Universal Basic Income Pilot

Met old friend Rahul Nainwal who is running a “Universal Basic Income” pilot in rural India for a poor village. This concept is controversial but interesting as it says people should have freedom to choose to better their lives and don’t always need development sector to make those choices for them.

The pilot also is completely not related to the typical techno utopian linkage on the universal basic income. It’s more align to those works on behavioural economics and the poor outlined by such books like the Poor Economics from MIT Poverty Action Lab people.

It’s an experiment to see if it would work. Wish to help him in his next phase of the pilot in more villages and may be testing it in Nepal as well perhaps. Rural is also an Ashoka Fellow.

Every time I meet him, he is always one step ahead of me hahaha…..

Check out the video that might challenge what people typically think of development financing and the poor.

The website and how you can learn more and participate!


The tribal tragedy

Justice, rules of law, democracy & liberty are human attempts to transcend our urge to go back to the our instinctive root of biological pecking order and tribal governance.

This is why millions of people across the world and ages had rationalized their ways back again and again to fascism, socialism, communism, Islamic revolution and dictatorship, all with seemingly good reasons at the time. All ends in tragedy.

Yet any form of collectivism or authoritarian systems, however seemingly enlighten, is never capable of handling mass society and economy as proven by history again and again, hence, such tribal dream always collapse. Therefore, uninformed good intensions inevitably lead to public misery.

Hayek seems to be saying this from the early twentieth century, not many really listen, then & now. Tribal instinct is proven too irresistible a drive.

RIP Grand Pa Coase

young-ronaldRIP Ronald Coase,

(1) his insight into firms’ ‘transaction cost’ might be supremely relevant towards an internet-driven decentralized economic organisations in the 21st century. With increasingly efficient external markets down to the long-tail level, effective firms can be much smaller yet more connected.

(2) His analysis on social cost also emphasizes the need of rules of law, such as property right, in lower the transaction the society needed to bear to resolve conflict. Notice the need of ‘rules of law’ and not arbitrary ‘government intervention’ that might even higher the social cost!

Learn more about Coase from Wikipedia

ลาก่อนคุณตา coase

young-ronaldลาก่อนคุณตา Ronald Coase … นักเศรษฐศาสตร์ที่อายุยืนที่สุดคนหนึ่งของโลก หนึ่งร้อยกับสองปี

(1) ความเข้าใจเรื่องต้นทุนการปฏิสัมพันธ์ (transaction cost) ของเขาอาจจะสำคัญมากมากกับโลกของการจัดการทางเศรษฐกิจที่ขับเคลื่อนด้วยอินเทอร์เน็ต ยิ่งตลาดภายนอกมีประสิทธิภาพมากขึ้นเรื่อยๆ บริษัทต่างๆที่มีประสิทธิภาพน่าจะขนาดเล็กลงได้มากขึ้นเรื่อยๆและเชื่อมโยงกันมากขึ้น

(2) การวิเคราะห์ต้นทุนทางสังคมของเขาเน้นย้ำเรื่องความจำเป็นของกฏหมายในการลดค่าปฏิสัมพันธ์ของสังคมในการหาทางออกจากปัญหาต่างๆ เช่นหากมีกฏหมายสิทธิในสินทรัพย์ที่ดีก็จะลดค่าคดีความและการพิสูจน์สิ่งต่างๆได้มาก ที่น่าสนใจคือเป็นการเน้นที่กฏหมายซึ่งมีเพื่อลดต้นทุนทางสังคม ไม่ใช่การให้รัฐบาลมีนโยบายเฉพาะกิจต่างๆที่อาจสร้างปัญหาและเพิ่มต้นทุนมหาศาลต่างๆ เหมือนที่เห็นๆในสังคมไทยทุกยุคสมัย แต่สำหรับเมืองไทยก็คงต้องดูว่าจะทำให้กฏหมายลดต้นทุนทางสังคมอย่างไร เพราะหลายๆทีออกแนวทำให้ซับซ้อนหนักกว่าเดิม ^_^~~

เรียนรู้เพิ่มเติมเรื่อง Ronald Coase จาก WIKIPEDIA!

Reflection from the Oxford trip

Quick personal thought on this trip,
1. Non profit income sources such as charity shops are critical to independency of thought and actions.
2. Donor agencies will distract your mission.
3. Can’t have a clear mind with so many over due proposals and paperworks, thus, requiring few team members to delegate.
4. Trade policies massively impact livelihood of the poor.
5. There are great roles of debt and insurance products in venture philanthropy and impact investment.
6. Appropriate tech needed to be better understood and available as instruments to grassroots livelihood projects/enterprises, especially in coping with climate issues.
7. You can’t replace entrepreneur with broad collective economic organization if you want growth.
8. Entrepreneurship development and basic SME corporate finance should be sensitized and will be useful to international organization staff.

Taxes and the (old) city!

In Oxford, there were many taxes that formed how city looks. Window tax, the more windows, the more tax you have to pay, hence, the words “daylight robbery” as the government taxed the light! So windows were walled to avoid the tax or forced to do so.

Also there was a tax on the space you occupy on the ground as well, so people built houses with second and third stories wider than the ground areas, forming a distinct Tudor house style!



My 1999 essay

Found my essay written in 1999, an essay to enter Economics programme at Thammasat university. Nostalgia all over again!
The reason I’m so keen to study at the Bachelor of Economics International Program, Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University is because of my interest in Economics. Many of my family members are economists. My Great Grand Father, Sanish Prabhasanobol, was the first employee at Bank of Thailand. My grand father, Prasert Prabhasanobol, recieved an M.A. in Economics from Thammasat where he met my grand mother who was studying in Thammasat as a hi-school student (around 50 years ago Thammasat had a pre-university level). He has written some books on economics. My uncle, Rujapong, used to work in BOT until he moved to the Gaysorn group. One of my cousins graduated from BE only two years ago. Another one is currently studying in third year. My mother and her sister both graduated from Thammasat university- in fact, my mother, Thananya Shrestha, is teaching at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication. So, I feel kind of yellow and red in my blood already.

My own interests in Economics started from my study of philosophy and politics. I found out that Economics is the great combination of the two great humanistic disciplines. As my grand father tells me, Economics is the art and science of managing resources. Therefore, it is the most challenging subject because Economics is the study of macrocosmic links among resources. Economics is a study in the wholeness of resources. In this, I’m truly interested to find out the holistic, ecological ways of resource management. My grand father has also repeatedly told me that economics does not just determine the profession of a person but it shapes his thinking by synthesizing central humanistic concepts. He says Economists is fundamental to modern thinking. I agree with him because most of the great leaders and thinkers have had a solid background in the fundamentals of economics. Look at Plato, Karl Marx, Pridi Bonomyong or even George Soros.

I am in the United States attending high school while writing this essay, I can see that the most influential person in this country is not President Clinton but Allan Greenspan, Chairman of of the Federal Reserves. I decided in 1996 that I want to study Economics when I chose to study Art-Math section in my high school because I could see that the knowledge of History and Humanities would help me better than Physics or Chemistry because it would help me understand human’s thinking and practices, which are main factors in Economical events. As I was watching the Asian Economics Crisis, I could see that Psychology become a great factor in economical events, it is very fascinating to me to explore the relation of Economics and Psychology. I also studied Calculus because it is fundamental to the understanding of Economics. By talking to my two B.E. cousins and by its reputation, I know that Thammasat’s BE English program is one of the best in Thailand and Asia.

Besides the high quality of study program, faculty members and student exchange program, I like the student’s activities like Harvard project that my cousin (Sira Klongvicha) participated and mini-symposium. I hope that, if I’m accepted to study BE, I’ll have an opportunity to work with my fellow students and faculty members and seek new Economics theories and practices that would apply to our country. I would like to study and find out which direction the future Economists of Thailand should go, how the future economists can contribute to lead Thailand to the right path by providing a holistic, ecological management of resources not just blind, short-term business/ corporation/industrial/finance oriented approach which led us to the Great Economic Crash of 1997!

At Thammasat as a BE student I also look forward to playing an active role in the students activities. At St Gabriel’s, I was the president of Computer Club. Currently I’m a vice president of an American Intercultural Students Exchange (AISE) Thai students. Last year, A few friends and I from my Mathayom 4 class called ourselves VSHOCX band and played XJAPAN songs at three department stores and for TeenTalk, Lok Don Tri TV program. At my American high school, I’m a member of jazz band and concert band. I play piano and guitar and I certainly hope to contribute to making extracurricular activities of BE students at Thammasat a rich one.

Thailand’s lost economic vision

สิ่งที่เมืองไทยขาดอย่างรุนแรงคือภาพความหวังร่วมของคนในชาติ เมื่อเราไม่รู้ว่าต้องการให้ประเทศไปที่ไหนและเป็นอย่างไรใน 10 ปี นโยบายและการพัฒนาก็กระจัดกระจายไปคนละทิศและทาง แล้วก็ปล่อยให้การเมืองถ่วงชาติจนลีกวนยูด่าว่าพายวนในอ่างจนอาจจะสู้พม่าในระยะยาวไม่ได้เช่นนี้ ผมยังเชื่อว่าเรากลายเป็นประเทศพัฒนาแล้วได้ใน 10 ปีถ้าเดินแบบมีทิศทางร่วมกัน ผมเชื่อว่าเราน่าจะทัดเทียมกับสิงคโปร์ อิตาลี หรือฟินแลนด์ได้ สามารถสร้างระดับคุณภาพชีวิตได้ไม่น้อยไปกว่าเกาหลีใต้ เราเคยเชื่อกันเช่นนี้เมื่อหลายสิบปีที่แล้ว แต่หลังจากฟองสบู่แตกเมื่อปี ’40 ความหวังและความฝันร่วมก็แตกไปด้วย… เมื่อไม่มีฝันร่วมก็ไม่มีอนาคตร่วมกันอีกต่อไป  หลังวิกฤตเศรษฐกิจเราไม่ได้เกิดวิสัยทัศน์ใหม่ที่ดีและมีปัญญากว่าเดิม เราสูญเสียวิสัยทัศน์ไปเสียสิ้น

What Thailand severely lacks is the common vision of the nation, we don’t know where we want to go and what we want to become in 10 years. Thus, all policies and development are fragmented without any direction. We allow the politics to pull down the national development in such a way that Lee Kwan Yew accused us of not going anyway, losing out to Burma. I believe Thailand could become a developed country in a decade if there is a common direction of development. I believe we could be at the same level of Singapore, Italy and Finland. Our quality of life should be able to compare with those of South Koreans. We used to believe in this kind of vision before the economic crisis of ’97, then our common vision collapsed. We didn’t regain a better and wiser vision after the fall, we lost it all together.

TRRM, Weather index insurance, tree bank and community finance

Last week I’ve attended our Thai Rural Reconstruction Movement Foundation (TRRM) board meeting (which ChangeFusion is under). We’ve many passionate senior-level board members from M.R. Pridiyathorn, K. Ennu, Archarn Patamawadee, Archarn Nipon and many more. Among various issues discussed, there might be now a clear possible solution for TRRM’s position in Thai sustainable development.

Key issues that they are already working on, that might bring TRRM to engage more, are..

  • Scale-up weather index insurance to support the gov’s agricultural price insurance programme
  • Transforming government’s banks into development banks in providing broad access to medium to long-term credit with capacity support focusing in community business / SME / SE development.
  • National Farmers’ DB and inter-linkage with various applications
  • Community-Finance systemic development
  • Tree Bank programme, transforming trees/community forest into assets-building programme & linking with CSR

In addressing these issues systematically and proactively, some sort of economic equality forum in honor of Dr Puey might be setup.

Social Media for Change; A strategy (in Thai)

I was invited by Dr. Pravej’s reform forum to propose how internet and social media can contribute to the national reform afford, especially in providing collaborative platform between Civil Society, Netizens and the Government.

After some data on internet/social media usages in Thailand and how social media is reducing transaction for collective action significantly. My basic strategy consists of..

(1) Government should open up its data similar to the US’ Open Government Initiative (such as data.gov, etc..)

(2) Policy crowdsourcing platform similar to ideas.in.th or ilaw.or.th

(3) Online platform for volunteer & giving matching similar to globalgiving.com, sasix as well as kiva.org