Special Address
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Connecting Government, Business and Civil Society (GBC) towards the Development of a High Income Nation

Prof. Dr. Kriengsak Chareonwongsak
Chairman of Nation-Building Institute International (NBII)

Overcoming limits is not impossible, but it is not easy; it must arise from preparation, strategy formulation, planning, organization, application of appropriate technology and proceeding in the right context, including receiving help from many parties. Similarly, developing a country to become a high income country (HIC) is not easy. According to World Bank reports, only 13 of 101 middle income countries (MIC) in 1960 became HIC in 2008. The main challenge faced was overcoming the limit presented by the “Middle Income Trap” (MIT).

How does the GBC connection promote the development of a HIC?

I have proposed the concept of “Araya Tri-Sectors” that is to say, a society consists of three sectors that drive society consisting of public sector, private sector and people sector. Connecting all sectors can drive national development to HIC through three main areas.

Innovative Economy

I have used the production function theory to analyse global civilizations from the past to the future and create the “Social Change Theory: Seven Civilization Waves”. The country that can be the first to ride the wave crest of each era will become the world’s leading country. Now the world economy is moving from the information economy to the knowledge economy, the main tools of this era being science, technology, and innovation. However, innovation in this era requires co-creation. Innovation often occurs under the innovation ecosystem which results from cooperation between government, business, and civil society.

Inclusive Society

A factor that makes countries become trapped by MIT is inequality, which causes the them to lack human capital and purchasing power, and may cause conflicts in society, which become more complicated and diverse. Governments alone are unable to handle complex problems and do not have enough resources and manpower to take care thoroughly of all groups of people in every area and address every issue.

Integrity Politics

According to lessons from various countries, development of an HIC requires something I call “Tri-conditions”, comprising leadership, management and morality. The problem is that most MICs have poor governance. The politicians in these countries lack the political will for national development, and they attain power solely in order to gain personal and group benefits. Creating “integrity politics” requires cooperation among the three sectors to establish consensus on national development strategies and to push the country forward in the same direction.

How to connect GBC toward the development of HIC?

I have some proposals regarding the GBC linkage to drive national development as follows:

Joint Ideology

Building connections for national development towards HIC should begin with creating a common paradigm. In this regard, I have introduced the concept “Araya Nation-Building Paradigm” which describes the thought process in building a nation. The process begins with the determination of National Ideology, then eventually leads to National Vision, National Policy, National Agenda and National Interest. The Araya Nation-Building Paradigm is like a blueprint for building a nation, which gives all parties a clear understanding of how to build a nation and reduce conflicts in collaboration.

Joint Responsibility

Every country is driven by three major sectors. But the question is, how should each sector share responsibility? I think the responsibilities of all three sectors should be “joint responsibilities”, not sole, partial, additional or optional responsibilities. Because each sector has different strengths and weaknesses, they should work together to handle each issue effectively. Government should have primary responsibility for looking at the overall picture of national development and allocate responsibility and encourage others sectors to drive the country with unity and integration.

Joint Contract

There are two main models of national development, consisting of “Big Business” and “Big Government.” The Big Business Model helps the economy to expand, but creates more inequality. The Big Government Model focuses on creating equality but is inefficient and unable to solve complex problems and respond to various needs. I would like to propose the third option, “Big Civil Society,” also known as the “Neo-Social Contract”, which focuses on promoting the role of civil society. Because civil society is closer to the people, understands problems, is ideology-driven, it is able to gain more trust than the business and government sectors. But the people sector lacks resources and personnel. So, the other sectors should promote and encourage the potential of the people sector in order for it to play a greater role.

Joint Platform

The main drawback of MICs is their lack of quality political systems. National development therefore needs to create change from bottom to top by creating a platform or system that facilitates cooperation, including structure, process, rules/standards, values, culture, traditions, and institutions of tri-sectoral cooperation. This joint platform will contribute to the creation of a community of nation-builders and fully release the potential of every sector for national development.

Developing a country towards becoming a HIC is just one indicator of nation-building. But the true success of nation-building is the unity of the people in the country and the sacrifice of the nation’s people for others. As Napoleon Hill said, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”