Development that is based on Sufficiency Economy is development that is based on sustainability and consideration. This kind of development emphasizes moderation, rationality, immunity, and the application of knowledge, carefulness, and morality in making decisions and taking actions.
The philosophy of Sufficiency Economy provides a guide to appropriate ways of living and behaving. It was developed from the traditional Thai lifestyle and can be applied to all situations. It derives from an understanding of the always-changing world and aims at protection from dangers and crises for the sake of stable and sustainable development.
His Majesty the King, who developed the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy, has recommended appropriate stages of development. It must begin with sufficiency for the greater population. When the sufficiency of most people is achieved, the nation can then progress to economic growth.
Sufficiency Economy is not the “economy of the poor,” as some have said. It does not call for extreme austerity or belt-tightening. The King has advised his subjects to get rich, but he also encourages them to share their wealth with others and wants them to be able to maintain their riches in bad times. He gives three principles and one foundation for national development. And they can be applied to benefit the management of any organization.
The first principle is that reasons, not desires, provide guidance. It is not wise to follow a tide unthinkingly. Thailand should have the courage to choose its own way of development instead of following a global tide.
The second principle is moderation. One must know one’s basis and potential. This knowledge will reveal what one is and how one should grow successfully.
The third principle is immunity, because one cannot know what will happen tomorrow. When situations change rapidly, it is difficult to work out a development plan because there are many risk factors. A planner needs to have vision and must try to foresee possibilities, good and bad. With a vision for the economy, for instance, planners can consider whether biodiesel should be introduced to cushion the impacts of fuel prices. Immunity is the result of risk management.
Decisions and actions that reflect sufficiency require knowledge and morality as their bases. Knowledge means adequate information and thoughtfulness to integrate fields of knowledge in order to make plans. Morality means honesty, patience, perseverance, and wisdom as the fundamentals of life.
The philosophy of Sufficiency Economy will lead to balanced and sustainable development, and those who apply it will be ready to cope with all kinds of changes concerning the economy, society, the environment, knowledge, and technology.
There are two levels in the implementation of Sufficiency Economy: basic and progressive implementation.
Sufficiency at the individual and family level.
This is the basic implementation that will enable farmers to have enough rice and other crops for household consumption. Rice that they do not need for their own use can be sold to generate income to pay for what they cannot produce. This system creates immunity for families. However, farmers may still need appropriate assistance at times from communities, the government, foundations, and the private sector.
Sufficiency at the community level.
This is the progressive implementation that covers the second stage in the application of the New Theory of agriculture. It encourages farmers to form their own organizations or cooperatives. When members of families or organizations enjoy individual sufficiency, they should group for mutual benefits and assistance.
Sufficiency at the national level.
This is the second part of the progressive implementation, covering the third stage. It encourages communities to join forces with other organizations in the nation. The cooperation will increase the transfer and exchange of wisdom, knowledge, and technology and trigger collective development in line with the principle of Sufficiency Economy. Doing so will turn the nation’s communities, organizations, and enterprises into a network of sufficiency-based communities that refrain from offending one another but interact with, help, and coexist with one another happily and permanently.