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close this bookTechnological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)
close this folder4. Thailand
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentTraditional path of development
View the documentDevelopment of the country in the national plans (1961-1986)
View the documentAn evaluation of thailand's present S&T situation: a macro-level study
View the documentCase-studies in agriculture
View the documentA desirable path
View the documentBibliography

Traditional path of development

Thailand has been perceived as a "soft culture" society. Thais are noted for being very tolerant of the cultural and other differences of other peoples, and have absorbed many external cultural influences, particularly religion -principally from India - building technology, and, more recently, high technology.

Religion may be thought of as "software" technology, although, in the form of religious buildings and images, it could also be considered as constituting technological hardware.

In building technology, Thais have adapted their indigenous timber technology to create a distinctive Thai building style. They have developed this technology to the point that they can now use it to prefabricate houses.

The transfer of higher industrial technology, for example in transportation (railways, automobiles, etc.), started during the reign of Rama V when trade with European countries increased and modernization began. Other technological practices, such as the use of farm machinery in rice production, also began during the same period. Agricultural and other forms of production also changed from ones aimed at meeting only household and local demands to ones targeted at the export market. Modern irrigation was developed to support this new drive, and other necessary technologies, such as post-harvesting techniques, rice mills, river transportation, and food processing, were introduced.

After the Second World War, more automobiles, trucks, and aeroplanes were used in transportation. These accelerated the transfer of related technologies in, for example, road, highway, and railway-building technology. These, in turn, changed the educational curricula as the nation responded to these new technologies.

The newly introduced technologies influenced the modernization of the country beyond agriculture. Statistics show that the country's economy has experienced a satisfactory level of growth in production. However, doubts about the system have persisted, as some economic indicators, such as the trade balance and benefit-cost ratios, have shown negative trends. It appears that the more the country invests in production inputs and technology, the less the proportional output.