DSA2016: Politics in Development
Transnational investment is transforming territories of development with profound consequences for cities and regions. The session examines emergent patterns of territorial transformation; city-based networks; expansion of formalised land markets and their socio-ecological impacts and resistances.
With the decline of traditional overseas development aid, the diversification of transnational investment flows - including the rise of South-South and even South-North investment schemes - is profoundly transforming territories into extensive and complex city-based networks of economic integration. In this session we are interested in these emergent territorial configurations and their socio-ecological impacts at the urban and regional scales. Furthermore, the session will examine the forms of resistance and political organizing that they provoke as well as the built-in exclusionary tendencies of the expansion of formalised land markets. We seek contributions that will address the following globally-oriented and area-specific topics:
• The new political economy of global infrastructure investment.
• Interplays of local, regional and global sources of investment capital.
• Emerging flows of expertise-transfer and travelling territorial development policies.
• The massive Industrial Corridor as a regional development strategy.
• The new roles of cities within regional networks and associated patterns of economic and socio-ecological inequality.
• The conditions of small- and mid-sized cities
• Emerging forms of resistance and territorial planning from below.
• Chinese investments in infrastructure networks and cities throughout the Global South.
• Infrastructure integration and land acquisition in India.
• The internationalization of Brazilian capitalism and its implications for South American infrastructure integration.
• Functional territorial integration and geopolitical conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.
• The repositioning of traditional donors from the global North.
Neoliberal territorial design in South America since IIRSA
A case study of how multi-level governance shapes extensive infrastructure networks,
which in turn condition patterns of territorial development. The design of cross-border
roadways and energy infrastructure in South America has responded to the imperative of world-market
access since the 1990s.
The territorial integration of South American countries beyond national boundaries constitutes a long-standing goal for the region. This case study assesses progress made since the unprecedented implementation of the decade-long IIRSA (Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure of South America) in the year 2000. The study shows that under the leadership of Brazil, the design of cross-border roadways and energy infrastructure since IIRSA has responded to the imperative of world-market access and bi-coastal surface integration privileging existing metropolitan cores and the connectivity of oceanic ports over the development and integration of hinterland regions. The IIRSA experience may have been predicated on a complex arrangement of public and private interests and geopolitical conjunctures that no longer hold ground, particularly amid the legitimacy crisis of the Brazilian state and its main corporate partners. Yet in this presentation I will argue that the neoliberal territorial design built into IIRSA is maintained in the current infrastructure plans laid out for the region by multiple endogenous and exogenous actors. The presentation will conclude with a broader reflection on the design and production of extensive territories of economic integration in the global South and the role that infrastructure networks play in these.
Remittances as tool for rural development in Kerala?
South to South migration is important for Kerala, and promoted by government programmes. The paper explores the impacts of migration beyond mere economic aspects; it finds that remittances indeed promote investments in rural areas but might lead to environmental degradation and food insecurity in the future.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the various impacts of South to South migration and remittances on farm households in Kerala, India. Supported by government training programmes, migration is of outstanding importance for Kerala, where the majority of migrants leave for Gulf countries and the remittances from those countries account for about 20% of the State’s domestic product (Zachariah and Irudaya Rajan, 2012).
Against this background, the following research question is addressed: How do remittances impact rural farm households? Malappuram district has been chosen as case study because of its high share of migrants and its high amount of remittances transferred from international migrants. Survey data was collected among 400 rural households during 2010 and 2011. Data is analysed by means of descriptive statistics and logistic binary regression.
Our analysis finds that remittances indeed relieve farm households credit constraints and facilitate investments, in line with the tenets of the Economics of Labour Migration (NELM) and previous empirical research. However, remittances might even increase the farmers’ socio-economic vulnerability in the long term by exposing them to risks of world market price variability as well as to environmental degradation due to mono cropping and its impact on water provision. Further, the change from food to non-food cultivation has severe implications for the regional capacity of food production and hence food security. In conclusion, this research points to the indispensable need of including effects of migration on food security and the ecology into the overall account.
South-South infrastructure investment and the emergence of genomic development
This paper shows how South-South investment in infrastructure linking regions with global production/trade networks can profoundly transform territory. I focus on a Chinese and Omani funded port project in Bagamoyo, Tanzania.
Scholars have focused on investment from North to South in the context of the 'new international division of labour,' but capital for infrastructure projects in Southern cities and regions increasingly originates from elsewhere in the global South. This paper shows how South-South investment in infrastructure linking regions with global production/trade networks can profoundly transform territory. I focus on a Chinese and Omani funded port project in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. This project will (re)orient the region into East Asia-centric production networks, and it includes the comprehensive development of residential, port and production facilities. I argue that this represents an emergent development strategy because unlike many SEZs which are constructed as a means of attracting investment, the initial capital for infrastructure development is provided by foreign investors. Rather than invest in infrastructure that may make the region an appealing to foreign investors, Tanzanian policy makers are leveraging Chinese investment for the construction of infrastructure and the region's role in the global economy is clearly defined. I refer to this as genomic development because it is premised on securing foreign investment that integrates cities/regions into the DNA of global production networks. I outline this strategy and then I explore how the rapid integration of Bagamoyo into the global economy has impacted life for urban residents.
The causes of regional development disparities: differences between developed and developing countries
The paper explores the causes of regional development disparities. Theories based on oligopolistic competition developed for advanced capitalist countries are adapted to the case of developing countries. The policy and political implications of these disparities are sketched out.
Virtually any country in the world has regional disparities in development. Stuart Holland and Françoix Perroux have presented compelling arguments that, at least in advanced capitalist countries, these stem primarily from oligopolistic competition. The first part of the paper elaborates on this process, primarily using the UK as an example, though references are made to other countries as well. In particular, I explain how the dominant position of a few large firms benefits those regions in which their operations are located, but prevents other regions from achieving a high level of development. Instead, it makes them dependent on transfers from the richer regions, usually through the central government budget.
In the second part of the paper, I try to adapt this analysis to less developed countries. A distinction has to be made between those developing countries that do have some domestic large advanced firms, and those that do not. While in the former group, the reason for regional disparities in development is at least partially the same as in advanced capitalist countries, in the latter, the disparities probably have more to do with the location of public employment and foreign investment.
A sketch is given of the policy and political implications of regional disparities and their causes. The political implications are particularly worth noting, as these disparities can potentially cause or contribute to various conflicts, and even separatism.