‘The traditional model of development has reached a dead end. Thailand cannot grow further based on the old model as it can go only so far. If a solution is not found, the country will suffer greatly,” warned Somkiat Tangkitvanich, the new Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) president.
Somkiat Tangkitvanich, the new president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, sounds a dire warning that Thailand must rethink its concepts of development, or suffer greatly.
In an interview with Post Today, Dr Somkiat noted that since it was founded 28 years ago, the TDRI has produced lots of research to shed light on the country’s development. But now that he has assumed the leadership of TDRI, he will put the research into practice.
He likened the previous TDRI research as producing goods, but from now on the institute will do more to sell its goods and this can happen when society agrees to take up its research recommendations.
On the future of the country’s development direction, Dr Somkiat noted that there are four issues that need answers.
First, the traditional model of development has reached a dead end.
Up till now, Thailand has relied on three pillars to develop the country: industrialisation (but not research and development), exports and cheap labour.
This model is no longer applicable as the global market is shrinking. Thailand can no longer rely on exports to push growth forward.
Second, the quality of education overall is regressing. If more and more children from poor backgrounds perform badly in school it will be hard for them to rise to the middle-class level. If there is no socio-economic mobility for a long time, tensions in society will increase and be long-lasting.
Third, corruption is endemic and this makes it hard to come up with correct policy decisions to develop the country over the long run.
“Corruption is most worrying, especially when any opinion poll always points to the same conclusion that most Thai people accept corruption as long as they benefit from it.