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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the factors influencing employment relations structures and practices in the export-oriented economies of developing Southeast Asia. It begins with a discussion of historical legacies affecting the employment relations systems of developing Asia as a whole before moving on to case studies of Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The chapter then reflects on the negative complementarities that account for the ongoing weakness of trade unions in all three settings, despite Malaysia’s emerging high road production strategy and Indonesia’s recent democratization. The chapter concludes that—while not necessarily representing a discrete ‘variety of capitalism’—colonial legacies, Western support for authoritarian regimes in capitalist Southeast Asia during the Cold War, and the competitive imperatives of export-oriented production are responsible for similarities in these otherwise very different national contexts.

Keywords: varieties of capitalism, trade unions, high road, low road, export-oriented production, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Southeast Asia

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