JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What are the main aims of economic development - JC History Essay Notes

What are the main aims of economic development?

Nicholas Tarling’s three aims
According to the distinguished historians, Nicholas Tarling and Norman Owen, who published The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, there are three aims of economic development: growth, equity and nationalism. We will be examining the significance of these aims individually to understand why there is a high degree of government intervention in the post-independence Southeast Asian states.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Aim #1: Economic Growth
One of the most common aims of economic development involves economic growth, which is typically measured in the monetized value of the goods and services produced within a country, seen in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

To assess the economic performance of a country, it is important to examine the ability of governments to achieve short-term and long-term economic growth.

Also, another relevant aspect is the percentage share of GDP contributed by the three sectors: agriculture, industry and finance. As a country advances, a large proportion of growth is derived from the secondary and tertiary sectors (industry and finance).

Aim #2: Economic Equity
The second aim involves the reduction of income gap between the rich and the poor. In some Southeast Asian states, leaders advocate the equality of opportunity, which can be measured by the percentage of population that suffering from poverty.

As such, their policies are extensively focused on a more equitable distribution of resources. For example, governments introduce legislation to facilitate land reforms for state acquisition and re-distribution to rural households.

Aim #3: Economic Nationalism
The third aim refers to the indigenization of wealth and production to reduce foreign ownership of domestic sectors of economy. Following the process of decolonization, many Southeast Asian states sought to reduce foreign influence in their economic development.

This aim is usually achieved by implementing policies of nationalization. The governments impose strict controls to limit or eradicate foreign ownership. At same time, state-owned enterprises are formed to replace these foreign companies. For example, in Indonesia, the Dutch assets in petroleum were nationalized, thus forming the Permina, known as the state-owned oil company. Later, it was renamed as Pertamina.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– The pursuit of economic growth is the most important aim that Southeast Asian governments should prioritize on after independence. Discuss. [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have examined the three aims of economic development, you should look for practice questions to apply your knowledge. You can also join our JC History Tuition as we provide summary notes and practice questions (with reference answers) to demonstrate the applicability of knowledge for examinations.

Furthermore, we conduct other related JC tuition classes, like GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition classes, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to sign up now!

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What is the ASEAN Way - JC History Essay Notes

What is the ASEAN Way?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN : Building regional peace and security)

What is the ‘ASEAN Way’?
The ASEAN Way is a guiding principle that shapes the approach of member nations in Southeast Asia for conflict management. It emphasises heavily on consultation and consensus-building, which later inspired the introduction of other forms of political co-operation, like the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC).

As pointed out by the former Secretary-General of ASEAN, Rodolfo Severino, in a public address, the ASEAN Way “has served Southeast Asia well” by “moving its members from animosity to the close co-operative relationship that they enjoy today”.

Origins of the ASEAN Way
Following the formation of the regional organization in 1967, member nations had to learn from past errors as well as on-going disputes. One such incident involved the “Corregidor affair” (1968), which broke out due to the territorial disputes over Sabah. Similarly, the Confrontation (Konfrontasi) of 1963 was a contentious issue that strained diplomatic relations between affected member nations. Therefore, the ASEAN Way was implemented to encourage the use of diplomacy rather than forceful means to resolve conflicts.

Interestingly, the ASEAN Way was inspired by Malay culture, seen in terms of musjawarah (consultation) and muafakat (consensus-building). This practice involves a gradual decision-making process, in which all member states must be consulted before the regional organization can come to a consensus on the possible course of action to undertake.

How does it work?
One of the core principles of ASEAN Way involves the ‘principle of non-interference’. Should one or a few member nations disagree with the proposals put forth during the ASEAN meetings, the organization must postpone the decision-making for future settlement.

The main purpose of this cautious approach is to provide adequate time for considerations and prevent the outbreak and escalation of tensions. Therefore, regional stability can be maintained.

Subsequent impacts on ASEAN’s political framework
Following its inception in the 1960s, ASEAN has evolved over time in response to the changing international climate. The ASEAN Way was implemented in the form of institutionalized forms of co-operation.

One such example is the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) Declaration (1971). Against the backdrop of the Cold War, these Southeast Asian member nations asserted a firm position to be free from external interference to prevent ideological manipulation.

Another application is observed in the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation (TAC) that emphasises heavily on amicable co-operation among member nations and non-ASEAN countries. The TAC endorses the practice of cautious diplomacy that focuses on the compartmentalization of contentious issues.

The most important case study that can be used to examine the significance of the ASEAN Way is the Third Indochina War (1978-1991) as it arguably provided a timely opportunity to display ASEAN’s solidarity to the rest of the world.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the success and limitations of the ASEAN Way in managing regional conflicts in Southeast Asia since 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have examined the fundamental concepts of the ASEAN Way, it is imperative that you explore and attempt source-based case study questions. You can also consider signing up for our JC History Tuition to find out how you can apply your knowledge to answer similar questions that are based on past examination papers.

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JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - Why was the ASEAN established - JC History Essay Notes

Why was the ASEAN established?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN

What is ASEAN?
On 8 August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional organization that was established. The foreign ministers of five Southeast Asian countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand – signed the historic document, known as the ‘ASEAN Declaration‘ in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the 1980s and 1990s, ASEAN expanded its membership by including other neighbouring countries, like Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999).

The aims and purposes of ASEAN
Within the ASEAN Declaration, it outlined what ASEAN was meant to achieve objectives such as:

  • “To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development”
  • “To promote regional peace and stability”
  • “To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest”

In view of these efforts, it is important to consider the challenges that countries in the Southeast Asian region encountered in the 1950s and 1960s to understand the rationale behind its establishment.

Factor #1: Maintenance of regional security
Before ASEAN was formed, there were inter-state tensions that gave rise to conflicts. These conflicts threatened the security of affected countries, including those in the neighbouring zones. For instance, the Konfrontasi (Confrontation) was a controversial foreign policy that affected the political stability of nations, like Singapore and Malaysia. Following the de-escalation of the tumultuous phase, the formation of ASEAN would help to mend the diplomatic ties of the affected countries and encourage Indonesia to adopt a more collaborative position.

Furthermore, following the Suez Crisis, the British announced the withdrawal of its military from the region by 1971. This move raised security concerns for Singapore as its small and vulnerable state could expose the country from any potential external threat. Therefore, the formation of a regional organization (i.e. ASEAN) would arguably compensate for the departure of the external powers.

Factor #2: Assertion of an independent region free from external interference
In view of the Konfrontasi, Southeast Asian nations formed the regional organization to promote accommodation and collaboration between one another. Although some of these member nations held contrasting perspectives towards co-ooperation with external powers, there was a general consensus that ASEAN would become the central focus in promoting intra-ASEAN engagement.

For example, Singapore was supportive of the formation as it would lead to the increased accessibility of the region’s markets. Following the ‘Separation’, Singapore was in dire need of economic support from abroad to facilitate its economic nation-building efforts. In 1967, it was estimated that Southeast Asia had a combined market of more than US$280 million. Hence, intra-ASEAN trade would no doubt be beneficial for member nations.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that security reasons were the most important in explaining the formation of ASEAN in 1967 [to be discussed in class].

Now that you have learnt the reasons that explain the formation of ASEAN, we strongly encourage you to attempt related source-based case study questions to review your knowledge application skills. Alternatively, you can join our JC History Tuition as we provide numerous practice questions and review your answers to ensure that there is progressive learning.

Furthermore, you can find out more about other JC tuition programmes, like GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to sign up now.

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - What caused the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 - JC History Essay Notes

What caused the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

What exactly is the ‘East Asian Crisis’?
In July 1997, the markets in East and Southeast Asian were affected by a financial meltdown that began in Thailand. Due to a mix of factors, such as financial speculation and inadequate regulatory measures, the Thai government was forced to float the baht. This caused market pessimism, which led to the outflow of capital. In view of the inter-connected markets within the Southeast Asian region, the economic problems in Thailand began to spread to other neighbouring countries, like Thailand. This was known as a ‘financial contagion‘.

1. Unregulated financial liberalization
One possible factor for the Asian Financial Crisis was the unregulated liberalization. Partially, this was the result of the increased liberalization of the financial sector in the 1980s. As foreign investments were welcomed as major sources of economic growth, there were minimal regulations to stem the flow of capital.

As such, the sustained economic growth boosted market sentiments, thereby creating the optimistic outlook that Southeast Asia was a potential for future growth. Thus, foreign investors funded investment activities in the region. However, financial liberalization exposed several weaknesses.

In Thailand, the Bangkok International Banking Facility (BIBF) enabled banks and finance companies to access short-term credit with low interest rates. The credit was lent to Thai borrowers to finance long-term projects with high interest rates. Therefore, the ease of credit access resulted in the expansion of BIBF loans that amounted to nearly $115 billion baht.

2. The shortcomings of a fixed exchange rate system
The second contributing factor relates to the use of a fixed exchange rate system in some of the SEA economies. A fixed exchange rate system meant that governments could determine the external value of money. Currency stabilization was an ideal consideration as it raises market confidence to promote investment and trading activities.

However, a large pool of foreign reserve was needed in order for governments to intervene in the foreign exchange (i.e. ‘forex’ in short) market and maintain the exchange rate.

Initially, the Thai baht was pegged to the American dollar (USD) at 25 baht : 1 USD. Yet, the inability to maintain the currency value had left the economy vulnerable to speculative attacks that began in November 1996. Thailand’s reserves of US$39 billion declined to US$2 billion by June 1997.

Eventually, the inability to maintain the currency peg led to the eventual floating of the baht on 2 July 1997, thus losing 17% of its value relative to the USD. Consequently, there was a plunge in investor confidence, resulting in the withdrawal of foreign capital from the regional markets.

3. Speculative attacks
The third contributing factor relates to foreign currency speculation. Short-term capital flows created exchange rate instability, which was exacerbated by market pessimism. Therefore, the outflow of capital resulted in currency depreciation.

In Thailand, foreign investors sold their baht, causing a sharp fall in the currency value. By end 1997, the baht lost 80% of its value relative to the USD. There were lingering perceptions that the neighbouring economies were also susceptible to market volatility.

Therefore, this dampened investor confidence, resulting in the subsequent outflow of capital in other economies, like Indonesia. By February 1998, the Indonesian rupiah lost 76% of its value relative to the USD.

How did the financial crisis affect the Southeast Asian economies?
In general, the massive currency devaluation led to a significant economic downturn that hampered the development of many economies in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Indonesia.

With currency depreciation, some of these economies experienced higher unemployment and inflation rates. For instance, Indonesia was adversely affected by the Thai financial crisis. The unemployment rate in Indonesia surged beyond 6% in 1999. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was at -15% in 1998. In Malaysia, the GDP growth rate was at -5.8% in the same year.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 was the result of currency speculation? [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have examined the possible contributing factors that gave rise to the Asian Financial Crisis, it is important to apply this knowledge by answering similar practice questions. You can also join our JC History Tuition. We provide additional learning resources, such as summary notes, essay outlines and case study materials.

Additionally, we offer other related JC tuition programmes, like GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to join now!

JC History Tuition Bishan Singapore - How did Myanmar develop its economy - JC History Essay Notes

How did Myanmar develop its economy?

Overall Economic Assessment of Myanmar
After Myanmar attained independence on 4 January 1948, the government pursued economic development, which is strongly guided by nationalistic and socialist influences. In view of the political challenges, there was strong government intervention. Over time, the military took a prominent role in maintaining political stability, while guiding the development of the economy. By the 1980s, Myanmar engaged in economic liberalization, encouraging the inflow of private investment.

Examine how the Chinese ‘Belt Road Initiative’ (BRI) will transform Myanmar’s economy.

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

1948 to 1962: U Nu’s Democratic Governance
Before Myanmar attained independence, the British colonial powers transformed its economy by focusing in agricultural production. By 1930s, nearly two-thirds of the labour force were involved in the agrarian sector. Following World War II, the devastation caused by war left many infrastructure in ruins.

Therefore, the government embarked in the Pyidawtha Plan, which is a eight-year economic plan that set higher targets for growth. The purpose was to rebuild the public infrastructure for economic recovery. Due to the high degree of foreign ownership in the economic sectors, nationalisation became one of the foremost approaches. For instance, the Land Nationalisation Act (1948) was passed to facilitate the consolidation and re-distribution of land for agricultural development.

1962 to 1988: Ne Win’s Burmese Way to Socialism
However, the country was faced with political instability due to internal divisions. Military intervention became necessary to restore stability, thus paving the way for the rise of Ne Win’s leadership. Ne Win’s military government centralised its economic development based on the ideology of ‘Burmese Way to Socialism’, which placed great emphasis on state control across economic sectors.

For example, the Burma Oil Company used to be a joint venture during U Nu’s time. In 1963, this company was nationalised. Likewise, in the banking sector, the government maintained a tight control to ensure that all domestic capital was in the hands of the state. As for the agricultural sector, the Tenancy Law (1965) was passed, which facilitated land redistribution.

1988 to 1997: State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
Following the resurgence of democratisation in the 1980s, the government engaged in economic liberalisation. The financial sector benefited from this increased openness, as seen by the Foreign Investment Law (1988). This law allowed foreign companies to invest in local ventures. Furthermore, the Financial Institutions Law (1992) was passed to allow the establishment of private commercial banks.

As a result of economic liberalisation, Myanmar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 7.3% per year in the period of 1992 to 1997. Additionally, financial openness contributed to greater inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI), which approximated at US$2.8 billion at one point in time.

In summary, the strong government intervention was a common feature in Myanmar throughout the time period since independence to 1997.

What can we learn from this case study?
Consider the following question to understand this country-specific case study:
– Assess the role of the government in shaping the economic development of Myanmar after independence. [to be discussed in class]

Now that you have considered the strategies employed by the government in guiding economic development of Myanmar, it is important to apply this knowledge by writing A Level History essays. Alternatively, you can sign up for our JC History Tuition. We provide summary notes, essay outlines and source-based case study question answers for effective revision.

Furthermore, we conduct other related JC tuition classes, like GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we offer Secondary English TuitionSecondary Math tuitionSecondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to sign up now!