Claims about Thailand

Another dimension of royal power is the monarchy’s vast financial holdings, estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars. Principal among these is the Crown Property Bureau, which holds large amounts of land and has stakes in many big industries. The throne is also an important source of business patronage, including through the awards of royal warrants to companies. One past recipient was King Power, the duty-free business of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Leicester City, the English Premier League football champions.

That is from the Financial Times.  Have any of you seen good analytical pieces on the future of Thailand, after the passing of the King?  I believe their economy has more rot than is sometimes recognized.

Comments

I lived in Thailand for about a year.

The lese majeste laws prevent 'good analytical pieces' from being published. A blogger in the USA (of Thai extract) was arrested for making comments on his blog. There's two famous academics, one with a Caucasian name, who write scholarly articles about Thailand and I would imagine they are immune due to their pedigree. King B himself was OK (though he may have accidentally or otherwise murdered his brother when younger, Google this) but the palace court, affiliated with the "Yellow" party, made a cult out of him.

As for the Thai economy, it was dependent on electronics, which have slumped due to PC sales leveling off, and I don't think they have as much mobile phone component sales as Taiwan or China.

That's my two baht analysis of Thailand, and due to an aging population, it will have a hard landing IMO (one reason I left TH for the Philippines, not enough young people).

From memory, King B used to get money from homely cute little craft shops that are found in all Thai airports. He's been criticized for doing too many 'green' projects involving costly dams. Crony capitalism abounds in Thailand (not just the Red Shirt Thaksin, who got his start somehow getting auction rights to telecom bandwidth), but also banks (the Royal family has a stake in one of the banks there, I think it's SCB, but I see from here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banks_in_Thailand the state has a 50+% interest in KTB (ธนาคารกรุงไทย). Thailand has lots of oligopolies, as does most of southeast Asia. If you are successful in any of these countries you must have a native partner (by law, in Thailand, you need to have a 51% interest native born business partner; same is true in the Philippines), and if you're really successful, unless you have a factory protected by a treaty of some sort, you'll be run out of town and your business will be appropriated. Third World laws, very common.

Bonus trivia: one of the founders--in Austria where they have First World laws for the most part--of Red Bull was a Thai. He got the idea of a super-caffeinated energy drink from seeing how they use stimulants in Thailand, especially day laborers and truck drivers. Even and especially old women working the rice fields will chew the hallucinogenic stimulant "betel leaf" (which I used to think was 'beetle' sic) ("The betel (Piper betle) is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family, which includes pepper and kava. It is valued both as a mild stimulant[1] and for its medicinal properties. Betel leaf is mostly consumed in Asia, and elsewhere in the world by some Asian emigrants, as betel quid or in paan, with or without tobacco, in an addictive psychostimulating and euphoria-inducing formulation with adverse health effects.[2][3] Betel is notable for staining the teeth of regular users.") Causes cancer, but people don't live long in the tropics (mid-60s is old age there) so it's OK.

Your loyalty to the empire is unmatched.

I thought it good if the government has a stake in the success of the broader economy?

........yes, parasites have a strong self interest in viability of the host victim

Consider the possibility that the FT isn't really thinking about Thailand when it says "Another dimension of royal power is the monarchy’s vast financial holdings, estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars. Principal among these is the Crown Property Bureau, which holds large amounts of land and has stakes in many big industries. The throne is also an important source of business patronage, including through the awards of royal warrants to companies."

Oxford Analytica has written pretty extensively about the Thai economy and post Bhumibol scenarios. Unfortunately their Daily Brief site is pretty heavily paywalled but what I've seen is good.

Pasuk Pongpaichit and Chris Baker have jointly written excellent books on both the economy and politics, but not perhaps on what the future holds post-King Bhumibol. The economy is more resilient than might be supposed, as certainly are the people. Your post on the concentration of public spending in the capital area points to the underlying challenge, which is not insuperable.

Yes, these are the two academics I referenced upstream, Pongpaichit and Baker.

A good start would be "Unequal Thailand", by Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker, which concentrates on the distribution of income and wealth in Thailand. We can send you a copy if you would like. One of the contributors (you would have known her as "Nee", is a former student of yours.

http://nuspress.nus.edu.sg/products/unequal-thailand-aspects-of-income-wealth-and-power?variant=7110925253

As somebody living in Thailand, I would say that the economic problems are a bit over-blown. Thailand has many problems similar to what we are seeing in the BRIC countries, but those are economic problems due to bad governance. Thailand is blessed with a government that only consumes 25% or so of GDP, rather than 40%, so the problems tend to have less impact on the rest of the economy.

Those that run the show get the money. That's the way it is everywhere. Otherwise individuals wouldn't be so intent on being the boss.

A few months ago, at the website "New Mandala," the pseudonymous Llewellyn McCann wrote a good political analysis of the Thai royal succession and its meaning for Thai elites. (http://tinyurl.com/z9lu65a)

Good link. Tks

No, but you can read how the British destroyed the monarchy in Burma and it now is a total basket case.

It’s extremely interesting reading about this and I really love this blog in every way. I believe if we wish to be good in a business like Forex then we need to keep all these things in mind. I never have to make too much effort due to this blog and my broker OctaFX which completes the picture through their expert updates daily, it’s so nice to trade through it and that really helps me with working to bring plenty of rewards with complete comfort.

Comments for this post are closed