Bangkok and the Floods of 2011: Urban Governance and the Struggle for Democratization

 

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Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Bangkok and the Floods of 2011: Urban Governance and the Struggle for Democratization,” in Michelle Ann Miller and Michael Douglass, eds., Disaster Governance in Asia (Springer, 2016), pp.195-209, available at: https://books.google.co.th/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=gLcvCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA194&dq=Walsh++%22Shinawatra+University%22&ots=ZgJUFSj-Tx&sig=9yt7sTvQhPc6scYRNE5eR2jMqrU&redir_esc=y.

Abstract:

The 2011 floods in Thailand took more than 700 lives and was one of the world’s three most severe economic disasters of that year. The incoming Pheu Thai administration, under PM Yingluck Shinawatra, faced its first significant emergency and was hamstrung by the limited ability of government to act. There was little coordination between government efforts and those of the opposition-controlled Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the army, which has long taken a role in disaster relief. Contentiously, provincial and peripheral areas were sacrificed to preserve central districts of Bangkok. Popular blame has fallen on the technocrat managers of the Royal Irrigation Department (RID), which manages the dams, as well as other unaccountable agencies and institutions. This has lent popular support to Pheu Thai’s strategy of broadening and deepening the scope of the democratically-elected government vis-à-vis unaccountable and unelected agencies. Decentralisation of water policy projects is part of the plan to increase the numbers of legitimate political actors and the Committee for Water and Flood Management will advise the RID and require any decisions made to be transparent and accountable. Plans to introduce a Ministry of Water will see the disaster mitigation infrastructure overseen by government agencies. The city of Bangkok will be at the heart of this struggle, since many of the large infrastructure projects will be located there and, as a primate city, it would be unthinkable for many elements of society for it to be subject to what is considered to be outside control.

Issues in Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management in Thailand

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Announcing: Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Issues in Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management in Thailand,” Global Business and Economics Review, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp.417–429, DOI: 10.1504/GBER.2015.072497, available at: http://www.inderscience.com/info/inarticle.php?artid=72497.

Abstract: This research paper explores the issues surrounding the implementation of the integrated water resources management (IWRM) system in Thailand. The research is based on in depth, personal interviews with experts from 20 different institutions using semi-structured interview agendas and synthesised with secondary data. The principal problems involved with implementing IWRM result from political interference, the cross-scalar nature of contests for resources, the complexity of Thailand’s water sources and lack of awareness. The research took place in the aftermath of the disastrous 2011 floods and so the fierce urgency of disaster mitigation coloured the opinions of some respondents. The interaction between private and public sectors in Thailand involves the intersection between feudal and capitalist systems. To overcome blockages, it may be necessary to incorporate additional use of market mechanisms in water provision. The need for genuine public participation in this debate is noted. The paper approaches water resources from the management perspective rather than the more normal technical or engineering approach.

Keywords: Thailand; water management; integrated management; water resources management; IWRM; public participation; private sector; public sector; political interference; resource contests; complex water sources; lack of awareness; flooding; disaster mitigation.

Water Privatization during Rising Demand: The Case of Southern Thailand

Announcing: Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Water Privatization during Rising Demand: The Case of Southern Thailand,” Pacific Business Review, Vol.6, No.9 (March, 2014), pp.15-20, available at; http://pbr.co.in/March2014/3.pdf.

Abstract:

Water privatization is an emotive subject and one that attracted a bad reputation owing to botched efforts in some western countries that have seen profits rise while services decline and apparently predatory privatization in South Africa and elsewhere that denied water to the poor. Water is widely considered to be a public good that should be available to people at a price as close to zero as possible. A powerful campaign to make access to water a human right has been launched and there is an evident contradiction between human rights and the market-based transactions seemingly required for water
treated as a commodity. Yet this contradiction must somehow be resolved because the demand for water is continuously increasing as the result of intensifying industrialization and urbanization and the huge increases in scale of the tourism industry. While demand is rapidly escalating, supply conditions
have become much less predictable as the result of the increasingly evident impacts of global climate change. Privatization can have a role in ameliorating these problems if it is properly planned and managed, if the scope of individual projects is limited to the scale issues endemic in management of water resources and, finally, if appropriate governance promotes objectives that are socially beneficial rather than depending entirely on the bottom line. This paper explores the ways in which water privatization has taken place in the south of Thailand from a comparative perspective and evaluates the limits of what can be achieved by these means and also investigates the contours of a successful privatization project.

Keywords:
Global Climate Change, Industrialization, Privatization, Thailand, Water

East Water Case Study

Announcing: Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “East Water,” in G.D. Sardana, Managing World Class Operations (New Delhi: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014), pp.248-56.

Abstract

Eastern Water Resources Development PCL or East Water is a government-controlled organization   that has been charged with managing water-supply services in a part of Thailand that is of considerable importance to state-level developmental strategy. East Water’s role has been carefully limited to those areas of water service privatization which are amenable to the introduction of private sector capital and its scope and geographical scale of actions have also been circumscribed. As a result, despite privatization being introduced as part of IMF conditionality following the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, East Water has avoided the public criticism that has accompanied similar policies in other parts of the world.

Integrated Water Resources Management in Thailand and Southeast Asia

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The hard copy of our paper has now arrived: Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Integrated Water Resources Management in Thailand and Southeast Asia,” in Linda Brennan, Lukas Parker, Torgeir Aleti Watne, John Flen, Duong Trong Hue and Mai Anh Doan, eds., Growing Sustainable Communities: A Development Guide for Southeast Asia (Prahran, Victoria: Tilde University Press, 2013), pp.69-79.

Abstract

Water resource management in Thailand is characterized by competition for scarce resources between industry, the tourist sector and public citizens, in a country in which environmental degradation and erratic climatic patterns are making the controlled flow of water increasingly difficult. The overlapping interests of different government agencies were demonstrated during the 2011 flooding. To overcome this, a new water management approach is emerging which is fraught with pragmatic compromise and postponement or avoidance of power relations issues. This situation is relevant to other Southeast Asian nations both in terms of geographical and climatic pressures on water resources in rapidly industrializing and urbanizing states and also in terms of competing interests in conditions of constrained democracy.

Issues in Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management in Thailand

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Announcing: Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Issues in Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management in Thailand,” Global Business and Economics Review, forthcoming, available at: http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/forthcoming.php?jcode=gber.

Abstract: Purpose (mandatory): this research paper explores the issues surrounding the implementation of the integrated water resources management (IWRM) system in Thailand. Design/methodology/approach (mandatory): the research is based on in depth, personal interviews with experts from 20 different institutions using semi-structured interview agendas and synthesized with secondary data. Findings (mandatory): the principal problems involved with implementing IWRM result from political interference, the cross-scalar nature of contests for resources, the complexity of Thailands water sources and lack of awareness. Research limitations/implications (if applicable): the research took place in the aftermath of the disastrous 2011 floods and so the fierce urgency of disaster mitigation coloured the opinions of some respondents. Practical implications (if applicable): the interaction between private and public sectors in Thailand involves the intersection between feudal and capitalist systems. To overcome blockages, it may be necessary to incorporate additional use of market mechanisms in water provision. Social implications (if applicable): the need for genuine public participation in this debate is noted. Originality/value (mandatory): the paper approaches water resources from the management perspective rather than the more normal technical or engineering approach.

Keywords: Thailand, water management, integrated water resources management, development, public participation, private and public sectors

This paper has been accepted and now appears on the website as a forthcoming paper – not sure whether it will see its way into print this year and might have to wait until 2015.

Academic Papers Published in 2013

It looks like the last of my 2013 academic papers has been published, so the full list as it stands is (in alphabetical order of authors):

Apivantanaporn, Thanan and John Walsh, “The Experience Economy in Thai Hotels and Resort Clusters: The Role of Authentic Food,” Acta Universitatus Danubius Oeconomica, Vol.9, No.3 (June, 2013), pp.140-52, available at: http://journals.univ-danubius.ro/index.php/oeconomica/article/view/1762/1606.

Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Contemporary Water Management Issues in Thailand in Comparative Perspective,” Journal of Social and Development Sciences, Vol.4, No.5 (May, 2013), pp.218-28, available at: http://www.ifrnd.org/admin/jsds/55.pdf.

Chintraruck, Alin and John Walsh, “Water Resource Allocation Issues in Thailand,” International Postgraduate Business Journal, Vol.5, No.1 (2013), pp.31-47, available at: http://www.oyagsb.uum.edu.my/images/IPBJ/list%20isue/2013_vol_5/artikal_jurnal_IPBJ_bab_2_1.pdf.

Ngamsang, Sirirat and John Walsh, “Confucius Institutes as Instruments of Soft Power: Comparison with International Rivals,” Journal of Educational and Vocational Research, Vol.4, No.10 (October, 2013), pp.302-10, available at: http://ifrnd.org/Research%20Papers/V4(10)4.pdf.

Putthithanasombat, Phramaha Min and John Walsh, “Management of Foreign Teachers in International Educational Institutes in Thailand,” Journal of Education and Vocational Research, Vol.4, No.8 (August, 2013), pp.230-7, available at: http://ifrnd.org/Research%20Papers/V4(8)3.pdf.

Southiseng, Nittana and John Walsh, “Human Resource Management in the Telecommunications Sector of Laos,” International Journal of Research Studies in Management, Vol.2, No.2 (2013), doi: 10.5861/ijrsm.2013.235, available at: http://www.consortiacademia.org/index.php/ijrsm/issue/current.

Sujarittanonta, Lavanchawee and John Walsh, “Game-Playing Culture in an Age of Capitalist Consumption: Young Taiwanese and Collectible Card Games,” Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, Vol.5, No.11 (November, 2013), pp.792-7, available at: http://ifrnd.org/Research%20Papers/J5(11)7.pdf.

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.

Walsh, John and Fuengfa Amponsitra, “Infrastructure Development and the Repositioning of Power in Three Mekong Region Capital Cities,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, early view, 10.1111/j.1468-2427.2013.01212.x, available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1468-2427/earlyview.

Walsh, John, “Environmental Changes in the Mekong Region and the Impact on Female Entrepreneurs,” Pacific Business Review: A Quarterly Journal of Management (February, 2013), available at: http://pbr.co.in/Vol%205%20Iss%208/3.pdf.

Walsh, John, “Fernando Enterprises: The Marketization of a Hobby,” South Asian Journal of Business and Management Cases, Vol.2, No.2 (December, 2013), pp.125-32.

Walsh, John, “Social Policy and Special Economic Zones in the Greater Mekong Subregion,” International Journal of Social Quality, Vol.3, No.1 (Summer, 2013), pp.44-56, http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/IJSQ.2013.030104. Abstract available at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/berghahn/ijsq/2013/00000003/00000001/art00004.

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.

Walsh, John, “The Role of Clinical Governance and in the Health Management Systems of Thailand,” Journal of Social and Development Sciences, Vol.4, No.10 (October, 2013), pp.461-6, available at: http://ifrnd.org/Research%20Papers/S4(10)3.pdf.

Yin, Lay Su and John Walsh, “Performance Assessment in the International Hotel Sector of Yangon, Myanmar,” Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, Vol.5, No.5 (May, 2013), pp.282-90, available at: http://www.ifrnd.org/admin/jebs/66.pdf.