The Human Cost of the Silent Coup Will Be Paid by the Poor


More job losses have been announced in the electronics industry in Ayutthaya – it is anticipated that as many as 100,000 people out of a total of 300,000 people in that province will lose their job by the end of the first half of next year. The global economic crisis has had an effect but not (at least not yet) as serious as the PAD Disaster. The closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport meant the loss of numerous contracts by firms which had made the effort to improve their operations sufficiently to be involved in international just-in-time supply chains. This is the human cost of the decision by the (secret, eight foot high lizard) person to authorize first the military coup of 2006 and then the judicial and silent coups of 2008.

Over at New Mandala, a post by guest Maylee Thavat includes this paragraph:

There is a well established link between the two sectors of garment manufacturing and prostitution. When factories close, prostitution increases. Of course working in a factory is better than having sex for money, but when the family needs feeding, medical care and assistance, women of Cambodia find a way to provide, even if it means self-sacrifice. Cambodia closes its eyes because as an undiversified, least developed economy, the country sells what few assets it has.”

The same thing will happen here to many people. There is something of a myth that after the 1997 financial crisis, it was the kindness and compassion of the Thai people that absorbed retrenched workers into rural homes and provided for them – the reality is somewhat less edifying (these farmers are poor – how could they feed more mouths without more work?). At least some people preferred to remain in Bangkok or another city and to set themselves up as street vendors, as research we have conducted demonstrates. Some vendors have established quite sophisticated operations and created their own brands, franchises and the like. Presumably more people (mostly women since street vending tends to be a female occupation and many of those who lose factory jobs are women) will try the same thing – it will lead to more largely unreported conflict and bribery on the streets of Bangkok and other cities with attendant human drama and stress.

Let’s end with a bit of poetry (from William Blake):

A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate

Predicts the ruin of the State.

A Horse misus’d upon the Road

Calls to Heaven for Human blood.

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JW

JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

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