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Improvement

Improvement

Improvement

I now know what those twelve-inch concrete pipes are for as they have dug up the two access points to my house – storm-water drainage, as I think it’s called, as opposed to foul-water drainage. Whoever would have thought they would bother with our little lane? However, it will be a big improvement, and much appreciated.

I can’t read Thai newspapers or follow the news on the TV, so I don’t know how much Thailand was affected by the banking crisis, but I suppose the knock-on effects of the Western problems would have been serious enough anyway.

In fact, I know that tourist figures from the West (the big spenders) are way down, whereas visitors from the East (very poor spenders) has increased significantly.

Likewise, I don’t know the the Thai government’s tactics for dealing with these consequences, but it seems to me that they are trying to spend their way out of their difficulties. This appears to be an improvement on the austerity measures of the West.

There are capital spending projects going on everywhere providing plenty of work

This increased government spending on the infrastructure is pumping money into the economy, but it is also causing inflation, as far as I can see, which the farmers are being forced to pay for with reduced rates for their produce from the government rice monopoly (and others?).

The previous, elected, government was paying 14,000 Baht a ton (£280) for rice, but this military junta is paying only 6,000 (£120). The rice farmers are obviously not happy. They read about world food shortages and rising prices on the Internet (not in their own Thai newspapers, I suspect) but get price cuts at home.

Meanwhile, the cost of labour has risen because of the extra demand and farmers can’t afford to pay it. Farm labourers have become road-workers

I would say that the country as a whole is happier under this method than Britain is with Cameron’s Way, but ultimately the weakest section of society is still being made to pay, just the same as always – the poor (farmers). Perhaps that’s why Greece, one of the poorest members of the EU, is also suffering.

One thing is for sure though, if there is no improvement in farmers’ incomes soon, there could be a lot of trouble, because as I reported earlier, shopkeepers are already being held up in this province, and this is where most of Thailand’s rice is grown.

It seems obvious that things have to be fair.

By the way, it was a very clever ruse to allow (near) pensioners to get their hands on their pension-savings pots, because most people will blow a lot of it, thus stimulating the economy to the detriment of the pensioners’ future. Still, it’s better than letting the insurance societies hang on to it.

We don’t hear much from them, but I bet the pension funds are really cheesed off about losing all that money from their accounts. I know mine is. Friends Life’s website announces that it takes three to five working days to get the money out, but I’ve been waiting three months.

Naughty people, but I can’t help laughing at their plight!

Sod them! One of their own kind shafted them, make of that what you will. That’s David Cameron for you, but I bet Jonesy was right: “They don’t like it up ’em, Captain Mannering! They don’t like it up ’em…”

All the best,

Owen

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Podcast: Improvement