The Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation (TDRI) is commemorating its 30th Anniversary in 2014. In keeping with its vision statement “To be an independent academic institute that takes part in creating public policies for the benefits of the Thai society,” TDRI has during the past three decades maintained its status as an independent policy research institute that strives to advance the frontiers of knowledge of the Thai economy, to propose public policies that benefit the country and to scrutinizes adverse government policies. To commemorate this special occasion, TDRI scholars and researchers will review the development of the Thai economy during the last 30 years and will look ahead to the social and economic development in the next 30 years.
One of the key discoveries from reviewing the past development of the Thai economy is that Thailand has been successful in maintaining stable economic growth for decades by focusing on developing the export-oriented manufacturing sector that relies heavily on low wages of unskilled labor and disregards environmental conservation. However, this economic development model has caused widening economic and social inequality and worsened environmental problems. It also does not help the country to escape from the middle-income trap.
Thailand thus needs a new development model that would bring about “quality growth” – i.e., growth which 1) is productivity-based 2) enhances social equality 3) ensures environmental sustainability and 4) supports economic stability. These goals must be realized within the next three decades before the Thai economy becomes hard pressed by problems associated with an aging society.
Content of the Conference
Based on the above concept, the conference will comprise of presentations of four academic papers:
Paper 1: Dynamic Growth: Enhancing Competitiveness
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has categorized Thailand as an “efficiency-driven country,” a stage before becoming an “innovation-driven country.” As Thailand’s innovation capability remains below those of neighboring countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the country’s long-term competitiveness is seriously threatened.
To enhance her innovative capacity, which is fundamental to a dynamic growth, Thailand needs to have two types of infrastructure in place; the physical infrastructure, such as public transportation system and Information and Communications Technology, and institutional infrastructure, such as rules and regulations, as well as government policies which facilitate private sector innovations. This paper will present the ways in which both types of infrastructure could be improved in order to make Thailand an innovative-driven country in the next three decades.
Paper 2: Sustainable Growth: Managing Natural Resources in an Equitable Manner
The implementation of large-scale government projects for managing natural resources or dealing with natural disasters rarely give importance to the issue concerning sustainable development. Due to the lack of stakeholders’ participation in the decision making process, many projects faced strong resistance from affected parties such that many had to be put on hold or cancelled.
Climate change in the next thirty years will no doubt amplify Thailand’s social and economic vulnerability. The key question is how can Thailand better manage her economy in light of these challenges given the country-specific social and economic demands and limitations?
Paper 3: Stabilized Growth: Creating Fiscal Discipline and Good Governance
As economic stability is the fundamental supporting factor of long-term economic growth, it has always been the main objective of macroeconomic policies in Thailand. In the future, however, Thailand will likely encounter greater challenges in maintaining economic stability, especially in the management of fiscal resources that will be facing greater demands from the aging society, increasing pressure on welfare policies and economic slow-down. Therefore, long-term fiscal policies are crucial, including tax reform, transparent and accountable fiscal policy process, as well as fiscal discipline rules.
Paper 4: Equitable Growth: Creating Opportunities and Reducing Public Risks
An equitable society is a society which gives opportunities to and protects its people from social risks in an equitable manner. Every citizen should have access to high quality basic education, a vital tool to ensure economic and social mobility. An efficient welfare system is also mandatory so that Thailand would be well prepared to become a complete aging society in the next three decades.
This paper will propose ways in which Thais can have equal opportunities to receive high quality education and to access an efficient welfare system. This includes improving the budget allocation system, creating good governance which promotes accountability and increasing participation of communities and local administrations in the management of the education and welfare systems.
Co-organizers are expected to be Chaipattana Foundation, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), and the Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation (TDRI).
The participants will include executives and management staffs from the public sector and business sector, leaders of the academia, representatives from the civil society, political parties and the media. The total number of participants is expected to be around 800.
Date and Venue
The Conference will be organized on Monday, November 24, 2014 at Bangkok Convention Center, 22nd Floor, Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World, Bangkok, Rama I Road, Phatumwan, Bangkok.
Live broadcasting on www.tdri.or.th or www.facebook.com/tdri.thailand
If the general public is interested in participating in the conference, pleasse contact Khun Sirapen at 02 7185460 ext. 220. or Khun Pawamai ext. 223 to pay for the registration fee of 2,000 Baht by November 19, 2014 (Kindly note that new registration will not be accepted at the event).