Chartchai Parasuk, PhD, is a freelance economist.
The resignation of Finance Minister Predee Daochai is a hot issue right now and I feel compelled to write about it, though I'd rather not discuss the cause -- which could be a combination of problems relating to health, internal disputes, political pressure, workloads, and unsolvable problems. Whatever the problems are, the minister has already made the decision which is gazetted. What's done is done.
I am not talking about the pandemic. I optimistically assume the Covid-19 pandemic is over for Thailand as we have had zero domestic infections for almost two months. The lockdown, aimed at barring visitors from entering Thailand, is substantially relaxed and most economic activities are permitted to resume.
This is not the first time the world has faced economic dangers but the Covid-19 outbreak is by far the most devastating. I have a feeling that it could beat the legendary 1930s Great Depression. There are many questions to ask, particularly about the future of the world and the Thai economy. I'd like to raise three questions as follows:
Everybody is waiting for the arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine. News has been encouraging on that front as the whole world is making every effort to finding a cure --159 candidates to be exact. Some promise to deliver the vaccine as early as August, while others claim they have successfully tested it on humans. The vaccine will bring an end to this horrific pandemic and put the world economy back on its feet, they say.
At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, there emerged an outbreak containment option called "Hurt and then ending" which in Thai is jeb tae jop. The complete lockdown of Wuhan was a prime example of that. In Thailand, the lockdown measure was first implemented in Buri Ram before it become a standard practice nationwide. The effectiveness of the measures varies across the globe -- from a seemingly complete success story in Wuhan to a not-yet sustained success in Spain, to a success and then failure in Singapore. I do not think anybody doubts the effectiveness of the lockdown on controlling the outbreak, but many, including myself, are starting to come out and question the cost of lockdown, which I have previously mentioned.