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Title: Neo-liberalism, the rise of the unelected and policymaking in Thailand : the case of the medical tourism industry
Authors: Pitakdumrongkit, Kaewkamol
Lim, Guanie
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Pitakdumrongkit, K. & Lim, G. (2021). Neo-liberalism, the rise of the unelected and policymaking in Thailand : the case of the medical tourism industry. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 51(3), 447-468.
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Asia 
Abstract: This article discusses how neo-liberal ideas about development take root when they encounter the very different political and economic context of a developing economy. It analyses Thailand’s medical tourism industry, earmarked by Thailand’s government as one of several priority industries to boost the economy in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis, which ravaged Thailand and ushered in a group of unelected actors–“reign-seekers”–intent on disbursing supposedly de-politicised neo-liberal governance reform. This article makes three inter-related arguments. First, these unconventional actors function as a fluid intermediary linking various public agencies, private sector players and civil society actors, fostering dialogue and reconciling diverging interests. Second, the influence of neo-liberalism on the workings of the state has been relatively modest as the “reign-seekers” have primarily promoted welfare-oriented policies over pro-business ones. Third, the “reign-seeking” elites’ welfare-oriented stance underlines the fracture and heterogeneity within a group of supposedly neo-liberal proponents.
ISSN: 0047-2336
DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1740294
Schools: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies 
Rights: © 2020 Journal of Contemporary Asia. All rights reserved. This paper was published by Routledge in Journal of Contemporary Asia and is made available with permission of Journal of Contemporary Asia.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Journal Articles

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