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SUSTAINABLE APROACH FOR SOLVING PROBLEMS OF THE POOR
The main stream economists defining The poor as those who has income below income poverty line [based on human basic minimum needs] is too narrow and led to early-presumed conclusion that since Thailand has implemented the pro-growth market oriented development plan in 1961 up to 1996, percentage of the poor has reduced progressively. So the solutions of the poverty problem in their view should be to promote more pro-growth market oriented investment which is misleading
In reality, this kind of pro-growth development policy in the already unjust Thai socio-economic structure led to increasing income gap among the 20% richest and the 80% poorest group and increse number and percentage of the majority poor who do not only has relatively less wealth and purchasing power but has absolutely less natural and social capital or access to self sufficient food production as well.
To find more sustainable solution, we need to have broader perception of poverty causes and solutions than the mainstream pro-growth market oriented view.
Alternative view claim that poverty is caused by Thai political, economic and social structure and pro-growth market oriented policy that worsen the environment, disitibution of wealth, income, and other social opportunitites among the peoples.
The poor should be measured by many combined faxtors rather than the earnd cash. For those farmers who still have high proportion of self-sufficient farming [have their own rice as principal food] they are in need of cash less than more marketed oriented farmers. Measurement of the non-poor [VS. poor] are such as proper house, occupation or the mode of earning a living, mode of living, ability to join community activities and stability in family institution.
The main causes that make some one poorer are the lack of land and capital due to the unequal distribution of new clearance land by the central and local authority and many cases by new public projects such as large reservoirs and dams that make peasants lost their land without fair compensation.
Poverty at village level involve geo-economic position of the will age, water supply, access to natural resources, market and other communications, the level of economic and social capital accumulation, access to earning in non-agricultural sector.
Therefore, we have to view “poverty” as the structural poverty in term of deprivation of economic, political and social rights and opportunities.
To find the solutions for eradication of poverty, one need a radical structural economic and social reforms for fairer distribution of wealth, income, education and other social access as well as balanced and sustainable social development policy.