The Lao Elite

A Study of Tradition and Innovation

by Joel Martin Halpern

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An attempt to define the Lao elite and to show their relationship to other groups in the population. The study discusses the various pressures for change and points of friction. Although many strains exist within the social system of Laos, they do not appear to be sufficiently serious to bring about the disintegration of the present political structure, which despite its clearly marked traditional base is certainly capable of modification. This excludes a coup d'état by the Pathet-Lao. An understanding of the cultural attitudes and social values of the elite might aid in the development of a group that can exert effective local leadership toward goals compatible with Western interest and values.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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