I’ve found one sensible thai politician who sees clearly through the crisis

In 2006 or 2007 I would have probably questioned the sanity of Juti Krairiskh with his “sufficiency economy” idea.

At that time, the Junta, the clowns in their shiny uniforms (yes we had a military Junta… people forget so easily) were toying with the “sufficiency economy” philosophy, while buying mountains of military gears. πŸ˜‰

It’s was a scam. A vulgar scam.

Fast forward. 2009. The Big Freaking Global Crisis.

Most of the politicians don’t know how to react. Because the situation is unprecedented. And when it’s unprecedented, politicians have only one strategy : the head into the sand and the bullshit wrapped with gift paper.

But good news, at least one thai politician is giving a realistic (AKA harsh) summary of the current crisis, in the thai english press.

Let’s have a closer look.

MP Juti Krairiskh from Phitsanulok yesterday called for the government to turn to sufficiency economics to save Thailand because most other countries are now tanking into the “toilet”.

Today the European Union, China and the United States, which are our export markets, are all reeling under recession. All the countries will be dumping their goods like crazy. Trade agreements will be breached,” he said.

Juti, who belongs to the New Decade Group led by Banyat Bantadtan, urged the government to come clean on the real state of the economy, given the deterioration in exports and the current account.

The global economy is facing a recession. The US won’t recover for three years. China might be the only hope, while most countries have crashed into the toilet. But China is waiting to crash into the toilet too,” he said. (Nation)

This man is full of common sense.

“Trade war”, “3 years” and “toilets” those are prescient words… Key words.

Now that we have the diagnosis, please pass the salt and the prognosis.

Under the circumstances, Thailand must rely on sufficiency economics, as championed by His Majesty the King, to save itself, Juti said.

The government has the responsibility to promote and educate the people about the philosophy of sufficiency economics, he said.

In practice, Thailand would not shy away completely from external demand but would focus on promoting domestic resources and consumption so that despite any external shocks or depression, it could stay afloat.

The economic difficulties will continue into next year so the government must tell the people how it intends to relieve their hardship and get revenue for its spending plans.

“It must be based on reality and on how to realistically save the country,” he added.

“Sufficiency economy” is nothing more than “living by your means”. It’s common sense. Royal or not, that shouldn’t be the question.

When it’s not used as a scam against the people (“be poor, shut the fuck up, and let me buy an obscene Mercedes“), this basic idea is certainly a good one.

It’s a gauge. Abhisit The Clown with his 2000 THB special allowance given to every living organisms doesn’t understand the meaning of it. Obviously. πŸ˜‰

Let’s go further : Thailand will suffer. It’s unavoidable. But it seems that the country has good cards to suffer less than western societies.

A few reasons :

-Thailand doesn’t have the huge liabilities, unfunded promises, that are going to totally zombify and shake the economies of western countries (social security in Europe, medicare in the US, retirement funds, pensions etc.).

Just think about retirement funds and pensions… It’s an atomic bomb. US model or french model… it’s nothing less than a Ponzzi scheme… A super huge Madoff Fund… You can’t defeat demography. But so many stupid people think they can, it’s scary.

-Thai people can obviously live with much less than westerners, therefore (base effect) to go lower will be less painful.

–Even though Thailand has an inefficient and kafkaian administration and public sector… it costs much less in proportion than in Europe for instance. Therefore, it will be less a burden to maintain.

-Unemployment ? Sure. It will to rise. But we already have 42 % of the labor force in agriculture… That’s a huge cushion. Do we have a cushion in Europe ? In the US ? Nil. Nada. Zero. Plus, they will always find buyers outside the country for the thai food surplus.
We might not find new buyers for new cars… But food will always trade.

-Informal economy. To rely on official GDP figures (like myself too often)… is certainly a mistake. Black, gray, underground, informal you name it… this second or even third economy is well developed in Thailand. It’s like a national sport ;-). And it could surely provide another cushion to absorb the shocks.

-Resourcefulness. Necessity is always law. Many thai are probably more resourceful than people living in Europe, totally addicted to state’s Nanny support (that is going to be under great stress because of the crisis).

Add the classic ideas : weather, family support, social structure, Thailand has oil, etc.

So as you see, me too I can be optimistic. πŸ˜‰ Sometimes.

But watch out… to have trump cards in your hand, doesn’t imply that you will be able or willing to use them…

The biggest risk actually for the country is of course the political risk…

Dumb and corrupted politicians and elite, plus the perspective of the royal succession… those are the biggest challenges.

23 Responses to “I’ve found one sensible thai politician who sees clearly through the crisis”

  1. 1 chinesethai 27 January 2009 at 9:00 am


    Big applause to you after several emotional arguments I had with you! This is the best blog you have ever had. πŸ™‚

    Juti Grairirch and Banyat Bantattan are Democrat MPs, who are not very happy with Abhisit marrying with Nevin’s Friends. Their faction was not awarded with any cabinet position. This is probably the cause for their discontent. However, I don’t want to be too cynical.

    I would say that a large number of people, especially within PAD that I knew of, have begun to resort to practise the theory. Some white-collar workers in the city are thinking about leaving their hectic jobs in search of more peaceful life upcountry, probably in smaller provinces and towns, so they can spend more time with their loved ones, although their income will not be comparable to what they earned in Bangkok but it is enough to live within their means.

    Despite the economic crisis and their enterprises badly affected and belly up, business people and their families would still survive because they are not overly financially leveraged. They actually have learned from the 1997 crisis.

    Thailand is no doubt in the best position in the world to weather the economic storm.

    – Unlike China and Japan, it can grow staples, fruits, vegs more than it can consume. So abundant that it has to export.

    – While developed economies heavily depend on job creation and social security, which again counts on the illusive Ponzi Schemes (aka stock markets), Thailand’s social security is its vast, rich and fertile farmlands, albeit much have been misused.

    – Despite being accused by some daydreaming republicans of his CPB business dealings, King Bhumibol remains the only practical choice. It may be true but nobody is perfect. His promotion of Sufficiency Economy is not bad. It is good. It is already proven by many who practise the theory. It could set the example for the world to follow too. Maybe the world will to a new economic paradigm. God knows. The accusation that he stood behind bloody coups are obviously either exaggerated or mostly made up.

    I believe Abhisit understands the theory but the issue is he doesn’t have the courage to make it.

    And you are right that the only risk in Thailand is politics, which is related to the coming succession. However, the risk can be reduced by encouraging the people to practise Sufficiency Economics so that they will depend less and less or as little as possible on uncontrollable factors like politics.

  2. 2 antipadshist 27 January 2009 at 12:04 pm

    yes, sufficiency is a good thing and common sense.

    however it has failed time and again mainly because of the very elite who mostly preaches it – REFUSE to practice it themselves.

    meanwhile ordinary folks who have no other choise anyway already practicing it – they are barely managing to “meet the ends”. that’s why they increasingly turn to all sorts of crimes.

    “sufficiency economy” is not possible in practice – as long as there is such a GIGANTIC contrast between “haves” and “don’t haves” and the whole biased system which facilitates rich getting richer and poor poorer, as well as all those generals and their corporate buddies embezzle the taxpayers’ moneys, swingle land etc etc…

    Obama talks and makes a move to tax the rich. will ObaMark at least pretend doing the same ? πŸ˜‰
    I bet – no freaking way !

  3. 3 chinesethai 27 January 2009 at 1:58 pm

    People want to look and sound humane and politically correct by talking a lot about taxing the rich and giving it to the poor. Many of them end up in Starbucks, sipping Bt100 coffee and squandering donated money.

    Obama taxing the rich? Obama is taking $800 billion from the taxpayers to bail out the conglomerates, in which the rich have stakes. Having said so, I don’t mean Obama is bad. He simply has no choice.

    The rich and the poor have equal rights to live. What you need to do is to provide equal basic opportunity to everybody to live, especially for the poor to stand up on their own, not by bombarding them with cheap money. Middle ground is the way out!

    If sufficiency economy is not possible in practice, tell me what can???? Communism? Populism? Capitalism? Socialism? Republicanism? Take Republic of the Philippines as an example.

    Again, middle ground is the way out! Not extremism!

  4. 4 whoopla 27 January 2009 at 2:38 pm

    White collar workers “choosing” to leave their well paid city jobs to go live upcountry? I suppose you are not supposed to say they were “fired” or “let go”….? I would say that the way the new government has been installed to manage the wealth of the country is as much a Thai version of a Ponzi scheme as any. The poor are the ones who significantly suffer in economic dowturns and depressions, not the rich; here in Thailand we are very glaringly back to a rich versus poor equation, whatever obfuscating scheme the ruling elite want to disguise it as.

  5. 5 Insanity 27 January 2009 at 4:20 pm


    Countries struggling to secure credit have resorted to barter and secretive government-to-government deals to buy food, with some contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Thailand, the world’s largest exporter of rice, is discussing barter deals with Middle Eastern countries.


  6. 6 tumbler 27 January 2009 at 9:37 pm

    For once, thaicrisis has written something positive about Thailand.

    Sufficiency? It must be brilliant. So good that no one is allowed to argue against it.

  7. 7 Lloyd 27 January 2009 at 9:52 pm

    ‘Suffiviency economy’ is not a Theory nor is it an economic system it is simply another way to define living within your means, simple common sense and time it is well needed.

    A good blog and worth highlighting.

  8. 8 chinesethai 28 January 2009 at 5:10 am

    Today there is a very sad news happening in the U.S. but it is worth mentioning here.

    Family of seven killed in L.A. murder-suicide

    I came to figure out what drove him to commit such violent act. He had a very good job, good income and nice home in a good Californian neighbourhood. He must have been able to save a lot of money if he lived in Thailand, for example. But what drove him to do so? Solely losing job cannot drive a man to commit suicide but running short of cash could be the reason. Americans have spent beyond their means. They put their savings in the form of direct or indirect investment in the stock market. The stock market turned into a giant Ponzi Scheme when everybody was bullish. Who cashed out first from it and ran away wins big. But 3 things (stock market crash + debt payment + job loss) arrive at the same time.

    We also have similar problem in Thailand now but it is not as severe as in the U.S. and most developed economies. In Thailand, those who are suffering from the stock market crash appear to be a portion of middle class, who had been lured to nice return on stocks in recent years. The government, especially the Thaksin Administration, was very keen to promote the stock market. He had indicated many times that he wanted to raise the SET market capitalization to be on par with the country’s GDP value, and usually talked up bullishly a lot about SET Index. The poor surely cannot afford to invest. The rich usually are not interested in stocks because they have enough already. Luckily, most Thai savers still rely more on bank savings and traditional time deposits than other sophisticated investment.

    Sufficiency Economy will not only solve this crisis but will also prevent protectionism from developing into trade wars, conflicts, and WWIII that we all fear. The Theory does not discourage trade as most analysts blame. It encourages trade only on the items you have the excess and your counter party are short of.

  9. 9 thaichris 28 January 2009 at 5:37 am

    Thai Crisis:

    Thankl you very much for this blog. It is you at it’s best. Very constructive. And still making the points.

    Your blogs of the preious weeks nearly drove me away but now I’m definitely back and I know it is still worth to read your blog. Still miss your statistics a bit but I’m sure they will be back in numbers soon.

    Don’t pull Bozo all the time. Once a week will make it and will be much more attracting. Instead write bolgs like the one above … stil critical but also constructive.

    great job – gratulation from Thaichris

  10. 10 Roland 28 January 2009 at 6:43 am

    Office workers choosing to leave their jobs to farm? Sounds like a story I read in the Economist about China. Look, if only 42% of the population earn their primary income from farming, that means there’s no land available for the other 58% to farm on. Back in the 1950’s is was possible for people having hard times in the cities to go back to their extended families. It won’t work anymore because their extended families live in the city too.

    The sufficiency economy can only work if the population density is reduced to the level of, say, Laos. And if people accept a standard of living as low as Laos. If you don’t have specialized farming producing for the market there can be no surplus for investment. The sufficiency economy doesn’t take that into account.

  11. 11 antipadshist 28 January 2009 at 7:56 am

    If sufficiency economy is not possible in practice, tell me what can????

    I didn’t say it is not possible at all – it looks like you have taken only one part of my statement. read it all to get the answer.

    which is basically:

    sufficiency economy (on the scale of nation/ country) IS possible – IF practiced by ALL.

    if it is not practiced by all – then it can’t be “economy”, but at most – a personal lifestyle, limited to individuals or class or social/ ethnic group:

    “An economy is the realized social system of production, exchange, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of a country or other area.”

    seems like simple enough?

    but in reality it is not that simple – because those who are used to luxurious lives in no way gonna give it up and decide to minimize their lifestyles, habits, simply GREED.

    (just one example:
    reminds me one program on local TV where some hi-so woman was showing off her jewels and gems, the whole table covered in gems. so was saying something like – oh, this I’ve already got bored with – I decided to buy this big dimond now… I wonder what this woman has to say about “sufficiency” ? πŸ˜€ )

    therefore, they are gonna continue spend MORE to get more things than they really need or what is really necessary for life. for that they are gonna continue doing all sorts of activities they’ve been doing so far to ensure their level of richness – mostly all sorts of corruption and embezzlement.

    “sufficiency” is a straight word which means “what is enough” or “main necessities of life”.

    Adequate means to live in modest comfort.
    An adequate quantity: adequacy, enough.


    I think most of people miss this aspect of “modest” in the meaning of “sufficiency” ! πŸ˜‰

    Free from showiness or ostentation; unpretentious;
    Moderate or limited in size, quantity, or range; not extreme;


    I think it is opposit of the concept “rich”:

    Possessing a large amount of money, land, or other material possessions: affluent, flush, moneyed, wealthy.
    Characterized by extravagant, ostentatious magnificence: lavish, lush1, luxuriant, luxurious, opulent, palatial, plush, sumptuous.

    synonym for wealthy.

    In brief: Having an abundant supply of money or possessions of value.

    In brief: Plentiful, more than enough

    well, that’s what I mean:
    MORE THAN ENOUGH (Abundance)
    while “sufficiency” – is just enough, MODEST.

    therefore to be “sufficient”, rich have to stop their efforts of not only getting richer, but even BEING rich (maintain their level of richness). because “rich” already implies “having more than needed/ enough for life”.

    correct me if I am wrong.

    so, once again – “sufficiency economy” in its real sense is possible, at least in theory – IF and WHEN people stop trying to get more then they really need.

    and that is not gonna happen – or would it ?

    to achieve ‘sufficiency’ I think Democracy (the real one – not so called “Unique Thai style” one πŸ™‚ ) would be enough – no need for “Communism, Populism, Capitalism, Socialism, Republicanism” or any other -ism (as Elitism – aka “socialism for rich” πŸ˜‰ )

  12. 12 antipadshist 28 January 2009 at 8:20 am


    “The sufficiency economy can only work if the population density is reduced to the level of, say, Laos. And if people accept a standard of living as low as Laos.”

    exactly my point – “IF” is a keyword here! πŸ™‚
    that is why I said before – it is not possible in practice, or perhaps better to say “in reality” – because nobody is gonna accept “a standard of living as low as Laos” – especially those who got used to a luxurious lifestyle.

    in this regard is relevent the recent post on New Mandala (as I can see – you’ve already read it and left your comment there)

    Laos too poor to get any poorer

    interesting that this post also starts with word “sufficiency” ! πŸ™‚

    “more than 70 percent of its population live off the land and are self-sufficient”

    I think the trick is:
    1) nobody wants to be poor – even poor themselves, and especially rich;
    2) everybody wants to be rich – and especially poor.


    so, trying to become rich will always contradict / obstract any attempts for “sufficiency”.
    because they can’t simply go together – “rich” and “sufficient”.

    only perhaps on a very small scale, in a limited population – as you’ve said it yourself.

    but even there, most likely there are and always will be some who are ABOVE the average poor level (the top of the “food chain pyramid” πŸ˜€ )

    therefore sufficiency is a good beautiful idea.
    but I doubt it very much that it can ever or anywhere be on the level of “economy” (on the scale of whole country) – including Thailand, perhaps even especially in Thailand (with patronage system / elitism).

  13. 13 chinesethai 28 January 2009 at 8:28 am

    ThaiCrisis is already right about sufficiency economics – simply living within one’s means. And I would like to add that it includes trying to cut back on consumption of wasteful goods.

    The people that I mentioned of moving upcountry are not necessarily going to be farmers or to accept living standard as low as in Lao. They can set up small businesses, which they have researched thoroughly and found that opportunity exists enough to support their families. Go to Chonburi, Prajeenburi, Chacherngsao, Nan, Prae…. people are pretty much happy. They sleep well.

    Sometimes we are all confined by our conventional education that only Adam Smith’s Wealth of the Nation theory, free market, Keynesian work.

    If we rule out Sufficient Economics as not applicable to the current context, what else in sight is plausible to solve the crisis? Trillion-dollar stimulus package, race to 0% interest rate, cash injection, giveaways that governments around the world are launching like crazy? I don’t mean I oppose to those measures but are they sustainable?

  14. 14 Welloilbeefhooked 28 January 2009 at 11:38 am

    ThaiCrisis is already right about sufficiency economics – simply living within one’s means.

    Everyone misses the fundamental point about this nonsense ‘sufficiency theory”, even accepting it is not a theory but an outrageous and manipulative platitude.

    A part of the rational for this nonsense is that it unites people in a common approach to living. And yet is anyone really saying that the farmer in Issan who is systematically ripped off and grows rice so that the merchants get fat, has the same benefit from ‘sufficiency theory’ as someone who lives in a huge house and is worth – ooh I don’t know, perhaps USD35,000,000,000 or so?

    Of course not. Sufficiency ‘theory’ is just a nonsense piece of manipulation which says “you got what you got, I got what I got, if I got more it is because it is my place in life and you shouldn’t resent it, you should be happy being poor and living in a shithole while I live in the lap of luxury”.

    So people, lets not have any more of the ‘sufficiency theory’ bullshit if you please. Wake up and see it for what it really is.


  15. 15 chinesethai 28 January 2009 at 12:14 pm


    Then you need to get rid of the corrupt people that ripped the poor off, not to blame the Sufficiency Economics.

    While you and many others are accusing sufficiency economics as bullshit and nonsense, what would you propose as the way out?

  16. 16 antipadshist 28 January 2009 at 12:39 pm


    I agree fully. I know that it is a gimmick. well, at least in its interpretation by Thai Elite.

    that’s why I tried to point out that it is not realistic or possible to implement.

  17. 17 antipadshist 28 January 2009 at 12:58 pm

    “way out” ? way out of what ?

    (global economic crisis and political/ social/ economic situation in Thailand are not same things, although somewhat related, only in the sense that the first worsens the second)

    to attempt answer it in general –

    the way out would be establishing and enforcing a proper system based on real justice (which is impossible with present Thai so called “Courts” and the elite and army who are practically above any laws) and actual democratic system (after all currently ruling party coincidentally calls itself “Democratic” πŸ˜€ )

    also it would be something NOT related to printing more paper money, borrowing from IMF (or elsewhere abroad), promoting consumerism, depending heavily on exports.

    oh, and certainly NOT hijacking international airports, then telling “it was fun” and then trying to “apologise” to tourists and investors, and pump billions into TAT ! πŸ™‚
    (I think percecution of PAD for those acts would greatly boost investors trust πŸ˜‰ )

  18. 18 Welloilbeefhooked 28 January 2009 at 1:38 pm


    I would recommend that Thais adopt prudent fiscal management and not more voodoo economics and magic rice seeds. Preferably with a little less of the legendary Thai hypocrisy.

    Won’t hold my breath though, it is Thailand after all so one has to make allowances.


  19. 19 Insanity 28 January 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Thailand is indeed in a good position because not only can it feed itself it has food for export.

    What we’re involved in today, is a general breakdown crisis of the world financial-monetary system. There is no possible rescue of this system.

    We need to create a new world system, a new money system, a credit system as opposed to a monetary system, which, if the US, Russia, China, and India agree, most nations of the world will happily join. And under those conditions, we can proceed to advance credit on a large scale, for physical reconstruction of the world’s physical economy. And instead of the present free-trade system, we go back to a protectionist system, a fixed-rate system; in other words, currencies will have a fixed rate of exchange with respect to each other, or adjustable by treaty arrangements, but they do not float.

    Globalization: Scrap the WTO
    We have a physical economy, which is a mess. We have a situation in which the people are in jeopardy, and the physical conditions of life are deteriorating throughout the world. There is starvation in many parts of the world due to current food prices and current organization of food production. Globalization has become a mass murderer.

    We have set up a system (WTO) where we grow food in one country to be eaten in another country. For the food you eat yourself, you have to go to a completely different country than your own, and get them to produce food for you. In the middle stands someone who’s a dealer in food, the international financial community, which determines the prices which are paid for the country which exports the food, and also determines the prices paid for the country that buys the food to consume it. And what we’ve done recently, is destroy the independent food-producing capabilities of nations, so they no longer have self-sufficiency. They are at the mercy of something like the WTO.

  20. 20 tumbler 28 January 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Hi chinesethai, I assume you can read Thai (if you can’t then i’m sorry) so please let me point you to Pasuk Pongpaichit’s latest article in Matichon:

    Basically, we’ll just need to stick to the current system. We have no realistic alternative. As far as governments are concerned, pumping money into the economy is the right and sensible thing to do and things should begin to pick up within three years.

    I believe that the implementation of sufficiency economy would require, among other things, the re-definition of things like human motives and incentives. It’s just like what socialism was trying (and eventually failed) to do.

  21. 21 Lloyd 28 January 2009 at 9:55 pm

    All antogonism aside most people are missing one fundamental point, it wasn’t the average or low income worker who caused the current economic crisis, it was the greed of the financial markets, investors, banks and “business” community.

    “Sufficiency economic” discussion does not address the problem, it is nothing but simple words spoken in a way to placate those who are being hit hardest.

    “If we rule out Sufficient Economics as not applicable to the current context, what else in sight is plausible to solve the crisis? Trillion-dollar stimulus package, race to 0% interest rate, cash injection, giveaways that governments around the world are launching like crazy? I don’t mean I oppose to those measures but are they sustainable?”

    Nobody knows what the right answer is until after the current “crisis” is over, you cannot solve a problem when there is nothing to solve, how do you solve a cold winters day or the sun setting early???

    Until the ‘crisis’ is over anything done is purely speculation, what is clear is that “words” and false theories will not help anyone.

  22. 22 antipadshist 29 January 2009 at 12:44 pm


    you’re right. although it is worth to add that nobody knows even WHEN the “crisis” is over. πŸ™‚

    dudes at Davos are clueless as much.

    elites got the current economic crisis so wrong. They were so busy with each other, they forgot about the real world

    While everyone here seems to agree on the never again part, there isn’t consensus on how soon a recovery will come. The never-ending debate about whether that will occur later this year or not until 2010 or even later..

    Soros : “the financial system is on “artificial life support.

  23. 23 commons 9 April 2009 at 1:21 pm

    thx for great blog, thaicrisis, it attracts fine minds.

    1) thx 4 hinting @ Juti Krairiskh.

    2) re β€œSufficiency economy”: it seems term stirs emotions. i guess u’re aware of thanong @ nation. i like this one too: http://blog.nationmultimedia.com/netnapit/2009/03/26/entry-1

    3) in general: whatever u call it. u can call it “green”, “eco”, “smart”, “sustainable”, “holistic” — it’s an emerging drive for ppl around the world. it’s _not_ met by g20 summit apr 2009 nor by any national government i know of. as others pointed out… we talk “TRILLION” usd to rescue an outlived self-destructive system, that permeates social injustice around the world. _this_ _IS NOT_ the “crisis”… this is just wooing. give it 2-5 yrs when all world will realize not only each individual human live has been mortgaged but generations to come too. for what?

    4) google “permaculture”. it’s just one term.

    5) lao tsu: “he who knows he has enough is rich”

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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