Vol.26, No.5E (E.B)

Thailand’s inadequate response to the 2008 Economic Crisis: Implications for Vietnam and other countries entering the East Asian economic model

By entering the East Asian economic model (EAEM) in the 1950s, the Thai economy was committed to the export-oriented, import-substituting low labour-cost manufacturing paradigm that Vietnam and Cambodia have more recently embraced. The EAEM provides for some success in expanding employment in the manufacturing sector and promoting income generation for its workers and, overall, in promoting national economic development. However, this is a model that has effectiveness that is limited in time, since the very process of national economic development tends to increase incomes and, thereby, undermine the competitiveness on which the model overall is based. In a crisis such as that which began in 2008, therefore, it was necessary for the Thai government to take stock of its labour market planning functions, to review the transparency and adequacy of its inward investment regulations, to promote creative industries, to begin an inclusive national debate as to the nature of future development and similar activities. Unfortunately, the Thai government has by and large failed to take the opportunity to pursue these activities and has, instead, focused largely for political reasons on policies which attempt to prolong membership of the EAEM or which are, in economic terms, apparently irrational or at least unhelpful. This paper investigates the nature and scope of the Thai government’s response to the economic crisis and, from this, considers the implications for governments whose countries are in the early stages of the EAEM but still aware of the need to continual upgrading of the inputs (principally labour) that will make it successful..

John Walsh

  Từ khóa: