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Title: Economics is the Deciding Factor: Labour Politics in Thaksin's Thailand
Contributor(s): Brown, AJ (author); Hewison, KJ (author)
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: The landslide electoral victory of Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party in February 2005 means that the most powerful elements of big domestic capital will continue to manage the affairs of the Thai state. In this article, we focus on the relationship between this capitalist state and the politics of labour, with considerable emphasis on the organized elements of the working class. We argue that the TRT, during its first term in office, pursued a clutch of labour-specific policies, with two broad objectives: first, to facilitate the creation of a more flexible and better-skilled labour force, seen as necessary for the development of a restructured, globally competitive capitalism; and second, through the construction of a new social contract, to deal with some of the inevitable tensions that have been generated by structural change and wage labour's deepening exposure to the vagaries of local, regional and global market forces. The TRT is also embarking on further reforms, the nature of which indicate that, for business and the state, labour's interests will be further subordinated to the shifting demands of capital accumulation. Now that domestic capital has mostly recovered from the economic crisis, the populism of the TRT's first electoral campaign, which appeared to reject neo-liberal reform, is being replaced by a populism that accepts neo-liberal restructuring. Most notably, privatization, which the TRT opposed when it was part of IMF-sponsored reform, is now being embraced by the party, and looms as a key area for further tension between organized labour and the government.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Pacific Affairs, 78(3), p. 353-375
Publisher: University of British Columbia
Place of Publication: Canada
ISSN: 0030-851X
Field of Research (FOR): 160606 Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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