Social Scientist. v 4, no. 45 (April 1976) p. 3.


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FRANCOIS HOUTART

Non-socialist Societies of South and East Asia

THE FALL of the Thieu regime in South Vietnam is a landmark in Asian history. It seems appropriate to take the year 1975 as a point of reference for a reflection on the evolution of the societies in the non-socialist countries of south and east Asia. Although a precise date rarely makes a starting point for a group of countries, the historical and symbolic value of the fall of Thieu for Asian society is perfectly obvious.

But is it possible to speak of an evolution in these societies? From India to Korea, passing by way of Malaysia and the Philippines^ is it possible to collect more or less similar facts and give them a global interpretation? This is the question that I shall raise in this article. The end of the Second World War was the beginning of the era of independence in all the countries of south, south-east and east Asia which were not already free. Except for nations like China and Vietnam which adopted a socialist model in the wake of a popular struggle for liberation, the other countries adopted a political model of parliamentary democracy, greatly inspired by the former colonizing countries. As for Japan which had successfully managed an intensive industrialization while retaining a politico-social model of the feudal type, under American influence it realized a bourgeois revolution which permitted an internal and external capitalist expansion while impoitant elements of the feudal



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