Many regions in Thailand are bustling with life and thriving amid political turmoil in the country but the northeastern town of Isan is still suffering from the stereotypes in the Thai society that has been beating down the economy.
According to Voice of America, a survey by the Asia Foundation revealed that "people in Isan still struggle to make ends meet" while other regions in the country appear to be doing just fine.
For the Asia Foundation, the government should work harder to narrow the gap in stereotypes if it wants the economy to stabilize and improve in multiple factors not just in GDP growth.
Isan is Thailand's most populous region and many analysts said they aren't surprised it is also the least developed and most neglected region in the country. It is also not surprising that the people of Isan feel they are not being treated right.
There has been much protesting in the northeast as more people realize that Isan's economic conditions are far different from other rich towns and cities. "They are not satisfied with their economic condition and [the] uneven treatment ... that they receive," lead author of the report, Rattana Lao noted.
Lao noted that the Thai government should address the complaints and issues raised by the people of Isan. These include equal dispersion of assistance for Thai provinces and a balance in project offerings or infrastructure improvements.
Over the last few years, the poverty levels in Isan "shrunk drastically" and many people in the region are in debt. Earnings have also been slipping even if a smaller portion of the population said they saw their situations improve.
Community trust in the government has also been falling over the last few years. Since most people in Thailand are still not in the middle-income status, analysts urged the government to focus on alleviating conditions in poverty-stricken areas.
Economists have been stating that little was done by the government to improve the economic situations in Isan and other poor regions both before and after the election. Economic gains from infrastructure developments have yet to be felt by society.
Growth is currently estimated at 3.3 to 3.8 percent this year as fears loom of how the government will handle poverty in Isan. The previous forecast stood at four percent and it has yet to be seen if the numbers will decrease further in the coming months.
Stereotypes have been a huge issue in the country for decades. Economists believe what Thailand needs to improve its economy is a government willing to tackle the poverty and inequality issues head-on.