The foundations of King Bhumibol’s theory includes sustainability, moderation and broad-based development. The concept is based on living a moderate, self-dependent life without greed or overexploitation of, for example, natural resources.
The ‘Sufficiency Economy’ is not a theory about how the economy of a country works, but rather a guide to making decisions that will produce outcomes that are beneficial to development.
The Sufficiency Economy is a philosophy that stresses the ‘middle path’ as an overriding principle for appropriate conduct by the populace at all levels. This applies to conduct starting from the level of local families, small and large communities, as well as the government’s administration.
At the same time, it is essential to strengthen the moral fibre of the nation, so that everyone, particularly public officials, academics, and business people at all levels, adhere first and foremost to the principles of honesty and integrity.
‘Sufficiency’ means moderation, reasonableness, and the need of self-immunity for sufficient protection from impact arising from internal and external changes.
It is essentially a way of life based on patience, perseverance, diligence, wisdom and prudence and is essential to create balance and be able to cope appropriately with critical challenges arising from extensive and rapid socio-economic, environmental, and cultural changes in the world which these days include climate change.
Modern development has caused changes in all aspects of Thai society. The positive impacts of the development are economic growth, progress of material and public utilities, modern communication systems, and improvement and expansion of education.
However, few of these results have yet to reach the rural areas or the underprivileged in the society.
On the other hand, rapid economic growth and the rise of consumerism has led to a state of economic dependence and deterioration of natural resources as well as the dissolution of existing kinship and traditional groups to manage them.
The traditional knowledge and wisdom that have been employed to solve problems and accumulated in the past are forgotten and have started to disappear.
Significantly, what has dissipated is the people’s ability to rely on themselves and conduct their lives and pursue their destiny with dignity.
For Thailand, the 1997 economic crisis served as a costly lesson of unbalanced and unstable growth, partly due to the improper economic and social development process, in which the economy relied heavily on foreign capital inflows and external markets.
The chief proponent of localism in Thailand or moso (moderation society) is King Bhumibol through ‘the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy.’