Human Development Index/Wellbeing Thailand

The Human Development Index (HDI)  originated in reports by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Originally developed and implemented by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990 “to shift the focus of development economics from national income accounting to people-centred policies”(Haq,1990). The HDI focuses on measuring education, life expectancy and per capita income. So countries where people live long and happy lives, are well educated and have a comfortable standard of living tend to score the highest. Thailand currently has a score of 0.74 placing it at 87 out of all 188 countries measured making it a top scoring country. In 1990 Thailand had a score of 0.54, this means that Thailand has achieved an increase of almost 29 percent since 1990 and the last HDI report in 2015. The mean years of schooling increased by 3.3 years, life expectancy at birth also increased by 4.3 years, and there has been a huge increase of 121.2 percent regarding the GNI per capita. The Inequality-adjusted HDI helps to focus on and brings into account all the inequalities in all three areas; inequality is something that the standard HDI fails to reveal. When the Inequality-adjusted HDI in taken into account Thailand’s score falls to just 0.54, resulting in a 20 percent loss. This is, however, the average for high scoring HDI countries.(HDI report,2016)

 

The Happy Planet Index was conceived by and carried out by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in 2006.As opposed to the HDI the HPI focuses more on sustainability. The HDI report of a country may only reveal the GDP and solid figures relating to standard development but not on sustainable development or the effects on the environment. Countries that leave small ecological footprints score significantly higher than those that leave large ones. The HPI also takes into account the happiness of people and believes that the usual ultimate aim of most people is not to be rich, but to be happy and healthy(Sen,1999).Thailand measures very well on the Happy Planet Index with a score of 37.3, placing the country at 9th place of all 140 countries that were measured. The life-expectancy of people in Thailand is currently 74.5 years, with people having a wellbeing of 6.3 out of 10. Thailand scored 2.7gha/p(global hectares per person) for their ecological footprint and achieved  a score of 15 percent for inequality. Thailand has scored very well on the HPI, making it into the top 10 of all countries measured. The HPI does not take into account human rights abuses, however, although some figures may reflect this. The HPI has also been criticized as an effective tool for measurement as there is too much focus on happiness, something which is subjective and personal and the parameters for which change with each perspective culture.(Happy Planet Index,2017)

 

The GDP of Thailand currently represents 0.66 percent of the economy of the world which is worth 406 billion USD. The GDP growth rate was showing a downward trend over the last few years due to political turmoil but now is on the rise again due to some sense of political stability. (Trading Economics,2017)

 

Thailand scored significantly higher on the HPI compared to the HDI. This is due to the focus on sustainability, environmental impact and ‘happiness’. There are major merits to both of these measurements as well as numerous ways that they fall short and fail to see the whole picture. The HPI does not take into account human rights abuses which are a major issue, particularly in Thailand. Human rights abuses do effect the figures to a degree such as the scores for wellbeing and equality. They do not, however, have much to do with life expectancy or Thailand’s ecological footprint. Sen Amartyas statement about the primary focus of people is their wish to be happy over wealth is very accurate. (Sen,1999)  If people were offered to be happy or wealthy, they would more often than not choose to be happy. Most people believe that wealth is the vehicle that leads to happiness. Happiness is hard to quantify, as it is not a concrete figure and means something different for everyone. In either case, Thailand is on a positive trend, and as long as there is no more political unrest, the country can look forward to both financial security and happiness.

 

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Paulo Freire, Oppression and Conscientization

Paulo Reglus Neves Freire was a Brazilian educator and deemed by some to be the most important educator of the second half of the twentieth century(Carnoy 2004). Freire was the leading voice in the critical pedagogy theory and thus wrote Pedagogy of the Oppressed, believed to be the founding text of the critical pedagogy movement. Freire was born to a relatively wealthy middle-class family in Brazil who then suffered during the great depression resulting in Freire experiencing the life of the poor.  Freire did not do well in school, nor did many of the poorer children who came to be his close companions; this was due to their hunger and social situation as Freire stated ” “I didn’t understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn’t dumb. It wasn’t lack of interest. My social condition didn’t allow me to have an education”(Stevens, no date). Many believe these early scenarios are what led Freire on his lifelong conquest to aid the poorest in society. After his family had their fortune back, Freire enrolled into law school and also studied phenology and language psychology. For the next few years Freire worked as a lecturer and attained many high ranking positions at various universities; he was imprisoned as a traitor during the 1964 military coup as he was believed to be a traitor. After being released he worked in Chile and published Education as the Practice of Freedom which was his first book. He was then offered a visiting professorship at Harvard. The next year Pedagogy of the Oppressed was released,although it took some years to be translated due to political feuds. After working in The USA and Switzerland, he eventually moved with his wife to Sao Paulo where he died in 1997 due to heart failure.

Oppression was believed to be Freires most contested social issue. Oppression is a constant and ever evolving struggle between those with power and those without it, between the oppressed and the oppressor. We all belong to one of these groups at certain points in our lives. There are numerous categories which can form our varying forms of as oppressor/oppressed such as: social class, gender, sexual orientation, age, sex and so on. Sometimes people use these categories as a mode to vent their own prejudiced ideologies, for example, someone of a particular race may steal from them, they then, in turn, may view all people from that race as thieves. This can also be seen the other way around  where dominant groups may be victimized such as if a woman suffered some form of domestic abuse they may them blame all men. Both forms of mistreatment may hurt individuals equally case by case but mistreatment by women is systematic and socially accepted so the context within the mistreatment really makes a big difference (Sean Ruth 2006).Oppression is a word which people hear and often think of an authoritarian regime bent on totalitarianism. This is not always the case as Sean Ruth defines oppression as “where people do not get equal treatment or do not get treated with respect because they belong to a certain group or category of people”(Sean Ruth 2006). Oppression is a systematic process; it is not random. Many people internalize oppression, if someone is told something for long enough, they start to believe it. If someone Is told that they are stupid or ugly for long enough, then they begin to see it as fact.

Conscientization is defined by Ledwith as “the process whereby people become aware of the political, socioeconomic and cultural contradictions that interact in a hegemonic way to diminish their lives” (Ledwith 2005). Conscientisation means developing a critical consciousness which is pivotal to perceive social, political, and economic oppression and to take action against the oppressive elements of society.(Hermes press, no date). Conscientisation can result in collective action, or can even be applied individually to encourage critical analysis, metacognition and perhaps also to let go of long-held and oppressive worldviews.

 

 

Freire believed that the key to attaining conscientisation was through liberating and radical education, one such mode could be culture circles. This is a more informal teaching methodology where the focus is on group discussion and participation as opposed to an alienating syllabus. This is a form of liberating education.

 

 

Freire saw two perspectives two education. Firstly there was the banking approach where the student is seen as an empty account merely waiting to be filled by the teacher; this results in the students simply being receiving objects and little more. This keeps things as they are and educates individuals to fit into society. Secondly, there was the liberating approach; this can be implemented through methods such as culture circles. This allows both teachers and students to be co-learners where relevant knowledge can be sought together. Students are left with critical knowledge in a way that the banking approach to education could never provide. This results in the transformation of the status quo entirely. (Hope and Timmel 1995)

Freires concepts of oppression and conscientization have always impressed me and are most relevant in our current narcissistic era. In our current societies, we aspire to be cool, illiterate, egotistical and violent individuals. Not to seem like a political nihilist but we truly are victims of our past and upbringing, and that is why we do what we do now, we have little control. We have lost the knowledge of how precious real human liberty is. This is because our education systems have and are continuing to create a whole generation of distracted people. In Frieres own words:

“Who are better prepared than the oppressed to understand the terrible significance of an oppressive society? Who suffer the effects of oppression more than the oppressed? Who can better understand the necessity of liberation? They will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through their recognition of the necessity to fight for it. And this fight, because of the purpose given it by the oppressed, will actually constitute an act of love opposing the lovelessness which lies at the heart of the oppressors’ violence, lovelessness even when clothed in false generosity.”(Friere 1968)

 

 

 

 

The Chars, Bandgladesh

Bangladesh is known as one of the poorest and most disaster-prone countries in the world. Around 50% of the population of 26 million people are poor, and of these 23% are deemed ‘extreme poor’ and 20 % labeled as the poor of tomorrow, where if current trends continue they will also fall into poverty(Rahman 1998). The riverine sand and silt landmasses in Bangladesh are known as the Chars in Bengali and are home to some of the poorest people in the country. The chars are relatively new and are created by constant changing, flooding and eroding rivers. The Chars can be found along the banks of most major rivers such as the Ganges-Padma and the Meghna,; they can also be found as standalone islands. The people living in the Chars face flooding and erosion which in turn has led to a number of other difficulties. The scale of erosion is vast with thousands of kilometers of riverbanks being lost every year. The Kurigram district is the point where the  Brahmaputra river enters Bangladesh from India. The Kurigram district hosts a significant number of Chars, and the people here suffer most from erosion and floods. It could be said that the people in the Kurigram district live in one of the poorest districts of one of the poorest districts of the world. (Sorensen, D.1994)

 

There are a number of relatively well organized informal structures based in the Chars.  These include formal government institutions, informal social organizations as well as a number of NGO’s.  There are very few formal government offices in Kurigram with no office government department dedicated to the Chars. What small number of government offices are there, are slow to process anything as they must follow central protocol and overcome beurocratic hurdles. They are  inadequately equipped and underfunded,further increasing peoples mistrust in them.  The government offices also suffer from severe understaffing as there are few amenities and little infrastructure resulting in many government officials opting to work elsewhere. (Nandi 2000). This does not apply to the Union Parishad however.  The Union Parishad is a very low form of formal government, yet they are trusted by the people as the Union Parishad often works through local informal structures such as the Samaj and the Shalish. The Union Parishad is comprised of individuals voted in from the ward-level , and at least 3 of them must be women.

 

The Samaj is found in all villages in the Chars; they are a very powerful informal body especially in the Kurigram region. The leadership of the Samaj is typically made up of older, experienced and well-respected men in the community, unlike the Union Parishad there are no women in leadership positions. The shalish is an informal court convened by the samaj. The samaj and shalish hold no legal authority but people do however follow the ruling of both as not to do so would risk community protection and acceptance. Less serious crimes and transgressions usually are treated by minor fines and sanctions, quite often with less severe cases, the police will refer many cases to the judgment of the Shallish. Many minor disputes such as land rights are frequent in the chars; the Shalish is usually called to mediate the situation with an estimated 90% of all disputes being resolved in this way.It is incredibly beneficial for people to be members of the Samaj as they offer community services and support in a number of ways. The samaj offer protections and services for the women when men are away working, as well as flood and erosion protection, loans at sub-commercial rates among and so on.

 

In the Chars, the cultural institutions continue to value men and women at different levels.  Much of the local norms are due to traditional religious practices and customs which has affected women’s standing in the community in a number of ways; although perhaps less so than in other Islamic societies. Women tend not to own assets and have limited freedom of movement and access to markets as they must first have the permission of their husbands. This can leave some households particularly vulnerable to shocks when the husband is away to work(Hossain, A. 2000). In much of Bangladesh, the difference between boys and girls school attendance levels has somewhat disappeared, this is not true in the Chars, however. This ties in jointly with the fact that women are often married around 8 or 9 years old and stop school once they are married. Widows in the Chars are some of the most vulnerable in the Chars due to the restraints put on them by society, this results on them either going back to their family home and being perceived as a burden by the rest of community or perhaps finding work with a much wealthier family. (Hossain, A. 2000)

 

The various institutions and platforms in the Chars impact people in a number of ways in terms of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework. Many of these being informal institutions based in the Kurigram district. The institutions work in a number of ways:

 

Agriculture and land: Share-cropping, night sowing, panchi(Partial re-emerged land is cultivated and harvested equally), land leasing/exchange/ownership recognition

 

Livestock: Share-rearing, gifting to brides

 

Social: Hat chanada(Collection made by samaj for the poorest unable to pay for dowry), interest-free loan,

 

Religious/Cultural: Dowry, inheritance, polygamy, talak divorce

 

Financial: Shop advance, advance labor selling, credit

 

Others: Labour groups, Labour contracts

 

These local institutions along with larger institutions, aim to help people in the Chars in terms of vulnerability, asset ownership, and livelihood strategies.

 

There are numerous structures working within the Chars, both formal and informal. The informal institutions hold the most sway in the Chars as people hold little faith in the government-sanctioned institutions and policies. This is mostly due to the limited control with lack of resources, staff and so forth and the fact that laws applied in major cities in Bangladesh, cannot be applied to the Chars in the same way In this sense, law is perhaps not always sanctioned but is followed because people depend on the community protections and amenities offered (not including the extremely wealthy).There are a number of cultural restrictions in place due to perceived gender roles specific to Chars society. Many of these gender norms are specific just to the Chars and differ greatly from the rest of Bangladesh, these restrictions particularly placed on women, often send the most vulnerable in society even further into poverty. (Baqee, A.,1998) Due to sustainable framework analysis, we can see that the inability for people to escape from poverty is due to the interlinking issues and poverty traps caused by their environment. It is difficult always to be sure where interventions should be implemented due to the cast and ever-changing terrain of the Chars. Actors must correlate strategies, as now the fine work being done by them is singular and there are gaps both in quality and quantity.

 

 

 

 

 

Humanistic and Radical Approaches to Andragogy

 

 

For my first choice, I shall refer to humanistic education and why I feel that it is most relevant to me just now in my present circumstances. Learning through a humanistic approach to education relies on being self-directed. As with many of us doing this course and was mentioned before I work a full-time job to pay for the course. By being given the opportunity to be self-directed allows someone working to study at a pace that is suitable to them at the times when they are available. Through this approach of self-directed learning, it will enable the learner to be tested on the most valuable form of evaluation: self-evaluation. This is notably important when in comes to andragogy regarding development studies. Many adult learners wish to deepen their understanding of development as they already have extensive experience through their careers and lifestyles, a humanistic approach allows the learner to incorporate their own experiences into their learning As Saul McLeod wrote in 2007:” “Humanistic, humanism, and humanist are terms in psychology relating to an approach which studies the whole person, and the uniqueness of each.”(Saul McLeod 2007).A Humanistic approach does not separate from the cognitive and affective domains, understanding that both feeling and knowledge are important as opposed to objectively memorized facts.(Cortland 2012).A humanistic approach to education allows adult learners to learn in a non-threatening and safe environment where we can use our own skills and experiences to help us grow and develop in a whole way.

 

 

Radical education is an approach which views education as a means to bring about fundamental social, cultural, political, and economic change.(Daniel Schugurensky,2002).Radical education focuses on promoting social, political and economic reform through education.(Shana Appelhanz, 2014).This is especially important to us in development studies because we already have interests in this area and can hone our already growing knowledge base. Radical education serves to provide equality to all who study as It relates to” access to wealth, education, healthcare, creative work, and to promoting collective and corporative forms of decision making and labor.”(Bookfield and Holst,2011).Origins of  Radical education can be traced back to Marxist theory and anarchist traditions. Allowing the teachers to rather be supporters of students and being on equal terms allows beneficial symbiotic relations to foster. Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire was an essential contributor to the philosophy, fundamentally he believed that collective action and continuing the struggle for the oppressed was important to liberate themselves from all forms of domination(Reflect Action,2009).This then, in turn, allows learners and educators to challenge the status quo.

 

I believe that both humanistic and radical approaches to education have their merits when it comes to andragogy. The humanist approach allows adult learners to study in a way in which they can learn in a self-directed approach in which they can incorporate all of their own experiences and knowledge. Radical education allows learners to study as co-creators of knowledge. As Freire noted traditional education methods instead treat individuals as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. This can be seen in his “banking model of education.” There are critiques of course of both of these approaches such as how humanistic education may lead to individualization If all the students in class regularly do the same thing at the same time, their individual needs are not being met and this would be bad(Kenneth R. Conklin,1984). Critics of the radical approach to education argue that the philosophy is too rigid and with the too widely varying definitions is too hard to put into practice.  Regarding how these methods relate to myself and learning on this course, I believe these to be two most reliable due to my present circumstances. Development studies are often undertaken by individuals with a wealth of knowledge in the field already. The knowledge that they can draw upon to apply to a variety of situations. This is especially true when it comes to adult learners who may be working long hours in the area of development.

Resiliance

Resilience is a word that has become prominent in the development studies community over the last few years. Resilience started to appear after the 2008 financial crisis as people were looking for new techniques and terminology for tackling poverty.(Misha Hussain 2016).Vulnerability is also a term that has become popular over the last decade. It is important to note that both these terms are often used when referring to positive elements of poverty reduction but do however mean two entirely different things. Vulnerability is not merely about poverty, but extensive research over the last 30 years has revealed that it is generally the poor who tend to suffer from disasters(DFID 2004). Resilience, however, is deployed in diverse fields including psychology, structural engineering, and corporations. Resilience is discussed in a number of areas including the social sciences, ecological fields amongst others. Resilience has been the focus for many development projects and could be said to be replacing sustainability as the eventual goal of development practice(IDS,2012) Resilience could be said to be when actors can withstand changes and adjustments and still function normally. Theoretical discussions on the varying definitions of resilience have been generated over the years. Most of these definitions are merely used as an indication of the job to be done but are however unable to capture all possible worries about peoples vulnerability. For example, many make reference only to how much loss people (or systems) suffer, but do not address the essential question of how far they fall below any threshold of acceptable coping; a little distinction is made between how much people lose and how quickly they recover. (Simon Levine, HPD Policy Brief 2014)This concept of actors using their own definition of resilience has led to the idea that the idea of resilience may merely be another way to mask some of the underlying causes of poverty and environmental destruction.

 

 

 

Resilience should be thought of somewhat as a conceptual tool in which other, other disciplines can come together to tackle difficulties in a holistic manner. In some ways, it can be seen that many of the issues which cause crises are inevitable. The task, therefore, being to allow people to cope when to eventually go wrong. This helps to ensure that the most vulnerable may be protected, rather than pumping resource’s into developing countries, it allows aid to be distributed to who need it most. (Simon Levine, HPD Policy Brief 2014).An example of this can be seen in a case study of the food resilience programmes run by Practical Action as part of the Zurich Alliance. Practical Action helped to set up a farming school for at-risk communities in Nepal, living on the floodplains of the Karnali river.  The villagers were always at risk from flash floods, which endangered their livestock, food, and homes. This caused many to take on expensive loans to allow them to recover. The farming schools were set up which allowed the villagers to learn new sustainable farming techniques. This allowed farmers to cultivate outside the varying seasons. Practical Action also helped to advise villagers how to protect their assets during the floods. The resilience of this community then allowed them to invest in other areas, such as healthcare and education for their children.(Adele Murphy, 2017).

 

 

The main trouble with resilience is the difficulty in defining what resilience programming actually looks like. There is also the risk that by making an entire community very resilient there still may be those who will suffer. This can be seen when a community may become very resilient to say natural disasters and climate change adaption but still very poor.  This is what can lead to manipulation when used as a tool for poverty alleviation. Much of this may be when the term is misused, as there are many different conceptualizations of resilience it is hard to define what a resilient community may look like. Resilience cannot be used until it is fully understood rather, resilience must be used as a process as part of other development practices. (IDS,2012)

 

 

Resilience is essential now in any form of development planning, especially regarding poverty reduction. Resilience cannot, however, be used instead of other methods to challenge poverty and climate change. Alternatively, it must be used as a continuing process and put into the planning of other methods. It is essential to building resilient communities but also not to forget the most vulnerable, and at-risk individuals, focus must not be on not only how far people fall but also how fast they can recover. In this sense when resilience is applied it must be holistically and with a precise definition. For instance, do we necessarily need to adopt a resilience framework to analyze the potential role of social protection programmes to strengthen the adaptive capacity of the recipients? (Godfrey Wood 2011)

 

 

 

Brief Economic History of Thailand

Thailand can be broken into four main regions. The North with its mountainous and fertile lands viable for growing rice and teak. Central Thailand home to Bangkok “City of Angels” and the fertile Chao Phraya basin. The North East (Essan), the driest, least productive and least modern place in Thailand. The South, with its moist atmosphere where many produce rubber, tropical crops, and tin. Thailand the “Land of the free” was a country living in the ideal of attaining a virtuous life by shaping their character to Buddhist principles where goodness was prized over personal wealth. Thailand has now changed from an absolute monarchy rule, to one of self-sustained Democracy. Buddhism has supplied cognitive and evaluative elements that have been integrated into every aspect of Thai identity, even If the individual is Thai or part of a Thai ethnic minority. Thailand is an extremely hierarchal society, If you are born into a ‘High-so’  family – as they are typically referred to here – your sense of identity is of course very different than if you are born into a ‘Low-so’ family. Individuals who are born into ‘High-so’ families often have a feeling of superiority over those that are born into ‘Low-so’ families.

 

 

 

Wetland agriculture has always played a significant role in Thailand’s economy. Known previously as Siam, Thailand opened to foreign contact in the pre-industrial era. Previously, Thailand was a feudal society mostly run by noble families. The Thai economy changed from one of subsidence to cash during the nineteenth century by the opening of the commercial rice market, during this time the power of the noble families was weakened as more rights were given to farmers by the King. (Jeffrey Hayes, 2008). Thailand slowly became one of the major trade hubs in Asia, mostly trading with Chinese merchants, many of whom migrated and attained high positions within the country. Later, deals with Europe increased, with treaties being created to guarantee the rights and privileges of European traders. Later amendments were made extending these opportunities to Americans also. Thailand’s economy eventually grew until it began to work on a global scale. During the time of the Vietnam war and the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Thailand began to grow at a level where the economy started to rival that of other developed nations such as Taiwan and South Korea. Growing steadily at eight percent per year between 1985 and 1995 and peaking at 13 percent in 1988. This growth continued until the great depression and then later the Asian financial crisis which originated in Thailand in 1997 because of the financial collapse of the Thai Baht. The crisis was the worst economic crisis ever to hit Thailand and was dubbed the Tom Yum Goong crisis (Spicy Shrimp Soup) due to the immense heat and stress that people felt at that time. There was action taken by many actors at the time, including the Thai monarchy. Bhumibol Adulyadej was the King at this time and had toured the country for years, especially in rural and impoverished regions such as Essan; considered to be the most impoverished region of the nation. King Bhumibol had significantly lectured on the benefits of following a sufficiency based economy. The focus being on an economy that would allow the Thai people to support themselves (UNDP report 2007). The sufficiency economy philosophy is made up of three main components these being: wisdom, moderation, and prudence. Sufficiency economy has much in common with Buddhist economics, a spiritual belief that gross national happiness is more important than gross domestic product. As Zsolnai Laszlo stated, Buddhist economics can be summed up as when “the marginal productivity of labor utilized in producing consumption goods is equal to the marginal effectiveness of the meditation involved in economizing on consumption without bringing about any change in satisfaction” (Zsolnai, Laszlo, 2011). The king among other members of the monarchy carried out a number of royal projects hoping to alleviate some of the effects of the Tom Yum Goong crisis.

 

 

Thailand’s focus for the next few years was recovery. After facing a number of natural disasters and political turmoil, Thailand was on its way to recovery. This was what led to the rise of Thaksin Shinawatra and his policy which was later named ‘Thaksinomics’ which had a focus on promoting greater infrastructure and development in rural Thailand. Thaksin was voted into office in 2001 and although the first year saw as little as 2.2 percent GDP growth, the following years saw positive growth from 2002-2004 with rates of 5.3, 7.1 and 6.3 (Aidan Jones, 2014). This again led to his party having another huge victory in 2005 where he was re-elected. There was much opposition to Thaksinomics amid reports of corruption, which later led to the military coup in 2006 while Thaksin was giving a speech at the United Nations general assembly in New York. This brought the GDP growth rate back down to 4.4 percent in 2006. Then in 2008, there was even more political turmoil between opposing groups, those who supported Thaksin and those who supported the leader of the military coup. The following years were filled with political and financial turmoil, never again having the steady growth of Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thaksonomics. In 2011 Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra was elected and was Prime Minister for a further three years until she was ousted in May 2014.The rice scheme was in many ways what led to her election in 2011 and subsequent removal in 2014. Yingluck promised to buy rice from Thai farmers at above market value. The rice was obtained and kept with the idea of selling it at the right time for a record profit. However, India then began to lift bans on rice exports as well as Vietnam lowering its costs of exports. Thailand could then not sell the rice that had been collected, and the rice started to deteriorate. There were immense amounts of rice in storage and Thailand was forced to sell it at a much lower price than intended. The total cost of the plan has been estimated at eight to twenty million dollars. The coup was led by military general Prayut Chan-o-cha who then established a Junta called the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (Taylor, Adam; Kaphle, Anup 2014). Prayut is the current head of the NCPO and concurrently the Prime Minister of Thailand to this day.

 

 

 

It is clear that Thailand’s economic past has been littered with times of political unrest and financial turmoil. Thailand is a newly industrials country (NIC) and is not an entirely developed nation, yet has outpaced its other developing counterparts. With over 40 percent of Thais working in agriculture and 16 million rice farmers working in the country, it is essential that strong policies are put in place to support them. The tourism industry in Thailand is also almost double the world’s average. The average GDP contribution being 9 percent while Thailand is currently 17.7 percent. It is clear that Thailand also has a significant reliance on foreign investment. The ‘next step’ for Thailand as dubbed by the NCPO is Thailand 4.0. Thailand is currently in Phase 3.0 with Heavy-industry and energy accounting for around 70 percent of the Thai GDP. In the past, during Thailand 1.0 it was an agrarian economy. Then during Thailand 2.0, the focus was on light industry, textiles and food processing. Thailand 4.0 has three main principles:

  1. Make Thailand a high-income nation,
  2. Make Thailand a more inclusive society,
  3. Focus on sustainable growth and development.

Thailand 4.0 is an economic model without much basis on how to get over Thailand’s ‘middle-income trap.’ Thailand will need the support of foreign specialist to make 4.0 a reality. Professional associations in Thailand among others totally oppose this, however, wishing to keep professional jobs for Thais only. For the time being the Thai people must look towards the NCPO to lead them towards economic prosperity.

 

 

 

 

How clicktivism and hashtag activism is destroying social activism

We have all heard of #BlackLivesMatter, #ALSIceBucketChallenge, and the #NODAPL movement; but how effective can hashtag activism really be?

 

Hashtag activism is a term that started appearing during the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Hashtagging and clicking are how the majority of millennials take part in modern day “Activism”. It is easy, you see a video that makes you feel something, you click it, share it and hashtag it. You then feel like you are making a difference, but are you really? The majority of millennials do use social media and believe it to be an effective tool for discussing topical social issues. The majority of the time, however, there are little or no tangible results. Do you remember the #Kony2012 and #BringBackOurGirls campaigns? The amount of attention that both of these campaigns received was unprecedented. Millions of people shared and tweeted, hashtagged and liked, but to little avail. Both of these campaigns received lots of media attention and clicktivists from all over the world made these campaigns known. Even after being dubbed the most viral video in history little difference was seen on the ground at the time. The campaign did lead to the Uganda military claiming they would capture Kony “dead or alive”, America also sent its own advisors to help. The African Union even send 5000 troops to help capture Kony. So much was done at the time but to little avail. Kony is still alive and free today, he is not, however “at large” as he was claimed to be before. He is now in hiding and has only around 100 troops compared to the 3000 he had before.

 

The majority of ” activism” nowadays is only skin deep, surface value activism; With little depth or meaning. Social activism in the past was real activism, with real risk and real tangible results. Look at the suffragettes, the coal mining communities, gay rights activists and numerous other groups who gambled with their lives and livelihoods. We now look back as we usually do, with ‘rose tinted glasses’, we idolize these people and now and paint them as heroes. There is little risk now, you feel morally superior when protesting with little risk to yourself or those around you the majority of the time. Slacktivism promotes this more and more, it does bring awareness to situations where in times gone by, no one would have even heard of them. Hashtagging and sharing is creating a generation where everyone is an activist, this is devaluing the word itself. People see something online and they can go out and protest in hundreds of thousands.  A  great number of people not even understanding fully the situation they are protesting, they have little knowledge of either side, theirs included. In the past, you totally and wholeheartedly believed in what you were fighting for. This is the great problem with the left now, they believe themselves morally superior to the right. There is no dialogue, if a Neo-Nazi approaches a podium to give their opinions, they are booed and attacked, they are called a bigot and a racist(they are by the way). This is what clicktivism is creating, a generation who believe themselves to be morally superior because they stand in some protest or share and hashtag something. It all comes down to knowledge and todays ‘activists’ seem to have little.

 

The ideology for people who who want to appear to be doing something for a particular cause with out actually having to do any thing.

The individual being a Slacktavist

great form of slacktavism is changing your facebook picture to support a cause with out actually doing anything that will make a difference. You are one great slacktavist.