2009 Year-End Economic Review

Is that a V for victory that the PM is showing off? After all, he’s survived a full 12 months on the hostile planet that is Thai politics. Or is he illustrating the supposed shape of the economic Recovery we keep hearing about?

If we were to expand the PM’s PowerPoint slide a few months into the future, would the V turn to a W, with another dip to follow the upward blip that’s lifted spirits, if only modestly, over the past few months? The government is hoping that big spending will keep the indicators moving up.

But building roads and rail tracks or strong-arming hospitals into buying expensive hardware they don’t need are hardly the be-all and end-all of a viable economic recovery.

Building confidence remains the key. A good start would be to resolve the legal mess that has stalled tens of billions of baht worth of industrial investments at MapTa Phut. Passing laws that are two years overdue—why didn’t anyone notice?—would help.

Enforcing laws fairly and consistently, without fear or favour, would be even better. That may be too much to hope for in Thailand, but it would do wonders in terms of moving those indicators in the direction the PM wants them to go.

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