The billion dollar monarchy

13 03 2020

Prachatai has a post on royal funding. One of the last freely available pieces of information on the billions that flow from public coffers – the taxpayer – to the royal family is in draft budget papers from the Budget Bureau that go to parliament.

The headline budget expenditure for 2020, for the “stability of the main national institutions” is about 5.35 billion baht. Yet this is misleading as funding to the royal family is scattered throughout the budget.

The headline figure is that the monarchy costs the taxpayer $1 billion.


Prachatai comes up with a provisional additional expenditures of more than 29.72 billion baht. It finds “direct expenditures” of 19.68 billion baht and “indirect expenses” of 10.04 billion baht.

Direct expenditures are those made directly to the monarchy, such as the security budget, travel budget, and institutional protection budgets. Indirect expenditures are what might be called “related expenditures” which includes things like royal projects and the ubiquitous “public relations” expenditures for propaganda. Every ministry has “projects” that “honor” the royal family and monarchy.

Then there’s a third set of funds that cost some 1.26 billion baht. These are projects named for the monarchy, so also fall into the category of royalist propaganda. These expenditures include things like “training” for farmers in the dead king’s sufficiency economy “theory.”

All of this means that total expenditure is around 31 billion baht.

While Prachatai has considerable detail, we won’t include here. We do note that the report makes the point that this massive sum does not include budgets from universities, local government organizations, state enterprises, the budgets for constructing and maintaining buildings and infrastructure that “honor” the monarchy and the royal family.

In the detailed commentary, we did notice some interesting line items:

– Travel, flights and head of state operations: 6.52 billion baht.

– Ministry of Interior budget for “honouring” the monarchy: 2.38 billion baht.

– Ministry of Defense funds for honouring, acting on the monarch’s wishes and whims 1.71 billion baht.

– Royal projects: 847 million baht.

– Royal decorations: 505.5 million baht

– To Be Number One (non-Princess Ubolratana’s propaganda project): 17.4 million baht.

Let us know if we got any of the calculations wrong.



7 responses

24 03 2020
The king’s travels | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Unfortunately, it may be blocked in Thailand. So let us summarize a couple of his recent posts. We think these are critical parts of the current discussion of the  king and monarchy, which cost the Thai taxpayer at least a billion dollars this year. […]

26 03 2020
The king’s travels and troubles II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] much of his copious state funds pay for all of […]

2 04 2020
Asia Sentinel on the king’s failures | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and tycoon backers) – which depends on the monarch for whatever legitimacy it has – forking out a billion dollars a year on “protecting” and lauding the king and his strange […]

14 04 2020
Thailand’s Kibosh | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] A kind of Thai Kibosh, it is said that the missing king and his equally missing queen said they “stand ready to help to support their work…”. Standing ready overseas in a pleasure palace probably paid for by the taxpayer. […]

2 05 2020
Sufficiency manure | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] regime seems to have plenty of money for supporting palace propaganda, doling out taxpayer-funded equipment that they claim is from the king; that’s standard […]

2 05 2020
Confused, confusing and worse | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In other words, they are cheats and thieves, seeking to drain the public purse (unlike the king and the tycoons or the crooks in the […]

29 09 2021
Taxpayer and feudalism | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] its annual survey of the funds drained from taxpayers into the monarchy. Its last annual report is here, where we referred to the billion dollar […]

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