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'Boycott wars only hurt the country'

Getting trapped in the cycle of boycott and counter-boycott of products and services from opposing political camps is self-destructive for Thailand, Anusorn Tamajai, dean of economics at Rangsit University, warned yesterday.

"Conflicting parties are now using all means available to crush the opponent without consideration of the repercussions on society and the economy in general," said Anusorn, who is also a deputy rector of the university.

"It's leading to a political-crisis-driven recession, which is open-ended, and we won't know where it will end."

It is difficult to assess the damage but it is clear that Thai society has become "increasingly self-destructive".

The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) is boycotting products and services belonging to, or believed to be related to, the clan of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Meanwhile, some red shirts are boycotting Singha beer and Boon Rawd's other products, as one of the scions of the brewer family is a PDRC leader. They have vowed to do the same to the products and firms supporting the PDRC.

Anusorn said the cost to the economy would depend on how widely such boycotts spread.

"People with reason should ask themselves if this is an appropriate action to take. Everyone will be affected eventually."

A boycott war can precede a civil war, as seen in such countries as Lebanon and Syria.

"Our country is already in a state of war but it is still limited to a political war. We have yet to arrive at a state of full-scale civil war," he said.

Thailand risks entering a "lost decade" of recession as a result, Anusorn said.


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