One of the headline issues of avoidance in politics is the question of how public finance (and the costs to taxpayers) would be affected by the generous welfare provision offers that had been promised before the election. Once these provisions are implemented, international experiences had shown that no future governments would have the courage to remove or terminate them.
On one hand, an attempt to expand social provision and social protection in Thailand can reflect an increase in the public awareness for social well-being and redistribution in the country. This is in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), irrespective of whether it is for the good causes (altruism) or for political interests (populism). In the past, the political dominance of business interests has resulted in little political support for redistribution, while growth and macroeconomic stability were the nation's top priority.
On the other hand, the design of an appropriate social protection system that is feasible for the country's public finance requires much more comprehensive studies and debates. Even a well-developed system of state provisions in developed EU nations has resulted in tremendous fiscal burdens in the past few years. Other undesirable direct and indirect consequences include riots and political unrests recently happening in, for example, Greece, Italy and UK. Particularly most welfare states are in a dilemma between continuing the existing provision and maintaining their fiscal stability.
The current welfare marketing campaign in Thailand's political arena, therefore, calls for a more thorough analysis and debate on the political gains in the short-run against the costs of the country's social and fiscal burden in the long-run. To this end, it is expected that the paper should provide concrete and rigorous results for Thailand's and emerging Asian countries' policy precautions in this welfare-promoting era.
Euamporn Phijaisanit, Thammasat University, Thailand
Stream: Arts & Humanities
This paper is part of the ACAH2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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