More on the Agenda for Change

What impact would the decision to take Thailand on to the next stage of economic development have on the physical environment of the country? This next stage would feature strengthening domestic consumption to reduce vulnerability to external environmental changes, as discussed previously. It would be combined with greater levels of social mobility as people of talent could rise from poverty and achieve better lives for themselves and their families. It would also feature greater investment in those ‘enabling technologies’ which make it possible for all businesses to thrive – high-speed rail (OK, in Thailand non-deathly slow rail) links, decent internet access nationwide, preferably free and a coherent body of law fairly applied to everyone without prejudice. This kind of change would reduce the need or desire that people might have to migrate for work. Instead, people would be more likely to remain close to their homes and contribute to local development – so, provincial urban development would be promoted with better schools and public facilities. At the same time, perhaps the pressure on Bangkok’s public service and roads might be reduced. Towns would see better and more advanced retail outlets and agricultural production might change to pay attention to changes in demand for different types of food. Enhanced cross-border links would see more Lao, Cambodian and Vietnamese products in market places and shops. Some companies would move away from the industrial estates while others might be nudged towards more value-added production patterns and less environmentally unfriendly manufacturing. Incentives for attempting to create green products might see changes in the land cover – currently, growing crops for biofuel production appears to be an unsustainable approach but new forms of efficiency might see that change. On the other hand, we might finally see the large-scale solar panels that would provide considerable levels of power for the Kingdom as a whole. A lot of this, of course, relies to a considerable extent upon a return to genuine democracy and the possibility for distribution of resources away from Bangkok and back to the provinces. However, if the elites continue to cling to power, there is not much prospect of any helpful change in the next decade.

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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.

One thought on “More on the Agenda for Change”

  1. Yes, why not do all of these things! Like developing the rule of law, an issue generally forgotten in all the rhetoric about the need for ‘democracy’.

    From my perpective living in and writing about Isaan, surely the big issue is the crisis in the countryside and the consequential creeping urbanisation by which many of Thailand’s fine social values may be lost.

    What is needed is effective regional development, to halt the rush to Bangkok and to bring a modern economy and real jobs to the rural areas, rather than the poor migrating south to look for work.

    Agriculture cannot resolve the rural crisis. There’s too little land and too many Thais.

    Andrew Hicks

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