop participants to reflect on a series of questions as a means of understanding the role of private sector organisations in building markets in Asia:

  • How should we characterise the role of private organisations in constructing markets in Asia?
  • What are the implications of private-led market building in terms of democratic participation and public accountability? Is there a democratic deficit?
  • What are the implications of private-led market building for enhancing social capital, sustainable and inclusive growth?
  • Are the large privately-owned corporations of Asia and systems of patrimonial politics challenged or countenanced by these new approaches to building markets?
  • Do all private organisations/sectors relate equally to the new opportunities and risks raised by the market building project?
  • How does the market building project relate to different political economies/different sectors found in Asia?
  • What are the repercussions of the market building project for different conceptions of development and/or for different actors in the region?
  • What implementation issues arise in the context of market building dominated by private organisations?
  • What are the implications for the evolution and practice of public policy in Asia?
  • How do non-governmental organisations relate to, engage with, and impact private sector organisations and financialised development agendas?