Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Troubles in Thailand

The army is cracking down violently on the protesters who've occupied the city center of Bangkok.

Perhaps we should be paying more attention to this uprising. I thought it was very striking that the Thai Prime Minister went on Thai national television and spoke in English. This was clearly intended to reassure Thailand's very large (and very rich) ex-pat community.
The "Red Shirt" protesters are mostly rural and urban poor protesting a government backed by the army that "won" a dubious election victory (sound familiar Yanks?). Thailand, like a lot of other countries, is beholden to foreign markets and foreign creditors (like Greece). Let's remember that so many of the proposed financial aid plans for countries like Thailand and Greece are about rescuing investors who lost their bets. They certainly aren't about helping the people who actually live there. Some line is trotted out about their governments being irresponsible and corrupt, and that's probably true (true for the increasingly plutocratic USA and Europe), but why punish the people, who had to live under those governments, with austerity measures in the middle of the worst global depression since the 1930s?
Remember why Thailand (like the Philippines and some countries in Eastern Europe) attracts so much sex tourism? Yes, the people are very pretty and open-minded, but they're also desperately poor. They're poor enough to rent out their sons and daughters. Small wonder that they would take matters into their own hands to end that situation, especially when their own government is so unresponsive.

I expect to see more of this in other countries sooner rather than later.

I raise my old socialist question again, whose economy is it?

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The innocent seem to be punished for what the guilty get away with...