Dr. Clark D. Neher

Contemporary Thailand

  1. Major historical events that have shaped culture of Thailand
    1. Kingdoms of Sukhothai (14th century); Ayuthaya (14th to 18th centuries); Bangkok (18th century to present).
    2. Chakri kings (Chulalongkorn; Phumipol)
    3. 1932 revolt against the absolute monarchy
    4. Rise of bureaucratic-military rule
    5. The struggle for democracy
      1. Prime Ministers Sarit Thanarat; Prem Tinsulanond; Chartchai Choonhavan; Chuan Leekpai
      2. The February 1991 military coup, led by General Suchinda, against the government of Chatichai Choonhavan
      3. The Anand Panyarachun administration
      4. The March 1992 elections
      5. The 48 day government of General Suchinda
      6. The May pro-democracy uprisings against Suchinda
      7. The second Anand Panyarachun administration
      8. The September 1992 elections
      9. The Chuan Leekpai civilian government
      10. The 1995 July 2 elections; Banharn Silpa-archa
      11. The 1996 elections: Chuan Leekpai returns.
  1. Primary historical themes
    1. Status and deference to authority
           Patron-client relationships
    2. Independence
    3. Quest for modernization
  1. Economic prospects
    1. Reasons for the remarkable growth rate of the Thai economy
      1. Political stability
      2. Commitment to free-market, export-driven policies
      3. Conservative, highly trained technocrats
      4. Role of Chinese minority
      5. Thailand as home for Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese assembly plants
      6. Birth rate controlled
    2. Difficulties of the Thai economy
      1. 1997 economics crisis:
             Corruption, lack of transparency
      2. Poor infrastructure
      3. Environmental disaster: traffic, pollution, deforestation
      4. Gap between the rich and the poor; urban-rural gap
  1. Expected political changes
    1. Balance between stability and democracy
    2. Balance between law and order and civil liberties
    3. Balance between respect for leadership and desires of the masses to have needs met
    4. Balance between role of military as the guarantor of security and importance of civilian dominance
    5. Rise of middle class
    6. Absence of major internal or external threats
    7. Integration of Thailand into the world economy

Return to Main Crossroads page