Thursday, October 18, 2007

Satanic Mills or Silicon Islands?

Trawling the internet...I stumble across Satanic Mills or Silicon Islands: The Politics of High-Tech Production in the Philippines.

Please find an excerpt chapter here.

Thankfully, this books is locally available in the Ateneo Press.

From a book review by Jane Hutchison:

McKay starts with a detailed account of the history and structure of the electronics industry in the Philippines. In essence, the industry was established in the early 1970s, but did not take off as the leading source of national exports until the mid-1990s, after there was a significant change in state investment policies on the ownership and operation of export processing zones (EPZs).

World Bank reports have commented very favourably on the technical sophistication of Philippine exports due to the expansion of the electronics industry; however, McKay cover§ the negatives as well - the high concentration in semiconductor assembly and testing phases, a lack of forward and backward industrial linkages and the resultant, strong dependence on imports of inputs.

As local value-added is overwhelmingly labour-based, it is not a surprise that multinational firms are attracted to the Philippines by the quality of its English-speaking workforce. But in addition to these national attributes, McKay stresses the significance ofthe emergence ofa new generation of smaller, privatised EPZs as "stateof-the-art" enclaves for electronics investment. He argues these mark a new era in the political economy of industrial development ih the country because they entail a shift to a "regulatory" state form which is characterised by interventions to shield corporate interests from social and political forces.

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