Walsh, John, “Thailand and the East Asian Economic Model,” Pacific Business Review: A Quarterly Journal of Management, Vol.5, No.10 (April, 2013), pp.81-8, available at: http://pbr.co.in/Vol%205%20Iss%2010/11.pdf.
The East Asian Economic Model (EAEM) focuses closely on the economic aspects by which first Northeast Asian and secondly Southeast Asian nations attained rapid economic growth from the second half of the twentieth century. The EAEM considers the important economic aspects of the process: import-substitution, export-orientation, openness to inward investment and low wage cost competitiveness with an Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) approach. This model was officially introduced into official Thai policy as part of the First National Economic Development Plan of 1961. Since then, the Thai economy has developed along parallel lines, with a large subsistence agricultural sector, in addition to repressive acts by authorities, serving to dampen any significant movement towards higher labour costs. This form of the EAEM was quite successful in promoting growth until the 1997 crisis, when its limitations were first thrown into sharp relief. The governments of 2001-6 attempted to create a different trajectory for the economy but this was brought short by a military coup and a stultifying period of junta rule. The economic crisis that emerged around the world in 2008 and is becoming manifested in 2009 in Thailand in major job losses in the manufacturing industry represents a further threat to the value of the EAEM. New competition from Vietnam and China, in particular, make low-labour cost competitiveness no longer a viable strategy. The country has become lodged in what the World Bank calls the Middle Income Trap, in which the means by which a low-income country reaches a middle-income situation cannot be the same means by which the country can move from middle-income to high-income. As a means of exiting this trap, the current Pheu Thai administration has launched a range of measures, including a significant rise in the minimum wage and support for commercial enterprises to add value to their production. It remains to be seen how successful these efforts will prove to be.
Announcing: Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Water Allocation Issues in Thailand,” paper presented at the 2nd EnvironmentAsia Conference (Pattaya: May 15th-17th, 2013).
Abstract: The allocation of scarce resources has been problematic throughout modern history, particularly in the case of a resource as critical to human existence as water. Grounds for allocation include considerations of ideology, politics and equity. In conditions of increasing uncertainty regarding the supply of water resulting from global climate change and its effects, as well as continuously intensifying demand for water from industrial, agricultural, tourist and residential interests, the means and effectiveness of allocation decisions has become one of the most important decisions that governmental agencies are required to make. This issue is examined through the case study of Thailand, which is a country in a sub-tropical region receiving considerable rainfall during the monsoon season but with enormously elevated levels of demand for water in the contemporary period as the result of industrialization, population increase and the creation of a mass tourism industry. Historically, water allocation has taken place as the result of political contestation between government agencies and the provincial and national levels and private sector organizations and individuals. However, in a changing political and natural environment, new directions and approaches must be explored. This paper introduces new approaches to the issue of water allocation and highlights the changes in thinking required for future decision-making under conditions of greater unpredictability of supply and intensification of demand.
Keywords: industry; resource allocation; scarce resources; tourism; water
My paper for the ICAICTBM 2013 conference to be held on Hainan Island(*) has been accepted for publication. Here is the abstract:
The use of industrial estates in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) has been very successful in terms of numbers of projects launched, number of factories opened, amount of goods manufactured and so forth. However, although aggregate levels of creation are impressive, it is not clear that the value added to the economies involved overall is very high. One important means of enhancing the quality of the connectivity between economic actors located within an industrial estate and other economic actors in the wider economy. This would involve connectivity that would be characterized as becoming greener and smarter. This paper argues that the concepts of environmental friendliness and intelligent relationships can be folded into the construct of connectivity as a framework for analysis. This is used to inform the study and discussion of a series of case studies of industrial estates within the GMS and helps to refine a future research agenda, which is in the process of being conducted.
Keywords: connectivity, Greater Mekong Subregion, industrial estates, special economic zones
* I have wanted to visit Hainan since I started studying GMSR issues some years ago and this was the chance to do it. More information is available at: http://icaictm2013.org/.
My case lead for the ICMC Case Study Conference in Greater Noida at the end of November has been accepted. I think this will be the sixth time I have visited (and once the airport was occupied and I had to miss it) (more information is availalbe at: http://www.icmc.org.in). Here is the case summary:
The border between North and South Korea is one of the most intensely contested in the world; periodic outbreaks of violence have punctuated the sixty years since the Korean Civil War was calmed by a ceasefire. The increasing inequality across the border, as the South has become a successfully developed capitalist country and the North has regressed into poverty and hunger, acts as a further stimulant to disorder. To reduce tension and promote cooperation, the South Korean government proposed various joint cross-border economic ventures, the most persistent and successful of which has been the Kaesong Industrial Complex, involving Southern capital and knowhow and Northern labour and land. The venture has been successful in terms of employment generation and production volumes but it has been bedeviled by political and managerial problems. Who are the major stakeholders in this case and how should success for them be measured?
Keywords: cross-border ventures, Kaesong Industrial Complex, Korea, stakeholders
Announcing: Thakur, Reema and John Walsh, “Characteristics of Thai Women Entrepreneurs: A Case Study of SMEs Operating in Lampang Municipality Area,” Journal of Social and Development Studies, Vol.4, No.4 (April, 2013), pp.174-81, available at: http://ifrnd.org/admin/jsds/48.pdf.
Thai female entrepreneurs often establish entrepreneurial ventures as time-sensitive operations that are not necessarily intended to be the principal income generators for a household but act as supplementary sources of income. Such ventures might also provide other secondary benefits, including occupation for migrant women with no other occupation or qualifications, while the flexible nature of their operation can make it possible for operators to combine it with care for children or other dependents. It has also been found that network connections created and maintained by some entrepreneurs, including women, can be mobilized for other mutually advantageous purposes. This research study explored these issues through a questionnaire-based survey of 80 female Thai entrepreneurs. It was shown that the majority of these women started their businesses of their own volition and maintained autonomy over operations. The structure of these businesses is different, therefore, from family-owned businesses which tend and are intended to remain in operation for multiple generations and which have their destiny ultimately controlled by men. Various results of the study are discussed and used to draw conclusions and make recommendations about the management of such businesses in the future.
Keywords: Women entrepreneurs, SMEs, Lampang Municipality Area
This is the third abstract for the panel on Uneven Development to be held at the 3rd ICIRD in November.
Special economic zones (SEZs) have been significant and successful in promoting rapid development across the Mekong Region. Low labour cost competitiveness in numerous factories with production mostly aimed at exporting has transformed the economy of Thailand, is transforming the economies of Vietnam and Yunnan Province of China, and is set to transform the economies of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Linkages between SEZs involve infrastructure in both its hard (transportation and utilities) and sort (managerial practices and development policies) aspects. Building and developing infrastructure to link SEZs, therefore, has a direct and positive impact on the economic development of a country and so it has become a priority for government agencies and for international funding agencies such as the Asian Development Bank, which is leading the creation of the Asian Highway Network. However, although SEZs can in theory be located anywhere within a country and thereby assist with regional development in the more deprived areas of the Mekong Region, they have very often been located near large urban areas or in border areas where advantage can be taken of cross-border complementarities, access to markets and hard infrastructure. This tends to reinforce the uneven development of the region, in which relatively well-developed urban areas benefit from existing and future economic growth while remote and rural areas are often left untouched. People can abridge this difference by migrating from the countryside to the SEZ site and many thousands have done so, with significant impacts on the households and communities involved. This paper takes a case study approach to SEZs across the region and examines the ways in which they contribute to uneven development and the impacts this has for community and household relations. Implications are drawn from this analysis for social and economic policy.
Keywords: Asian Highway Network, infrastructure, Mekong Region, special economic zones
John Walsh, Assistant Professor, School of Management, Shinawatra University
Here is the second abstract for the panel:
The gendered division of labour in agricultural households structures the extent and purpose of most decision-making with regards to income generation and household activities. Yet this is a dynamic rather a static situation because farming conditions vary so widely even within comparatively narrow geographical limits, while weather conditions can be unpredictable and, for those households connected with distant markets, market conditions can also affect what must be done at the household level. Additionally, technological change drives much agricultural production. When there is change of this sort, then the possibility is opened of a renegotiation between family members – perhaps on grounds of gender and perhaps on other grounds – as to what inputs are to be used and how any changes in labour provision should be managed. Clearly, where the nature of decision-making in the household changes in one direction, then that makes it possible for power relations to vary in nature in another or many other directions. This research study focuses on the results of 400 quantitative interviews conducted in Cambodia and Thailand of women in rice-farming households. Women as heads of households were identified and interviewed where possible. Variations in input use are shown in different agricultural conditions and implications are drawn from this for understanding the changing nature of gendered relations in different parts of the two countries surveyed.
Keywords: agricultural inputs, Cambodia, decision-making, gender, Thailand
Petcharat Lovichakorntikul, Doctoral Candidate, School of Management, Shinawatra University
Sirirat Ngamsang, Doctoral Candidate, School of Management, Shinawatra University
John Walsh, Assistant Professor, School of Management, Shinawatra University
This three volume set just arrived this morning and very handsome it looks too. Here are the entries that I wrote:
Walsh, John, “Kyrgyzstan” (Vol.2, pp.650-2), “Maldives” (Vol.2, pp.745-6), “Micronesia” (Vol.2, pp.817-8), “Nauru” (Vol.2, pp.862-3), “Papua New Guinea” (Vol.2, pp.935-6), “Seychelles” (Vol.3, pp.1089-90), “Tonga” (Vol.3, pp.1207-9), “Turkmenistan” (Vol.3, pp.1214-5), “Tuvalu” (Vol..3, pp.1216-7), “Uzbekistan” (Vol.3, pp.1257-9), “Vanuatu” (Vol.3, pp.1261-2) in Robert E. Emery, ed., Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc., 2013).
This paper, by Sirirat Ngamsang and myself, has been accepted for publication at the forthcoming ICGBE Conference to be held in Bangkok in June this year.
Thailand and China have had a relationship for many centuries, initially as a result of Siam (now Thailand) joining the tributary system that permitted participation in the designated Chinese markets. The relationship has also taken place at an individual level as the result of untold thousands of Chinese migrants who have travelled to the south in search of a better life. On various occasions in history, the presence of Chinese migrants has provoked a discourse of conflict, in which the migrants were considered to present a ‘problem’ and, infamously, ‘the Jews of the East.’ National relations were halted during the Japanese invasion of China and then the Civil War that led to the Communist Revolution. Thailand’s presence in the American-led capitalist world prevented formal communications and this remained the case until the normalization of relations after the Open Door Policy was announced. During that period, many Chinese migrants and their family members were suspected of collusion with a potential Communist insurgency in Thailand and this encourage further integration into Thai society while, also, inhibiting the creation of a political party aiming to represent ethnic Chinese interests. Normalization of relations has been followed by rapid increase in trade and investment on a bilateral basis and the signing of various international agreements have deepened and broadened the forms of cooperation that have been possible. Chinese corporations have been accompanied by Confucius Institutes, which are non-governmental organizations promoting Chinese language teaching and cultural exchange. This paper explores the changing nature of Sino-Thai relations through history and uses this analysis to discuss the implications for organizational management in the present.
Keywords: China, historical relations, migration, organizational management, Thailand
This paper, by Pramaha Min Putthithanasombat, Petcharat Lovichakorntikul, Sirirat Ngamsang and myself, has been accepted for presentation at the forthcoming ICGBE Conference to be held in June here in Bangkok.
The legacy of history, nationalism and lack of trust have contributed to the comparatively poor cross-border relations in the Mekong Region and, in particular, between Thailand and its majority Buddhist neighbours Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. These relations tend to obscure the common features that unite the people of the region. Principal among these commonalities is the tradition of Theravadin Buddhism, which is the form practiced and which places particular emphasis of the role of monks and the importance of doing virtuous works as part of the process of spiritual development that will eventually lead towards nirvana. Linguistic differences across borders are mediated by the underlying reliance on the Pali language, which is used to record and transmit Buddhist teachings. Many cross-border activities take place on an informal basis in which individual learn how to communicate with each other. One aspect of this is travel for pilgrimage and knowledge-seeking purposes, both monks and lay people cross the borders concerned, although little research has been conducted into this form of tourism. Using personal interviews of people concerned, this research study has been intended to delineate the extent to which these kinds of cross-border movements take place, their impacts in terms of improving social relations and economic growth and, also, the opportunities for enhancing educational opportunities for those involved.
Keywords: Buddhism, cross-border travel, Mekong Region, Thailand.