Empowering Progress: Reformism and State-building in the Philippines

Lecture | April 26 | 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. | Dwinelle Hall, 341, DSSEAS Library, Level F/G

 David Timberman, Visiting Scholar, Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

 Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Filipino and Philippine Studies Working Group

The Philippines is typically characterized as a weak, even patrimonial, state dominated by powerful oligarchs and political families. By implication, the elite should be able to easily suppress reform and the state should be unwilling or incapable of carrying out reforms. Yet some efforts to achieve socioeconomic and governance reform have succeeded, at least partially. This presentation will examine the dynamics and outcomes of three extended efforts at social, economic and governance reform in the Philippines: 1) agrarian reform; 2) liberalization of the telecommunications sector; and 3) fiscal and budget reforms. In this guest lecture, theory and practice will be bridged in an examination of interlinked factors including the autonomy and capacity of the state, the limits on reform imposed by elite-dominated democracy, and the conditions and strategies that have enabled some reforms to succeed.

David Timberman is a political analyst and development practitioner with 30 years of experience analyzing and addressing political and governance challenges, principally in Southeast Asia. Currently he is a Visiting Scholar at Stanford's Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC), where he is working on a book on the contemporary Philippine political economy. He has written extensively on political and governance issues in the Philippines and has edited or co-edited multi-author volumes on the Philippines, Cambodia, and economic policy reform in Southeast Asia.

 cseas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3609