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Overpopulation is not what you think. The situation is way better than we thought.

Rather, it reveals the tragedy of development....

Comparative Developmental State Models in Thailand, Japan and South Korea and In-depth economic theories by having South Korea as a case study.

Habit exists for a reason. It is very important to analyse one's environment before

conclude one's personnal habit. here's an example of

how climate genetically choose your consuming behaviour.

Understand Noncommunication Diseases in Thailand. Causes and Effect.

Potential Solutions and Challenges, using the Stock-and-Flow Diagram.

Get to know the Thai-Chinese Strategic Cooperation during the midst of Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in the 1980s.

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Overpopulation isn't an issue and will never be

10 October 2021 -- Jomkhwan Borrirak 

10 min read

 

In the past decades, humanity has surged in enormous numbers whereby the population has already reached 7.8Billion in March, 2020. What seems to be the following consequences are the fact that the growth in population is often connect to the growth in energy consumption, economic subtraction, the decrease in habitable land and so on. The statement is indeed true, no doubt with that fact but however, some of us has raised the topic of 'overpopulation to cause us to exceed the planet capacity' (end of society such as the scarcity of resources, more armed conflict, rapid climate change and so) due to our low mortality rate and better healthcare. This claim is somewhat contradict in itself as the hypothesis lacks research methodology and making false claim of the future. As we speak, how one with the population boom's mindset could explain the highly developed countries with extremely low mortality rate and reliable healthcare such as Japan and Scandinavian states, that are now even entering the 'depopulation period'. According to the 1960's population boom theory (the beginning of the overpopulation claim), those countries would have encountered the overpopulation phase by now but still, those developed countries are enjoying the economic sustainability produced by the good quality of population. Therefore, could it possibly say that the more you develop, the more you likely to face depopulation? The answer is likely a yes since this theory has proved by plenty of current developing countries. Take Bangladesh for instance, in the 1970s, Bangladesh's average birth was around 7 children per woman where in 2010, the number reduced significantly to only 2 per woman. The case also applied to  its neighbours such as Thailand, Malaysia and India whereby the countries would faced the ageing society and the decline in population in the near future.

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Demographic transition theory describes changes from high birth and death rates to significantly low rates over a period of time. The demographic transition model shows the stages in which these rates decline. It is very essential to note that the speed of these changes depends on the degree of industrialisation of a given geographic area. This is linked to the idea of ​​modernisation and globalisation as well since these two factors could influence the level of development in each country. The concept states that people always strive to improve their living situation is probably the consensus topic. A good example is the development of cars to improve traffic and the invention of drugs to cure some of the diseases that affect people. It is clear that different parts of the world differ in terms of industrialisation. With this in mind, the demographic transition theory / model indicates the stages populations go through when birth and death rates go through during their decline. The model has five main stages; 

The first stage is associated with low population growth and an equal birth and death rate. All human populations were in this phase until the 18th century when industrialisation began in Western Europe whereby the rates exceeded 30 for every 1000 people.

The second stage involves a decrease in death rates while birth rates remain high, leading to population growth. This phase represents the time immediately after the agrarian revolution of the 18th century. During this period, most regions of the world, particularly the west, experienced an increase in food and water supplies. The revolution has improved the standard of living of the people and, with it, the decrease in mortality rates.

 

The third stage is that part of the model in which the population advances towards stability, with birth rates falling in contrast to the second stage. Because of this, birth and death rates are low during this phase. With a view to modernisation, this stage originated at the end of the 19th century. During this time, technological advances brought with them birth control systems as well as both men and women in the society were also more educated.

The fourth stage has proved that the population remains stable. To provide an example, Chicago, one of the largest cities in the United States has experienced almost all of these scenarios. In the 18th century, the population of Chicago was in the first phase of the demographic pattern. In the middle of the 19th century the population increased enormously whereby the birth rate at that time was 50 births per 1000 inhabitants per year. This is approximately three times the reported live birth rate in today's Chicago as the current rate is now at 14 new births per 1,000 people per year.

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Not only in that, according to total fertility rate of the world, we could observe the clear recession in population growth whereby parents are having far less children than in the mid 20th century. As we speak, better healthcare could expand our lifespan and ensure the survival of the child. In the middle of the 20th century, a family tended to have more kids due to the fact that those children might not survive in the first place. For an instance of 1970's Bangladesh, the poor healthcare has pushed the survival rate of infants and low-age children to only 70% which mean that 2 of the 6 parent's kids might die before contribute to anything. Furthermore, the other survived children also might not get educated at all as there were far less education facilities. With th0se facts, it now makes sense to cover the question of why a parent in that particular time prefers to have more kids, compared to the modern Bangladesh where it see the surge in education and welfare.

Another case study though can be the Sub-Saharan African region where the birthrate surged up to 4.7 child per women, compared to Europe's 1.6 or East Asian 1.8. With this projection, the region of 1.1 billion population in 2021 might see to over 5 billion at the end of 21st century. By observing the population rate below, it could be concluded that Sub Saharan Africa is at a very early stage of demographic transition whereby the youth made up as a majority. Moreover, this statistics also prove the accuracy of the demographic model as the Sub-Saharan Region is considered to be one of the poorest region on Earth. There is less healthcare and also there is less education system. Thus, the colonisation in the past brought imaginary borderline which created disunity and conflicts as followed. Those factors has created the pressure and push down the development of the country, resulting in the parent's behaviour, familiar to the 18th century's Europe.

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Therefore, it is rationale to conclude that the poverty is connecting with high fertility rate since there is a support evidence, thus the proved theory of it to support the discussion's research methodology. As we speak, it is also rationale to say that the more humans means more chance of us to develop ourselves by implementing new technologies that extend the environment's capacity to sustain the population. Keep in mind that Europe in the 1920s was about to encounter the food shortage crisis since the farming industry was not effective enough to feed enough mouths in Europe. Anyhow, in that specific decade, the new technology also emerged. In 1918, Fritz Haber would be awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his notable work in developing a method of synthesising ammonia from nitrogen in the air whereby the process could enable the production of fertiliser in quantities that revolutionised agriculture worldwide. With that result, Europe could sustain its growing population and therefore extend the capacities of the environment. This kind of breakthough could also apply to the Sub-Saharan countries as the emerging development can result in lower fertility rate. Ethiopia for instance has been a prominent country in Africa, along with South Africa as those two countries could also observe the lower birth rate due to the rapid development in education and healthcare services. With those evidence on the table, it is crucial to prioritise on economic development in every countries. What we can do right now to stop the overpopulation in the poorly-developed countries is to assist them developing. Mostly importantly it must be the assistance or investment with fairness, otherwise, the sustained development would not occur.

 

Those facts have always debunked the notion of global overpopulation as we can observe the advancement in humanity during this era. Humanity has exceeded our limit each year. Each year, we would observed the successful trails or research that extend our knowledge frontiers. Planetary civilisation would occur within 2050 and the research regarding lifespan extension is promising, pushing human civilisation to be the Type-One Kardashev's Civilisation Index. Nuclear Fusion is also promised to replace Nuclear fission technology by which the output is considered to be the cleanest, most environmental friendly and largest source of energy in our solar system. Those emerging technologies will be the tool for humanity to expand ourselves and also tackle the overpopulation at the same time. As the environment has enlarged itself, the capability for humans to emerged themselves also expanded too. Moreover, the more we develop, the natural scenario of demographic transition will ensure our population will stay on the line. 

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Genetics of Habit : Climate decides your favourite foods.

19 February 2022-- Jomkhwan Borrirak 

12 min read

This article contributed to my old self who loved eating his broccoli so much. Yes, that greenish vegetable. Sometimes, people kept asking me of why I liked the broccoli so much despite its unpalatable bitter taste. Interestingly, this vegetable tended to split the world of taste in half whereby some people seemed very much love eating it while it is also giving people an untasteful dish nightmare. Apparently, people are attempting to link this phenomenon with "memory traumatisation", the same reason as a person who got bit by a dog once when a person was a kid and trumatised for life. In this case, one might not like eating broccoli because one got forced by one's parent to consume this awful meal when one was a kid. While this hypothesis is partly true, it is not always the case. Some might even hate broccoli despite never had such traumatisation at all, but their genes are there to blame. 

To prove this, there was an experiment in 1931 where a chemist named Arthur L. Fox extracted Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) which is a property in many vegetables, including broccoli and some of fish, and fed it to many of his experiment participants and interestingly, the result was utterly unusual since the property is either taste very bitter for some as well as virtually tasteless. Moreover in 1960, a psychophamacologist, Roland L. Fischer also found that Propylthiouracil (PROP), which is the component in more variety of foods and medicines, also have the same property that related to the individual's food preference and body shape. Basically, since an individual has born, the ability to taste certain flavors would be transfered from individual's parent, not an external factor such as memory traumatisation. To put it simpler, a psychologist, Linda Bartoshuk called the type of person who has more ability to taste more flavors as "Supertaster". Nowadays, normal people like us also test out our ability to taste via P.T.C paper or n-PROPYL paper at home. According to today's data, over 75% of humans are non-supertaster while only 25% are supertaster.

 
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Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC)

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Propylthiouracil (PROP)

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Linda Bartoshuk, PhD.

This, however, raise another one important question. Then why individuals across the globe do not have the same food preference. This is a very interesting, yet mysterious question because if all humans are required the same nutrients, then why our genetics did not evolve towards the same code. Besides, some of the foods that are sensitive to the supertaster such as Broccoli or Carrot for instance, are full of good vitamin nutrients which is good for your health. Then why on Earth do our genes make someone avoid those foods by making them more bad sensitivity. Well apparently, this is where geography came in handy. By observing the demographic information in Fischer's and Bartoshuk's experiment, the data suggests that the majority of supertasters are living near the equator, namely a hot climate. And this is not an coincidence either since this data supported by the variety of plants in the equatorial environment. For instance, the tropical jungle in Southeast Asia where the land is exploited to sunlight most of the time, would have more variety of plants and animals than other biomes. According to the WorldAtlas (2018), tropical forest contained over 75% of all Earth's species of animals and plants. As a result, the intensity of natural selection in the biome increased, making all species to enhance rapid adaptation to survive. To this point, one well-known way for a defenceless plant to actually survive the predators, apart from modified physical body, is self-produced acid/poison. Example of toxic plants are; Water Hemlock, Nightshade, Rosary Pea, Oleander or Tobacco. Interestingly, most of the hostile plants are locating in hot humid climate as well as containing similar property of Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and Propylthiouracil (PROP) as other green plants, including broccoli. 

 

To evolve against the kind of plant defence mechanism, we, humans develop TAS2R38 Genes which are the genes that promote taste receptor cells, known as Gustducin or G Protein as body's signal transduction. As a result, an individual who has more instense TAS2R38 Genes would detect the taste of PTC and PROP easier due to the increase number of Fungiform papillae on the tongue. All in all, the group of evolved TAS2R38 Genes are created to deal with the increasing toxic plants and vegetables, especially those in hot and humid climate.

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According to Prof. Paolo Gasparini (the Faculty of Medicine, University of Trieste), human writes those kind of taste codes deep down into all 15 TAS2R38 Sub-Genes where they are deciding what kind of consuming foods may or may not entered one's body even before one was born since the information is not coming from oneself but one's parent genetic code. To prove this, there was an experiment in 1995 where Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist conducted so-called "Carrot Test", involving three pregnant women. One of them were asked to only consume carrot juice while being enceinte. Another were asked to only consume carrot juice while feeding breast milk. And the last pregnant woman not to consume carrot juice at all. At the end, the result blended towards Gasparini's point whereby the babies of the first two women liked the carrot juice, contrasting to the third baby who refused to drink carrot juice. Same result also goes with her experiment, involving mice in the wasteland area, whereby the pregnant mice were forced to consume only the junk foods (Sugar and Salt cube), as a result, their baby mice were enjoy consuming those kind of food and refused to consume any others . To this point, we can conclude that genetics are pointing towards survival. The parent chromosomes transcript the essential gene for survival into the one's chromosomes, including the TAS2R38 Genes that control one's consuming behaviour, to blend into the given environment and to survive into the given environment. Therefore, it is quite logical now to conclude that an initial consuming habit of an individual is largely depend on the environment, not necessary comes from after-born factors.

 

It is quite a journey to just explain why half of the world (not) like broccoli, I know. But not only this writing can explain my little curiosity, what we have discussed in this article also indicates that the behaviour of a particular individual may initiated from the parent and the environment. Hot climate, cold climate, rocky terrain, grass highland and so on, are very crucial to analyse one's habit since those biomes are creating unique living environment and our biological body tried to survive them. This article is hoped to be the example of fundamental behavioural study in social science where not only consuming habit but all existing habits, ideologies and culture were scientifically proved to be influenced by the environment. They are transcribed deeply into our epigenetics. What we do is what our body thinks it is best for it. 

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Paolo Gasparini, Prof.

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Roland Fischer, PhD.

 

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Comparative Developmental - Macroeconomic Model

of S.Korea, Japan and Thailand 

10 April 2022 -- Jomkhwan Borrirak 

25-30 min read

 

The term industrialisation seemed to be a huge turning point in the history of Asia. In the early 1990s, Thailand, South Korea and Japan all acquired approximately double-digit growth of Gross Domestic Product index which is quite spectacular in scale. This also includes other East and Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore whereby those mentioned states are entering the age of rapid industrialisation for the past decades.  A remarkable growth indeed needs a remarkable explanation. One may raise the question of how could those countries  achieve such impressive growth despite the fact that some of the mentioned countries, especially Japan and South Korea have all been through a harsh war-time economic catastrophe. As a political scientist, it is essential to gather information and acknowledge the factors that made up the result as a whole, as well as implementing new hypotheses in order to simplify the new context of analysis. Developmental state theory for example, is the hypothesis theory that could well-explicate the key reasons behind East and Southeast Asian rapid economic growth.

In this research, the reader shall find an extensive explanation regarding the Developmental State Theory, in which the research will prioritise institutional characteristics and theory’s mechanism of industrial policy. The reader shall also observe the deep analysis of the theory whereby Asian countries, especially Thailand, Japan and South Korea will be the case study of analysing the countries’ economic structure and policies. The research shall also conclude the major similarities between the Thai economic structure and the developmental state model, as well as the major contrast between them, along with self-researched facts to support the research’s arguments.

Developmental State Theory as it may seem, is the theory that indicates state-led economic development which was introduced by the political economist, Chalmers Johnson in 1982 through his notable work; ‘MITI and the Japanese Miracle’. The book itself provided an extensive understanding regarding the Japanese economic growth and how the creation of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) contributed to the rapid growth of the Japanese economy. Anyhow, the theory points out the unique characteristics of East Asian countries whereby a state has a strong intervention towards economic development. Those interventions include the fact that the rational state runs the regulations or setting up an economic environment for private sectors to conform. To put into an easier sentence, the theory is trying to emphasise what so-called ‘A state centralised control’ of a country’s economy in which the state centralised the economy through regulations. It is  possible to say that the developmental state model is quite contrast to the ‘Laissez-Faire’, an economic theory of free-market capitalism from the 18th century whereby the theory opposed any kinds of government intervention in economic affairs, which make sense as a developmental state requiring strong state intervention. It is also very essential to keep in mind that the term of intervention in the developmental state model is very much different from authoritarian economy whereby the state has full control over the market economy and the market force. North Korea as such is the proper example of the current authoritarian economy in which the private sector could not exist in the economic market, contrasting to the developmental state such as Japan or South Korea in the past decades whereby the private actors could still enjoy the economic liberalisation within the limit of the state regulations. Namingly, the developmental state can refer to the principle of ‘Plan rationality’, the principle which is somewhat between the notion of ‘market rationality’ and ‘plan ideology’

 

It is interesting to realise that each country will acquire a unique developmental state model due to differences in institutional characteristics. As mentioned previously, the creation of the MITI has provided a significant contribution and also notable institutional characteristics to the Japanese economy. This is including the fact that the appointed bureaucratic elites autonomously guided the control of the country's finances, which collectively means that the system could determine the labour markets or even the competition of those ‘zaibatsu’, —the giant private companies. Furthermore, the MITI was assigned to control the flow of foreign capital, allocating those funds for industrial development such as the purchase of high technological equipment and machinery importation (Charlotte Ng, 2008). These notable institutional characteristics provided significant advantages to Japan as a whole since the creation of MITI could centralise the Japanese industrial finance as well as ensuring the zaibatsu to follow its state guidance. Notwithstanding, the emphasising of the institutional characteristics often come with the analysis of industrial policies and the national interests. As it may seem, the characteristics can be shifted along with the national interests. Those national interests are created under the current interests of the state in which later then formed into policies that the state utilises for achieving those interests. For instance, the mentioned fact that the MITI could allocate foreign currency to the industrial sector, control the interest rate, bank loans, tax concessions or even the investment loans from the Japan Development Bank are counted as the industrial policy in which those policies, plus the distinctive bureaucratic system, made up the unique institutional characteristics in the Japan developmental state.

             

To provide the reader a deep analysis that can lead to the mechanism of the industrial policy, statistics of the figure 1 illustrated the dramatic growth in Japanese foreign exchange budget which categorised into Foreign exchange allocation goods (FA Budget) and Automatic Approval goods (AA Budget). Both of the budget in total is provided as a green line which showed significant growth from approximately 2,500 Million dollars to 3,400 Million dollars in the early 1950s before entering the downfall in the 1960s due to global competitiveness. The answer to such growth in the 1950s was the mechanism of industrial policy whereby the Japanese bureaucracy could control the financial sector through the establishment of the Export-Import Bank of Japan and the Japan Development Bank in 1951. As a result, the bureaucrat-controlled MITI could commited a credit allocation to the Corporate Sectors which best explains why there was a dramatic jump in total budget in 1953. The advantage of this kind of mechanism was the fact that all sectors (State, Financial sector, Corporate sector and Labour sector) could enjoy the output of the state-led industrial policy. For example, the financial sector could enjoy the capital flow from the FA budget and the AA budget. The corporate sector also had a benefit over a stable income source because of the promotion of industries and domestic industries protection, provided by the state. The labour sector was also enjoying the controlled price of individual commodities from the MITI’s de facto import quotas on the FA commodities (Okazaki, T. 2017). Finally, the state sector, which controlled the country’s macroeconomics and microeconomics in the first place, could satisfy the outcome of its industrial policies that were implemented at the beginning as a part of the developmental plan. Nevertheless, figure 1 also illustrated the downfall in total foreign budget in the 1960s as the result of more global competitiveness in iron and steel industries which was the main industry back then in Japan, but still the impressive growth in 1953 provided the extensive idea of how the state could made an impressive change in the flow of foreign exchange budget.


                                                                                      

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                                                                          figure 1; illustrated Japanese Composition of Foreign Exchange Budget 

To wrap everything up from the beginning to this point, the analysis of the industrial policies are provided as the visualisation of the bigger picture of the Japanese industrial policy mechanism. The industrial policies then made up the autonomous bureaucratic system whereby the system visualised into the distinctive Japanese institutional characteristics. As a result, the institutional characteristics, also known as the ‘principle of plan rationality’, made Japan a developmental state as a whole, according to Chalmers Johnson. 

As the reader now acknowledged the definition of developmental state from the paragraphs above, it is essential to realise that the developmental state model is often referred to the East Asia region since the region achieved quite a successful attempt in development by utilising state-led industrialisation in the late 20th century. However, it is also interesting to realise that Japan did not keep the model to this present day. The MITI was dissolved in 2001 as a part of central government reform. To provide a structural analysis, the biggest problem of the developmental state theory was the fact that the model indirectly created a network state whereby the ruling elites shared informal ties with the private sector (Okimoto, D. 1989) which would followed by the embedded autonomy of the ruling bureaucratic elites (Evans, P. 1995). Subsequently, there was no doubt that the policy-making process might be influenced by the Zaibatsu both directly and indirectly which was the major reason behind the Japanese central government reformation in 2001, and also a big reason behind the Korean corporate governance reform attempted by President Moon Jae-In (Kim, S. 2020) since those giants Zaibatsu and Chaebols made up too many parts in the countries’ economic market. To analyse in different perspectives, both Japan and South Korea did not seek some private ownerships to be too big on purpose but rather, it is an inevitable consequence of the developmental state model. South Korea for instance, heavily relied on external exportation and investment in its export industries in the past decades, making South Korea vulnerable to the goods and capital allocation as the factors of change were from outside of the country. Hence, the state intervention through the Japan model of interest subsidies could have ended up ineffective for South Korea since the country might encounter the inflationary refinancing of nonperforming loans as a result of companies’ fluctuations in earnings, and also faced the unnecessary increase of the state equity share of the banks (Okazaki, T. 2017). Therefore, the allowance of Chaebols’ strong ties to the Korean government would help the country’s exports rate and economic development, as the Chaebols could influence the country’s policy-making process for their interests which created a Korean distinctive model of developmental state. All in all, South Korea is still on its pathway in dealing with Chaebols while Japan could already tackle the consequences of the developmental state model by lowering the state intervention in the 1980s as well as the central government reform in 2001. Anyhow, such reforms did not occur in Southeast Asia.

As the reader shall now observe the comprehensive distinction between Japan and South Korea's institutional characteristics, both of the countries still showed the world of successful attempts for utilising state-led industrialisation as a part of the developmental state. However, the other parts in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, were also trying to bring up the East Asian model as well. Thailand, for an exemplary country, was a candidate to adopt the East Asian model of state development whereby the country began the state-led industrialisation in the 1970s. The state-owned utilities expanded rapidly in the 1970s consequent to more country’s domestic consumption of energy which provided a clear pathway for the state to intervene in the existing firms via industrial divisions and also to even create their own ones. Thailand’s state-owned utilities were composed of various companies such as PTT, MEA, PEA or EGAT in which some of those companies are considered to be large conglomerates that could influence government policy-making in the past decades. Moreover, the state-owned utilities also existed along with the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) which had the state-appointed headboard who controlled the NESDB and the Head Governor of the Bank of Thailand at the same time. All in all, it shall be concluded that the state, the financial sector and the corporate sector were partly merged during the 1970s which made up distinctive institutional characteristics that run the Thai mechanism of industrial policies as a whole.

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                                                               figure 2; illustrated the relationship between Thai state-owned utilities and the Thai ministries

Therefore, Thailand was definitely one of the state-led industrialisation which marked the similarity to the East Asian developmental state theory. To extend the similarities, South Korea, for example, did play a very similar role to Thailand in most perspectives of the institutional characteristics as well as the mechanism of the policies. It is interesting to realise that both countries actually started off with the economic catastrophe at the beginning. South Korea suffered from the war-time economic ruins while Thailand suffered from the hyperinflation in the late 1950s. In fact, the hyperinflation caused the Bureaucratic capitalism in Thailand to break down and forced the Sarit Thanarat’s government to decentralise the control of finance which provided the perfect pathway for the rise of ‘technocrats’, a mastermind actor who actually introduced the NESDB to the state. Anyhow, the harsh economic destruction encouraged both countries to adopt the developmental state model whereby two countries did approach it in different ways. South Korea for instance, had a vulnerable financial sector as the sector carried too many nonperforming loans due to the downfall in industries, but still, the Korean state was solid enough to utilise state-guidance industrialisation such as the import substitution during President Rhee Syngman, Outward orientation during President Park Chung-Hee and Balance and stabilisation during President Chun Doo-hwan (Kim, K. 1991). On the other hand, the Thai financial sector, as mentioned previously, is actually on the rise while the Thai state encountered political instability both domestically and externally. From military coup d’état to the Vietnamese threat during the Vietnam war. As a result, the Thai technocrats actually led the country’s development and gained tremendous influences. To provide the reader an idea of how influential the technocrats were, it is also very essential to notice that the Bank of Thailand had lost its independence in which two governors had been pulled away by the ministry of finance during the Silpa-archa’s government. Anyhow, the state-appointed technocrats made up new unique characteristics to the Thai developmental state model. As a result, new enacted industrial policies were made to control the countries’ macroeconomics and microeconomics as a part of state-led development.

Therefore, those facts above emphasised that Thailand was actually using a developmental state model in the past decades and still using it to this current time. The factors that differentiate Thailand and East Asia were the differences in institutional characteristics and mechanism of industrial policies. Nevertheless, the differences in characteristics still made an impressive growth. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the Korean manufacturing sector increased the share of GDP from 12.0% to 30.2% while Thailand also faced the decrease of agriculture to GDP from 40% in the 1960s to 15% in the 1980s whereby Thai manufacturing increased in size from 13% in the 1960s to 25% in the 1980s (Bank of Thailand, 2003). In fact, policy such as market liberalisation could give a tremendous hope for Thailand to be the heart of Southeast Asia financing and the fifth Asian tiger, at least before the country faced the recession in 1997. However, what is considered to be the huge side effect of using the model for Thailand, is the fact that the giant companies could put lots of influences to the point that reformation is close to impossible.

To conclude this section, the developmental state for Chalmers Johnson is defined under the plan rationality or system that has a rational state-led industrialisation for the purpose of economic development. By comparing the model to the Thai political economic structure, Thailand has met the criteria to be defined as one of the developmental state utilisers. However, the characteristics of Thai institutions were distinctive from others which made up completely new ways of mechanism of industrial policies, but still, the goal of economic development via state-led industrialisation was clear. By following the East Asian model, Thailand and other Southeast Asia countries could achieve rapid economic growth in the past decades before taking a recession in 1997, challenging the model as a whole, but still Thailand nowaday is utilising the state-led development model. The developmental state also created a consequence whereby the private sector has a strong informal tie with the government such as the case of Zaibatsu or Chaebols. As a result, Japan and South Korea have been attempting to reform the model in order to tackle the influences from those giant private ownerships. Anyhow, it seems that Thailand has been pushing away from such reform as the giant companies already put too many influences into the policy-making process, turning Thailand to be a semi-democracy where Thai politics turned into a stage between elites’ business interests.

                                                           

Macroeconomic Theories and 1970's South Korea as a case study 

If there is a consensus in the economic literature over the successful cases of the laissez faire-led economy, how one could explain East Asia’s relative economic miracle, especially in South Korea where strong state intervention has been utilised. It is interesting to analyse the fact that South Korea once stood on the top 25 poorest countries in the world in the 1950s and could have emerged into the 4th largest Gross domestic product in Asia and the 10th largest in the world in the matter of decades. The Korean pursuit of a strong economy was indeed one of the great development success stories. At this point, one may even raise the question of how South Korea could push itself forward to this very moment, including the question towards the industrial policies, tools and strategies that South Korea has been utilising.

In this section, the reader shall find the extended explanations over South Korean macroeconomic structure, as well as its economic development strategy during the 1970s. The section shall also include the background of South Korea as a whole, along with the consequences of the particular policies enacted by the Korean state and how those policies created a strategy with the state-business relationship. Last but not least, the reader also shall observe the research’s arguments regarding the Korean economic strategies, alongside opinions with self-researched facts. 

By analysing the South Korean economic strategy in the 1970s, the understanding of the country’s backgrounds are considered to be essential. Those backgrounds include all types of analysing environment aspects such as the three mainstreams of political, social and security. The political aspect, for example, has to do with the state characteristics analysis whereby the understanding of politics domestically and externally is crucial. The social aspect includes the social status and economy of the country. Lastly the security aspect required the understanding of domestic and external threats that may harm the political stability as well as the national interests. To provide the reader with such an analysis, the Post Korea war in the 1950s marked a relatively good starting point that created South Korea's environmental set up for economic development in the 1970s. After the Korean war, the country entered the period of dictatorial regime whereby President Rhee Syngman led the country from the end of the Japanese colonial rule in 1948 to his resignation in 1960. What was considered to be the main economic policy during his presidency was the fact that economic development along with Westernisation has been brought to South Korea. As mentioned in the introduction, the South Korean economic situation after the Korean war reached the critical point where an agrarian-led economy only achieved GDP per capita of $76 which left the country reliant heavily on foreign monetary aid. Despite the fact that the total foreign monetary aid was peak at $365 Million dollars, most of the fund often ended up to support an extremely large army due to the security aspect in which the large spending also caused the high rate of inflation up to 110 percent (U.S. Library of Congress, 1990). Therefore, South Korea under Rhee Syngman moved towards a rational state where state-led industrialisation has been implemented which marked as the industrial policy that set up an important environment for its rapid economic growth in the 1960s and the 1970s. Firstly, import substitution by the state was enacted to tackle the national scarcity of raw materials (Haggard & Moon, 1993). As a result, the industrial sector with the substitution tended to grow nearly 14 percent each year with the growth in Gross National Production nearly 5.5 percent from 1954 through 1958 with 3.4 percent annual growth in GDP each year (Kim, K. 1991). With that fact in process, the United States along with The United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency program (UNKRA) reduced the economic aid to only $91 million dollars, marking the starting point for South Korea to be self-reliant on economic aspects. Continuingly, after Rhee Syngman and his Liberal Party won an election in 1960, a “Seven-year Economic Development Plan” was implemented, right before the student-led April’s revolution took place. In fact, another economic plan, known as the “Five-Year Economic Development Plan” led by the revolutionary party, Yun Posun, was put into dirt by the Military Coup d’etat in 1961.

The reader shall now observe all three mainstream basic analyses of Korean background in the 1950s. The political aspect illustrated the fact that South Korea encountered political instability due to dictatorial rule. The social aspect showed how the country aims for economic development and advancing human capital via state-led industrialisation. Lastly, the security aspect which seems to be the most important factor, considering how South Korea paid tremendous attention by putting most of the funds into a large army in order to balance the power against North Korea. By analysing those factors, it could explain as well as simplify how South Korea approached economic growth in the 1960s and the 1970s. Furthermore, the decade of the 1950s has shown how the political aspect was a huge deal in scale for South Korea, but still, all regimes and individuals were having the same mindset on economic development. In the 1960s’ Third Republic as such, opened up new political and economic contexts whereby the dictatorial incumbents seeked to legitimise themselves through economic development plans. Therefore, it is possible to analyse that the upcoming economic development strategy during the Third Republic would be very much influenced by those elites. 

Export-based industrialisation is considered to be one of the essential strategies during the late 1960s and the 1970s. The strategy was enacted under Park Chung Hee’s military regime whereby the vision was to ensure the development of powerful export materials by supporting those export powerhouses. Those exports included many types of construction’s materials such as steels, chemicals and also electrical components to match the global demands on electronics supply. As a result, the export rate expanded rapidly, affirming the success in the disaggregation of different sources of income, rather than agricultural-based country’s income. To analyse deeper into the macroeconomic point of view, the export-based industrialisation during the Park’s regime and the import substitution policy in the 1950s caused the Chenery-Shishido-Watanabe’s input-output disaggregation method to occur in South Korea (Kellogg Institute, 1991) whereby the state’s import substitution played an essential tool as an input to improve the elementary capital for rapid output’s export expansion. Furthermore, the fact that South Korea could control its industrial policy, did tremendously help the export sector by which South Korea developed its own Neomerchantalist framework. That particular framework is known as the Eatwell framework of cumulative causation which is the strategy that creates a link between the world demand and the domestic output to ensure every Korean exported products would match the global supply chain. To put into easier words, the state could determine the country’s international competitiveness by comparing the initial export rate with the current export rate in order to adjust its industrial policies to bettering its export performance. For example, South Korea did observe the marginal growth in chemical exports in the 1970 by analysing the delta number of chemical export rate, subsequently, the heavy and chemical industrial policy was implemented in order to improve its international competitiveness regarding chemical industry. This example of policy is also the root to success in Pohang Steel Mill (POSCO) and other many state-supported products, mostly in the non-agricultural sector. As a result, South Korea could achieve GDP growth from $3.96 Billion in 1960 to $9.01 Billion in 1970 or average annual growth of 7.45 percent each year by having a peak at 14.56 percent in 1969 (Lee, J. 2016). This particular decade marked the grand turning point for the South Korean economy as a whole. The output materials were entering the global market, pushing the country to acquire such a significant catch-up. In fact, the well-known conglomerates or “Chaebols” in today’s world happened to set up their fortune in this decade such as Samsung which entered the electronics industry in the late 1960s or Hyundai motor which entered automotive manufacturing in 1967. Continuingly, the state-led economy through export-based industrialisation still proceeded in the 1970s and could even provide the country with an average GDP growth of 8.6 percent each year, even more than the 1960s. Therefore, there is no doubt that the state-led economy as the national strategy seemed to provide plenty of benefits to South Korea as a whole. Nevertheless, it could be said that the boom without bust did not happen for South Korea since the state interventionist model by military regime tended to show their double-edged sword in the political economy. In fact, some of the consequences of a state-led economic strategy still exist at this very moment.

To clarify the point, South Korea did overextend its economy as the import substitution and export-support industrialisation overflew the market circular flows which stimulate inflation and also caused the overwhelming foreign debt due to its industrial subsidy. By proving the number, the South Korean total foreign debt in 1961 was approximately $63 Million dollar while the total foreign debt in 1979 was groundbreaking $20,287 Million dollar (Park, W. & Collins, S. 1989). Keep in mind that the increase in foreign debt is not an unusual financial scenario in other countries either since the inflation due to the market expansion occurred across the globe, but still, such an overwhelming increase of foreign debt in South Korea was +32,101% increment within only two decades. With this huge amount of spending for subsidies, the inflation rate shot up once again at 40 percent in which the inflation would remain there for the rest of the 1970s decade until the balance and stabilisation policy during President Chun Doo-hwan got rid of it in the 1980s. Beside the economic consequences, the Korean political aspect also reached the critical point where the decade of 1970s was characterised as ‘the dark age of democracy’ in which Korean politics turned into the stage for state-business interests. Despite the fact that those developmentalist elites built up the country’s economic fortune, what came along with them seemed to be a scandal over corruption and the point over Chaebol’s dominance in the export sector which shared a defective relationship with the labour sector.

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                                                                figure 3; illustrates the Korean rate of profit according to Esteban Maito and Seongjin Jeong

It is also interesting to pay attention to South Korea’s rate of profit in which the export-based industrialisation could impressively show how successful the strategy was in the 1970s as shown in figure 3. However, the high rate of profit was mainly contributed to the industrial sector who got support from the state through macroeconomic subsidies and low wage labour regulations. Subsequently, the state-led industrialisation through export-based strategy during the 1970s indirectly created a loophole whereby a serious misallocation of resources widened the concentration gap of economic power. As a result, the export powerhouses who carried the entire country’s 58.3 percent of profit rate, could undoubtedly influence the state’s decision-making process whereby the labour sector was unequally pushed to ground by the state. Therefore, there is no doubt the labour sector would push back against this kind of oligopolization and dictatorial regime in which they did throughout the 1970s and would eventually turn the country into a true democratic country with labour rights in 1987. To this point, there is a potential question of the possibility that Korean democratisation has caused the downfall of the profit rate in the 1980s as shown in figure 3. To add some economic clarification, the democratisation did not cause the country’s rate of profit to fall, rather, the bearish trend of profit rate can be explained through the recognised theory of Tendency of the rate of profit to fall (TRPF). The theory has been introduced by Karl Marx through Chapter 13 of his notable book: Das Kapital where the theory stated that the rate of profit naturally decreases over time due to the cost increment of capital and also the increase of price inflation in each type of goods and service. With that fact, it could explain the reason why Korea's profitability declines each year and so do other industrialised countries such as the Netherlands where the country achieved 75% of profit rate in 1850 and just 15% in 2010 (Maito, E. 2015). Besides, a country's economic growth does not consider a country’s profit rate as an economic indicator, but rather the increase in goods and services per head of the population. With that in consideration, South Korea could observe the difference regarding economic growth during the military regime and the Sixth republic as shown in figure 4. The Yellow line represents the average National Income per capita if the military regime still admistrate, while in reality, the democratic reforms could acquire even more exponential growth. What is considered to be the achievement of Korean democratisation was the fact that South Korea has been attempting to tackle the consequence of having a powerful state sector with resources misallocation and the large gap of economic power as a consequence of state interventionist strategy in the 1970s. Nonetheless, even the democratic reform still did not tackle all of the strategy’s consequences, especially the state-business informal tie which is the nowsday’s ‘observable consequence’.

                                                   figure 4; the North and South Korea’s GNI with the yellow line as average growth of military regime in South Korea

Before going to the analysis of the ‘observable consequence’ and how South Korea tended to tackle them, it is essential to get a bigger picture from the beginning to this point. The analysed background during the 1950s marked the foundation for Korean individuals to make a major change. Additionally, the Korean war caused the destruction of more than 40% of the industrial sector and over 33% of the residential area, pushing South Korea down to the least-developed country. With that fact, plus with the political and security aspects, South Korea could get itself along its own history line where a state-led economy as the 1970s’ strategy made up the Korean economic miracle while also pointing out outcomes both positively and negatively.

By mentioning ‘observable consequences’, it means the consequence that can be observed in this current time. For instance, the fact over Chaebol’s economic dominance in today's time was the direct outcome of having the policy tool of resources and budget allocation to the export industry in the 1970s and the defective state-business relationship. In 2019, Samsung generated sizable revenue of 16.4 percent to South Korea’s total GDP while Hyundai Motor made up a second place of 9.7 percent which was followed by SK group, LG Electronics, Lotte and so on (Bank of Korea, 2019). By combining 64 known chaebols’ revenue, they built up approximately 1,919 Trillion won which comprised over 84 percent of the entire country’s GDP but surprisingly created only 11.4 percent of the country’s employment (Kyung-Hwa, S. 2020). The existence of Chaebol also provides the concern over transparency as the state-business relationship is still inherited to this current time. To clarify the point, the state-led development is also known as the developmental state model by which a state could interfere with the corporate sector through fiscal policy. This kind of relationship is the foundation that makes export-based industrialisation possible and yet effective since Chenery-Shishido-Watanabe’s input-output disaggregation method and Eatwell framework of cumulative causation could occur in the past decades, as mentioned previously. But still, state-business relations also create an informal tie between bureaucratic elites and Chaebols that led to the Corruption scandal and other related scandals. The Choi Soon-sil scandal in 2017 can be the example case whereby President Park Geun-Hye and her aide: Choi Soon-sil faced corruption charges, involving Chaebol’s donation money. The fact that the mass protests took place in 2017 to end such corruption could be said that South Korea is still trying to balance the consequences caused by the state-misallocation of resources to those Chaebols as a part of export-based strategy in the past decades. Unlike Japan where central government reform in 2001 could eliminate its conglomerate’s influence in the state, South Korea still faced difficulty in removing the conglomerate’s influence as those firms made too much contribution to the country’s economy. Anyhow, South Korea under Moon Jae-In is on its way to tackle this problematic issue by utilising the ‘Fair Economy Act’ (Kim, S. 2020), yet another state-controlled economic regulation to supervise private ownerships, especially those Conglomerates.

To this point, it is a clear consensus regarding the Korean double edged success story in an incredible short amount of time. The export-based strategy in the 1970s acquired the neomerchantist models whereby South Korea could achieve an impressive miracle through a state-led economy. With this fact, South Korea is considered to be one of the most successful state-led economies in the past decades and also an ideal model for developing countries to walk on its pathway. Anyhow, those who tried to walk on this pathway must accept the consequences of the upcoming difficulty of inflationary control, foreign debt balancing or even a state-business overwhelming economic gap by which even South Korea itself is still attempting to tackle it to this very moment.

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Understand Non-Communication Diseases (NCDs) in Thailand, using Systematic Thinking Theory.

11 June 2022 -- Jomkhwan Borrirak 

10-13 min read

 

If there is a consensus among individuals regarding the immediate response to a particular surface issue to achieve the satisfied outcome, how one could simply explain some certain issues that are relatively overgrown in size despite having plenty of solutions to the problems. It is quite intriguing to see that despite having quick solutions to the issues, one could still encounter tremendous difficulty due to the fact that specific issues have different leverage points. This statement probably explains the theory at once. In theory of systematic thinking, considering the leverage points, as the the theory suggests, offers a different dimensional and systematic analysis to find the potential lifting point which is usually located deep in the core structure of an issue. Hence, in order to find one, it is quite crucial to analyse, not only the surface problem, but also the fundamental structure of the issue as whole to find a relative fit of the solutions to the problem. Therefore, in this article, the reader shall find the utilisation of ‘stock and flow diagram’ in the systematic thinking theory as a mean to indicate a solution to the structural problem for such of the Non-Communication Diseases (NCDs) within Thailand whereby the article shall includes the analysis regarding the diagram, potential solutions and challenges as well as self-researched facts throughout the article;

 

THAILAND’s NCDs

In Thailand, Non-Communicational disease is considered as one of the problems that are in immediate need of finding a leverage point for a solution. It is prompt to kill more than 400,000 people annually which accounted for approximately 74 percent of Thailand's Mortality whereby 2.2 percent of the GDP is transferred annually to tackle the issue (WHO, 2022). The economic cost is also including the four policy prevention packages to prevent the exposure to any behavioural risk factors, especially from unhealthy diets, usage of alcohol as well as tobacco uses. Furthermore, Thailand has also been engaged with plenty of awareness rising campaign such as the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (known as – สสส.) in hoping for reducing the number of death that related to NCDs. Intriguingly, Thailand also collaborated plenty with international community and companies to tackle the issue such as the collaboration with AstraZeneca on NCDs education program throughout the country (AstraZeneca, 2021) or even implementing the WHO Health System Framework as the question of this article suggests.  Anyhow, with all the mentioned efforts in mind, Thailand still encountered the identical problem yearly with no sign of actually halting the problem. Surprisingly, all the information in this paragraph is actually the core systematic structure that leads to the NCDs problem as a whole.

 

CAUSES AND EFFECTS

To clarify the previous point, it is important to observe the stock and flow diagram below to better understand the system leading to the problem caused by the NCDs altogether. To begin with, the article considered the Population, Economy and NDCs related supply as stock in which they are altogether intertwined through flow factors. The population group is having Fertility and Mortality rate as the means of shifting, Economy has inflow and recession while NCDs supply with its supply inflow and outflow. This diagram illustrates the current system of Thailand towards the issue of NCDs within the country whereby the article shall illustrate that the System in Thailand towards NCSs tackling, has been, all along, prioritising the wrong perspective.

 

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To get straight into the point, the reader shall find that the Economic allocation (2.2% of the GDP) to the health sector is very much engaging with only population groups. With that being said, Thailand chose to approach the issue by prioritising only on Population perspective such as the case of implementing four prevention policies, creating a Health promotion foundation to inform individuals and even engaging with foreign companies for internal education. While it is true that informing individuals of the threats of NCDs to the country and individuals themselves, does alleviate the problem to the extent of reducing demand of NCDs related product, the paper strongly believes that focusing on Population factor alone tends to not effectively eradicate the issue as a whole since the leverage point is the Supply of Production within the system that causes NCDs. To clarify, the diagram above suggests that ‘Population affected per NCDs case’ usually came from the existence of NCDs related product supply whereby the supply inflow found to be greater due to higher consumption on such products as well as having government supportive utilises such as Tobacco Authority of Thailand (โรงงานยาสูบ) that making major Cigarette share in Thailand or Liquor Distillery Organisation (องค์การสุรา) that opens the liquor factories up to 13 in the country (Liquor Distillery Organisation, 2022). Not to mention various uncontrollable variables such as the individual's consumption on unhealthy diets or the even well-known pollution in Thailand that made up some cases of lung-related NCDs. In another word, Thailand has been prioritising on informing individuals over the threats of NCDs but has not tackled the supply of the NCDs related products due to the fact that the Thai government itself has participated in the supply chain of such products. With this fact, Thai individuals are forced to encounter the uncontrolled variables and inevitable consumption of the NCDs products as a result of no intervention from the government on the supply chain thereby creating the absenteeism or even death in the country, which has an effect on economics as the question of this paper mentioned and diagram suggested.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS AND CHALLENGES

To this point, it is now quite important for Thailand to change the perspective of finding solutions to the NCDs issues. Instead of prioritising on Population groups only, Thailand should consider its economic capabilities to enhance further control on NCDs related demands and supply since there is a marginal surplus in NCDs related products which causes the Population group to be exposed to the NCDs and causes economic burden as a result. With that fact, the paper will provide three constructive political economic proposals as following;

  1. Consider proposing fiscal reallocation through legislative and executive entities to effectively control the supply chain of the products that causes NCDs.

  2. Establishing the social contract as well as proper regulation to control personal consumption of NCDs related products. For example;

    1. Tax imposes on Sugar, Saturated fats and Salt usage that are above set standard

  3. Supporting R&D to enhance coexistence between humanity and the uncontrollable environment that is favourable to NCDs. For example;

    1. Investing in Carbon Capture Technology to alleviate lung-related NCDs

    2. Funding the genetic engineering to tackle behavioural-related NCDs such as the program on genetic rehabilitation of Alzheimer’s individuals.

Anyhow, there are some catches and challenges. All the three proposals will not come to place if there is not enough political support as well as individual’s pressure. This is considered to be the huge constraint within the WHO health system framework as the framework itself lacks the political factor regarding the system building block to meet their expected outcome, especially in Thailand where politics does play a huge role in decision-making. Remembering that the government itself has engaged with the supply chain of the product that causes the NCDs, by simply eradicating the supply, would give Thailand a very divided opinion and internal political constraints. Therefore, it is also important for Thai individuals to realise all the mentioned leverage points, push the proposal by pressuring authority and actually leverage it to happen.

 

CONCLUSION

NCDs tended to be the major threats to the socio-economic factors in Thailand as the large amount of infection and deaths are responsible for absenteeism and economic recession in a country. Hence, WHO has proposed the system framework for its member countries to follow its building blocks to better enhance the control of NCDs. Although as the stock and flow diagram has suggested that Thailand has well-achieved the Information block, anyhow the ability to shift its governance and financing building blocks to tackle the main leverage point of production supply chain, are considered to be Thailand's major constraints as the paper has mentioned the constraints of politics throughout the last two paragraphs. With that fact, the paper has proposed three potential solutions of fiscal reallocation, social contract and R&D to alleviate the issue to some extent whereby the paper also provides constructive challenges for individuals to overcome in order to enhance better quality of life, ensure economic growth of the countries and establishing strong state to be ready for risk environment that causes NCDs for once and for all.

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Thailand-China Economic, Security, and Cultural ties in the 1980s

7 August 2022 -- Jomkhwan Borrirak 

12-15 min read

(1) Economic Engagement in the 1980s ;

It is quite crucial to see that since mainland China has opened its economy, following Deng Xiaoping’s Economic Reform in 1978, China has observed an average of double-digit in GDP growth a year. With that fact, China increased its dependence on the global market, especially the export’s dependence that hit 40 percent-GDP-ratio in 2008. Along its way, Thailand also became one of its strategic economic partners. Additionally, Thailand got a huge benefit from the Chinese implementation of “Equity Joint Venture Law” in the year 1979 which was the regulation that established solid trade for inbound and outbound enterprises. As a result, during the 1980s, the foreign investments both in and out China skyrocketed as exchange capital was more than 469 Billion US Dollar worth. Furthermore, a set of Joint Venture Regulations in both of 1983 and 1984, resulting in more joint-venture entities to be increased tremendously whereby one of the parts is Thailand inbound and outbound investment as a result of having Thailand – China Joint Trade Committee (JTC) in which Thailand and China would cooperatively host the bilateral trade conference annually. Within the conferences, Thailand would be led by the Director General of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce whereby the Chinese side would be set by the Director General of the Asian Department, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) for any negotiations. The main targets of every conference were the setting up of predictable trade volume and support of trade expansion of both Thailand and China.

In the midst of Chinese enactment of the Wholly Joint Foreign-Owned Enterprise, the amount of Chinese investment in Thailand was the largest among Southeast Asian countries during the 1980s. This tended to be the legacy of 18th Thai Prime Minister, Prem Tinsulanonda that prioritised economic growth in dint of Post-Plaza Accord’s Japan and Post-Economic Reforms’ China which tended to be Thailand’s attractive characteristics during the Pre-financial crisis epoch. The potential motive of Chinese investment in Thailand is finding suitable markets and resources as China’s rapid growth was based on the so-called ‘resource-intensive manufacturing’ and exports. In which those businesses then became nowsday’s Thai conglomerates that could shape Thailand’s decision-making process as a whole because of the dominance of local socioeconomic order since Prem Tinsulanonda’s administration. For instance, CP Group, also known in China as "Zhèng Dà" (正大), has begun itself in 1978 and successfully rose during the 1980s and connected Thailand via ports in Special Economic Zone of Guangdong Province. Eventually, the group has nowadays become one of the monopolistic images of Thailand and has well-connected with Thai Banks and privately held Royal Warrant holders of the Thai Royal Family . Not to mention that the Chinese influence would increase even more after the Chinese “Go-Out Strategy” in the 21st century that involved investment in foreign countries by which more and more Chinese enterprises has entered Thailand.

 
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(2) Mutual Regional Security ;

As the reader observed the high economic engagement between Thailand and China in the 1980s, one might get a glimpse of other engaging perspectives. One of them being Mutual Regional Security in the midst of the security crisis in Indochina. The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia marked the beginning of Thailand-China Mutual regional security and both countries see Vietnam as a security threat. Initially, in June 1980, Vietnam rushed into Don Muk Mun, Thailand, causing high levels of panic among the Thais. However, what makes Thailand a unique characteristic is that Thailand under Prem’s administration has recognised this security threat as a proxy or power struggle among superpowers, hence the external players are viewed to be required. Thailand under the Prem’s administration, therefore, aligned itself with China, the rest of the ASEAN to engage with the Heng Samrin’s Cambodia, Aggressive Vietnam, and Backing Soviet Union. Military equipment and arms purchases were performed at so-called “friendship” prices such as 400 armoured personnel carriers and 50 Chinese T-69 tanks .

 

All in all, China during the midst of the Indochina security crisis highly rebuked Vietnam as well as having waves of support from various Chinese presidents during the time. The most well-known quote was by Yang Dezhi, General Staff Department who made a visit to Bangkok in 1983. “If Vietnam dared to make an armed incursion into Thailand, the Chinese army would not stand idle. We will give support to the Thai people to defend their country”. In other words, Thailand and China have established mutual security, marking as the security umbrella for Thailand in a sense. Moreover, during and after the tension in Indochina, the Thai-Chinese strategic cooperation went to many areas. Visits between high-ranked military officials of China and Thailand were increasing in significant time in the 1980s. Interestingly, Prem Tinsulanonda, later by the name of Thai Privy council president, still met up with Vice President Xi Jinping in 2011 regarding the talk of Thai-China relationship development

(3) Cultural Diplomacy ;

Cultural Diplomacy is considered to be one of the initial engagements that unify oneself with others through the same interests and culture. For Thailand and ASEAN, especially during the 1980s, China is among the actors that illustrated high influence in cultural diplomacy within Prem’s administration due to the Chinese openness policy. One being the Bamboo Network which well-represented the cultural diplomacy between Mainland China and ASEAN, also known as the networks of business informal connection between enterprises owned by ethnic Chinese families and expatriates in the region of Southeast Asia. The Bamboo Network linked Post-Chinese Economic Reform’s Economy to the metropolitan cities in Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok as ethnic Chineses in those cities were considered “Prosperous minority'' for hundreds of years. Nowadays, China has built its significant economic connection throughout the region during the post-Chinese economic reform era, using the existence of this sort of dominant socioeconomic order that could intervene or make up the decision-making process within Southeast Asian countries.

 

Cultural Diplomacy, as its name suggests, involves the way of thinking or philosophy of a certain culture. In this case, Family plays an essential role in Chinese businesses within Southeast Asia. What seems to be the advantages of Chinese family businesses are that those enterprises have no issues with loyalty, low overhead and flexibility. Therefore, in the bamboo network, the Chinese businesses are relatively midsize, anyhow, they are quite amassed billionaire fortunes.

 

In other words, Cultural relationships could be represented by networking or making business with individuals that are closer to the existing networks or family, also known as “valuing over traditional business relationships”. As a result, cultural diplomacy successfully makes economic, trade and financial activities straightforward and trouble-free. Communications and Interactions among families, even ‘Clans’ in China and some countries, has illustrated the essentiality.

 

Correspondingly, the cultural relationship has built the Chinese business connection across the globe, particularly in Southeast Asia. This kind of business influence notably surged in Thailand, whereby 20 out of the 31 billionaires were ethnic Chinese.

(4) Diplomatic Visits ;

As the reader has observed the high engagement between Thailand and China, one might see the importance of diplomacy from such an economic, security and cultural perspective. With this fact in mind, Thailand and China, particularly during the 1980s, have seen a significant increase in diplomatic visits, even though the diplomatic visits usually came in the form of security and economics, rather than focused on general state-visits due to the on-going tension in Indochina. The visits in as following list are the well-illustrated Thailand’s characteristics and interests during the Prime Minister, Prem Tinsulanonda that prioritised the security efforts rather than neutrality under Prime Minister Kriangsak Chamanan ;

  • The Prime Minister, Prem Tinsulanonda visited China two times in October and November 1980 for strategic consultations and arm dealing, right after the grand visit of Deng Xiaoping to Bangkok in November 1978. It is also important to note that the arm sales with so-called ‘friendship’ prices started during this period.

  • General Serm Nanakorn, The Supreme Commander of Thai Armed Force also made a visit to China in May of 1981 for military assistance and strategic advisory.

  • On the Chinese side, the Chinese Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang made a diplomatic visit to Bangkok, Thailand in February, 1981 to discuss future’s cooperation and tension in Indochina.

  • Two year later in 1983, the famous visit of the General Staff Department, Yang Dezhi visited Thailand and made a warning to Vietnam. Moreover, during the year of 1983, Supreme Commander General Saiyud Kerdphol of the Thai Armed Force, also frequently exchanged visits of Thai high-ranked military commanders.

  • Much later during Prem’s late administration, President Minister Li Xianian also made a visit in March of 1985.

  • The Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng visited Thailand in 1988. All of the Chinese side’s visits were for logistic coordination and general support as well as the Chinese Defence Minister Qin Jiwei that visited Bangkok in January 1989.

The list above also includes many Thai parliamentary delegations that visited China regularly to ensure Chinese support. To this point, the reader shall now observe that Thailand under Prime Minister Prem did put a high prioritisation on security aspects in plenty of Thailand-China Diplomatic visits which made the characteristics of Thailand during the 1980s as a whole. All in all, this sort of all diplomatic visits built up the Thai-China great relationship whereby Thailand could ensure the security of itself while China could also limit the influence of Marxist Vietnam in Southeast Asia.