Re: “Growing wealth gap belies reform”, News, May 21.
This is the “junta effect”, if I may coin a phrase. It has been clear to any reader of news that the focus of the junta’s economic plan(s) for the last while has not been on the proverbial “little guy” but rather on (usually) Bangkok-based wealthy.
And it has been the farmer in particular and the little guy in general who have not been targeted for benefits. Now, to be fair, all over the world there is great wealth disparity, but Thailand has always been bad and it seems has got much worse.
I don’t have a magic-bullet solution to effectively deal with this issue, but I do see one silver lining. The political landscape in Thailand has changed from bygone days. This is evidenced by the junta all of a sudden realising that it needs rural votes for legitimacy and taking the time (read: abusing their office) to go visit.
Will this lead to any long-lasting political change for Thailand’s rural people? It is easy to be cynical and say no, but I see a permanent change. The question for me is how effectively rural Thailand will use its political power, not whether it knows it has power.
It is my great hope that rural people do use their strength at the ballot box effectively.
Currently the junta needs rural votes for legitimacy, as will others in future, and if and when the rural people and the poor learn to use that power properly, great change will come.
These figures could have been plucked straight out of the British Conservative Party handbook and mirrors the shocking global wealth divide that will eventually end badly.