Self-sufficient economy, Thailand, 2006

This sign reads:

The self-sufficient economy is at the heart of solving poverty. Self-sufficient economies support the community. Self-sufficient communities support the sub-district. Self-sufficient sub-districts support the district. Self-sufficient districts support the province. Self-sufficient provinces support the nation.

– Air Chief Marshall Kongsak Wantana

Interior Minister

It should go without saying that there are many opinions about this style of statement – a style of statement so common in modern Thai political-economy.

This is important to remember.

Many people forget that disagreements and differences of opinion are crucial in democratic debate.

In my view, Thai words like “community” (р╕Кр╕╕р╕бр╕Кр╕Щ) and “self-sufficient economy” (р╣Ар╕ир╕гр╕йр╕Рр╕Бр╕┤р╕Ир╕Юр╕нр╣Ар╕Юр╕╡р╕вр╕З) once reeked of radical intent. Such force has been largely stripped away.

Now these top-down pronouncements are but the hollow rhetorical grandstanding of those who require a shield for their conservative interests. Their words hide the fact that the pyramid has holes at many levels, and weaknesses in its foundations.