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Bring population numbers up

Re: "Falling birth rates spell trouble for Southeast Asia", (Asia Focus, June 14).

It's ludicrous to think that populations can continue to grow unimpeded forever as the driver of economic development. Instead of seeing falling birth rates as "trouble" for Southeast Asian countries, economists and policy-makers should see the tremendous opportunities that declining births present.

Although declining numbers of young people can indeed create challenges related to labour and tax revenues, slowing population growth allows for more sustainable use of natural resources, reduced levels of pollution, and healthier living conditions.

By opening minds to creative solutions, one could also easily envision increased mobility of migrant labour -- already an important source of workers in Thailand.

Nurses and care givers from overpopulated countries like the Philippines could be welcomed to care for the growing numbers of elderly in countries with declining numbers of young people, such as Thailand and China. This would be mutually beneficial for both the currently slow-growing countries and the over-populated countries.

Countries and territories like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai have demonstrated that slow growing populations do not have to result in slow-growing economies. Success, however, depends on progressive and inclusive policies on immigration, migrant labour, and investment capital.

Samanea Saman


Confusing facts and figures

Re: "Wrong conclusion", (PostBag, June 14).

With all due respect to Steve Davis, Thitinan Pongsudhirak is an award-winning trained political scientist who knows what he is talking about.

It should be pointed out that trained economist Chartchai Parasuk also is worried about Thailand's runaway debt in his June 10th article "A long road to recovery for Thailand".

The stresses the government "will have difficulty financing the 500 billion baht (Covid rescue) package owing to inadequate domestic liquidity".

And even if it achieves the task, it won' t amount to much help, as the package will only last for a few months with receipients getting a few hundred baht per month, while what is needed is "at least another 18 months of support".

It also is worth mentioning that Mr Chartchai warned earlier in the year that the kingdom is in danger of facing another meltdown akin to the 1997 Tom Yam Kung economic crisis.

So basically, what the above two intellectuals are saying, is the government will only bankrupt the country if the rescue package goes through; yet the sad fact is that it won't help.

If that is the case, then it begs the question: why do it?

At least in the present form, it does not seem to make sense.

Paul


PM has unfair advantage?

Re: "PPRP backs Prayut for another term at the helm", (BP, June 19).

I have no problem with PM Prayut's staying on for yet another term if he wins a free and fair election. But why does his party so strenuously insist on the Senate keeping its power to participate in choosing the prime minister?

All senators were hand-picked by Gen Prayut, with zero vetting by elected representatives, and shortly afterwards they unanimously returned the favour by voting him in as prime minister.

Their numbers are such that Gen Prayut can win the post with just one sixth of the popular vote.

If the electorate truly believes in Prayut, he'll win by a landslide.

So why does the PPRP have so little faith in their man that they insist on giving him a massive and unfair advantage?

Burin Kantabutra


Stay on the grass

A big thank you to the prime minister and the Bangkok governor for opening the parks. I believe parks are the safest places in Bangkok, because social distancing is the norm for most people.

This relates to people living together where transmission rates are at their highest.

As a preventative measure, outdoor exercise with an abundance of virus-sterilising UV light makes this reopening a blessing for those who do exercise in much more constrained circumstances, notably on the roads.

That is particularly true for cyclists.

With the park closures we have been forced out onto the roads for months, and as exciting as riding in downtown Bangkok is because it's seriously dangerous, I would ask on behalf of cyclists that we be allowed back into the parks, please for our safety.

Jeffrey A Hodges


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