Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Boots Riley in Winnipeg May 11 February 22, 2019
    Founder of the political Hip-Hop group The Coup, Boots Riley is a musician, rapper, writer and activist, whose feature film directorial and screenwriting debut — 2018’s celebrated Sorry to Bother You — received the award for Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards (amongst several other accolades and recognitions). "[A] reflection of the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers


Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Thailand’s attempt at capital controls

Larry Elliott, writing in The Guardian’s Comment is Free area, on Thailand’s capital controls and its subsequent capitulation:

A financial U-turn

Thailand’s use of capital controls was intended to penalise short-term investors – but the market reaction was swift and brutal.

December 20, 2006 07:04 PM

It’s not often I feel sorry for military regimes, but I must confess to a twinge of sympathy for the government of Thailand.

Faced with speculative flows of “hot money” into the country, which were driving up the value of the baht and making the country’s exports uncompetitive, Bangkok responded by slapping on capital controls. These were designed to penalise investors that left their money in Thailand for less than a year.

Not a bad idea, you might think. Thailand, like a great many other Asian countries, is highly dependent on export-led growth, and the last thing it needs is to hand a competitive advantage to China, a country that has kept its own currency artificially low.

The market reaction, however, to the capital controls in Thailand was swift and brutal. International investors turned a blind eye when the military took power in Thailand in September; speculators don’t really care what sort of business they do business with so long as there is money to be made. But make life more difficult for Wall Street banks or the City of London’s hedge funds and you will turn yourself into a pariah state.

Such was the wave of selling on the Bangkok stock exchange yesterday that following the 15% drop in share values, the Thai government announced a U-turn, exempting investors in stocks from the controls.

What does this tell us? Three things. First, that there is often a clear contradiction between what is good for the real economy of a country and what is good for global financial markets. Second, that the power of markets is now so enormous that governments struggle to find ways of controlling them. You can see what James Carville, the former aide to Bill Clinton, meant when he said that he would like to be reincarnated as the bond market, since then he would wield more power than he would at the White House.

Finally, this state of affairs is highly unstable and will end – eventually – in an almighty financial crash, affecting developed as well as developing countries. All the time crises are confined to emerging markets such as Thailand, calls for controls on capital will be brushed aside. When the crisis spreads to Europe and North America, as it did after 1929, it will be a different story.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Dennis Brown
Time: December 21, 2006, 10:04 am

The point Marc makes that there is a “clear contradiction between what is good for the real economy” and “what is good for financial markets” reminded me of a site about the economic writing of Henry George. He wrote a book titled “Progress and Poverty” in 1879 that was a bestseller in its day. It’s now available online at:

Comment from Dennis Brown
Time: December 21, 2006, 12:13 pm

I should correct my previous post. The point and quotes were from the original article by Larry Elliott, and not from Marc Lee who posted the article.

Write a comment

Related articles