Plundering Security: The Evolution of Khaki Capital in Thailand Today


About the Webinar

Security forces tend to enjoy a monopoly over violence within any given state. In some states, such as Thailand, they are also leading political and economic actors. Thus, military finance or “khaki capital” is of paramount importance. Using the framework of Historical Institutionalism, this webinar scrutinizes the evolution of khaki capital over time in Thailand. How has Thai khaki capital progressed, where does it stand today, and what is its likely future? The webinar will argue that the degree of the Thai military’s control over its own financing in turn affects the ability of civilians to achieve control over the country’s armed forces. Ultimately, where historical-cultural legacies allow for a military to be autonomous from civilian control, where the military is united against civilian attempts to monitor it, and where the persistence of military dominance (in Thailand’s case, as the junior partner of monarchy) exists, then militaries are likely to maintain powerful economic holdings. This has been the case with Thailand. This presentation draws on the speaker’s book manuscript, in preparation for submission to ISEAS Publishing.

About the Speaker

Paul Chambers is Visiting Fellow in the Thailand Studies Programme of the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute during March-May 2021. He is also Lecturer at the Center of ASEAN Community Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand. In addition, he is Research Fellow at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) in Germany, Senior Research Fellow at the German-Southeast Asian Centre for Public Policy and Good Governance, and Senior Research Fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) in Phnom Penh. Finally, he is the executive editor of the Taylor & Francis journal Asian Affairs: An American Review. Dr Chambers’ research interests focus on civil-military relations in Southeast Asia and on the international politics of Asia. He has written or co-written five books as well as over 70 articles in leading journals and book chapters about the military, democratization, and international politics in Southeast Asia. His articles have appeared in Asian Survey, Contemporary Southeast Asia and The Journal of Contemporary Asia, among others. Recent publications include his co-edited book Khaki Capital: The Political Economy of the Military in Southeast Asia (NIAS Press, 2017).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


May 12 2021


10:00 am - 11:15 am