Thailand Democracy

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II.2.1. Thailand’s Buddhism against Western Democracy The first norm of Thailand that has a substantial effect on the country’s perception about Western democracy is Thai Buddhism. Religion has been proven to have a significant influence on a state’s political system as Andrew Nathan, a Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, argues that, “Religion forms an important component of political culture, and, thus, should have a powerful democracy.” As per one’s understanding, a powerful democracy that is meant by Professor Nathan is not necessarily about the general Western idea of democracy but it is about the kind of democracy that is suited to a country’s norms, whereas religion is considered as a part of domestic norms and cultures.…show more content…
Thai Buddhism has been proven to have significant influences on the political system of Thailand since it is the dominant religion in the country. Around 95% of Thais are Buddhist. Although no Thai constitution has ever identified that Buddhism is actually the state religion, all have stated that the King professes the Buddhist faith. The emergence of Buddhism as a key sticking issue in Thai politics might seem strange to outside observers, but it indeed plays a key role. The universalistic teachings of [Thai] Buddhism in Thailand have been subordinated to nationalist ideologist of Thailand. It indicates that the teachings of Thai Buddhism have influenced the ideology of Thailand and, therefore, determined the successfulness of democratization process in the country. According to Dalai Lama XIV, the current “guru” of Buddhism, the religion is generally compatible with democracy. He states, “Like Buddhism, modern democracy is based on the principle that all human beings are essentially equal and that each of us has an equal right to life, liberty, and happiness. Thus, not only are Buddhism and democracy compatible, they are rooted in a common understanding of the equality and potential of every…show more content…
The social classification in Thailand is largely based on the difference of economic income between the wealthy / elites resided mostly in the Bangkok metropolitan area and the vast majority of rural and poor that still stick in the low-productivity sectors of agriculture and informal work. The reasons behind that, according to East Asia Forum, are low levels and poor distributions of public goods, including physical infrastructure, education, and social services as across the range of public goods were much more invested in Bangkok than in Thailand’s outlying rural areas. This means that the government prioritizes and gives better opportunities to Bangkok elites and conservatives than the rural and poor, which display inequality treatment among Thai

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