“…The development of the country must be fostered in stages. It must start with the construction of infrastructure, that is, the provision of food and basic necessities for the people by methods which are economic, cautious and conforming with principles. Once the foundation is firmly established, progress can be continually, carefully and economically promoted. This approach will prevent incurring mistakes and failures, and lead to the certain and complete achievement of the objectives…”
— H.M. the King Speech at Kasetsart University Commencement Ceremony, 19 July 1974.
The sufficiency economy is not a theory about how the economy of a country works, but rather a guide for making decisions that will produce outcomes that are beneficial to development. The National Economic and Social Development Board defines the philosophy as,
to conduct at the level of the individual, families, and communities, as well as to the choice of a balanced development strategy for the nation so as to modernize in line with the forces of globalization while shielding against inevitable shocks and excesses that arise. “Sufficiency” means moderation and due consideration in all modes of conduct, as well as the need for sufficient protection from internal and external shocks. To achieve this, the application of knowledge with prudence is essential. In particular, great care is needed in the utilization of untested theories and methodologies for planning and implementation. At the same time, it is essential to strengthen the moral fibre of the nation, so that everyone, particularly political and public officials, technocrats, businessmen and financiers, adhere first and foremost to the principles of honesty and integrity. In addition, a balanced approach combining patience, perseverance, diligence, wisdom and prudence is indispensable to cope appropriately with the critical challenges arising from extensive and rapid socio-economic, environmental and cultural changes occurring as a result of globalization.