Globalisation in recent years has come to play an increasing significance in analyses concerning the state and political economy. However, many debates have revolved around a theme whereby increasing globalisation inevitably leads to decreases in the role of the nationstate. This article examines two countries' experiences of globalisation and the attempts by state leaderships to produce globally integrated sectors. The article identifies the historical contexts to changes within the capitalist world economy of the Cold War and the patterns of development associated with such processes in Costa Rica and Thailand. By locating the analysis within a comparative perspective the article comments on the role of authoritarianism as a factor in the implementation of neo-liberal agendas.