Tag Archive for Thong Nai Pan

Debt, Tourism and Land Values

When globalization first became a word that the media bandied about in the late 1980s, many people were suspicious of the concept. Workers in North America and Europe rightly perceived that their jobs were under threat. Big corporations could save billions by moving operations to developing nations and paying $1 an hour for labor instead of $10.

Now in 2012, people just accept globalization as a part of life. The conscience of many is assuaged by buying Fair Trade and environmentally friendly products. We are told that M&S and the like go out of their way to bring extra benefits to their poorly remunerated workers.

The mechanics of globalization and the injustice it represents has become far more sophisticated and opaque over the years. Take the example of tourism. It now accounts for 30% of the export of world services.

Before places like Thong Nai Pan in Koh Phangan were a beautiful places mostly visited by backpackers. Local people and other Thais could afford to set up small businesses on the beach. They could take out small loans to pay for rent and business start up.

As outside interests realized the true value of the beaches in the area, especially Thong Nai Pan Noi they simply approached the major landlords and made them offers they couldn’t refuse. The result is a luxury tourist enclave. The small local businesses are losing custom and being pushed out the best spots. Because they couldn’t afford to buy the land there is nothing they can do about it. Those remaining are being squeezed by raising rental prices. Besides which the new tourists are being encouraged to stay around the resort pool and spend their money in the hotel.

Google is pushing out websites like www.thongnaipan.info that attempt to promote the small businesses in the area. They are colluding with the neo-imperialist agenda of globalization. Trip Advisor, Wikitravel etc. are filler for corporate sites selling expensive hotel rooms. The information highway is not helping small businesses. The net is dominated by reviews of hotels and expensive restaurants. It is not a level playing field. In many ways it is emulating the conditions created by the IMF and World Bank.

In 2008 we witnessed the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the world from poor to rich. In 2012 we are witnessing the biggest hijack of the net by corporate run entities. The future is bleak and consumers are persuaded to ignore these salient points.