Free Bangkok Essay Sample

Many political scientists and political economists have always maintained that because of globalization and capitalism as one of its facets, the global South has always been getting increasingly impoverished, but to the gain of the global North that has been getting gradually richer. The importance of looking at Bangkok in this case is therefore underpinned not only by the fact that it is a member of the global South, but also by the fact that it has been at the forefront pushing for the adoption of capitalism in the global south.  Thus, Bangkok serves as a perfect case study.

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Some of the Ways in Which Thai (Or Sino-Thai) Practices of the Kin, Folk, or Moral Economies Interact With Market Economies

The kinfolk economy is a form of economy that was dependent on communal ties, particularly, ethnic and kinship networks, while moral economy on the other hand is a type of economy that is reliant on money and markets that are governed or controlled by the expectations and values of the local community. The kinfolk and moral economy have points of interaction with market economy since both are driven by the need to make surplus capital (capital). Similarly, both are underpinned by some form of specialization since traders participated in selling the wares they had made themselves.

Similarly, both kinfolk and moral economy like market economy are all controlled by the force of supply and demand; albeit in a remote sense.  Both kinfolk and moral economy ensured that wares were made [if at all] and even in proportions that were proportional to the demands of the market.  At the same time, it is easy to see the vestiges of or nascent stages of development of specialization in kinfolk and moral economy since everyone sold his merchandise that he had produced.  

How Some of the Folk/Kin/Moral Economic Systems Have Managed To Endure, Despite Their Interaction with the Market Economy or the Market-Based Economic Change

It is a fact that there are some forces that have ensured the continual stay of kinfolk and moral economy despite the long exposure they have realized in the presence of market based economy.  It is pointed by Ara (3) that for one, the strength of nationalism in Bangkok has played a decisive role in keeping kinfolk and moral economy in existence.  It is pointed by Ara (4) that especially after the World War II, the 'we feeling' among the locals in Bangkok has been instrumental in ensuring protectionist policies and approaches to trade, among the Thais and everyone in Bangkok.

At the same time, the traditions of the Thais and those in Bangkok has been closely interwoven in Bangkok's economic principles and practices. Among the communities in Bangkok, cultural constructs and elements such as inheritance, resources, work and relationships are still enshrined and governed by kinfolk and moral economy, but (the same) are still severed from market economies.   

The Manner and Extent to Which Capitalist Economic Development Changed Aspects of Ethnic, National, Gender, Work, or Sexual Identities in Thailand

The entrenchment of a capitalist system in Thailand has totally changed the aforementioned social and cultural constructs in diverse ways. For instance, given that capitalism thrives on democracy and one of its tenets, the liberalization of the media, the Thai government has subsequently ceded away control over the media and the dissemination of information through mass media. Given that capitalism is driven by the individual need to make capital, this development has always left the Thai people exposed to infoganda and other forms of propaganda at the hands of the advertising industry. Similarly, the use of raunchy culture in advertising has increasingly led to the objectification of women and overrating of sex.                 

It is the same use of the media for the ends of making profits that has witnessed the steady trickling in of consumerism and materialism in Thailand. While these two have been denudating forces gradually eroding away at Thailand's nationality and patriotism, the same has been successful in undercutting faithfulness to Thai traditional values. This denudation comes in the form of the need to amass wealth and material values that are shown to be superior to ethical and moral values, which had been in times past embraced in kinfolk and moral economy.  At the same time, the need to concentrate capital in the hands of the individual has increasingly led to the denudation of the cultural and gender norms whereby certain areas were seen as men's preserve. Women have increasingly made inroads into large and small scale modern trade. Work and the distribution of duties have thus come to be left as dependent on individual choice and not cultural prescription that is based on gender.

The liberalization of the Thai market as a requirement of capitalism also led to the opening up of the same market to exotic products from the global North. Given that the global North had already undergone industrialization, these products were of superior and greater aesthetic values compared to locally produced wares in Thailand. Similarly, the industrialization of the global North made it that these products were produced in bulk. It therefore goes that Thailand became the dumping ground for cheaper, beautiful and exotic second hand wares from the global North, thereby shortchanging local industries in Thailand. The same led to foreclosures, downsizing and loss of jobs in Thailand. Left in the hands of misery, the social and cultural fabric became totally stained as others took to lawlessness as the last resort to fending for their needs.

Some of the Social Anxieties Induced By the Differentiation between of the Values of the Market and Values of the Kin/Folk Economy, Community, or Thai Culture

The social anxieties stemming from the dilemma between the values of the market economy and those of kinfolk and moral economy in the Thai culture are very apparent and pervasive in nature. For instance, the liberalization of the media and the subsequent use of the raunchy culture as a marketing tool have totally led to a clash of civilization as some see and emphasize the need to hold to the dictates of the Thai ideals such as diligence and honesty. Similarly, the introduction of free market as a facet of market economy has always been seen as being emphatic on the need to make profit, in lieu of making sure that the operations of the market and commerce are geared towards meeting the expectations and values of the local community. This development has paved way for competing interests in Thai politics as social democrats emphasize the need to tamper commercial activities and undertakings with old values such as the need to tame market dynamics to reflect some elements of kinfolk and moral economy values as capitalists and liberal democrats clamor for the stark naked capitalism and its free market.


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