chapter  7
15 Pages

Thailand

Agro-industries and self-reliance
WithApichai Puntasen

Rural villages in Thailand are undergoing a more rapid transition than at any other time in the history of the country, one which is threatening the survival of village communities by undermining the extended and even nuclear family unit as well as village communal life. This change can be characterised as the rapid penetration into rural villages of capitalist concepts. The economic consequence of agro-industry is that formers become dependent on those industries that use their products as raw materials. The expansion of industry in Thailand was achieved at the considerable cost of underdevelopment and stagnation in the rural sector. In 1986, with some improvement in world prices, the growth rate of the Thai economy began to accelerate. The key to self-reliance is the ability of the villagers to decide on and control their own future. The development of a self-reliance strategy through a protracted struggle in the villages against the invasion of capitalism is not altogether a spontaneous process.