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The case for rentierism as a cause for underdevelopment in Malaysia: Tourism Planning from Mahathir to the present day

ASHCROFT, KATHRYN,ALEXA (2011) The case for rentierism as a cause for underdevelopment in Malaysia: Tourism Planning from Mahathir to the present day. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (PhD Thesis)


Classifying Malaysia as a rentier state is unusual but the label allows for new insight into the development state debate. Rentier states are considered to be developing states on the basis that their governments purchase the growth that improves wealth and quality of life at a cost to enterprise and citizens become accustomed to reward being unrelated to effort. Purchased growth (where governments create employment by investing in projects) creates challenges for true development (where an economy evolves and develops without continual governmental involvement) and recognising the breadth of this phenomenon is significant.

By looking at tourism planning in Malaysia, a case for rentierism being the cause of underdevelopment in Malaysia was made. Making particular reference to the Meetings, Incentives, Exhibitions and Conferences (MICE) aspect of the tourism market, the thesis demonstrates that Malaysia is not only a rentier state economy but that its tourism industry demonstrates purchased growth that is compatible with rentierism.

The main argument of the thesis is that the most significant component of what signifies a rentier state is a rentier state mentality. Four case studies of MICE tourism destinations are used to demonstrate attitudes that have emerged from a government policy of purchased growth. When the case for underdevelopment as emerging from rentierism is made, the rentier state mentality in Malaysia is used as evidence for the label and its application.

Tourism is a commonly proposed solution to the problem of underdevelopment but what this thesis demonstrates is that the way diversification of a rent-based economy is approached is more significant that what that economy diversifies into. Underdevelopment in Malaysia results from the tourism planning being based upon purchased growth not because tourism is an inappropriate industry for economic development in Malaysia.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 May 2012 12:56

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