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Thailand’s Boom and Bust

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By Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND: SILKWORM BOOKS, 1998 368 PAGES

Thailand’s Boom and Bust is an examination of both the fundamental changes and subtle developments associated with Thailand’s decade-long economic expansion that ostensibly started in the mid-1980s. In my view, Phongpaichit and Baker do a fine job of steering clear of indulging in what often tends to be a dry and worst yet, one-dimensional economic analysis of Thailand’s experience during the aforementioned period. At first glance, it might appear as if the authors embark on a rather overly ambitious task of providing any meaningful assessment of the boom and bust on the varied spheres of Thai society. Yet the reader will find a tightly knitted, edifying, and provoking look at the genesis of boom and its impact domestically. Beyond examining the sources and economic consequences of the expansion and subsequent bust, the authors address social, cultural and political implications associated with the decade-long prosperity. In this respect, the twelve chapters of the book incorporate a reasonably healthy dose of political and social changes to paint a fairly inclusive picture of the transformation of Thailand.