Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, visited LMU on Oct. 6 to deliver a speech on reducing poverty and to attend a series of discussions with students about global issues.
He appeared as a guest of Professor Tom Plate, who runs LMU’s Asia Media International and is the author of Conversations with Thaksin, one in a series of books he’s written about leaders of Asian nations.
Shinawatra took office in 2001, and is credited with reducing poverty, expanding infrastructure spending, and creating a universal healthcare system in Thailand. However, he was dogged by allegations of corruption, and removed from power by a military coup in 2006. He has since lived in self-imposed exile.
On the issue of reducing poverty, Shinawatra outlined steps his administration took in Thailand, such as expanding health coverage and public housing, which were intended to alleviate financial pressure on the nation’s poorest residents. But he also highlighted the need for a financial system that allows money to flow freely to all classes, and not only to the well-connected wealthy.
“If you allow access to capital, the poor can have the chance to think of their own method for making money,” he said. “Access really is the key. If your citizens cannot have access to capital, they cannot prosper.”