Thailand; Aspects of Landscape and Life

Thailand; Aspects of Landscape and Life

Thailand; Aspects of Landscape and Life

Thailand; Aspects of Landscape and Life

Excerpt

In an age of national self-determination, when country after country is gaining or regaining autonomy, Thailand is all but unique. Alone in Southeast Asia, Thailand has maintained sovereign power within the historic past; while the greater part of Asia and Africa, in recent centuries, have been parts of European empires, Thailand has hardly been invaded, and never conquered, by Western arms.

Partly because Thailand has never been under Western control, this nation is, perhaps, less well known in the Western world than almost any other. Yet the winds of change have affected Thailand no less because she has maintained political autonomy; in some ways, indeed, Thailand's leaders have been the more ready to adopt new ideas, new techniques, new ways of looking at resources, because nationalism there has been less of an issue. The present shape of the Thailand economy, the patterns of its recent growth, and the paths it is likely to follow in the future hold interest, then, not merely for their own sake, but as a possible indicator of how the whole of the non- colonial but still underdeveloped world may in time react, when present political feeling no longer obscures the longer-range problems of economic growth.

Statistics are fragmentary, reliable estimates of resource potential and use still lacking for most sectors of the Thai economy. And such information as is available is scattered in obscure periodicals and learned journals.

Perhaps a major merit of the present volume is that it gathers together many of these separate bits of information and presents them, for the first time, between the covers of a single volume. This book is not a comprehensive study of all aspects of life in Thailand; it is, however, a more comprehensive stocktaking of Thai physical and economic geography than has yet been presented in English.

The inspiration for this volume, and more than half the material of the book, is by Dr. Robert L. Pendleton, Knight Commander, Order of the Crown of Thailand, holder of the David Livingstone Centenary Medal of the Hispanic Society of America . . .

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