Thailand’s ‘five families’ prop and imperil Prayut

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Thailand’s ‘five families’ prop and imperil Prayut

Post by phuketrichard »

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha is flanked by CP Group chairman Dhanin Chearavanont (2nd R) and ThaiBev founder billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi (L) at Government House in a file photo. Photo: AFP Forum/Chanat Katanyu

The rich get richer and acquire more power while the rest are slowly fucked
When Thailand’s military-aligned Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) sought to build an election campaign war chest, party stalwarts organized a Chinese-style dinner for its closest big business allies.

The soirée attracted a who’s who of the Thai business elite, with A-list representatives from Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, ThaiBev, King Power Group, Boonrawd Brewery, Central Group, among others, at the top tables, according to news reports at the time.

The banquet raised 622 million baht (US$22 million) for the new party’s coffers, corporate donations the Election Commission subsequently ruled were above board and not in violation of electoral rules or regulations.

Months later, PPRP defied expectations by winning the March 24 election’s popular vote, returning to power coup-maker Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his pro-stability order in the form of an elected coalition government.

That status quo, critics and analysts say, unevenly promotes the kingdom’s “five families” – known widely as the founding clans behind the CP Group, ThaiBev, Boonrawd, King Power and the Central Group – at the oligopolistic expense of smaller, less-connected businesses and entrepreneurs.

Those five companies grew in power and profits during coup-maker Prayut’s first five-year term (2014-2019), with some expanding aggressively into new businesses like property development, while others like CP and Central Groups hyper-extended their reach into provincial retail.

But as Thailand’s “big five” corporations grow and thrive, associated risks are rising as the economy slows and opposition critics increasingly point to the companies and their founding clans as complicit in perpetuating the kingdom’s yawning and politicized wealth divide.
Thailand’s official poverty rate rose year-on-year in 2016 to around 10% of the population, while the bottom 40% of the population in terms of wealth saw their average consumption and income decline from 2015-2017 under Prayut’s junta’s rule.

A recent Gallup World Poll, also cited by the World Bank, showed perceptions of financial well-being, standards of living and income have worsened among all Thais beginning in 2016. ... il-prayut/
In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. HST
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