Sufficiency Economy Philosophy: A Holistic Approach to Economic Development and Mainstream Economic Thought

  •  Prasopchoke Mongsawad    
  •  Nattapong Thongpakde    


The theories of mainstream economics have been criticised for triggering periodic crises and fluctuations, as well as causing resource depletion and environmental degradation. Also, they are accused of worsening the problems of poverty and income distribution, while ignoring the well-being of people and social issues. The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, bestowed by His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, for Thai people in 1997 as a tool to cope with economic adversity, is an alternative way of viewing development. The essence of the Philosophy is that people should act with due consideration, and in moderation. The Philosophy emphasizes moral behaviour by people and society, which mainstream economic thought lacks. Incorporating such human behaviours as moderation and morality into economic decision making is sensible and yields different outcomes from the typical economic framework. Moderation serves as a tool to filter out greed and consumerist behaviour. Morality leads an individual to consider the consequence of his/her actions to others and to society. Together with the reasonableness concept implying non-excessive risk taking behaviour, under the Philosophy an economy will have reduced economic fluctuations, less likelihood of an economic crisis, and sustained quality growth. The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy will make its mark in the economic development arena as an alternative thought system that works for the people and the economy.

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