Chartchai Parasuk, PhD, is a freelance economist.
In the past week alone, we heard three good pieces of news about the success of Covid-19 vaccine developments from Pfizer, Moderna and Russia. All of them claim to have an above 90% efficacy rate. I was rather sceptical about Pfizer's vaccine for actual distribution for two reasons. First, the vaccine is required to be stored at -75C and lasts only five days in the refrigerator. Clearly, this vaccine is not appropriate for use outside the United States. Therefore, I am not surprised to learn that the CEO of the company unloaded his company's shares after the news was announced.
Economics and politics are inseparable. The current nationwide demonstrations against the government might appear to have only political agendas, but the underlying driving force of the burgeoning demonstrations might be economics. The question is "why now?". The prime minister has been in office since early 2019 and, if one counts his previous term, he has been in office since mid-2014. Furthermore, the current constitution has been in effect since 2017.
The world economy is in total disaster in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, said it would be the worst economic crisis in 100 years. However, her once in a 100-year crisis seems to be rather short-lived as the IMF expects a full global recovery next year.
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: