Definition of Sufficiency Economy
• Sufficiency Economy is a philosophy developed by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej that stresses the middle path as a guiding principle for people at all levels in pursuing their livelihood. It is applicable to the individual, families, communities, as well as at the national level.
• According to His Majesty, sufficiency means:
“moderation, reasonableness, and the need for self-immunity for sufficient protection from impact arising from internal and external changes. To achieve this, an application of knowledge with due consideration and prudence is essential. In particular, great care is needed in the utilization of theories and methodologies for planning and implementation in every step. At the same time, it is essential to strengthen the moral fibre of the nation, so that everyone, particularly public officials, academics, businessmen at all levels, adheres first and foremost to the principles of honesty and integrity. In addition, a way of life based on patience, perseverance, diligence, wisdom and prudence is indispensable to create balance and be able to cope appropriately with critical challenges arising from extensive and rapid socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural changes in the world.”1
• Thailand has adopted the sufficiency economy philosophy as a guiding approach to enhance its ability to withstand external economic turbulence and promote sustainable development. It must be stressed that the sufficiency economy approach does not aspire towards autarky. Nor does it advocate protectionism or going back to a subsistence economy. The sufficiency economy approach will allow Thailand to continue pursuing closer integration into the global economy with greater mindfulness.
• The sufficiency economy concept can be applied to all economic sectors of the country, in urban as well as rural areas. The approach is fully compatible with ideas such as risk management, corporate social responsibility and good governance.
• Economic development is but one element of the sufficiency economy approach. A holistic perspective is important to ensure its effective application. Responsibility to the environment, the cultural and societal dimensions are taken into account under this philosophy.
• In summary, the sufficiency economy philosophy is a set of moral, ethical and practical guidelines intended to help the Thai people more effectively navigate globalization through adherence to 3 principles – moderation, reasonableness, and self-immunity – and 2 conditions: knowledge and virtue.
Application of “Sufficiency Economy” to the Thai Economy
• Thailand views “Sufficiency Economy” as an important tool to manage capitalism in such a way that economic progress can go hand-in-hand with sustainable social development. Our approach will focus on promoting interdependence and building networks among people at all levels, for instance by encouraging the formation of clusters and cooperatives, to immunize them from both external and internal social and economic shocks.
• It is also our firm belief that “Sufficiency Economy” will bring about good governance, foster accountability, enhance transparency, and empower our people and their communities. This will help prepare our country to face emerging challenges in the more globalized world.
1 Unofficial translation. A working definition compiled from remarks made by His Majesty the King on various occasions and approved by His Majesty and sent by His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary to the NESDB on November 29, 1999
• Informed by the sufficiency economy approach, the nation’s economic policy will pursue a path of moderation towards development. The primary indicator of overall development will no longer be GDP growth in and of itself, but also the reduction of poverty and social inequality. Thailand will also seek to develop indicators to capture well-being and happiness to ensure that the country’s development is balanced and sustainable.
• We will continue our efforts to advance free and fair trade, as well as deepen our integration into the world economy in a manner that is just and equitable for all stakeholders.
Application of “Sufficiency Economy” in today’s world
• There is nothing in the sufficiency economy philosophy that is inconsistent with mainstream economic theory. In fact, now that corporate scandals have brought down some of the world’s top companies and drawn attention to the excesses of capitalism, the philosophy is a timely reminder of the roots of economics as a moral science.
• The sufficiency economy philosophy can be applied by people from all walks of life and at all levels – individuals, families, communities, societies and even countries. Each person or unit would require slight adaptation to suit their needs. Despite different applications, they share the same goal of balanced and sustainable development.