Under the headline “Entrepreneurs happy with performance of CNS, government”, the Thai government’s news agency reports:
On the one-year performance evaluation of the CNS and the government, the survey found they won the entrepreneurs’ satisfaction narrowly regarding the supervision of the baht with a score of 5.2 out of 10 points, national reconciliation with 5.5, solving the southern unrest with 5.8, amending the Foreign Business Act with 5.7, and development of the transport system with 5.6. However, they won the high score of 7.2 points for the implementation of His Majesty the King’s sufficiency economy principle.
As the results are presented in the article, this University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce opinion poll suggests that “sufficiency economy” is the area of governance considered most positively under Thailand’s military regime. Without knowing the details of the survey it is very difficult to say how this conclusion was drawn. However, it does suggest that Thai entrepreneurs are generally less likely to criticise ideas that come from the King than those that they perceive as emerging from the junta.
It is an interesting – although hardly surprising – result.
However, it does open up the field for some more probing questions. For example, is the royal provenance of the sufficiency economy principles enough protection against mediocre polling? Does the ambiguous character of the whole sufficiency project mean that people can agree with it (and with the government’s management of it) regardless of their personal views? Are entrepreneurs really happy with the “sufficiency” economic management of the junta? Or is there some other explanation for the strong approval of the military government’s handling of “sufficiency economy”?
Ideas and comments from New Mandala readers on the results of this survey are very welcome. It would be particularly interesting to hear from readers in Thailand who talk with their friends and associates (entrepreneurial or otherwise) about sufficiency economy. What do they make of its continuing place in the military government’s policy war-chest? Moreover, if any New Mandala readers categorise themselves as a “Thai entrepreneur” it would be great to get your personal reaction to the government’s handling of sufficiency economy, and any of the related issues.