story: 10 Oct
Vol. 24 No. 13
Photo by Royal Courtesy
H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is a monarch having a far-sighted
vision with talents in arts, science, sports and languages.
His royal initiated projects and royal concepts have
been recognized worldwide as are seen from the numerous
awards presented to His Majesty, particularly the UNDP
award recently presented by the UN and the first ever
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Medallion awarded by the World
Food Prize Foundation. Among the royal ideas given to
be guidelines for his subjects, the philosophy of sufficiency
economy is the most widely known.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presents
H.M. King Bhumibol with the UNDP Award.
Part of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's speech in
presenting the award to H.M. the king regarding sufficiency
"...His Majesty's "Sufficiency Economy"
philosophy emphasizing moderation, responsible consumption,
and resilience to external shocks is of great relevance
to communities everywhere during these times of rapid
globalization. The philosophy's "middle path"
approach strongly reinforces the United Nation's own
advocacy of a people-centred and sustainable path toward
To celebrate the auspicious occasion of His Majesty
the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary on 5 December 2007,
many activities have been held and many are coming.
Thaiways thus joins this occasion by presenting to you
the philosophy of sufficiency economy which H.M. the
King explained to his subjects through royal remarks
on many occasions in the past more than 25 years.
It should be mentioned that the King in his childhood
was taught to follow the "sufficient way of life"
by the Princess Mother who was a model of not only kindheartedness
but also of her principles to live in accordance with
the "sufficient way of life".
H.M. King Bhumibol emphasizes the importance
of occupational development.
THE SUFFICIENCY ECONOMY
According to a booklet "Ways
of Learning Sufficiency Economy"
published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives,
the philosophy of the Sufficiency Economy has details
"Sufficiency Economy is a philosophy that stresses
the middle path as the overriding principle for appropriate
conduct and way of life by the populace at all levels.
This applies to conduct and way of life at the level
of individual, family, and community, while providing
a choice of balanced development strategy for the nation
so as to develop in line with the forces of globalization,
and shielding against inevitable shocks and excesses
that may arise.
The Bhumirak Thammachat
Nakhon Nayok Province was initiated by the
King to be a model of life based
on sufficiency economy.
"Sufficiency" means moderation and due consideration
in all modes of conduct, together with the need for
sufficient protection from internal and external shocks.
To achieve this, the application of knowledge with prudence
is essential. In particular, great care is needed in
the application of theories and technical know-how and
methodologies for planning and implementation. At the
same time, it is essential to strengthen the moral fiber
of the nation, so that everyone, particularly public
officials, academics or theoreticians, businessmen and
financiers, will adhere first and foremost to the principles
of honesty and integrity. In addition, a balanced approach
combining patience, perseverance, diligence, wisdom
and prudence is indispensable to cope appropriately
with critical challenges arising from extensive and
rapid socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural changes
occurring as a result of globalization."
RETURN TO THE NATIVE WAY
As Thai society is an agricultural society, the philosophy
of sufficiency economy has existed in the indigenous
knowledge and the simple way of life for a long time.
But the changing world misled the people and they were
diverted to materialism. The simplest way to follow
the "sufficiency economy" philosophy is to
go back to what is indigenous.
Most people think that "sufficiency economy"
relates only to farmers in remote areas. In fact, people
of other occupations such as businessmen, civil servants
and office personnel, can apply the concept to their
work as well.
Even though the "sufficiency economy" philosophy
seems easy to understand, some people, even those with
a Ph. D., might not fully understand it. Therefore the
King elaborated on its meaning in a royal speech given
EXCERPT OF THE
ROYAL SPEECH IS GIVEN BELOW:
"...The Prime Minister (Mr. Chuan Leekphai, in
the position from 1997 to 2001) has mentioned my various
activities, such as what I said last year, about the
sufficiency economy. The term sufficiency economy does
not exist in the textbooks; there has never been a sufficiency
economy. There are other terms but not this one. Last
year, I spoke about sufficiency economy because I could
not find other terms. I also added that 50 per cent
of its application, that is, not completely, or even
only 25 per cent, would be enough.
H.M. the King is reaping rice
in his demonstration farm.
"At that time, last year, I thought that it
was understood, but lately, only last month, somebody
who should be in the know, someone who has participated
in development work for quite a long time, came to
see me and said that the sufficiency economy was a
very good system, and he indicated his understanding
that the application of one-fourth of the sufficiency
economy means the coverage of a quarter of the area
in the country. The meaning of sufficiency economy
and only one-fourth of its application did not mean
the area of one-fourth, but one-fourth of the extent
(degree) of sufficiency.
"I have to come right to the point because I
am worried that even a person with a Ph.D. still misunderstood
my point. Perhaps I did not speak clearly enough,
but when I reread what I had written from my peech,
I thought that it was clearly stated that 50 per cent
sufficiency or even only 25 per cent sufficiency would
be enough. I meant that the application of the sufficiency
economy does not necessarily mean full sufficiency,
and I may add that full sufficiency is impossible.
If a family or even a village wants to employ full
sufficiency economy, it would be like returning to
the stone age...
H.M. the King has a teaching soul.
He patiently explains his initiative ideas
to the officials involved.
"The word sufficiency has another meaning, a
wider meaning. It does not only mean self-sufficiency
but also means to have enough for the individual to
live on. This sufficiency was mentioned to those who
were present here. in this hall -- when was it? 20
or 24 years ago, in 1974. From 1974 to 1998, it is
24 years, isn't it? On that day, I said that we should
strive to have enough to live on.
To have enough to live on, of course, means sufficiency
economy. If everyone has enough to live on, everything
will be all right. Furthermore, if the whole country
can subsist, the better it would be, and Thailand
at that time was on the verge of insufficiency. Some
individuals had plenty, but some had practically nothing.
In the past, there was enough to live on, but today,
impoverishment is creeping in. We must, therefore,
implement a policy of sufficiency economy so that
everyone will have enough to live on...Sufficiency
means to lead a reasonably comfortable life, without
excess, or overindulgence in luxury, but enough.
"...The word to have enough is sufficient; sufficiency
is moderation...If all nation hold this concept --
I don't mean sufficiency economy -- this concept of
moderation, without being extreme or insatiable in
one's desires, the world will be a happier place..."
In conclusion, below are concrete examples of the
practice of "sufficiency economy":
Land and water management is necessary for
NEW THEORY ON LAND AND WATER MANAGEMENT
Generally, the New Theory of H.M. the King is an example
of a practical way that adopts the "sufficiency
economy" philosophy. His Majesty's New Theory is
a new theory on land and water management. It is based
on the division of the agricultural land of each rural
household, which averages 10 to 15 rai (=1.6 ha to 2.4
ha), into four parts accordingly to use in the proportion
of 30-30-30-10 in the following way.
Thirty per cent is used for a reservoir. Thirty per
cent is devoted to rice cultivation. Another thirty
per cent may be used for growing more rice or horticultural
crops, depending on the local conditions and market
demand. The remaining ten per cent of land is used for
building a house, paths and ditches and also for growing
household vegetables and raising livestock.
The implementation of the New Theory will help farmers
achieve self-sufficiency at a frugal level. In order
to prove the feasibility of his New Theory, the King
arranged to make a case-study at Wat Mongkhon Chaipattana,
Saraburi province. The experiment proved highly successful
and farmers in various parts of the country have adopted
the methods and put them into practice.
ROYAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
AND STUDY CENTRES
Besides the New Theory on land and water management,
more than 3,000 development projects and six study centres
initiated by His Majesty the king are also based on
the "sufficiency economy" philosophy.
Several Royal Development projects help
uplift the well-being of the hilltribes.
The development projects are mainly divided into seven
categories, viz. Water Sources, Agriculture, Occupational
Promotion, Public Health, Public Welfare, Environment
and Communications. In Occupational Promotion, especially
for farmers, His Majesty emphasises on self-reliance
and integrated farming to lessen risks of having to
depend solely on a single crop. In addition, a large
number of demonstration farms have been set up throughout
the country to be models for farmers.