Poor Suffer Most from PAD


The courts have ruled that it is not defamatory to call someone either a criminal or a ‘ghost.’ Let’s try it out, shall we? So, you khun P….. Right.

A study by the UTCC forecasting unit projects losses of between 154-215 billion baht from the airport losses – although the situation is so volatile these numbers are subject to radical revision, I would have thought. More concretely, the tourism industry is set for enormous job layoffs in the first quarter of next year. Tourism was already very weak this year, given the continuing PAD problem, high oil prices earlier in the year and the ongoing financial crisis. Now it has plunged to disastrous depths.

Jobs in the tourism industry tend to be low-skilled and low-paid. They include hotel maids, drivers, restaurant waiting staff, travel agent assistants and the like. Anyone who has travelled around Thailand will know the importance of labour migration – people move from one part of the country (most commonly Isan) to another to find work. This leads to some equalization of supply and demand of jobs but also has the effect of suppressing wages overall because the migrants lack protection in the workplace and are often obliged to accept low wages, even below minimum wage levels. It was in part to help counter labour migration that the Thai Rak Thai administration introduced regional development programmes such as OTOP and village loans.

Why? Well, once the people lose their jobs, they must either return to rural poverty and under-employment (research showing that the unique kindness of Thai people in the aftermath of the 1997 crisis somehow overcame this problem has been contested, not least by me) or else will be vulnerable and more likely to enter into ‘risk-taking behaviour ‘ which, I hope, I do not have to spell out.

These are the people who most directly suffer from the far right PAD movement’s selfish and self-important actions –but then we already know what the right wing thinks about the poor in Thailand.