Good Government

Nordic and East Asian Perspectives

by Geir Helgesen & Uichol Kim

  • Published:
  • Pages: 66 pp.
  • illustrated
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

What is 'good government'? Is it transparent, responsive, small and unobtrusive, or on the contrary, big and active? And is 'good government' the same everywhere, or do regional differences of opinion have to be acknowledged? This short study aims to answer some of these questions by presenting the opinions of 7,127 respondents from China, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Korea and Sweden.

What is 'good government'? Is it transparent, responsive, small and unobtrusive, or on the contrary, big and active? And is 'good government' the same everywhere, or do regional differences of opinion have to be acknowledged? This short study aims to answer some of these questions by presenting the opinions of 7,127 respondents from China, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Korea and Sweden.

Surprising results were revealed: within the global political context, the political cultures of East Asia and the Nordic countries have common traits regarding people's expectations of their governments. Unexpectedly, popular control of government is not alien to East Asian political opinion; even more surprisingly is, however, the fact that the moral, paternalistic leadership style so widely accepted in East Asia attracts a positive response in the Nordic countries as well.

This volume offers a first glimpse of a comprehensive comparative study conducted by the Eurasia Political Culture Research Network (EPCReN) in 1999-2000. This is a pioneer study that aims to spear-head comparative social science research springing from the growing mutual interest between Asia and Europe.

author image not supplied

Geir Helgesen, cultural sociologist and Director of NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, is a long time Korea observer who has travelled extensively in both parts of Korea, organized track two dialogues between North Korea and the Nordic countries, and maintains a global network of colleagues.

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