Thailand Essay

free essayThailand is a kingdom found in South East Asia that is bordering Myanmar and Laos. Cambodia, Malaysia and India are also countries that Thailand shares a border with. Currently, the kingdom is ruled by King Bhumibol Adulyadej since 1946, making him one of the longest ruling kings in the world. Debate exists in the academic cycles on whether Thailand is a third world country or not. Most people in Thailand think of their country as developed, but in real sense, Thailand is still a developing country; it is actually considered a third world country. One reason that makes Thailand to be a third world country is because of the inability of the country to guarantee high quality utility services. This includes the consistent supply of energy products, water and other utilities that are beneficial to people of Thailand. For instance, Thailand normally experiences power blackouts for some period of time. Developed countries rarely experience these power blackouts, and this is because they have extensive infrastructures that have been put in place to protect against any unwarranted power failures and blackouts.

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Aid and Development in Thailand

Up to 1995, the United States has been one of the major contributors of aid to Thailand. Through USAID, the United States funded projects in agriculture and other infrastructural projects that could help to promote the development of a state (Srisomyong and Meyer 98). These infrastructures include building roads, supporting energy initiatives and investing in the healthcare sector of state. Money coming from USAID was well utilized, leading to the development of the economy of Thailand. In fact, in 1995, the government of Thailand managed to declare itself free from aid, and started positioning itself as an aid donor (Keyes and Tanabe 17). Countries that normally position themselves as aid donors are always economically developed, and have a high rate of GDP.

A good example is a country, such as China. In the last ten years, the Chinese economy has been growing by more than 10%, as a result making China one of the developed countries in the world. In fact, China has the second largest economy in the world, after the United States. This trend of economic growth in China is similar to what Thailand was experiencing between the years 1985 to 1996 (Baker and Phongpaichit 12). During this period, the economy of Thailand was growing by 12.4%. It is this economic growth that made Thailand to be one of the economic giants in Asia, but the growth was not sustained because of pressure on the baht. In 1997, the economy experienced decline in growth, with its economy growing by 1.9%. This is an indication that Thailand was still a developing country, because of the instability of baht, and the countrys economy.

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In 2003, Thailand started accepting aid form the United States and other countries, such as Australia. For example, in 2003, USAID came back to Thailand, and began sponsoring development programs in the country (Keyes and Tanabe 17). This is an indication that Thailand had not graduated to a developed country. Had the country graduated to such status, Thailand would not have accepted AID emanating from USAID. Majority of development assistance that United States gave to Thailand was through regional programs. These programs were initiated by the USAID, and covered the entire Southeast Asian countries. One example of such kind of programs was the USAID-Sapan program. In supporting this program, the USAID gave funds to women development projects, for purposes of financially empowering women. The intention of these programs is to remove women from poverty, and increase the rates of GDP in Thailand. Furthermore, the Sapan program aimed at training the citizens of Thailand on some of the economic initiatives that they can engage in, for purposes of making them financially independent.

Australia also significantly contributes to the development of Thailand. Australia in partnership with Thailand have developed the program called DFAT-Australian Aid. The intention of this program is to help Thailand solve some of the social problems that the country faces. These social problems include human trafficking, poverty, high rates of HIV/AIDS, and poor education system. Due to the existence of these problems, and the presence of international organizations to help Thailand in combating these problems, it is possible to denote that Thailand is still a developing country. It does not have the necessary resources and infrastructures that can be used for purposes of solving various social problems and challenges that it faces.

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In addressing the challenges of its economic system, the government of Thailand encourages the growth of micro-finance institutions on the go. The country has more than a thousand microfinance organizations. These institutions play a significant role in providing capital that can be used in starting and developing small business organizations. One of the largest micro-finance organizations in Thailand is the Village and Urban revolving fund. As of 2016, this micro-finance organization had provided about $4.6 billion in loans and funding to small scale business organizations. This had an impact of creating more jobs and improving the economy for the benefit of Thais.

Agricultural Growth and Jobs in Thailand

An important characteristic of third world countries is their reliance on agriculture. In as much as the economy of Thailand does not heavily rely on agriculture, agricultural activities contribute to a substantial percentage in terms of countrys GDP. Currently, agriculture contributes to 9% of the GDP because these low reliance on agriculture that Glassman (4) maintains that Thailand is a developed country (Raquiza 17).

Between the years of 1960 to the year 1970, there was an expansion of agricultural activities in Thailand. It was easy to expand Thailand agricultural activities because there was an existence of expansive land that could be used for agricultural purposes. Furthermore, there was enough labor because of the high number of people who were unemployed, and they were willing to work on the farms and the agricultural industry of Thailand (Glassman 4). Any business and economic industry cannot achieve success if they lack labor. Between 1960 to the year 1983, the agricultural industry of Thailand grew by 4.1% annually, employing 70% of people of Thailand.

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The government of Thailand insisted on agricultural development as a condition for industrialization. In promoting the agricultural industry of Thailand, the government taxed foreign agricultural products highly, while reducing the taxes charged on Thai agricultural products. Furthermore, the products of these foreign countries were highly taxed for purposes of increasing the governments revenue to fund other sectors of economy.

Money from these taxes helped in the growth of other sectors of the economy, and this had an impact of reducing the amount of labor that the agricultural industry in Thailand had. For example more people began looking for work in other sectors of the economy, and this includes in factories, education sector, healthcare, etc. Thailand now became an industrialized country, and its agricultural industry became modernized. Furthermore, the agricultural industry of Thailand declined in terms of financial importance, in favor of industries that were operating in Thailand.

The industrialization of Thai economy had an impact in the manner in which agricultural production was done. Because of the shortage of labor, farmers began using technology to improve the quality of products they were producing. This significantly improved the quality of farming products, resulting to an abundance of food for the local population, and extra for imports.

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Conclusion

Thailand has made significant efforts to improve its economic development since 1995. For instance, between 1985 to the year 1995, the economy of Thailand was developing by 12.4% annually. In 1995, the country announced that it no longer needed aid, and it should be considered as an aid donor. However, the country was unable to sustain its economic development, and in 1997, with the decline of the Baht, Thai economy experienced a negative decline. The country needed aid, and it got the aid from the United States, through USAID and some from Australia. One of the major strengths of the Thai economy is the existence of microfinance organizations. Thailand has a significant number of microfinance institutions, and they play an important role in financing small scale business organizations. They are important sources of capital, and as of 2015, one of the leading microfinance organizations in Thailand issued about 4.6 billion dollars in terms of loans. This money was used in starting small business organizations, leading to the creation of jobs, and improvement of Thai economy. Thailand has also experienced a significant improvement in its agricultural sector. The agriculture industry contributes 9% of the GDP, which is a significant volume. Furthermore, this is low percentage, as compared to other third world countries whose agricultural sector contributes to more than 50% of the GDP. The low contribution of agriculture into the economy of Thailand is an indication that the country is industrialized, hence moving to the first world classification.

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