People are often quick to call Thailand ‘developing’ or even ‘third world’ – but what do those terms even mean? We decided to find out. 

Ed interviews Dan Honig, a professor of international development at Johns Hopkins University. After explaining Dan’s unique educational background and world travels, the guys dig into some basic questions about the Thai economy. Right off the bat, Dan notes that when compared to the entire world, it is not accurate to consider Thailand poor. Instead, it would probably be categorized as ‘upper middle income’.

But that describes Thailand as a whole – what about other indices like inequality, development, or poverty? Dan discusses different ways of measuring these things and notes that Thailand has a very low poverty rate, with most Thais generally having access to health care and education. But the extreme gap between the one percent at the top in Thailand and everybody else impacts the political situation, and in Dan’s mind definitely is a problem. 

Last, the guys riff on the oddness of having salaries that put them in the top one or two percent in the world, but at the same time feeling ‘disadvantaged’ in some way. In the end, it’s only traveling and seeing the way most people live that lead to really appreciating what you have. Something listeners of the Bangkok Podcast should know already. 🙂

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