By Pooky and Frank-this blog’s economics and political journalist
With politicians all over the globe, the big question has always been “Guns” or “Butter.” Guns traditionally mean weapons but in politics it also means spending to shore up political standing. Butter traditionally mean food on the table of people. Today it can mean anything from health care to education.
- Thailand, with some 10 million poor who relies mainly on agriculture, is an agricultural country with a big chunk of export of manufactured and process food goods. It is clear that to put “Butter” on a major chunk of tables in Thailand, it is the farm or agriculture that needs focus.
Yet the current government is pumping countless US$ billions into paving roads across Thailand and building new ones. As most observer knows, provincial strongmen and powerful contractors in politicians fold, is a major “Gun” for Thai politicians.
- And by judging by how much is going to building water canals to service Thailand’s agriculture and farms, which is nothing compared to the spending on the “Gun” it looks like the current government has opted for spending for political power, more than what is important for Thailand’s long-term future-and this is even with spending on education.
Because even with the current government massive spending on education, millions of students still have to leave the education system that is free-because they still simply do not have enough money for attending school and must go to work.