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No stability, no development

(People's Daily Online)

10:35, May 30, 2013

Edited and translated by Liang Jun, People's Daily Online

Peaceful and stable social environment are the reasons why Cambodia and Laos saw rapid economic growth over the past 20 years. In contrast, development of Thailand over the past three decades witnessed stagnation, with per capita GDP remaining at over 5,000 U.S. dollars.

Analysts believe turbulent political situation has hindered Thai economy. History and reality have proven stability is the pre-condition of rapid economic growth. Without stability, there is no investment and people have no peaceful lives.

Examining the development of Southeast Asia in recent years, the relations of economic development, social stability, reform and beneficial people are clear, but it is complex too.

Various historical and realistic factors including large number of ethnic minorities, unclear land ownership and imperfect distribution system have affected the stability of countries in Southeast Asia. They are intertwined and enlarged in different national political process.

But one thing is clear: stability is the pre-condition of development.

Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, has attributed the country’s rapid growth to three reasons: harmonious nations, social stability, and high-quality people. The three factors are also the basis of economic growth; social stability, in particular, is very important for Southeast Asia countries to maintain sustained economic growth.

At present, most of Southeast Asian countries are in the transition period with national political system having not been completely finalized, and contradiction of political demands of different interest groups are sometimes very sharp, which affect the government’s decision-making power and the executive powers; it also makes some potential instability easier to break out.

But on the other hand, Southeast Asian countries have also accumulated a lot of positive energy from the sustainable development over these years. After the chaos in West Asia and North Africa, some people in Western countries have asserted that Southeast Asia would also be involved in the trend. But up to now, Southeast Asian countries have not copied the so-called "revolution".

The reason is Southeast Asian countries have been pushing forward policies to enhance the system flexibility. In addition, some countries have consolidated their status in the global industrial chain, which make it easier to transform economic energy to energy for stability.

Continuous integration of East Asian economies, including ASEAN countries, also provided a sound environment for the development. Deepening cooperation among ASEAN member states, and the realization of common goals in politics, economy and culture are also conductive to maintain social stability.

Southeast Asian nations’ challenges are how to solve the unfair distribution, meet people’s increasing demand for living standards and for reform, and to maintain sustained stability through reform on the orderly, stable and legal basis. It decides whether Southeast Asia can move forward or not.

Read the Chinese version: 没有稳定就没有发展

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