Sufficient nonsense

16 10 2013

Sanitsuda Ekachai is an editor at the Bangkok Post specializing in Buddhist issues and rural development and NGOs material. We were somewhat surprised that she has been beating the sufficiency economy drum again.

PPT had thought that the sufficiency economy discourse had died an appropriate death when it was linked with the geriatric royalist regime that the 2006 coup put in place. After all, the royalist Democrat Party gave it little attention, except in ideological terms, when they were hoisted to power by military and palace. So while it was put in development plans – does anyone look at these any more? – and posterior polishing conferences were organized bringing together well-paid luminaries with no particular knowledge of this “philosophy,” it seemed, well, forgotten.

While Sanitsuda knows it is an “empty mantra,” she seems to think that it needs resurrection in the fight against rapacious capitalists.Now which is the largest capitalist conglomerate in Thailand? Oh, yes, the (never sufficiency) monarchy…. Yet it was this line that got our attention:

The sufficiency economy concept initiated by His Majesty the King is lauded worldwide because it addresses the much-needed moral dimension of development and capitalism.

Lauded the world over? Really? We did a bit of a search, and apart from Thai royal pandering sites, there isn’t much. The best of these we saw was at a UNESCO site, where this was the blurb:

UNESCO Future Lecture – Towards a Sufficiency Economy: a New Ethical Paradigm for Sustainability: In Homage to the Philosophy on “Sufficiency Economy” by His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej

All of this event was Thai officials using taxpayer funds to promote the monarchy. A bit of an expensive yawn. There are some blogs that link to the notion and competing claims for ownership of the idea, For example,

Samuel Alexander is a founder of the Simplicity Institute, a group … making some of the most interesting contributions to the post-growth debate at the moment. In particular, their work has focused on the ‘sufficiency economy’….

Alexander is a new kid on the sufficiency/simplicity block, but there’s little evidence that  the king’s idea – if it was his – is being lauded worldwide.

The question is: why make this stuff up and publish it in a newspaper? To be honest, we can’t think of a single reason why a serious journalist would do this.


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28 09 2014
In biscuit tin land | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] of the richest men in the world. Yet he has the audacity to lecture citizens on his neo-liberal “Sufficiency Economics” ideology, where the poor must learn to live within their means. Other Thai millionaires grunt […]

4 08 2015
Royal accolades still concocted | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] UNESCO has been involved in such ludicrous awards and “recognition.” So has the FAO, some foreign governments, especially those with royal families, a range of universities from the serious, which are made to look ridiculous, to the barely known, hoping for a market opportunity in Thailand, and many more. […]

4 08 2015
Royal accolades still concocted | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] UNESCO has been involved in such ludicrous awards and “recognition.” So has the FAO, some foreign governments, especially those with royal families, a range of universities from the serious, which are made to look ridiculous, to the barely known, hoping for a market opportunity in Thailand, and many more. […]




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