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Localism in Tailand: a Study of Globalisation and its Discontents

Kevin Hewison

CSGR Working Paper No. 39/99

September 1999


Recent work has suggested that the discontent over perceived negative impacts arising from liberalisation and globalisation need to be more carefully considered. The critiques emanating from non-governmental organisations and social movements are considered to be amongst the most significant. This paper examines one example of such criticism – localism – that emerged during the economic crisis in Thailand. This example of localism is found to be an example of populist reaction to the changes and inequalities generated by capitalist industrialisation. The paper assesses this critique, its political strength and its potential to provide an alternative economic model for Thailand. While providing a useful moral argument regarding the impact of neoliberal globalisation, populist localism is unable to develop a sound alternative model.


Keywords: populism, non-governmental organisations, social movements, globalisation, self-reliance, Thailand.


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