A dress rehearsal for the Royal Barge Procession passes the Grand Palace on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok

Sufficiency Monarchy

In 1999, a team of experts worked on distilling King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s sufficiency economy theory into a concise and clear explanation.

Bhumibol himself checked and approved the final summary. Here it is:

The Sufficiency Economy is an approach to life and conduct which is applicable at every level from the individual through the family and community to the management and development of the nation.

It promotes a middle path, especially in developing the economy to keep up with the world in the era of globalisation.

Sufficiency has there components: moderation; wisdom or insight; and the need for built-in resilience against the risks which arise from internal or external change. In addition, the application of theories in planning and implementation requires great care and good judgement at every stage.

At the same time, all members of the nation — especially officials, intellectuals, and business people — need to develop their commitment to the importance of knowledge, integrity and honesty, and to conduct their lives with perseverance, toleration, wisdom and insight so that the country has the strength and balance to respond to the rapid and widespread changes in economy, society, environment and culture in the outside world.

The sufficiency economy theory has proven notoriously difficult to translate into a set of clear principles for small-scale farmers, canned fish factory workers, billionaire business tycoons and others to follow. And yet it is a clear contribution to one area of thought at least: the Thai theory of kingship.

Thailand’s monarchy is in crisis because of the failure of its royalist supporters to follow the sufficiency economy principles. Far from promoting a moderate, wise and insightful monarchist establishment that is flexible and balanced enough to withstand both internal and external shocks, many Thai royalists believe that defending the palace requires intolerance, extremism. ignorance and inflexibility.

As King Bhumibol has taught us via his sufficiency economy theory, this kind of approach is doomed to failure and may indeed destroy Thailand’s monarchy forever.

The only way for Thailand’s royalist establishment to survive over the long term is to follow Bhumibol’s principles and accept a system of “sufficiency monarchy” in line with the theory that he has so clearly explained. Let us hope Thailand’s wayward and misguided royalists soon realize the recent error of their ways and fall in line with the king’s clearly stated wishes and wisdom, before it is too late.


  1. Double standards are corrosive. They tell us that truth is irrelevant.

  2. Ben Trein says:

    The sufficiency economy is, like communism and other ideals, a very beautiful theory, but won’t be put into effective practice untill greed and self-preservation have been eliminated from human nature. Especially the former is what is doing the royalists in.

    • Dan says:

      Not really. Communism, in its many, many flavours is something which one might or might not agree with; there’s meat on those bones and it’s up to you whether or not you want to eat it. (The? I never know whether it needs a definite article or not) Sufficiency economy is something quite different and what it means necessarily changes depending on whose mouth the worlds out of and whose ears they’re going into. There’s no meat and there’s no bones (and quite deliberately so) and that’s why it has such a vapid description.

  3. Roy Anderson says:

    The royalists and their hangers on are practicing the opposite philosophy as stated by the esteemed king. Are they not transgressing L.M.?

  4. Emilio says:

    Royalists are the Thai monarchy’s biggest own goal. The king says he dislikes LM law, his followers say they “love 112”. Then they contradict themselves. First Bhumibol is “above politics” then he is “number one” in Thailand.

    Clearly, royalists have no arguments and therefore have to resort to extremes, because they know they do not represent the Thai king.

  5. p pet says:

    in public preaching, keepying crooks and cronies out of the seat of power, in doing, it’s opposite

  6. Ben Trein says:

    P Pet, I don’t get you; I feel you are describing both ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ – to put it in two words.

    • zenjournalist says:

      Perhaps her point is that the Reds don’t spend so much time piously preaching to others

  7. Roy Anderson says:

    Just a thought. I remember YL’s fleet of barges going down the river to speed up the flow of water during Noah’s attempted flooding of Thailand. Who’s idea was that? 5555555

  8. Ben Trein says:

    Fair point on the preaching; true, the yellows preach and indoctrinate. The reds just beat people who disagree with them up (or show in various other ways show quite extreme intolerance). I do not have a favourite; you know that, and the way I see is that neither side is good.