This year, Thailand was given a score of 70.9 in the latest Fragile States Index, a ranking that seeks to measure a state’s vulnerability to collapse. The score placed Thailand 82nd out of 178 countries — a middling score, one could say, and perhaps unworthy of much further discussion. How much worth, after all, can we place in a score that seeks to quantify something as nebulous as the risk of state collapse?
A valid perspective, but one that may fail to consider that Thailand has in the past six years been on a constant downward trajectory in this ranking. Indeed, it would chime with many peoples’ sentiments that Thailand somehow has felt consistently ever-more fragile in the past couple of years. Analysts often discuss how ‘Teflon Thailand’ seems able to weather anything. Yet surely even the sturdiest of rocks begins to wear away with every thunderstorm to which it is exposed, and Thailand has certainly been through quite a few.
Now, we are facing what may feel like the heaviest of those storms. Daily caseloads of the coronavirus hardly imaginable even just a few months ago have led to a mounting death toll. The public health system, in which so many of us took pride, has found itself overwhelmed.
Photo credits: Prachathai