Economics: Hard time for Yingluck rice subsidy brings back memory of Thaksin’s “Populous Program”

Yingluck caught between a rock and a hard place

  • By Pooky, Thai Intel’s economics journalist

Thailand‘s prime minister, Yingluck, is caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one side is a cross-section of pro Thai rice exporter cartel-such as the Asian Development Bank, the long known local anti Yingluck academic and research community like NIDA and TDRI and an alliance of traditionally anti Thaksin media, such as Bloomberg, Reuters and Bangkok Post.

  • The above indeed, is a very hard rock to crack.

Yet Yingluck also faces a “Very Hard Place” in that in poll after poll, Thai rice farmers have given Yingluck’s rice support program, top approval rating.

“Increase income, lower debt and up purchasing power,” said a summary of a pollster of Thai rice farmers opinion of Yingluck’s rice subsidy program, recently.

Caught between that Rock and that Hard Place, yesterday, in the local language Thai press only, was a Yingluck rice subsidy program supporter, who said, quote:

  • “If Yingluck stops her rice support, rice farmers might hold massive protest in Bangkok and shut the city down.”

Indeed, that is one aspect in this whole debate about Yingluck’s rice price support program, that is often ignored by everyone. Simply put, everyone seemed to have forgotten how do the Thai rice farmers feel?

  • “Rice farmers are addicted to Yingluck’s rice policy,” said a pro establishment Bangkok Post headline, recently and the headline, indicates, the level of sensitivity the Thai establishment have, of the Thai rice farmers.

That ignoring the Thai rice farmers, have gotten to the level, that anti Yingluck media, such as Bloomberg, went “Beyond” criticizing Yingluck’s rice price support scheme, and attacked Yingluck’s “Populous Policy” in general.

The rice support scheme is the populous policy, Yingluck used to win the election,” says a Bloomberg journalist.

  • Clearly, for media such as Bloomberg, it is not only just Yingluck’s rice policy, but it is Yingluck’s philosophy about “Democracy” that Bloomberg went attacking.

And in fact, it is not only Bloomberg, but even the Bangkok Post, book publishing arm, have a book out on how negative “Populous Policy” is to Thailand.

Attacking “Populous Policy” brings back the memory of when Thaksin was Thailand’s prime minister, and the Thai establishment, as Bloomberg is doing now, went attacking Thaksin’s “Populous Policy” as a policy that is not sustainable and will bankrupt Thailand, similar to Latin America.

Currently, in Thailand, like Bloomberg, the Thai establishment is attacking Yingluck’s “Populous Policy” as not sustainable and will bankrupt Thailand like the Euro Zone.

  • Yet the fact remains, Thailand did not follow Latin America into a crash, and there is no sign Thailand will crash like Euro Zone.

And in fact, several of Thaksin’s “Populous Policy” reached global iconic level recognition as being a possible solution to human kind development, such as his “Universal Health Care” and “Village Fund.”

  • It should be noted here, that Thailand’s academic and research community, said Thaksin’s Universal Health Care and Village Fund will bankrupt Thailand like Latin America.

On the macro political picture, Thailand is in a transitional phase, started by Thaksin, towards “Democracy.” Whatever the positive or negative of populous policies, for the first time in Thailand’s history, the non establishment Thais, had a government that looked after the people’s interest-before the establishment’s interest.

  • What “Democracy” typically means, traditionally is a government by and for the people.

And is there any doubt at all, that one of Thailand greatest risk, is from the widening gap between the rich and poor? Under so many years of Thailand, under “Establishment Control” the gap between the rich and poor widened. And believe it or not, but please do a good research, the rich and poor gap in Thailand, fell for the first time in Thai history, under Thaksin use of “Populous Policy.”