From Managed to Free(r) Markets: Transnational and Regional Governance of Asian Timber

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On the basis of research conducted in Indonesia, the author investigates a key transition in the production of timber for export. The analysis is based on a rich literature focusing on commodity chains. In addition to economic factors, the author gives attention to structures of governance, including the formation and dissolution of political alliances and coalitions. From the late 1980s through 1998, Indonesian plywood producers consolidated power in a state-supported domestic oligopoly, forged a transnational alliance that circumvented the power of Japanese trading houses, and supported domestic accumulation. The Asian crisis of 1997 to 1998 and structural adjustments imposed by the International Monetary Fund radically transformed Indonesia's options, diminishing its capacity to compete, as China emerged as a major producer of woodrelated products. The Indonesian case may well illustrate processes of market remarginalization resulting from the implementation of neoliberal policies.

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