The Nation is quoting a former Bangkok senator, Sophon Suphapong, on the coup-makers – the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) – and the decisions they are currently facing.
The CDRM has to make sure that no persons with close links to the former Thaksin regime are named to the new Cabinet. I think new ministers should be familiar with HM the King’s initiatives on economic self-sufficiency.
The first stipulation for new cabinet appointments is hardly unexpected. Purging the Thaksinites from influential positions is an obvious priority for people who are optimistic about the potential of the military regime.
Trying to specify ministerial familiarity with the King’s ideas on economic development is a different matter altogether. To my eye, it is much more problematic. Here at New Mandala we have often written about “self-sufficiency”. In the context of Andrew’s earlier comments on future strategies for left(ish) activist-academics in the post-coup environment, Sophon’s proclamation (however fanciful it may actually be) is a sign that “self-sufficiency” could become a new battleground.
Of course, what Sophon’s comments hide are some of the biggest questions for the future of Thailand’s political economy and its key institutions. They remain unanswered.
The idea of “self-sufficient economy” (р╣Ар╕ир╕гр╕йр╕Рр╕Бр╕┤р╕Ир╕Юр╕нр╣Ар╕Юр╕╡р╕вр╕З), or the “economics of enoughness” as Peter Warr often translates it, has been around in Thailand for almost a decade. It was introduced to “the people” by a famous royal speech in 1997. Following Sophon, some speculation on its future is perhaps worthwhile.
Under the new (old?) order will a devotion to “self-sufficiency” really be one way to land a ministerial appointment? After years of trying, will conservative interests finally make “self-sufficiency” wholly their own? Or will interpretations of “self-sufficiency” just remain a diversion? Will they always be but a toothless tiger lurking in the shadows? Or under current circumstances will “self-sufficiency” come of age?я┐╜