Unequal Thailand

unequal_thailandWilliam J. Jones of Mahidol University International College in  Thailand has a review available of Unequal Thailand: Aspects of Income, Wealth and Power, edited by Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker, and published by the National University of Singapore Press in 2016 (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1247189).

This important collection and the reviewer observes that inequality:

… is omnipresent wherever one goes in Thailand and undergirds the open understanding among Thais of a deeply divided, unfair, unjust and unequal society. The depth of this inequality was until recently one of Thailand’s least explored features, where people know of wealthy families, unusually wealthy military and police figures but the sheer scale of which was the subject of rumour and general speculation punctuated only by the annual Forbes lists, academic reports or occasional reports in the local press.

This makes the book a “ground-breaking collection” that:

provides insight into the structural underbelly of political conflict and historical economic development. Thailand’s ongoing political struggles, regardless of claims to the contrary, have strong class overtones and upon rising to the surface are tearing apart the fabric of the polity. While it is apparent to any observer of Thailand’s urban development that massive inequality exists by simply entering any neighborhood where one can witness massive homes and middle income communities adjacent to slums and shanty dwellings and small unregulated business which are a result of a lack of urban planning and zoning but also a “natural” consequence a structural imbalance in Thailand’s economy and a deliberate lack of policy action to deal with wealth concentration and massive inequality.

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