Sufficiency Economy for Social and Environmental Sustainability: A Case Study of Four Villages in Rural Thailand

  •  Aree Naipinit    
  •  Thongphon Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn    
  •  Patarapong Kroeksakul    


“Sufficiency economy” is a philosophy presented more than 25 years ago by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is used to guide the way that Thai villagers live. The Thai government used this philosophy as a base for the nation’s development plan. This study focused on three research questions: First, how do the villagers live while following the philosophy of sufficiency economy? Second, what difficulties impede the implementation of the philosophy? Finally, how does the philosophy of sufficiency economy help to increase social and environmental sustainability? We studied four villages in Thailand (three in the northeast and one in the south). We collected data by conducting in-depth interviews, administering a fieldwork survey, and gathering responses from a focus group. We subjected the data that we gathered to content and descriptive analyses. In this study, we found that the philosophy of sufficiency economy can be used by individuals to manage their livelihoods by planting vegetables for personal consumption or sale, domesticating animals, saving money within a cooperative society, protecting the environment, and following moral principles and ethics. In addition, this philosophy can be used to manage social and environmental sustainability in Thailand, and the philosophy can apply to other areas to understand the conditions of the people in a particular community.

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