Abhisit the Crow

It has been somewhat amusing to observe the preening Abhisit take credit for the one aspect of government performance over which he has precious little control – human rights, integrity in political discourse and behaviour, civil liberties and administrative competence have all suffered significantly this past year (as people have noted in a Bangkok University poll), yet Abhisit has sought to take credit for the supposed economic recovery and claims support from business groups.

The principal feature of the Thai economy is its extremely globalized nature and its vulnerability to external shocks – that is, the dependency of the economy on exporting and on tourism, as well as the very high percentage of GDP devoted to importing oil and gas, all of which means that there has been very little influence that the Thai government can do to affect international conditions. When the junta tried to intervene in capital markets during its disastrous period of misrule, they had to withdraw overnight in the face of market power and disfavour.

What influence a Thai government can wield comes from attempts to strengthen the domestic economy and domestic capitalists through community level efforts such as the Village Fund, OTOP and the 30 baht health care scheme, as well as making Thai organizations more competitive by, for example, promoting the spread of international retail chains. The Democrats, of course, throughout their history have opposed all policies of this sort.

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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.

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