It’s time for the government to initiate a welfare strategy to defeat populism

It’s time for the government to initiate a welfare strategy to defeat populism - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit, November 13, 2007
This year’s discussion at the annual conference of the Thailand Development Research Institute, held November 10-11, tended to indicate that it is time for the Thai government to initiate a definite strategy to improve the welfare of its general public.
Such a strategy would help improve the lives of ordinary Thai people, and allow them to live sustainable lives - with fewer living in poverty. This strategy would also help to rid the country of the strong populist strain that has wracked it in recent years. Greater government welfare provision would involve improving the lot of ordinary citizens, helping the underprivileged and easing poverty. The government would thus be required to exercise much greater responsibility for the care of its citizens, from cradle to grave. Any government - that undertook to create such a welfare system - would also find it necessary to systematically guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens. Such a government would also be duty bound to help ordinary Thai people face their various social problems.
The golden years of Thai ‘populism’ were during the Thaksin regime. The Thaksin government used a populist strategy for its own political ends, rather than to actually help the poor in any real sense. It provided poor people with loans that vastly increased their indebtedness. Populist policies could only solve the problems of poverty in the short term, and these policies have since also created a great deal of trouble for the country’s financial system.

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