|The Politics of Practical Nostalgia - Newsweek, March 29, 2008
[Thaksin, along with three other Asian leaders, makes the cover of the Asian version of Newsweek under the headline "The New Pragmatists."]
A successful economic answer to the pressures of globalization was central to Thaksin's rise and helps explain his return. During his five-year term the economy boomed, rural growth spiked and Thailand became the only country in Asia to narrow its rich-poor gap. His Thai Rak Thai party gained popularity by spending heavily on infrastructure and the poor, including village-level development programs and nearly free health care, yet keeping Thailand open to foreign investors and aggressively promoting trade. Then came the junta, which managed in a few short months to scare off foreign investors and alienate rural Thais by advocating quasi-Buddhist "efficiency economics" that emphasized stability over growth. Under the generals, Thailand grew by just 4.8 percent last year. ...