Economic disparity in Thailand widens, agricultural sector hit hardest

The age-old wrestle with economic disparity continues to cast a shadow on Thailand’s society as inequality widens, particularly within the agricultural sector, which sees roughly 6% to 8% of its populace remaining below the poverty line. According to a recent study by the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO), this disparity has been fuelled by multiple components, including the transfer to a digital economy, an ageing society, post-Covid-19 economic recovery velocity, and the burning problem of climate change.
TPSO’s director-general, Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, acknowledges that whereas the nation has experienced constant economic development, the distribution of that wealth stays a significant concern. The GDP enlarged from 7.7 trillion baht in 2008 to 10.2 trillion baht in 2021, but economic inequality remained constant. Restating the United Nations’ (UN) sustainable development objectives, Poonpong stressed the importance of both public and private sectors working cohesively to mitigate the economic disparity issue, which threatens the steadiness of Thailand’s societal and economic evolution.
Historically, the poverty-stricken inhabitants made up 65% in 1988, lowering to six.3% in 2021. Even then, the previous ten years (2011 to 2021) have shown no vital reduction. Surprisingly, about 11% of households whose primary earnings is from agriculture reside beneath the poverty line, drawing their line at an earnings of 2,802 baht per thirty days per person.
When juxtaposed with Protected by way of the Gini coefficient, an idea to measure earnings inequality, Thailand finds firms in nations like Indonesia and Vietnam. However, wealth distribution is extra balanced with a low economic disparity in developed East Asian nations like Japan and South Korea than in Thailand, reported Bangkok Post.
The study reveals socio-economic transformations such as the shift to a digital financial system, development of platform-based economies, adoption of labour-replacing applied sciences, and large-scale data processing to be principal drivers of financial disparity throughout the nation. While these evolutionary steps present opportunities for these proficient in know-how, they concurrently pose challenges for the technologically deprived, thereby adding to financial disparity.
Moreover, the UN postulates that Asia will bear the brunt of an rising aged population, especially these aged 65 and above, between 2019 and 2050. In this regard, Thailand ranks fifth in East Asia and Southeast Asia, dedicated to a mean of 17.2% ageing populace throughout this period, following South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Macau.
The National Economic and Social Development Council’s report claims that Thailand in 2021 was residence to an estimated 13.8 million elderly residents, making up 20% of the inhabitants. This proportion is predicted to inflate further by 2040, reaching 31.3%.
Notably, an upsurge in the aged inhabitants indicates a reciprocal decline within the workforce, thus creating a higher dependency ratio upon working-age individuals, being a major contributor to financial disparity within the country.
In simultaneous occurrence, the country is treading the trail to financial recovery post-pandemic. Nevertheless, economic growth has staggered for the rationale that contraction through the outbreak. Vulnerable teams, such as small-scale distributors who misplaced revenue owing to business closure during the pandemic, in addition to employees and susceptible persons, have been profoundly and persistently impacted. Poonpong emphasised that these are the teams the government ought to help to advertise swifter restoration and reduction in long-term economic disparity.
The exacerbating issue of local weather change, leading to extra frequent disasters like floods and droughts, has far-flung implications. These changes are anticipated to amplify Thailand’s economic disparity, as a substantial fraction of the poor and deprived populace remains reliant on agriculture..

Leave a Comment