Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

Thailand: A strategy for democratic change

Marc Saxer

  • Even if the elites manage to settle the political conflict with a Grand Bargain, this will not suffice to overcome the deeper transformation crisis. Thailand’s traditional political, social and cultural order is no longer able to satisfy the needs of a globalized economy and pluralistic society.
  • Thailand needs to re-negotiate its social contract. The new social contract needs to lay out a division of labor between sectors that reflects the changed balance of power. A democratic governance system is needed that can mediate permanent conflict between groups with particular lifestyles, interests, and identities. The political economy must produce socially just and sustainable growth with a view of providing full capabilities for all.
  • However, no such broad societal deliberation process has yet emerged. A number of  obstacles hinder the consolidation of democracy. First, a deeply entrenched status quo coalition struggles to uphold the traditional vertical order. Second, traditional ideas continue to provide discursive power to the status quo coalition. Third, collective action  problems hamper the formation of a powerful coalition for democratic change.
  • Marginalized progressives need to join forces with liberal reformers and enlightened conservatives in a Grand Rainbow Change Coalition. Considering the potentially conflicting interests of actors across the political spectrum and from all sectors of society, a common platform could be to work together to build the democratic arena in which they will later compete.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 by in Politics and rights and tagged .
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