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Populist policies: Yingluck's worse than Thaksin

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First generation populist policies (universal healthcare, OTOP) better than second generation policies (rice pledging scheme, first car rebate). 

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her deputy prime ministers were in parliament defending the budget as a seminar organised by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) slammed their populist policies.

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GOVERNMENT POLICY

Academics rail against populist rule

Yingluck policies worse than Thaksin's, critics say
30/05/2013
Online news
Pathom Sangwongwanich

The second generation of the government's populist policies has become a political tool to accumulate power, academics claim.

The view was offered Thursday by leading academics at a seminar entitled "Rethinking Populist Policy: From Thaksin to Yingluck", organised by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) in Bangkok Thursday.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her deputy prime ministers were in parliament defending the budget as a seminar organised by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) slammed their populist policies.

TDRI president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said the second generation of populist policies championed by the Yingluck Shinawatra government generate fewer public benefits compared to the first-generation policies from the era of the now defunct-Thai Rak Thai government.

For example, the Thaksin Shinawatra administration's 30-baht universal healthcare scheme and the One Tambon One Product (Otop) entrepreneurship programme benefited the majority of the people and assisted social development, he said.

But the current populist policies, such as the first-car tax rebate scheme or the controversial rice pledging scheme, only serve the interests of specific groups, Mr Somkiat said.

The rice pledging scheme distorts market fundamentals and causes substantial economic losses, he said

He added that developing a reliable mass transit system is what the country needs as opposed to the first-time car tax rebate scheme, which increases household debt.

Mr Somkiat said the ongoing populist policies are not suitable for sustainable socio-economic development as they only provide short-term solutions to address public needs, but fail to provide long-term answers.

The government should adopt strict fiscal policies to control public spending, similar to the austerity measures implemented by many European governments, otherwise private debt will skyrocket and become a burden for the public.

However, Mr Somkiat said he disagrees with the idea of terminating all populist policies, saying they should instead be analysed on a case-by-case basis.

It is likely that populist policies will continue to exist as political parties consider them an instrument to shore up public support, he said.

Independent academic Nidhi Eoseewong said stark social inequalities and a manufacturing-based society are the root causes of populist policies.

Populist policies have the potential to enhance income redistribution and product acquisition, he said, adding that the government has to take full responsibility for implementing them.

The 300-baht minimum daily wage policy is an example of an income redistribution scheme, but certain groups reject it because they lose benefits in the process, he said.

Mr Nidhi said, however, that populist policies can also be a foundation for a fascist political system if the government ploughs ahead with them regardless of the problems that may arise.

Ammar Siamwalla, a well-known economist and TDRI scholar, said populist policies cater to public interests rather than contributing to income redistribution.

They create a "cheap quality" political system with the government adopting specific measures to satisfy a public which is only interested in wealth or objects of their desires, he said.

Mr Ammar said the current rice pledging scheme distorts the market system because it creates profits for select groups.

He asked whether the government will hold itself responsible for losses of up to 200 billion baht generated by the scheme.

The rice industry creates huge revenues through exports, and lower-level rice farmers should reap the benefits of the scheme. But it is the wealthy farmers who have been the ones who have benefited the most, he said.

Regarding the wage hike policy, Mr Ammar said it helps the country in developing efficiency in terms of skilled labour and increasing its competitiveness on the global stage.

Kasian Tejapira, associate professor of the faculty of political science at Thammasat University, said the populist political system is the root cause of populist policies, and the policies themselves are not the problem.

Non-majoritarian institutions contribute to the creation of populist policies since they serve their needs and increase their power, he said.

Besides offering no checks and balances, a populist political system restricts pluralism, which supports public discussion in coherently determining policies that best serve the public interest, Assoc Prof Kasian said.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Academics rail against populist rule, Yingluck policies worse than Thaksin's, critics say, 30/05/2013, Online news, Pathom Sangwongwanich, link


Policy Criticism Vocabulary

policy -
government programs and actions taken to achieve promised goals นโยบาย

populist - government policies to become popular quickly; make ordinary people like them and gain votes, even if long-term they may hurt the country พ็อบพิวลิซท, ได้รับความนิยม (See Wikipedia)
populist policy

rule -
control and direction of the government การปกครอง, การควบคุม
populist rule

criticism - finding and pointing out the problems in something บทวิจารณ์
critic -a person who does criticism นักวิจารณ์

academics - professors and lecturers at universities and colleges; also researchers at research institutes อาจารย์หรือนักศึกษามหาวิทยาลัย
leading academics

rail against - criticize with great anger
academics rail against populist rule

critics - people who look for and point out problems in something นักวิจารณ์
Yingluck policies worse than Thaksin's, critics say

accumulate - to get more and more of something over a period of time สั่งสมมานาน
accumulate power

claim - saying something is true without proving it yet
a political tool to accumulate power, academics claim

generation - existing or living around the same time รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
first generation
second generation

the second generation
of the government's populist policies

The second generation of the government's populist policies has become a political tool to accumulate power, academics claim.

entitled ... - having the name or title ....

The view was offered Thursday by leading academics at a seminar entitled "Rethinking Populist Policy: From Thaksin to Yingluck", organised by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) in Bangkok Thursday.

deputy - a person who is given the power to do something instead of another person, or the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
deputy prime ministers

budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
defending the budget
deputy prime ministers were in parliament defending the budget

slammed - strongly criticised วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง
academics slammed their populist policies.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her deputy prime ministers were in parliament defending the budget as a seminar organised by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) slammed their populist policies.

champion -
to publicly support and defend something such as ideas or government policy
policies championed by the Yingluck Shinawatra government

benefits - goods things that can happen from an activity, project or government program ผลประโยชน์
public benefits

generate - to produce ก่อให้เกิด create สร้าง กระตุ้นให้เิกิด
the second generation of populist policies generate fewer public benefits

defunct - has stopped operating and functioning, no longer exists, nto longer used หมดสภาพ ถูกยุบ, หยุดทำงาน
the now defunct-Thai Rak Thai government

era - a long period of time in history
the first-generation policies from the era of the now defunct-Thai Rak Thai government.

TDRI president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said the second generation of populist policies championed by the Yingluck Shinawatra government generate fewer public benefits compared to the first-generation policies from the era of the now defunct-Thai Rak Thai government.

universal - involving everyone ทั่วไป
healthcare - the treatment and prevention of diseases and other medical problems

scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
universal healthcare scheme

entrepreneurship - the practice of starting and running businesses

majority - most of the people in a group เสียงส่วนใหญ่ คนส่วนใหญ่
benefited the majority of the people

development - the gradual growth and formation of something
assisted social development

For example, the Thaksin Shinawatra administration's 30-baht universal healthcare scheme and the One Tambon One Product (Otop) entrepreneurship programme benefited the majority of the people and assisted social development, he said.

current - of the present time ปัจจุบัน
the current populist policies

tax rebate - money you get back from government (reducing your taxes) after you pay taxes
the first-car tax rebate scheme

controversial - a topic that people disagree about, fight, argue, or debate about; causing disagreement or argument ความขัดแย้ง  ความไม่ลงรอยกัน ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง ที่เป็นที่ขัดแย้ง
the controversial rice pledging scheme

interests - business interests, connections that people benefit from, who gain or lose depending on how events turn out 
only serve the interests of specific groups

But the current populist policies, such as the first-car tax rebate scheme or the controversial rice pledging scheme, only serve the interests of specific groups, Mr Somkiat said.

fundamentals - 1. the underlying health of a company or economy (that will determine whether it is profitable and survives in the long-run) ที่สำคัญ ที่เป็นตัวกำหนดความมั่นคงของบริษัท; 2. the capacity to do something, basic capabilities that make something possible
market fundamentals

distort -
change something so that it is not true, accurate or does not work correctly anymore
distorts market fundamentals

substantial - in a large amount or degree
substantial economic losses

The rice pledging scheme distorts market fundamentals and causes substantial economic losses, he said

mass
- large numbers จำนวนมหาศาล
transit - the act of moving from one place to another การเดินทางผ่าน

mass transit - buses, trains and subways that can move large numbers of people around
mass transit system

reliable - correct or works correctly, works the way you expect, does not fail ที่น่าเชื่อถือ ที่เชื่อถือได้   ไว้ใจได้
a reliable mass transit system

household - a group of people, often a family, who live together ครัวเรือน  ในครัวเรือน
debt - an amount of money that you owe หนี้
household debt - money that people borrowed that they have to pay back in the future

He added that developing a reliable mass transit system is what the country needs as opposed to the first-time car tax rebate scheme, which increases household debt.

ongoing - currently happening; happening at the present moment; continuing ไม่หยุดยั้ง, ต่อเนื่อง
the ongoing populist policies

sustainable - can continue for a long time in the future; able to be successfully continued for a long time ยั่งยืน, ถาวร แบบยั่งยืน ที่ดำเนินต่อไป
sustainable development
sustainable socio-economic development

suitable - right for a situation; acceptable or right for someone or something เหมาะสม
not suitable for sustainable socio-economic development

provide - to give someone something that they want or need
only provide short-term solutions but fail to provide long-term answers.

address - to deal with a problem จัดการปัญหา
address public needs

Mr Somkiat said the ongoing populist policies are not suitable for sustainable socio-economic development as they only provide short-term solutions to address public needs, but fail to provide long-term answers.

fiscal - related to government spending; connected with the government budget, i.e., public money เกี่ยวกับงบประมาณ
fiscal policies

strict - very careful and exact เข้มงวด
strict fiscal policies

adopt - to accept or to start using something new นำมาใช้
adopt strict fiscal policies

austerity - when the government reduces the amount its spends by a large amount
measures - actions taken to solve a problem มาตรการ

implemented - when a plan is put into action, actually doing the things in a plan
austerity measures implemented

skyrocket - to increase very quickly ลอยขึ้นสูงอย่างฉับพลัน
private debt will skyrocket

burden - a serious or difficult responsibility that you have to deal with ภาระ
a burden for the public

The government should adopt strict fiscal policies to control public spending, similar to the austerity measures implemented by many European governments, otherwise private debt will skyrocket and become a burden for the public.

on a case-by-case basis

terminating
- ending
terminating all populist policies

However, Mr Somkiat said he disagrees with the idea of terminating all populist policies, saying they should instead be analysed on a case-by-case basis.

parties - people, companies, organisations entering into some arrangement or deal
political parties

support - help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน
shore up public support - to build support among people

instrument - a legal document
an instrument to shore up public support

It is likely that populist policies will continue to exist as political parties consider them an instrument to shore up public support, he said.

academic - someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job นักวิชาการ
independent academic

stark - harsh and unpleasant ทื่อๆ
stark social inequalities

Independent academic Nidhi Eoseewong said stark social inequalities and a manufacturing-based society are the root causes of populist policies.

income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
redistribution - taking from one group of people and giving to another group; sharing something out differently from before, especially in a fairer way การปันส่วนหรือจัดสรรอย่างเป็นธรรม
income redistribution

enhance - to improve the quality, amount or strength of something ปรับปรุง, ทำให้ดีขึ้น ทำให้ดีเพิ่มขึ้น
enhance income redistribution

potential - the possibility of successfully doing something ที่มีศักยภาพ ที่เป็นไปได้
have the potential to enhance income redistribution

acquisition - the process of getting or buying something
product acquisition

responsibility - 1. being blamed for something that goes wrong, 2. having to take care of some task as part of your job
take full responsibility

implementing - turning a plan into a functioning system นำมาใช้จริง
the government has to take full responsibility for implementing the policies

Populist policies have the potential to enhance income redistribution and product acquisition, he said, adding that the government has to take full responsibility for implementing them.

wage - an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month ค่าจ้าง
minimum daily wage 

policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieveoutcomes นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
minimum daily wage policy

reject - to not agree with a request, offer or proposal ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
process - a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
they reject the policy because they lose benefits in the process

The 300-baht minimum daily wage policy is an example of an income redistribution scheme, but certain groups reject it because they lose benefits in the process, he said.

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