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Economic History 1850 - 1950. Economic History 1850 - 1950. References James Ingram: Economic Change in Thailand during1850- 1970, Chs. 2-6 Chris Dixon: The Thai Economy: Uneven Development and Internationalisation, Ch. 2. Economic History 1850 - 1950.

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economic history 1850 19501
Economic History 1850 - 1950

References

  • James Ingram: Economic Change in Thailand during1850- 1970, Chs. 2-6
  • Chris Dixon: The Thai Economy: Uneven Development and Internationalisation, Ch. 2
economic history 1850 19502
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Why1850? The Bowring Treaty, forced on Siam by Britain, during King Mongkut reign:
    • saved the Kingdom from being colonized
    • and its great impact through open trade with the West
economic history 1850 19503
Siam in 1850: Agricultural with rice as a dominant crop, and sugar, cotton, pepper, fruits , vegetables

Small industries, mainly handicraft (textiles & utensils)

Economic History 1850 - 1950

4

economic history 1850 19504
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Most were self-sufficient in food and clothing; some artisans for the rich
  • Teak and tin by Chinese operators
  • Siam in 1850 mainly traded with neighbors and China
  • Exports of primary products (rice, sugar, tin), and imports of manufactured products (textiles, gold, silver)
economic history 1850 19505
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Large fluctuations of rice exports, depending on policy and local production
  • Foreign trade was still small in the economy
  • Royal monopoly in foreign trade, imposed high trade taxes
  • Some monopolies sold to Chinese with special privileges
economic history 1850 19506
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • The Bowring Treaty in 1855
    • 3% trade taxes  free trade
    • Legal opium trade
    • Most-favored-nation status
    • extraterritoriality (British subjects tried in consular courts)
  • Later, similar treaties with other Westerners
economic history 1850 19507
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Very rapid expansion in rice production and export and others (tin, teak, rubber)
  • Change from self sufficiency to specialization in few products
economic history 1850 19508
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Rice: 80% of population as rice farmers, 60% of total exports
  • Rice production expanded first in Central, then North and Northeast (railways & end of slavery)
  • Canals for irrigation and transport
  • Government exempted land tax
economic history 1850 19509
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Thais preferred farming, leaving other “middlemen” functions to Chinese traders and millers
  • Supply of farming labor: population growth and slavery abolition (King Rama 5); Chinese labor outside agriculture
economic history 1850 195010
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Other exports: tin, rubber and teak
  • All stages of production and trade were in foreign hands:
    • Tin: European and Chinese capital + Chinese labor
    • Teak: European and Chinese mills + Chinese labor
    • Rubber: Chinese and Thai small growers + Chinese traders
economic history 1850 195011
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Imports of textiles since Ayutthaya
  • Hand-made local textiles (cotton and silk) being replaced by cheaper imports under free trade
  • Local textile manufacture declined, but later boosted by import tariffs and shortage during WW II
economic history 1850 195012
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • No large-scale textiles industry due to low tariff, small Thai market, lack of capital, enterpreneurs, and skilled labor
  • A few cotton textile factories by the army and Chinese investors
economic history 1850 195013
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Sugar export increased after the Treaty, but declined later due to heavy taxes on production and low world prices of sugar
  • Imported sugar from Indonesia and Philippines from 1880 to 1950
  • Some sugar production in government-owned mills, but no export prospect in 1950
economic history 1850 195014
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Other imports : “consumption goods”, some luxuries for the rich and some essentials (kerosene, canned milk)
  • Increasing share of capital goods import for industries and infrastructure construction
  • Total imports = 10% of GNP in 1950
economic history 1850 195015
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Political independence but “colonial” trade ties with British Empire
  • External trade and shipping mostly handled by Western firms
economic history 1850 195016
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Small manufacturing: in 1919 only 7 factories in Bangkok (cement, soap, cigarette)
  • Significant groups: rice and lumber milling
economic history 1850 195017
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Why small manufacturing?
    • Lack of resources, capital, entrepreneur, skilled labor
    • Low tariff (Bowring Treaty)
    • Small domestic market (20 million in 1950)
    • Lack of electricity (fuelled by rice husks)
economic history 1850 195018
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Private-owned industries: cement (Siam Cement), tobacco, matches, soap, beer, etc.
  • Many were Chinese-owned
  • Since early 1900’s, Government became more active in setting up its own factories: paper, textile, sugar mills, tobacco (large and profitable)
economic history 1850 195019
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • 1952 Phibun government planned for over 20 factories
  • To promote industrialization, and want to reduce influence of Chinese and other foreigners – “nationalism”
  • Most state-owned factories were not successful: corruption, poor supervision, losses
economic history 1850 195020
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Role of Chinese: important in trade and other non-agriculture
  • 1930’s: 80% of domestic trade in Chinese hands
  • Informal associations among Chinese to prevent entry of outsiders
economic history 1850 195021
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • 1820-1950: 4 million of Chinese came to Thailand (1.5 million remained)
  • Dominated labor force in non-agricultural activities
  • 1938-1941: anti-Chinese measures by Phibun government (Chinese schools and newspapers were closed)
economic history 1850 195022
Economic History 1850 - 1950
  • Response: More integration into Thai society, and less obvious economic role
  • Chinese in Thailand: most highly and effectively assimilated in SE Asia
  • In 1950: 3 million Chinese in Thailand (15% of population)
economic history 1850 195023
Economic History 1850 - 1950

Ingram’s conclusion on 1850 – 1950 period

  • Many “changes”, but not much “progress” and “development”
  • “Changes”: more use of money, more specialization, racial division of labor, rapid population growth
economic history 1850 195024
Economic History 1850 - 1950

Ingram’s conclusion on 1850 – 1950 period

  • Many “changes”, but not much “progress” and “development”
  • “Progress”: increased per capita income
  • “Development”: more use of capital (cf. labor) and new techniques