T4203 THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THAILAND
January 4-29, 2014
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Salong, Chiang Saen, Krabi
The Political Economy of Thailand introduces students to this newly industrialized, Buddhist, export-led, constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy of 68 million people in Southeast Asia. Through an integrated set of assigned readings, lectures, site visits, experiential activities, and guided reflection, students learn how Thailand’s politics, religion, geography, and history influence the development and current performance of its economy.
According to the World Bank, between 1985 and 1995, Thailand had the world’s fastest growing economy averaging 8.4% per year. The Asian financial crisis, beginning with the collapse of the Thai baht in July of 1997, led to a deep recession in 1997-1998. Growth returned in 1999, at a reduced pace, interrupted again by slow and then negative growth in 2008-2009 caused by the global recession. Growth returned in 2010 despite Red Shirt protests. The floods of 2011 again led Thailand into negative economic growth. In developing our understanding of these trends and their causes, we will give special attention to understanding how Thailand’s agricultural and tourist sectors of the economy changed throughout this period of boom, bust, and renewed expansion. Our travels will be primarily in and around Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Krabi.
The course begins in Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok. Highlights include meeting with officials from the Ministry of Tourism, visiting the US Embassy, as well as visits to the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Pho, and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. Guest lecturers from faculty at Ramkhamaeng University and/or Thammasat University will guide our introduction to the Thai economy and its recent economic performance.
In Chiang Mai, faculty from Chiang Mai University’s institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) will provide insight into the economic, social, and political history of the region, particularly Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, as well as the contemporary political economic situation within Thailand. In addition to these lectures, we will visit sites related to agricultural production (Fair Earth Farm and the King’s Sufficiency Center) and different types of tourism (Ban Chang Elephant Park and Wat Doi Suthep). In addition, we will take a four-day, three-night excursion to visit Mae Sai in the “Golden Triangle.” Once a famous opium-producing region, government policy and individual initiative have transformed the area into other forms of agricultural production and aided its development as a tourist destination. A few of the highlights of this northern journey include visits to The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), the Hill Tribe Museum and Education Centre, the Chinese Martyrs Museum, the Khun Sa Museum, and the Hall of Opium. To better understand the Thai tourist industry, we will fly south to Krabi. We will spend the last few days of the course exploring, discovering, and creating in one of Thailand’s most popular beachfront tourist destinations before returning to Bangkok for our flight home.
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, continental breakfast daily, five lunches and thirteen dinners. (subject to change)
This course requires a two-course sequence in principles of economics (at Augustana College, these are Econ 120 and 121).
Jones, Roger. Thailand–Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture. Kuperard, 2006. ISBN-10: 1857333144.
A course packet of assigned readings and a bound journal to be used for written assignments will be available in mid-December. It will include selections from journal articles, newspaper stories, and book chapters.
15% Preliminary Paper
15% Site Report
10% Participation, Decorum, Attendance, and Tardiness
30% Reflective Journal Entries
20% Final Comprehensive Integrated Group Presentation
10% Final Vocabulary and Geography Examination
Reynold F. Nesiba, Ph.D., Augustana College (605) 274-5310
Description of Faculty Director
Dr. Nesiba is an Associate Professor of Economics at Augustana College and an award-winning teacher, textbook author, published scholar, and experienced leader of study abroad courses. Dr. Nesiba received his B.A. in economics from the University of Denver in 1989, and his M.A. (1991) and a Ph.D. (1995) in economics from the University of Notre Dame. He is the recipient of both the Augustana Student Association (ASA) Faculty Recognition Award and the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award for his teaching. His two co-authored textbooks, An Introduction to Financial Markets and Institutions, and Economics: An Introduction to Traditional and Progressive Views, are published by and available from M.E. Sharpe. Dr. Nesiba’s individual and collaborative academic research has been published in a variety of journals including Social Problems, the Journal of Economic Issues, the Journal of Urban Affairs, Cityscape, the Review of Radical Political Economics and other edited volumes. His current research interests include mortgage foreclosures, modern monetary theory (MMT), and evaluating undergraduate political economy curricula. Over the last decade, Reynold has led or co-led three spring break travel seminars to Nicaragua, five January-term courses to Australia, and this course to Thailand. Thus, this is his second opportunity to lead this course to Thailand.
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2013
For more information on course content, contact Prof. Reynold Nesiba
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.