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King’s sufficiency economy a blueprint for humankind

Oct 14. 2016
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By THE NATION

THE KING’S philosophy of a sufficiency economy has contributed significantly to the theory of development for the well-being of humankind.
THE KING’S philosophy of a sufficiency economy has contributed significantly to the theory of development for the well-being of humankind.
His initiatives in this crucial field have also been proposed to the United Nations for the promotion of sustainable development worldwide.
Prasopchoke Mongsawad, of Thailand’s National Institute of Development Administration, wrote that the King’s philosophy of sufficiency economy highlights a balanced way of living based on three principles – moderation, reasonableness, and self-immunity along with the conditions of morality and knowledge. 
In addition, the Royal initiatives could be used at any level of the society – from an individual to a country.
In the aftermath of 1997 Asian financial crisis, the King reiterated and expanded on the concept of the sufficiency economy in remarks made at his birthday speech in December 1997 and the following years.
The concept points the way for a Thailand recovery that will lead to more resilient, balanced and sustainable development, which is better able to meet the challenges arising from globalisation and other changes.
In 1999, the National Economic and Social Development Board invited a group of eminent persons to construct the definition of the |philosophy of sufficiency economy.
They determined that a “Sufficiency economy is a philosophy that stresses the middle path as an overriding principle for appropriate conduct by the populace at all levels.
“This applies to conduct starting from the level of the families, communities, as well as the level of nation in development |and administration so as to modernise in line with the forces of globalisation.”
According to Prasopchoke, developing countries face many challenges in their efforts to improve the well being of citizens. These challenges include |dysfunctional institutions, poor quality of people’s lives, environmental degradation, and the optimal role of government.
In his paper, he concludes that the philosophy of the sufficiency economy provides a new paradigm for development that also includes trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, sharing and altruism, representing the necessary moral conditions appropriate for sustainable national development.
These elements can be regarded as social capital embedded in a society that encourages proper economic and non-economic activities. In addition, the author concludes that the philosophy can serve as an informal institution substituting for a formal institution in cases of a dysfunctional or missing formal institution.
One of the most important applications of the philosophy is to help improve human well being with emphasis on the self-reliance of an individual and of a community, together with the essentials of education.
Poverty reduction can also be achieved by implementing measures along with royal initiatives to help people reduce their vulnerability, build their capability |to shape their lives, and have choices. 
In other words, people will be moderate and reasonable with self-immunity. Therefore, they will not overexploit or abuse the environment or natural resources. They will embrace the environment, conserve it for the future and live in harmony with nature.
Also, a government with a mindset of this philosophy will be able to achieve the optimal role in maximising its people’s welfare. Such a government will make policy with prudence and vigilance, resulting in good governance and a culture of honesty.
Over the past three decades, the King graciously reminded Thais, through his royal remarks on many occasions, of a step-by-step and balanced approach to development, according to sufficiencyeconomy.org.
The following is an excerpt from a speech he gave in 1974: 
“Economic development must be done step by step. It should begin with the strengthening of our economic foundation, by assuring that the majority of our population has enough to live on ... Once reasonable progress has been achieved, we should then embark on the next steps, by pursuing more advanced levels of economic development.
“Here, if one focuses only on rapid economic expansion without making sure that such a plan is appropriate for our people and the condition of our country, it will inevitably result in various imbalances and eventually end up as failure or crisis, as found in other countries.”
The wise royal warning was made many years before Thailand encountered its biggest economic crisis in modern history, when the baht was sharply devalued and the government had to seek a massive bailout financial package from the International Monetary Fund in 1997.
 

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