Economics: 4) On Economics, Thaksin is Ahead but Abisit Trying to Speed Up

We may hate him greatly but still you got to admire his guts to up against a master of the business and economics world like Thaksin
Many dislike him greatly on Democratic and Human Rights issue, but still you got to admire his guts to go up against a master of the business and economics world like Thaksin


Information this article is from  Thaienews, Thai Rath, Manager Weekly and Khao Sod-we would like to say thanks you to all.

By Terry/Tavivoot

The IMD Study

The Institute of Management Development (IMD), a unit with the most credible ranking on countries competitiveness, data indicates Thailand under Thaksin management is still ahead of Abist on many areas.

But the Abisit government is catching up fast.

And in fact, yet with political turmoil-the Abist and the pro-Thaksin government that were in power in the past year of the IMD research- were able to pull Thailand’s overall competitiveness against the rest of the world from 27 place in 2008 to 26 place in 2009.

Yet the position is still below the 25 position under Thaksin management in 2005-where politics was also explosive.

The Thaksin lead can clearly be seen still in overall economic competitive performance-where the government has a major impact-where under Thaksin in 2005, Thailand ranked 7. But under Abist if fell from 2008 at 12 place-to 2009 at 14 place. This indicates that the Abisit government is still having a difficult time even competing with the nominees government of Thaksin that was in power in 2008.

Thai business sector competitiveness continues to weather the political turmoil well-stabilizing at about the 25 place ranking.

Policy recommendation by IMD are as follows:

  • Address challenges of globalization and transformation to creative knowledge economy.
  • Launch the program of 15- years’ free basic education throughout the country.
  • Boost investor confidence by developing labour skills, improving investment climate and political reform.
  • Enhance regulations for SMEs to survive global downturn.
  • Accelerate infrastructure improvement to reduce business cost, ie. logistics system, energy consumption efficiency etc.

Catching Up with Thaksin?

So will the Abisit government catch up with Thaksin? Lets look at some current examples.

According to Thai Rath and Khao Sod, a local mass circulated daily that are neutral and calls it as it is-the Abisit government has just decided to re-evaluate plans for Bangkok’s mass transit system. Thai Rath gave the comment that previous governments and the Abisit government, had studied and re-studied and had approved and re-approved the master plan on so many occasions-that Thai Rath wonders what the current review is all about.

“We just wonder that the project has been delayed so many times already because of politics, and now another delay and by the time this new study is finished, Thailand will probably see a new government and more delays,” said Thai Rath key opinion column.

But apart from the mass transit system, local press has also been running stories about how the government had covered-up the current global epedemic impact in Thailand to hide its failure-and this means Thailand’s health care system has been compromised by the government.

Systemic corruption, under the highly reputed “Clean” government of Abisit is also on the way up-with local press like the right wing Manager exposing massive systemic corruption at the Thai railway unit and a mega-big-ticket bus purchase plan-that have seen key government figures attacking key planning units such at NESDB.

Is the Abisit government following IMD’s recommendations?

The verdict on this aspect is still out. There had been very little news in the media about such topic of SME.

Political system reform and social cohesion under the Abisit government still show no signs of improvement-with the government continuing to see the opposition and Thaksin as more than a political challenges but actually seeing the two as a threat to national security.

That focus on national security is closely linked to Nationalism and has resulted in Thailand’s information distribution system that is very much closed and controlled. This off course hurts the knowledge creation process a modern economy depends on.

Yet the Abisit government is strong on education, and more significantly-in the past few weeks have shown a willingness to re-focus on the SME sector. The review of the mass transit system-as some insiders indicate-is mainly about priority-and this can indicate that the government is sensitive about public debt and how its borrowing may impact the private sector economy and Thailand’s  risk profile. If that assesment is incorrect-the review could also indicate a policy shift from sopending on Bangkok politics-to channeling the funds to SME and grass-roots enterprises.


Blog’s Recommendation

Our policy recommendation to Abisit is to just stay focus on solving Thailand’s problems-because he isn’t doing all that bad.  And in fact the IMD research indicates that in many “micro-level area” where the government have absolute control-these areas are doing very well.

The problem with Abisit, as the IMD research indicates, is mainly in the overall “macro-level.”

This means an inability to adopt to wider considerations and environments such as Thailand as a whole and globalism.

Just be careful not to go over-board with politics and the right wing thing-mainly because the cost of focusing on Nationalism-is forgetting that Thailand also exists in the global community and environment.

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