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Whither the Patrimonial State in the Age of Globalization?

Keywords: Patrimonial State , Globalization , neopatrimonial systems , Philippines , Indonesia

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Despite Max Weber’s prediction that rational-legal bureaucracies would replace patrimonialism, we have instead seen the perpetuation of neopatrimonial systems in many developing states. For the postcolonial states that are struggling with the dual challenges of promoting economic growth and establishing stable democratic polities, the perpetuation of patrimonialism adds to their challenges. This paper has explored whether globalization could enable patrimonial states like the Philippines and Indonesia to overcome these patrimonial barriers. Unfortunately, despite the changes represented by globalization, it appears to be “business as usual” with the patrimonial officials using the state apparatus to promote their own interests and those of their cronies. Similarly, globalization seems to be promoting capitalism more than democracy, and is not strengthening the institutions essential for democratic consolidation.


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