This book is about how the design of institutional change results in unintended consequences. Many post-authoritarian societies have adopted decentralization—effectively localizing power—as part and parcel of democratization, but also in their efforts to entrench "good governance." Vedi Hadiz shifts the attention to the accompanying tensions and contradictions that define the terms under which the localization of power actually takes place. In the process, he develops a compelling analysis that ties social and institutional change to the outcomes of social conflict in local arenas of power.Using the case of Indonesia, and comparing it with Thailand and the Philippines, Hadiz seeks to understand the seeming puzzle of how local predatory systems of power remain resilient in the face of international and domestic pressures. Forcefully persuasive and characteristically passionate, Hadiz challenges readers while arguing convincingly that local power and politics still matter greatly in our globalized world.