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    Southeast Asia
     Feb 6, '14


Thai protests and the world economy
By Layne Hartsell

The countries of Southeast Asia are planning to integrate their region in 2015. Meanwhile, in the dynamic city of Bangkok, the government of Thailand seems to be heading in the opposite direction, as recent protests have entered a "shut down" phase.

This was the political atmosphere when I recently visited Bangkok to attend a conference on the ethics of food. At that time, street demonstrations were forming after weeks of smaller actions


around ministries in this leading Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) city of 10 million citizens. Reports began to come across my tablet, as I sat pondering the role of agriculture in Thailand and ASEAN during the conference

At first I did not connect the protests with the topic of the conference. The protestors seemed to be engaged in a struggle with the government over how the Thai people operate their political system. But Thailand is a major food exporter, and agriculture is a mainstay of the economy. As such, Thai farmers play a key role in the country's governance. Moreover, both agriculture and governance are central features of the regional integration of ASEAN. More ...

Layne Hartsell is a fellow at the P2P Foundation (Amsterdam) in the philosophy of technology and global justice. He is also a fellow at The Asia Institute (Seoul) in the Technology Convergence and 3E Program (Energy, Economy, and Environment) with Tsukuba University, Japan. He acts as an advisor to Living Bridges Planet (Stockholm) and works on the education of girls and women in science. He is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

(Copyright 2014 Foreign Policy In Focus.)




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