Dependent development: a study of Thailand's economy within the world capitalist system : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University

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Massey University
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Since Thailand was engaged by the Bowring Treaty with the British Government in 1855 ( Phongpaichit & Baker, 1995:15), the country has been pulled into the circle of world capitalist development. Hewison (1989) has distinguished three phases in the capitalist development in Thailand. The first phase was in the period of the absolute monarchy when a capitalist class (the Royal family and aristocracy) emerged from trading with Chinese and European traders. The second phase allowed the emergence of a petty bourgeoisie and labour class, especially after the Second World War. The bourgeois class grew by the conglomeration between Thai and Chinese tycoons dominating the transaction sectors of banking, manufacturing, and agro-industry. The last phase began in the 1970s with the new generation of capitalist classes. These classes performed their economic activities in high technology and higher value-added manufacturing. At the same time, uneven development can be seen in the disparity between rich and poor, urban and rural area. This unevenness seems to be broader and more severe, from the statistics of Thailand's annual household income by region , between 1962-1995 (Medhi Krongkaew, cited in Rigg 1997:88), the scissor effect in the growth ratio between those m Bangkok and other regions is prevalent. In this thesis, the focus will be put on the latter of these phases, especially at the beginning of the 1960s - which has been known as the period of Cold War - in conjunction with the launch of the first national economic and social development plan in Thailand. This development will be reviewed until the regional economic crisis in 1997-1998 and some information of IMF assistance to Thailand will be drawn upon to assess the exemplification of the Thai economy as a dependent capitalist development. [First two paragraphs of chapter 1.]
Thailand, Economic conditions, Economic policy