Thailand. Mooza Al-Suwaidi & Noor Al-Thani. Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand, Officially “The Kingdom of Thailand” Formerly “Siam” Capital: Bangkok Located at the center of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia Bordered by Burma, Laos, the Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia, and the Andaman Sea
Thailand Mooza Al-Suwaidi & Noor Al-Thani
Kingdom of Thailand • Thailand, Officially “The Kingdom of Thailand” • Formerly “Siam” • Capital: Bangkok • Located at the center of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia • Bordered by Burma, Laos, the Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia, and the Andaman Sea • World's 51st largest country
Gradual Evolution of Thai Politics Starting Point: Monarchy Moved to: Western style Democracy Currently: A Constitutional Democratic Monarchy
Thai Society • Thai Societal Structure • Hierarchical society • Notion of “Karma” • Social position and age • Family Structure • In Thailand, there is a much stronger focus on the familial structure than there is in western culture • Patriarch-driven households • Notion of “loyalty” (KoChang, 2014, 1)
Thai Economy • Newly industrialized nation • Heavily dependent upon exports • More than 2/3 of GDP is export-dependent • Industrial and Service Sectors • “One of the Great Developmental Success Stories” (World Bank, 2013, 1). • Economic Income: • Agriculture • Agriculture has helped fund industrialization • Forestry • Timber production • Fishing • Energy • Industry • Tourism
Tourism • The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was THB825.6bn (7.3% of total GDP) in 2012 • Tourism directly supported 2,020,000 jobs (5.2% of total employment) • Tourism investment in 2012 was THB227.5bn, or 6.8% of total investment and is expected to rise
Current Economic Issues • “State of Stasis” • Slowing economy in recent months • The well of Thailand's economy has not run dry,it is nearly saturated with employment opportunities:Shortage of skilled labor • Inability to spend public funds without political connections • Government is working to use political power to aid the economy rather than connected firms and business leaders • (Economist, 2014, 1) • Protests threaten to derail Thai economy • Politics shape economics
Current Economic Issues Continued … • Political demonstrators keep tourists away • 2013 tourism down 15% • November 2013 • Foreign investors withdrew $3.7 billion from Thailand
Current Political Issues • “Thai Political Crisis of 2013-2014” • Anti-government protests have been ongoing in Thailand since November 2013, largely aimed at removing the influence of former prime minister ThaksinShinawatra from Thai politics. • The protests were triggered by a proposed amnesty bill that would have pardoned participants in various unrest incidents in Thailand since 2004. • These protests have accounted for high numbers of arrests, injuries and even several deaths as well as Thai currency, the baht, dropping to a three-year low in the wake of political unrest • (Bangkok Post, 2013, 1)
Current Political Issues Continued • Political instability has been a recurring factor in Thailand's development • Large majorities of the Thai population have rallied against the government and past political influences in recent years • The election of YingluckShinawatra, the nation's first female prime minister in 2011 was seen as the means to new successes in terms of politics and economics in Thailand • Shinawatrawas forced to deal with pre-existing problems and conditions that she could not deal with fully • Shinawatrawas voted out of office in 2014 • Conflict between old and new ideals (LaRocco, 2013, 1)
Proposed Policy Implications and Challenges • Thailand has pursued many policies over the years that absorbed considerable public funds only to produced questionable outcomes • Such policies included: • subsidies to consumers for fuel and to farmers for rice production • tax breaks for first-time purchases of cars • a debt moratorium for borrowers from state-owned banks.
Example of a deficient policy • The most controversial policy is the rice-pledging program, which started in October 2011 • Its aim was to increase rural incomes. • Where under this plan, the government tapped funding from a state-owned bank to buy rice from farmers at 40% - 50% above the market price. • In doing so, the government was hoping to sell a large proportion of the rise at a rising world market.
Breaking News • Military coup • Change of government will follow • Change in policy direction is needed • Very unstable at the moment • Decreases in Foreign investment and tourism until stability returns