12 March, 2006

mapping the gap

Curzon at Coming Anarchy is running a series of maps illustrating the gap countries, those are not within the globalized core. Not surprisingly, most of Asia is part of the globalized core while the Middle East and Africa are dominate the gap countries.

Curiously, by one measure, the highly globalized Singapore and Malaysia lie among the gap countries. Both states still retain anti-sodomy laws, although Malaysia is far more likely to enforce them.

In a 2000 speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Robert D. Kaplan said that in evaluating a developing nation’s government, we should focus not on elections but freedoms. Hasty elections in impoverished nations often results in anti-democratic totalitarians taking power, whether it be Germany in the 1930s or Algeria in the 1990s. He listed China as one example of an authoritarian state that is liberalizing in a good way. “It may not be a democracy, but it’s got a predictable tax system, gay and unmarried couples can live together, and so on.” He’s right—China repealed its sodomy laws in the early 1990s.

Antigay Laws Map

Tolerance of homosexuality is a side effect of modernization. England repealed anti-homosexual laws in 1967; France in 1982; Germany in 1994; and in the United States, 46 out of 50 states repealed anti-homosexual conduct laws and 36 repealed sodomy laws before the remaining were invalidated by the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas.

What countries still have laws outlawing homosexual conduct? It turns out those countries are almost the same thing as Barnett’s gap.

Curiously, the map on war risk insurance premiums also puts Southeast Asia amid the gap (though this is almost entirely due to piracy risk around Indonesian waters).

For more details see Curzon’s prelude.

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by @ 3:47 pm. Filed under Culture, Singapore, Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

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