Political Economy of Southeast Asian Borderlands: Migration, Environment, and Developing Country Firms

Smith, Mark J. and Pangsapa, Piya (2008). Political Economy of Southeast Asian Borderlands: Migration, Environment, and Developing Country Firms. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38(4) pp. 485–514.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00472330802309369

Abstract

Borderland zones in Southeast Asia have become sites of increased economic investment for developing country firms, intra-regional and transnational corporations. As a result of deregulation, these investment opportunities have led to the exploitation of natural and human resources in an unsustainable and unjust way. This article argues that the flows of people and natural resources across borders are connected intimately and that this has been facilitated politically by the acceptance of the porosity of territorial boundaries by all governments in the region and the imperative to export environmentally degrading development projects into neighbouring countries where political mobilisation on environmental issues is much less effective. Conveyed through a series of cases studies (on resource extraction, dam and reservoir construction, and working conditions in apparel companies), this article explores how developing country companies comply with the codes of conduct on corporate responsibility on human rights, labour standards and environmental sustainability) within the context of the governance of the global supply chain.

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