Monday, June 25, 2012

Book excerpt "Origins of Military Rule"

I am currently reading "Thailand: Origins of Military Rule", an economic history of Thailand written from a strong socialist viewpoint. Though I don't subscribe to that ideology, it is an interesting read, and it has one small paragraph fitting into the topic of this blog, which deals with the thesaphiban reforms 1892-1915.
The organization of the new Interior Ministry consisted in theory of several monthons, each headed by a commissioner; several provinces or chamgwads within each monthon and headed by governors; districts within each province; and so forth down to the smallest administrative areas. The entire system took a number of decades to emerge. The most important aspect to note is that it involved the deliberate reduction of the powers of the pre-capitalist governors in favor of the regional commissioners above and the district officers below. Thus the provincial governors, who formerly were chao muang (lord of the place) were reduced to pu warajakarn changwad (man in charge of the province for the king). With the reorganisation of government, they also ceased to be appointed by the king and became instead part of a civil service structure built on Western lines. These developments represented changes in the power structure towards a more centralized control.
Elliott, David. Thailand : origins of military rule. London: Zed Press, 1978. Chapter 2 "Early underdevelopment", page 77.
And the reference within this section made me notice yet another old book, much more on-topic with this blog. And thanks to BetterWorldBooks now a former library book of William J. Siffin "The Thai Bureaucracy" is on the way to me.

No comments: