Self-sufficient economy in Thailand, the gift of Rama IX

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, was a visionary and did everything he could to make his country strong, independent, united, and able to resist global crises and famines with a self-sufficient economy.

Today, very serious economists fear a terrible global economic crisis.

If it were to happen, it could create civil wars and terrible famines in countries that have let multinationals take care of their food.

One of the solutions to avoid this is the self-sustaining economy as advocated since 1974 by King Rama IX.

At a time when major food companies, such as the multinational Monsanto, try to take the world food control, the king’s work for the self-sufficiency economy ( si sa kiet po piang in Thai) are of crucial importance to enable countries to maintain their food independence.

The self-sufficient economy, anti-Monsanto

Here is first an article by Tristan Lecomte / Alter Eco, published on 16/08/2010

“The king of sustainable development is Thai

Since 1974, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, sovereign of Thailand, has been campaigning for a self-sufficient economy. Let us hope that his example will make history…

Thailand’s dreamy landscapes, mass tourism, and refined cuisine are well known, but beyond these clichés, too little is known about its king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and his development theses, which have been put into practice in different parts of the country by millions of small agricultural producers.

King since 1946, is the ruler who has known the longest reign in history.

Still in power, since 1974 he has advocated the self-sufficient economy model.

It encourages small agricultural producers to seek above all food self-sufficiency, diversification of their production, and less dependence on the purchase of manufactured products.

More broadly, it proposes an attitude of moderation, integration into the ecosystem, and cooperative and supportive organization within village communities.

The King of Thailand's development projects
The King of Thailand’s development projects

Very inspired by Buddhism, and close to the localist theses of thinkers such as Ernst “Fritz” Schumacher, author of Small is beautiful, the king’s ideas have long made the Thai establishment’s businessmen smile, especially during the 1980s and 1990s of the economic boom.

The 1997 crisis that hit Thailand hard, and more generally the current global crisis of capitalism and its devastation on the environment, now give his theses an unparalleled impression of modernity.

One of the concepts underlying the self-sufficiency economy is that of “social immunity” that the producer and his community must seek through the diversification of their resources and the search above all for food self-sufficiency, before committing themselves to the development of intensive cash crops and consumerism.

Thus, in the face of a globalized economy and the unbridled development of intensive mechanized agriculture and monoculture throughout the world, which has never really enriched farmers, the King has consistently advocated a moderate, step-by-step, and above all highly diversified development model.

For example, it recommends that each producer divide his farm into four parts, with 30% dedicated to rice cultivation, intended primarily for family consumption, the surplus can be marketed, and 30% dedicated to the construction of a water reserve to be able to meet agricultural needs even in the event of drought, 30% dedicated to food crops, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, but also to the breeding of chickens, ducks, cows and buffaloes, both for family food and the production of natural fertilizers for crops and finally 10% for housing and access to the farm.

Thus, it gives an efficient and accessible illustration of his theory.

He has developed model farms and learning centers throughout the country following this scheme, starting with the organic model farm he installed in the very heart of his Palais Royal in Bangkok

He is a king of the field, too old now to travel, but who has traveled the country for decades, tirelessly, to meet small producers and offer them something other than the intensive model and unique thinking.

A visionary king who dared to go against this unique thought, by advocating organic agriculture, agro-ecological techniques, and moral principles inspired by Buddhist spirituality: moderation, cooperation, respect for life in all its forms.

The king of sustainable development, de organic agriculture, and fair trade in a way.

Let us hope that his example will make history and inspire our political leaders to promote these sustainable guidelines and practices increasingly and to defend a true vision of development.”

To complete, here is an excerpt from an article by Tony Cartalucci:

Thailand’s response to globalization

Thailand’s response to the IMF and globalization, in general, has been profound both in its implications and in its understanding of the final game of globalization.

Fiercely independent and nationalist, and the only nation in Southeast Asia to avoid colonization, Thailand’s sovereignty has been protected for more than 800 years by its revered monarchy.

The current dynasty, the House of Chakri, ruled almost as long as America existed as a nation.

And just as it has done for 800 years, the Thai Monarchy today provides the most challenging and significant response to the threats facing the Kingdom.

The answer is, of course, the self-sufficient economy.

Self-sufficiency as a nation, province, community, and home.

This concept is embedded in the Thai King’s “New Theory” or “ Self-sufficiency Economy” and reflects similar efforts around the world to break the back of oppression and exploitation that results from dependence on an interdependent globalized system.

self-sufficiency economy
Image: A vision of self-sufficiency in Thailand. Agrarian values and the self-sufficiency they generate are the hallmarks of true freedom

The foundation of the self-sufficiency economy is to cultivate your garden and provide you with your own food.

This is represented on the right backside of each Thai 1000 baht banknote as an image of a woman looking after her garden.

The next step is to produce a surplus that can be exchanged for income, which can then be used to purchase technology to improve your ability to support yourself and improve your lifestyle.

Thai 1000 baht banknote
Image: The Thai 1000 baht banknote. On the left is one of the many dams that control flooding and produce electricity throughout the Kingdom. In the center is King Rama IX. Right: a representation of a local garden providing food in a self-sufficient manner

Self-sufficiency economy: the new theory

The New Theory aims to preserve traditional agrarian values in the hands of the people.

It also aims to prevent migration from the countryside to the cities.

Preventing such migration would prevent large agricultural cartels from entering, swallowing up agrarian land, corrupting, and even jeopardizing the entire national food supply (see Monsanto).

Those familiar with UN Agenda 21 and the latest UN “Climate Change Programme” can understand the deeper implications and dangers of such migration and why it must be stopped.

By moving to the city, people abandon the private property, cease to engage in productive activities, and end up being relegated to a consumerist paradigm.

In such a paradigm, problems such as overcrowding, pollution, crime, and economic crises can only be addressed by a centralized government and generally provide political solutions such as quotas, taxes, micromanagement, and regulations rather than meaningful technical solutions.

Moreover, such problems inevitably lead to a centralized government that increases its own power, always to the detriment of the people and their freedom.

The effects of the economic disaster are also more significant in a centralized and interdependent society, where everyone is subject to the overall health of the economy even for simple necessities such as food, water, and electricity.

As part of the “New Theory,” demonstration stations have been established throughout Thailand to promote education in agriculture and self-sufficiency.

The program competes with the contemporary globalization system, which from now on is mired in many parts of the world with the economic crisis.

The relatively self-sufficient nature of Thais, in general, has withstood this economic chaos quite well.

In 10 years, a plate of food still costs as much money, as do many everyday consumer products.

This only reinforces the value of the self-sufficient economy and, more than ever, in Thailand and abroad, it is an excellent time to get involved and become self-sufficient.

You can read the full article here:
Self-Sufficiency: A Local Solution to a Global Problem

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