Recently The Economist ran a story that looked at the growth in
That this is one legacy of the policies of deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin, there can be little doubt.
I wonder whether the trend also might help to explain why certain segments of Thai society strongly supported the coup d'etat. I have long suspected this. Perhaps noticing that the poor were quickly "catching up," there was some level of resentment on the part of better educated, middle class Thais.
For example, it did not escape this foreigner's attention that the salary of a university-educated civil servant or teacher is not that much higher than that of an almost illiterate Bangkok taxi driver from the countryside.
Whereas the situation of poor Thais generally improved, the relative
The coup of September 19, 2006 appeared to have had the overwhelming support of middle-class Thais. The nature of
Update #1: Bangkok Pundit (BP) has posted a response to the controversy this post seems to have generated in the discussion section of his blog about whether
I think the idea that "Among other illuminating charts and tables, Pundit presents a chart from the World Bank that looks at
incomegaps" were closing is grade A BS. It's another fabrication by apologists for the crook [Thaksin].
Update #2: Blogger R&W takes issue with points raised in this post. He questions whether Thaksin should be given much of the credit for reducing poverty, pointing to a World Bank report. BP responds to R&W here. (One of R&W's arguments is that the Thaksin-era data could be bogus.* I find BP's response to this concern most persuasive: "If Thaksin manipulated the figures, why doesn't the current government tell us the real figures, they have now had 11 months.")
* R&W disputes how I characterize his argument here, responding on the comments page of BP's blog:"I wanted to say that I didn't suggest the data was "bogus" as in totally fake, as quoted by you in your blog. I suggested it could be highly inaccurate and that Thaksin or other figures would be very liberal with such data." For the record, R&W wrote: "Did Thaksin or other governments perform their own research? If so, can we accept they [. . .] may have been liberal with their data collation?"
Update #3: My new post points to an overlooked piece of strong evidence that the poverty reduction during Thaksin's tenure was more remarkable than his critics suggest. See Under Thaksin,
Update #4: I just posted "Zen and the meaning of poor people's debt in Thaksin's