Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific
Edited by Matthew Tonts and M. A.B. Siddique
J.N. Callow and Julian Clifton INTRODUCTION An analysis of the processes and impacts of an increasingly globalised economy with regard to agriculture, development and environment in the Asia-Pacific is inevitably complicated by numerous factors, including the varied history, politics, societies and cultures of the region’s states, their often unique environmental conditions and the vastly differing socioeconomic circumstances which affect populations and ethnic minorities within each country. Consequently, the study of the environmental impacts of globalisation in the context of agriculture, also referred to variously as ‘agro-industrialisation’ or ‘agro-industrial modernisation’ (Reardon and Barrett 2000), in this region is often undertaken through a case study approach (Burch et al. 1996). Reflecting the spatial complexity and different experiences of globalisation within the Asia-Pacific, this chapter will seek to provide a broad overview and introduction to relevant themes, with reference being made to more detailed readings wherever appropriate. Any discussion of globalisation raises questions over definition, interpretation and subjectivity with regard to an individual’s perception of such a complex and contested term. Bearing in mind the focus of this text, we describe globalisation from an economic viewpoint, referring to its association with ‘internationalisation’, defined here as the ‘large and growing flows of trade and capital investment between countries’ (Hirst and Thompson 1996, p. 48); and ‘liberalisation’, or the removal of government-imposed restrictions on trade to create an open world economy. Together with technological advances, particularly in relation to biotechnology, the globalisation of agriculture describes processes of integration linking suppliers and consumers within the agricultural...