Divergent paths, different outcomes

At the start of the 1990s, Thailand and the Philippines both aspired to join the elite company of newly industrializing countries. For about a decade before the 1997–98 economic crisis, Thailand's GDP grew at an average of 9.4 percent yearly while the growth rate of real exports was 14.5 percent (Jansen 2001: 125). These trends made the country the likely “fifth tiger,” following South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. To signal its embrace of this objective, the Thai National Economic and Social Development Board issued a “Thailand 2000” program in the early 1990s. At around the same time, the Philippines under President Fidel Ramos (1992–98) launched its own “Philippines 2000” ...

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