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THE POWER ELITE IN THAILAND: A General Survey with a Focus on the Civil Bureaucrats

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At the macro level, we have given a systemic picture of the elite structure of Thai society. We have argued that the most three powerful groups of elite are the military, the civil bureaucratic elite and the business elite. Among these three groups of elite, an alliance has been developed. The business elite have sought political protection from the military and the bureaucratic elite while the latter. two groups obtain economic benefit. Below the three groups of elite lie the people's representatives; the student leaders, the labour leaders and the peasant organizers. We have argued that the people's representatives are on the border line because the democratice structure has not yet become institutionalized. And this is true also for the student leaders, the labour leaders and the peasant organizers. At best, they are at the early stage of getting organized and thus they are classified as interest groups who are becoming more and more active in politics. At the micro level, we have presented an analysis of the general characteristics of the civil bureaucratic elite of Thailand. We have found from our discussion that more than two-fifths (41%) of the elite in our study have fathers in government service; 31.44% are from families of business; only 5.6% are from a peasant background. There ia an inbreeding in the government service career. We have hypothesized that family background plays a crucial role in an individual's educational achievement which, in turn, leads to his social mobility. From our study, we have found that social mobility

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, Thailand


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