Although Thailand’s government does it’s best to be an island free from global market currents and changes, the tide is rising to levels never seen before. The cost of energy is rising too fast to be assimilated by the economy. Seemingly everyone in Thailand is being effected and there are no easy answers. Thailand is a place where a person can go to purchase inexpensive goods. It appears that may be coming to an end.
The Thai government always avoided passing on the higher costs to the Thai people in the past. Seemingly they always found money stashed away to offset costs. They artificially lowered the salaries of foreign teachers to be only about 60% of what they should be. They always seemed to find money some place. However in recent years, Thailand has made in increasingly difficult for foreigners to live and work in Thailand. As a result other countries in the area like Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore are the preferred choices of today. In fact, at the moment almost anyplace else seems more appealing. The charm of Thailand may have met it’s match.
Thailand is a wonderful country filled with warm and loving people and is virtually free of political correctness. In Thailand men can be men and women can be women without fear of reprisal. However because of government turmoil and ongoing protests, tourist have decided on other locations if they even have the money to afford airfare.
However because of the rising cost of fuel Thailand now faces a general strike by truckers nationwide that could cripple the country in a matter of days. Within the last 2 weeks busses in Bangkok went on strike for the same reason. The government countered by providing fuel discounts for busses. Shortly after that the Thai courts allowed an increase in bus fares effectively doubling the fare from what it was just 4 years ago. Taxi fare increase will also start very shortly however the exact structure of that increase is yet to be decided.
Even the Thai farmers are feeling the cost increase. They are having a difficult time finding the money to buy the packaging materials for the rice harvest. The cost of packaging materials has risen with the cost of energy. The family members who are working in Bangkok to help support their parents, are doing with less and less. That is a very significant issue as most live a minimalist lifestyle and send the bulk of their pay to their parents already.
Apartment complexes are taking the cue of the souring economy and increasing security anticipating an increase in crime as people will no longer be able to make ends meet.
As before predicted corrupt governments would be the first to fall when the cost of energy goes through the roof. Thailand’s ruling party the People Power Party (PPP) is made up of some of the worst. At the moment they have the appearance of wild animals fighting over a kill. From the time there were seated earlier this year, they have been focusing on self serving tasks and not doing the work of the people. It appears that is all about to come around and bite them as the government risks falling for failure to do it’s job.
The short term band-aid fixes will not work anymore because the cost of energy is just too much for that type of fix. The money must come from some place and the corrupt government has simply two choices. Choice 1 stop skimming and let the money through to the people where it was intended. Choice 2 pass on the increase to the people thus setting off inflation. However this becomes a moral and ethical issue, however morals and ethics are in short supply or non existent in the PPP. The democratic party now known as the opposition party has been setting examples of what the right choices should be, however nearly every step of the way the PPP has chosen nearly the opposite. The Democratic party stands alone at the moment as a coalition of other smaller parties joined with the PPP to form a majority. There are significant cracks forming in that coalition and other posts in this blog help to explain the reasons. Thailand is in for a rough ride no matter how you cut it.