Beyond the Asian Crisis
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Beyond the Asian Crisis

Pathways to Sustainable Growth

Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatul Islam

As Southeast and Northeast Asia recover from the Asian crisis and return to a state of growth, the authors of this book assess the lessons to be learned from the crisis to achieve sustainable development in the future. While the importance of each factor contributing to the crisis varies from country to country, their collective experience has created unprecedented turmoil in current thinking on development policy.
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Chapter 5: Beyond Thailand's crisis: impact and implications

Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker


5. Beyond Thailand’s crisis: impact and implications Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker1 INTRODUCTION Thailand was the fastest-growing economy through the Asian boom of the early 1990s, and the starting point for the subsequent crisis. Yet, ironically, while Thailand was at the centre of Asia’s economic rise and fall, it was not at all typical of it. None of the variants of an Asian model fit Thailand at all well. It does not have a strong state. It never had anything which could be dignified as industrial policy. It did not participate at all in the debate on Asian values. Relationships between rulers and businessmen have little in common with either the Korean or Indonesian versions stigmatized as crony capitalism. Regional studies of Asian success and international analyses of the crisis have often skipped deftly past Thailand because it will not fit easily into the general theory. The objective of this chapter is to suggest some key trends in the Thai political economy in the exit from the crisis. However, this is preceded by two introductory sections. The first sketches key features of the Thai political economy during its era of rapid growth in order to clarify the differences from an Asian model and to provide a baseline for the subsequent account. The second summarizes the major changes wrought by the crisis, to the extent that they can be perceived in early 2000. We argue that the crisis has had a dramatic impact on the Thai political economy. It...

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