Cranes among Chickens: Chinese Investment in Mainland Southeast Asia

Announcing: Walsh, John, “Cranes among Chickens: Chinese Investment in Mainland Southeast Asia,” International Review of Management and Development Studies, Vol.1, No.4 (June, 2017), pp.1-12, available at:

Abstract: : Resentment is reported to be growing in various parts of mainland Southeast Asia as Chinese capital remakes the business and physical environment. Contract workers involved with building physical infrastructure remain in Laos and Myanmar to establish their own businesses and plans for new and large-scale communities appear to threaten the societal status quo. Large-scale Chinese organizations construct large projects which will direct resources derived from outside the area directly to China, with the intervening territory simply unwanted land to be abridged as quickly as possible. As infrastructure is built, local entrepreneurial businesses are rendered redundant as new opportunities emerge for those merchants who can mobilize economies of scope and scale and who tend to arrive from another place. There are few areas in which local consumers or economic actors can feel a connection with the products of Chinese investment and so no sense of brand or organizational loyalty. Conflict is reported in
Vietnam and suppression of news from northern Laos hides other potential flashpoints from view. There is an important role for the Chinese state and the organizations that help enact its policies in mainland Southeast Asia to identify potential sources of conflict and take necessary steps to ensure harmonious relations.
Key words: Chinese capital, Infrastructure, emerging economy, suppression, South Asia


Fostering Ties through Trains and Tracks: A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of Chinese-Thai Relations


Ngamsang, Sirirat and John Walsh, “Fostering Ties through Trains and Tracks: A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of Chinese-Thai Relations,” paper to be presented at the International Conference on Commerce, Financial Markets and Corporate Governance/2nd International Conference on Research Methods in Management and Social Sciences (Shinawatra University, Thailand: February 7th, 2015).


The relationship between China and Thailand has been a long and complex one and featured interactions on many different levels. Currently, ties at the state level are being intensified by the contracts signed to bring about Chinese-built infrastructure in Thailand, particularly in the case of the dual track railway line. One approach to understanding international relations is the neo-Gramscian approach, which focuses on the concept of hegemony within society and how it might be constructed on a world stage. Neo-Gramscian approaches are diverse in nature and cover the social relations of production, forms of state and world orders. This paper outlines the historical context of Sino-Thai relations and how they have developed into the contemporary experience from a neo-Gramscian perspective as a means not just of understanding the world but predicting how it is likely to change in the future. The focus is on infrastructure as an enabling technology that is available to a wide range of people and helps to link all places of production and consumption. As such, it both broadens and deepens connectivity between and within the countries concerned with many results.

Keywords: China, infrastructure, neo-Gramscian analysis, Thailand, transportation

The Rising Importance of Chinese Labour in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region


I have received an invitation to include my paper “The Rising Importance of Chinese Labour in the
Greater Mekong Sub-Region,” first published at Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus in one of the new course readers (, which I am very happy to accept. Here is how it begins:

Migration is, fundamentally, a response to the uneven distribution of resources around the world or the variability of the environment, however broadly defined. [1] People move from one place to another place to take advantage of a better climate, possible access to better quality agricultural land, better-paying or more numerous jobs, freedom from oppression or discrimination and so forth. The phenomenon has dimensions such as degree of permanency and degree of voluntarism. In reality, it comprises a large number of categories and sub-categories and, as in the case of many of those Chinese people considered in this paper, people can pass through several categories as the result of changes in their own status and in that of the broader political context.

(The rest is here:


Review of Ho-fung Hung (ed.)’s China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism


In 2006, when the panel at the American Sociological Association that eventually gave rise to this volume took place, the world and China’s place within it seemed a slightly different place than it is today. Now, as most of the developed world pursues a largely-self inflicted crisis of austerity following the crisis of under-regulation, China’s forward progress towards a high-level of economic development seems less certain and the social stresses of transformation and increasing labour market agitation and protest threaten the stability and rule of the Communist Party.

Read the full review here.