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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

More on Thaksinomics

Maynard writes about my recent post on Thaksinonics. I very much agree with what he is saying. I think it is impossible to read the personal motives behind what Thaksin is doing (I don't, remember, get too involved in type 'M' arguments) or what the consequences will be for the long term distribution of wealth and power in Thailand. What I am saying is that as an attempt to pursue a 'reflationary' policy which offers an alternative to excessive dependence on the export track, what he is doing is definitely interesting and worth following. Of course, it could all still end in tears.

Thaksin is a very interesting case. Yes he appears to be doing a whole lot to help the poor and Thailand. BUT he has a finger in pretty much every pie in Thailand, and it's not yet clear to me if his primary interest is in helping Thailand (and being remembered as a statesman), in doing well by doing good, or in fleecing the treasury. Current indications seem to be that he plans to leave all his wealth to the family, not to a foundation or suchlike, which does not seem to me to be a good start - at best they will own a huge chunk of Thailand and may manage it badly, at worst they may have political goals of their own.

I'd be wary of considering the guy as a saint yet. It's too early to tell. And maybe the story will always be a complex one - that in the end he does do a lot of good for the nation...and triples his wealth in the process. Important always to remember is that lasting wealth comes through institutions and process, not through getting lucky with the right
leader, and is there much indication that he is building a process that will work well in his absence?

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