Rice money wasn’t lost
published : 27 Jan 2015 at 06:23
newspaper section: News
It is probably a waste of time, but here are some facts about the rice scheme that you might not have read about:
The 600 billion baht was not lost, it was redistributed, mostly to farmers (and some criminals). But the farmers don’t eat the money, they invest it in the economy, they create jobs and pay taxes. It is generally accepted that stimulus money like the rice scheme — or the quantitative easing (QE) programmes of the US and EU — produce an investment for the public that is five to 10 times the amount of the stimulus and returns the stimulus money through taxes, duties and exports.
Farmers buy cars, tractors, motorcycles and smartphones; they build houses, improve the fields and yield, and send their children to universities with this stimulus money, which supports the dealerships and manufacturers and gives jobs to millions.
They use the stimulus for down payments and borrow the rest from the banks, which supports the financial system and turns the stimulus money into investment money, which creates a return and pays for it.
If scholars would make a proper economic study of the impact of the rice-scheme stimulus money, they would come up with a profit for the government, and not a 600-billion-baht loss. But as we all know, that does not fit the agenda.
Saying the 600-billion-baht rice money was lost is like saying that seeds are lost when they are planted and forgetting the gains of the harvest.
Greedy for tourist cash
While looking through today’s Bangkok Post, I came across an advertisement for visiting “Mimosa Pattaya — The City of Love” for Valentine’s Day.
How much love will be felt when you are told you must pay a 150-baht fee — foreigner or Thai — to enter a shopping area to spend your money. A novel concept from the owners.
Also in Pattaya on Sukhumvit Road is the floating market. Here, foreigners must pay a 200-baht entry fee to spend their money. Thais do not have to pay an entry fee. Maybe this is because the attraction in no way represents what a true Thai floating market is.
Foreigners, on the other hand, think they have visited an authentic Thai floating market. On my first visit to Thailand in 1982, a visit to a floating market would be to Damnoen Saduak in Ratchaburi for free, to see what a real floating market looks like and how it operates.
I find this current trend very distasteful. I didn’t realise that making loads of money by charging people to come into your shop was a marketing strategy.
What’s next? Do we wait for the day when Makro, Villa Market, Central and the rest start charging us for the right to spend our money?
Are all of these entry fees reported as income to the Revenue Department?
I have no problem spending money in exchange for value. But these are examples of the enormous greed of the Thai marketplace for tourist dollars. Is this the Thainess we want people to see?
Don’t let Israel abuse
I am a staunch supporter of the state of Israel, but I find the reports last week that 122 Thai workers have died while working in agricultural industries in Israel within the last five years disturbing.
If these allegations prove to be true, they represent a scandal and tragedy of enormous proportions.
Part of me wants to remain sceptical. For example, in a glaring omission, the NGO which raised these allegations failed to state that several Thai workers were killed in rocket attacks by Hamas. But the allegations of forced overtime, failure to provide safety from heat and pesticides and possible cover-ups of investigations into the deaths must be fully and properly investigated.
Has the Thai press contacted Israeli officials for information? Has the International Labour Organisation investigated these claims?
If we come down hard on Thailand and Qatar for labour abuse, then basic justice dictates that we must come down hard on Israel, too.
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