Thailand beyond the Crisis

Thailand beyond the Crisis

Thailand beyond the Crisis

Thailand beyond the Crisis

Synopsis

This volume provides a thorough authoritative account of the Thai economy, examining the reform process undertaken since the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the country's future prospects.

Excerpt

The world knows about Thailand's crisis of 1997-98 mainly through media reporting. the image conveyed was of an economy in collapse. Although it had been booming over the decade preceding the crisis, it was now in deep recession, a victim of evil Wall Street speculators and corrupt domestic politicians. According to these reports, poverty had increased massively, even among people who were previously wealthy. Countries as far away as Europe and the United States nervously anticipated negative effects on their exports. Japanese banks dreaded the prospect of massive non-repayment of loans to Thai banks and corporations. Many of the very commentators who had previously been so impressed by the Thai experience now called it an example to be avoided.

Some of this was correct, but much was not. Seven years after the crisis, it is timely to consider what really happened and its implications for Thailand's future. in 2004, the Thai economy is again booming. Will the same cycle of boom and bust be repeated? If not, what steps need to be taken to avoid this outcome? This book brings together the perspectives of some of Thailand's most distinguished economists and a group of well-informed foreign observers. the authors review not only what happened during the crisis itself but, more particularly, the route for Thailand to achieve a sustained recovery.

I thank all the contributors to this book for their professionalism, cooperativeness and patience during the production process. I am proud to have worked with them. in addition, I gratefully acknowledge the excellent research assistance provided by Colin Thompson and Arriya Mungsunti in helping assemble the manuscript. Financial assistance was provided by the National Thai Studies Centre at the Australian National University, which also sponsored a conference in Canberra at which initial versions of the papers were presented and discussed.

The book is fondly dedicated to the memory of Professor H.W. Arndt, who died in a tragic motoring accident in 2002, aged 87. Professor Arndt was a distinguished scholar, a founder of development

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