There is something unique about the economy of Thailand when it comes to its resilience to upheavals such as coups d’etat. After the coup in 2006, the stock market reacted negatively for a few days before rebounding. Even after the bloody crackdown in April and May 2010, gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.8% that year – the highest in 15 years – and the stock market rose 40% while a record-high 16 million tourists visited the country. Even export growth has risen to 28.4%, according to the latest midyear economic review published on July 15 in the Bangkok Post.
The ability to rebound from political crises has earned the country the nickname “Tef lon Thailand”. During the May 22 coup d’etat, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index dropped sharply for a few days before rebounding, and since then it has moved steadily upward; in early July it tested the 1,500-point level and was poised to rise further.
The relevant question is no longer how the economy will rebound after the coup. Instead, more debate ineeded about the long-term impact of such putsches on the economy and the country as a whole. Thailand has had 12 coups since 1932, yet the problems that supposedly justify such coups, such as corruption and cronyism, never seem to go away. The question that arises is: Is a coup d’etat a solution? What – apart from short term stability under military rule – are the dividends?