You are here: Home Knowledge Base Consensus-Building in Transformation Processes
Symposium 2014

Consensus-Building in Transformation Processes

The Challenge

Deciding on development strategies requires an agreement between major political actors on the goals of transformation and the priorities necessary to achieve these goals. This serves to avoid continuous friction, deadlock or even polarization, which could undermine economic and social development. Different approaches exist to advance such an agreement – the widening of popular participation, the reliance upon elite consensus, the corporatist networking of major actors, or the umbrella function of a ruling party Following the 13 May 1969 incident, Malaysia’s decision-makers formed a national consensus on development strategy which specifically addresses income disparities along racial lines. The success of this model has sparked debates in other parts of the globe: Some decision-makers in South and East African countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda look favorably toward the rapidly growing “Asian Tiger” economies as a potential best practice model, since its integrationist governance under a political system with some participation is regarded as exemplary for a relatively stable and focused modernization process.

Focusing on sustainable governance in multiethnic societies, the session will address the following questions: What determines the quality of political participation? Which effect do redistributional politics have on the long-term development path of a given country? Which governance strategies were conducive to the success of the Malaysian development model? Which lessons can be drawn from the Malaysian experience for governance in other ethnically diverse low and middle income countries located in South and East Africa and beyond?

This session is organized in cooperation with Bertelsmann Stiftung.

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2014

    Consensus-Building in Transformation Processes

    Deciding upon strategies of development requires an agreement between major political actors on the goals of transformation and the priorities which are set to achieve these goals. This serves to avoi ...

    Deciding upon strategies of development requires an agreement between major political actors on the goals of transformation and the priorities which are set to achieve these goals. This serves to avoid continuous friction, deadlock or even polarization, which could undermine economic and social development. Different approaches exist to advance such an agreement – the widening of popular participation, the reliance upon elite consensus, the corporatist networking of major actors or the umbrella function of a ruling party. Since the 1969 crisis Malaysia’s decision-makers have formed a national consensus on a development strategy which specifically addresses income disparities along racial lines. The success of this model has sparked debates in other parts of the globe: Some decision-makers in South and East African countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe look favorably to the rapidly growing “Asian Tiger” economy, whose integrationist governance under a political system with some participation is regarded as exemplary for a relatively stable and focused modernization process.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society