Sufficiency Economy as a Response to The Problem of Poverty in Thailand

  •  Supaporn Chalapati    


The Thai King’s philosophy of ‘Sufficiency Economy’ as a means to alleviate poverty has recently been recognized by the United Nations in the presentation of the UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has, since 1974, stressed the importance of economic self-reliance which is based on the Buddhist belief in the middle path to conduct ways of life to overcome poverty. Thailand learned many lessons from a financial crisis that followed the devaluation of the Thai baht in July 1997. The King’s philosophy of self-reliance has gained new credence, reflected in government development policies aimed at improving the country’s economic well being. Education and technology are being promoted as vital tools in line with an understanding of ‘Sufficiency Economy’ which implies moderation of aspirations and a balance between success and fulfilment. Education is the key to developing the full potential of the individual and is regarded by policy makers as instrumental in combating poverty. Human development as a concept and as a policy objective must encompass the economic, social and cultural dimensions of human life. This paper examines the importance of the King’s philosophy of ‘Sufficiency Economy’ to education reform as a poverty reduction strategy in Thailand in the context of rapid economic and technological changes.

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