Governance of Economic Spatial Initiatives

Announcing: Ampornstira, Fuangfa and John Walsh, “Governance of Economic Spatial Initiatives,” International Review of Management and Development Studies, Vol.1, No.3 (2017), pp.1-5.

Abstract:  The current Thai regime has emphasized the importance of special economic zones (SEZs) in border regions as a means of promoting overall economic development. The use of SEZs in this way has become popular throughout most of East Asia, with even North Korea participates, if a little warily. Governments seem to be attracted to these forms of spatial
initiative because they are able to enforce different forms of law within them, customarily privileging capital over labor, as well as because the example of China shows what kind of growth can be achieved without yielding round on democratization and personal and political liberties. They are technocratic solutions that have the support of important transnational organizations such as the Asian Development Bank and, also, the Chinese government and its
many currently compliant corporations, which have been involved with the North-South and East-West Economic Corridors and the Asian Highway Network. At the level of implementation, the creation of these schemes requires enforced purchase of land and involuntary migration of previous residents, which has led to armed resistance to projects from Myanmar to India and beyond. This raises numerous questions about the appropriate means of governing such areas in ways that are equitable and accountable. This paper uses a case study approach to highlight various governance models from different parts of the world and seeks to identify success factors that may or may not be transferable elsewhere. No single model, it is argued, will be successfully applied in every case, although principles of transparency and proper public consultation would always be welcome. Some policy implications and recommendations are drawn from the analysis.

Keywords: development, governance, policy, spatial initiatives, special economic zones