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“Creating Thai Capitalism during Two Eras of Globalization”
Thammasat Business School Bangkok, July 13-14, 2013
An international public conference (free of charge)
Thammasat Business School, Bangkok, July 13-14, 2013
National economies differ. The world anno 2013 is comprised of national economies with infinite number of distinct characteristics such as the role of the state in business, financial systems, the nature of firms, ownership regimes, mechanisms for the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship. Although much is known about the varieties of capitalism that developed in Europe, North America and Japan, historical research on those in emerging economies is still relatively limited. This conference entitled, “Siam then, Thailand now: Creating Thai Capitalism during Two Eras of Globalization” will contribute to filing this gap in existing scholarship by addressing the many internal and external forces that shaped the development of Thai capitalism in the broader context of global business history.
In order to understand Thai capitalism today, it is necessary to start with its origins since the nature and dynamics of business and the institutional setting in Thailand can only be revealed through longitudinal, in-depth and systematic studies. This conference will attempt to map a history of Thai capitalism by focusing on its main catalysts. It will therefore not trace all of the stages of the globalization process for the simple reason that some periods had a greater impact on Thai economic development than others.
The eras selected for discussion and debate during the conference will help to delineate the process of the formation of Thai capitalism. The transformations that took place during each era laid the groundwork for a path-dependent, enduring trajectory into the decades to follow. The first era from the 1880s to the 1920s witnessed Thailand’s early integration into the global economy thanks to the introduction of essential new technologies such as electricity and the entry of modern multinationals from the West. The second era starting in the 1960s can be characterized by an acceleration in the globalization of the Thai economy via inward and outward foreign direct investment. The introduction of new managerial know-how changed the way local businesses operated and interacted. The interplay between internal and external forces—some of which sparked greater efficiency and growth while others caused devastating shocks—occurred throughout Thai business history and continue to influence and redefine “Thai capitalism” in its ever-changing political and economic context.