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Development and Structural Change in Asia-Pacific by Christer Gunnarsson, Martin Andersson

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5 The IMF in the Thai economic crisis
Villain or saviour?
   
Medhi Krongkaew

Introduction

The economic crisis in Thailand, which started in July 1997, is well known for the fact that it was unexpected, as well as for its ferocity. When Thailand turned to Japan and the IMF for help after practically all of its foreign reserves were gone, as a result of a failed defence against speculative attacks on the baht, many people likened this event to a third collapse of the Thai nation.1 The IMF was looked upon by many in the general public as villainous conqueror who came in with a set of rules and orders otherwise known as ‘conditionalities’ that the Thais had to follow. The life of many Thais had to change, and so did their behaviour ...

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