Culture and Privilege in Capitalist Asia (The New Rich in by M. Pinches

By M. Pinches

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Extra info for Culture and Privilege in Capitalist Asia (The New Rich in Asia Series)

Sample text

There is an interesting contrast here. As producers of wealth, Asia’s new rich are most often represented as the West’s Oriental Other; as consumers of wealth it is as if there was virtually no distinction, and that what there is, is rapidly diminishing. 33 The consumer stereotype of Asia’s new rich reflects a more general commentary on the nature of globalisation, concerned with the international movement of consumer goods, and the projection of advertising and lifestyle images through a mass media that has become more and more freeranging (Featherstone 1991; Barnet and Cavanagh 1995; Young, Lakha).

Through these processes, and the increasing CULTURAL RELATIONS AND THE NEW RICH 15 movement of capital and labour between different countries, the region’s national economies have become increasingly entwined and unequal. Because of its largely state-based and corporate character, economic growth in most of Asia is not easily attributable to the ideal personage of neo-classical economics: the free-wheeling, individual capitalist entrepreneur. Though the ideology surrounding this character prevails in some quarters, it has generally been subordinated to culturalist or ethno-nationalist ideologies, usually associated with the state.

What remains unclear is whether, or to what extent, others among Singapore’s new rich and, indeed, among ethnic Chinese new-rich capitalists and professionals elsewhere in Asia constitute themselves in this way. Undoubtedly the politicians and intellectuals responsible for the Confucianist and ethnic Chinese argument have exerted a significant influence on the self-perception of many newly rich in Asia: both through the mass media and formal education, most notably through business colleges, such as Manila’s Asian Institute of Management, and a number of similar institutions in the West.

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