Post-Crisis Economic Impasse and Political Recovery in Thailand

The Resurgence of Economic Nationalism

Author: Kasian Tejapira


This article presents a critical analysis of an important emergent trend in Thai politics in the aftermath of the 1997 economic crisis, namely, economic nationalism. Focusing on the situation on the eve of the last general election in January 2001, it attributes the rise of economic nationalism to the chronic post-crisis economic stagnation. This is caused in turn by the credit system-paralyzing contradiction between the globalized financial sector and the nonglobalized "Thai-Thai" corporate sector resulting from a halfway globalist/neoliberal reform. The article then describes and analyzes the various socioeconomic and political cultural milieus from which nationalist propagation and movements arose by dividing them roughly into two main groups: the crony capitalist nationalism of oligarchic nonperforming loans (NPL) entrepreneurs and the radical populist nationalism of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and people's organizations. The article concludes by subjecting the two nationalisms to critical comparison and questioning.
Countries: Thailand

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September 2002
© Jeff Kingston