This introductory chapter sets out the rationale for the book, the existing literature, the intended contribution of the book, the methodology, and analytical approach taken in the book and the structure of the book. The chapter introduces the ‘developer’s dilemma’ at the core of the book. Specifically, how are developing countries to address the tension between economic development and structural change, putting upward pressure on income inequality and the need for inclusive growth to provide social stability to capital accumulation, which requires steady or even falling income inequality to spread the benefits of economic growth more broadly. It is argued that South East Asia is a region of interest for understanding the developer’s dilemma as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand achieved structural change with more or less steady inequality up to a point.
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