Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai 'tiger'counts price of progress



Thai 'tiger'counts price of progress

Thai 'tiger'counts price of progress

Thais beat their chests a little less proudly now because they realize the enormous

social, environmental and cultural costs of becoming Asia's next "Economic Tiger."

Some also question whether Thailand can sustain economic growth.

But for the time being, the Thai economy's engines whir overtime and its growth rate

is the envy of a recession-plagued West.

The National Economic and Social Development Board projects growth of 7.7 percent

this year, up from 7.4 percent in 1992. Bangkok is one huge building site, the stock

market booms, new millionaires abound.

In part, Thailand's success has come from a solid agricultural base, sound fiscal

policy and a well-planned export drive in the 1980s. Foreign investors, especially

Japanese, have flocked in.

In an all-out race toward "tiger status," however, governments have followed

policies reminiscent of 19th century anything-goes capitalism, with predicable results.

Forests have been stripped, rivers poisoned, seas depleted.

"During the past three decades, the Economic Development of Thailand has been

dependent on growth achieved through increased utilization of natural resources,

but in the process, it has also resulted in improper exploitation," the Bangkok

Bank concluded in a study.

Human costs mount as well. An often corrupt, inept bureaucracy cannot keep pace with

a dynamic private sector with little social responsibility.

With profit, not law, often the maxim, sweatshop and patently unsafe factories proliferate.

Lack of planning has created a bloated, traffic-ridden, polluted capital that drives

some potential investors away.

The education system has lagged. Economic planners point to a growing shortage of

skilled labor and middle managers, which could hamper a move from labor-intensive

manufacturing to areas requiring greater technology and skills.-AP

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese