The Development of Capital Groups and Business Networks in Northern Thailand from 1903 to Present

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Chaipong Samnieng

Abstract

This study aims to examine the economic transformation in Northern Thailand from a horizontal perspective. This approach could shed light on crucial factors affecting economic growth and the capital accumulation of capital groups. Furthermore, this approach allows us to see the relationships between several elements which have been changing and have consequently demonstrated “development process” in various scenes. For example, the railway expansion during BE 2440s had led to the expansion of market production; putting an end to trade and transportations by riverboats. Moreover, the development of land transport has led to the expansion of urban areas.


            The paper discusses on the following four major points: 1) The emergence of capital accumulation 2) The operation of capital 3) The economic conditions and context in each period 4) The social context of capital groups. The paper has argued that under the changing context of the economy, capital, capital groups, and state policies, it is found that a particular organizational culture, or what is known as the patron-client relationship, is formed under cooperation between the government and capital groups. Due to the significant role of capital groups in determining the direction of the economy, this study does not only reflect the dynamics of the power relations between stakeholders but also reflect upon the dynamics of the “capital” from past to present. These processes also serve to enhance our understanding of the economic transformation in Thailand.

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