Stimulus Plan Considered


As a matter of principle, Paul Krugman apart, it is probably sensible to listen to economists and then reach the exact opposite conclusion. Economics is in some ways a wonderful intellectual pursuit in that it is capable of throwing up any number of complex, sophisticated and even elegant theoretical models which invariably suffer from the same, single, fatal flaw: they are all absolutely useless in explaining how people actually behave.

Now, ‘leading economists’ are being quoted in the Bangkok Post to pour scorn on the new Quisling government’s economic stimulus plan. There is, certainly, a great deal of concern about it: the budget is quite clearly calculated on the basis of most money being directed to Ministries controlled by the PADemocrats and hugely less to the Ministries held by coalition parties, irrespective of logic or need. Certain large ticket items are passed without a thought, irrespective of logic or need (and possibly even talking about them will lead to flags being raised and files opened or reopened). The ‘stimulus’ part is also subject to some searching questions: why, for example, is money being given to (Democrat-supporting demographic) salary-earning private sector employees and civil servants and nothing is available for (non-Democrat-supporting demographic) poor and redundant workers?

The Quisling himself has been all over the place trying to justify the policy, claiming it is or is not a one-off payment, it will or it will not be paid immediately and so forth. It is fairly clear he has little idea what the policy is or what it means – it is often the way with the extraordinarily rich, they can get high marks on their economics exams and yet be totally incapable of running a whelk stall.

Some aspects appear quite sensible, although that may mean they will never actually come to pass. Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit of redundant workers is clearly a good thing and was vital in mitigating the damage after the 1997 crisis. The support for SMEs and entrepreneurs introduced by Thai Rak Thai is crucial in promoting non-export related domestic growth and it would have been better if it had been allowed to continue properly subsequently.  

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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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