Pathways to Sustainable Growth
Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatul Islam
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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