OPED: The pressure cooker that is Thailand

Thailand finds itself in a pressure cooker these days, dealing with pre-Covid-19 economic weaknesses, the lack of longer-term responses to the economic and social crises from the pandemic, and uncertainty about how much longer people can hold on before falling into poverty, losing jobs or closing small businesses.

This is the picture of Thai society that emerged from a recent World Bank discussion on vulnerable populations in this middle-income country, one whose success in managing Covid-19 is well-known globally.

Less known, though, are pre-existing conditions in Thailand that weakened its immunity against shocks such as the pandemic, and threaten to reverse major development gains in a country whose poverty rate fell from 65.2% in 1988 to 8.4% in 2019.

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