Somkid embraces sufficiency economy
Somkid Jatusripitak, the former architect of Thaksinomics, yesterday appeared to have fully embraced the Surayud government's sufficiency-economy policy.
Named chairman of the government's international economic policy coordination body, Somkid - who spent six years as the economic chieftain of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra's government - said he would help defend the current government's policy aboard. The policy has been criticised as anti-globalisation and anti-free trade.
"We'll not be at war with the international media. That's their misunderstanding," he said.
"We'll work with them to remove any discrepancies over the meaning of sufficiency economy," Somkid said at a seminar held by the Sasin Institute of Business Administration.
Somkid, who will shortly go overseas to explain the policy on sufficiency economy, said the country was now at a crossroads and Thais should stop their infighting and start working together to resolve important national issues.
"We're now completing the first-decade anniversary of the painful 1997 financial crisis. Then we ran into the political crisis last year and there was the September coup. That's another major turning point.
"I think the whole world is watching what kind of new constitution we usher in," said Somkid, a former deputy premier and finance minister.
On His Majesty the King's initiatives on sufficiency economy, he said they were essential survival tips for individuals, households, businesses and industries as well as the national economy.
For Somkid, awareness, wisdom, caution and sound risk management are the key words as far as sufficiency economy is concerned. As the foundation for nation-building, he said the royal initiatives were neither backwards nor polarised.
"My understanding is that the quality of our economic growth is now more important than before. Let's say we used to achieve a GDP [gross domestic product] growth rate of 5 per cent. Now, we want to ensure that the economic benefits are better distributed among the entire population, so that we have fewer weaknesses among the grassroots people."
"This will help ensure that our national development path is more sustainable. Sufficiency economy also means that we want to develop the country step-by-step and we want to open up our economy in a wise manner. It doesn't mean that we're going to reject globalisation or free trade. This has been misunderstood," Somkid said.
He added that there was also the management dimension of sufficiency economy, such as good governance and ethics.
Somkid also suggested that the government come up with specific measures based on the royal initiatives to correct existing imbalances in the national economy and society.