American University
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Protected integration: The Bataan export processing zone and the development of the Philippine export processing zone strategy

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posted on 2023-09-06, 03:00 authored by Meliton Bellosillo Salazar, Jr.

The Philippine export processing zones represent the neoliberal character of the country's policies. They are a component and a microcosm of a strategy that deepens linkages with the global economy. The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze neoliberal development through this instance of neoliberalism. It proposes a framework, the neoliberal double movement, an adaptation of Polanyi's double movement. To this end, it charts the changes in Philippine EPZ policy and the impacts of the Bataan zone from their inception to 1995. Data was gathered during field research in Manila and Bataan from 1995 to 1999. Research consisted of documentary research, zone visits, and more than 30 interviews. Interviewees included former cabinet secretaries and labor union presidents. A survey of more than 100 zone workers was also conducted. Based on the findings, the Bataan EPZ indeed augmented the country's employment, foreign exchange earnings, and investments. However, global integration also required people to adapt. As material relations were reconfigured, those brought into the global market's sphere developed new forms of survival. Amidst these upheavals, the zone workers' reactions were intense and widespread. However, they were not apparently challenging the strategy. Rather, they were seeking to maximize their benefits from the system. There was tolerance of the zone and their dependence on it, and thus, of their subordination to global capital. The state's response was directed toward managing the workforce rather than addressing damaging consequences. Its primary motivation was not protection but the preservation of the program. Therefore, the analysis necessitates a reformulation of the framework. Within the revision, the state continues to play its predominant role, but the expansion of the global market economy is not constrained by a countermovement. Instead, the state is guided by a single movement, integration. However, it is neither the only actor nor the actor with the most at stake. Those whose lives are offered to the global production lines are also stakeholders. As much as neoliberal development has reshaped their conditions, they are also seeking ways to remake their new realities and squeeze out more for themselves from this neoliberal world.







Ph.D. American University 2000.


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