looking past the headlines of “PAD vs PPP Fight to the Death”, there is a whole lot of human suffering getting in Que to happen in Thailand. Although not all of the problems leading to this impending suffering can be blamed on this epic ‘good vs evil’ battle, a significant number of them can.
To truly understand what is likely to happen in Thailand, a very long line of dots must be connected. Some are general and many dots depending on where you stand may be hidden from view.
The first very general dot is Thailand lacks a social safety net and it falls to the children to tend to their parents. There is no social security system as in the United States. Most of that responsibility tends to fall to the daughters.
One of the contributing factors to the lack of a safety net is corruption. Corruption has skimmed or perhaps the proper word is gouged or bled the nations coffers. No money means no net.
A significant amount of Thailand’s economy relies on the tourist trade. And although the Trickle Down theory of United States President Ronald Regan did not work too well for him in the states, it does work in Thailand. The reason for that is there are fewer steps in Thailand to absorb that trickle.
In the plus column for Thailand at the moment the Baht is roughly about half way back to the 40:1 ratio with the US Dollar. The Baht was at 30:1. So this does increase the buying power of tourist.
In the minus column there is the price of getting to Thailand with airfares weeding out all but the most healthy incomes. And most certainly those Black Magic words “State of Emergency” that employ the power of suggestion suggesting stay away from Thailand.
As so many jobs in Thailand are related to the tourist trade, there is an across the board hit coming. In retail sales from the street vendor, to the high end shops in the top shopping malls. There are the tour groups that hit places like The Grand Palace and river tours. There are things to do up country like elephant rides, and not to forget the beaches in the south. There are night clubs and bars and the naughty nightlife for those still in need of sowing their seed any place they can.
Outside of tourist income there are the businesses that rely on Thailand’s stability to prosper. If there is no set course companies may decide on a country with a rudder. So far Thailand’s course has been to help Thaksin and that for the most part looks like navigating the whirlpool over an open drain plug. Eventually that lost income will work into the economy too.
What this means is people that rely on tourists will feel the hit immediately. Seeing is most of that money eventually goes to Isaan as a replacement for than non existent safety net, the biggest group of Pro Thaksin supporters will feel the pinch early on too. That certainly will not win much sympathy when the next election comes around. Any short term gains by vote buying will quicky be wiped out.
That does not stop the need to take care of the family. That responsibility will be passed mostly to Thai women. Don’t be a bit surprised if that cute sweet store employee that works on commission is spotted moonlighting in the naughty nightlife areas looking to make ends meet. The need for money does not change, so other sources of quick income must be found. There are few other no training required income options in Thailand that can generate significant cash in a small window of time.
The bottom line is Samak is messing with Thailand’s life blood, and he does not seem to know or care about the damage he is causing by trying to help Thaksin. The thought of a referendum is ludicrous simply because of the time it would take. Thailand’s economy is likely to be in ruins long before then. Even if the crisis would end today, it will take months to get a replacement government in place and by that time the tourist season would be over.