2.1. The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy and Moderation Concepts
The philosophy of sufficiency economy, initially developed and proposed in 1997 by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the king of Thailand and the world’s longest reigning monarch, provides sustainable development guidance and education on the way of sustainably living for the Thai people [15
]. Panthasein [16
] states that the philosophy of sufficient economy is related to Buddhist economics, which emphasizes moderate development based on morality and knowledge. The main goal of this philosophy is to enable the Thai people to adapt to economic crises and to cope with critical challenges caused by rapid changes in the global economy [15
]. The philosophy contains three main interconnected principles [18
]. The first principle is moderation, which means having moderate desires or fostering no insatiable needs. The second principle is reasonableness in decisions or due consideration. Namely, by practicing at an individual level, people must have an awareness of any future negative impacts caused by their own actions. The last principle is self-immunity or the capability to cope with adverse consequences caused by unpredicted events. This means that any kind of development should be carried out based on one’s own capacity, and potential risks should be ultimately minimized. To apply these three principles in daily living, knowledge and morality is essential. Utilization of knowledge in all parts of working processes can enhance the effectiveness of decision making and yield impressive outcomes. At the same time, adhering to the principles of morality, such as honesty, patience and perseverance, can enhance self-immunity, and strengthen collaboration and mutual assistance. Similar to the philosophy of sufficiency economy, the concept of economic self-reliance also contains the same principles [5
]. Both the philosophy of sufficiency economy and the concept of economic self-reliance emphasize individuals’ ability to fulfill their needs by avoiding external assistance. Both also highlight people’s capacity to cope with external shocks.
Moderation is the core principle of the sufficiency economy philosophy. Similarly, the philosophy of life, initiated by Hamka [6
], also addresses several aspects of moderation, including moderation in individuals’ intentions, mindset, needs, happiness, wealth, fame, and position [19
]. Moderation in intention refers to individuals’ good intentions of doing something. For instance, if a person’s intent is to earn a lot of money or to receive a promotion to a higher position without considering existing potentials, it is not considered a moderate intention, but rather an excessive one [19
Moderation in the mind plays a significant role in developing individuals’ self-assessment and controlling their excessive thoughts. For instance, when individuals feel proud of their success in life, such as being promoted to a higher position, they can lose their moderate mind; this can easily lead them to forget their weaknesses and place them in risky situations. If someone is moderate in the mind, he or she will be less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
The moderation of needs deals with humans’ diverse and excessive demands. When people have excessive demands and negative thoughts, they are prone to engaging in negative behaviors, such as corruption or going into debt. Hamka suggests that a balance between individuals’ needs and their existing capabilities to meet those needs should always be taken into consideration.
Hamka also addressed moderation in happiness. The way to achieve happiness is to understand what true happiness is. Happiness is not always attained by earning a lot of money or being wealthy. Rather, real happiness comes from the inside, such as by having good friends and family, or feeling proud when helping others.
In the case of moderation when seeking wealth, Hamka highlights that humans should not sacrifice their dignity, nation, or religion in pursuit of wealth. Moreover, humans should strive for moderation in their reputations and positions, because having excessive demands related to one’s reputation and position can potentially lead to negative actions, such as deception and corruption. Individuals should realize that permanent reputations and positions will only be acquired through good behavior [19
We could say that the role of moderation in the sufficiency economy philosophy is the same as it is in other aspects of moderation in the philosophy of life, particularly, moderation in intention, the mind, needs, and happiness. On the other hand, moderation in wealth, reputation, and position are not a focus in the sufficiency economy philosophy. Instead, the philosophy mainly focuses on economic dimensions and the development of strategic ways to encourage people to meet their basic needs through their own existing potential. However, both philosophies conclude that having excessive intentions, thoughts, and needs could lead to negative behaviors and bring about risky circumstances.
The principles of sufficiency economy philosophy can be applied in all levels, ranging from individual to national levels [15
]. By practicing this philosophy at an individual level, individuals would be expected to achieve a sustainably comfortable life together with sufficient self-immunity to cope with unpredicted events. Khunthongjan and Onsibutra [20
] reveal that the application of sufficiency economy principles at an individual level could increase social values such as social trust and community relations. Chalapati [21
] reveals that poverty has been reduced in Thailand by applying the sufficiency economy philosophy in governmental policies. This means that educational development has been enormously supported by the governments, and local development based on a bottom-up approach has been widely implemented. Similarly, Pruetipibultham [22
] states that the success of human resource development in Thailand was contributed by governmental policies related to the principles of sufficiency economy. Additionally, it was also found that the natural environment in communities where residents have enthusiastically practiced the sufficiency economy activities are in good condition [23
]. This is because pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not utilized in any agricultural activities due to the people’s concern for the environmental quality as well as the intention to reduce production costs. By applying the philosophy to agricultural activities, a quantity of agricultural product is not targeted for sales or industrial supplies, but for household consumption.
2.2. Practices of Sufficiency Economy in Ban Jamrung Community, Rayong Province, Thailand
Many Thais have comprehensively implemented the sufficiency economy philosophy [22
]. The Ban Jamrung community, located in Rayong Province, is one of many communities that has eagerly taken the principles of a sufficiency economy into consideration to enhance its development. Previously, the villagers were engaged entirely in mono-cropping agriculture using synthetic inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Household incomes were mainly based on the sale of agricultural commodities to the industrial sector and markets. However, during some years, the villagers suffered as a result of falling prices, and during other years they battled plant blights, which occur from time to time in mono cropping environments. Even worse, other years brought natural disasters that completely destroyed their crops. As a result, their household incomes were unstable, and they felt insecure. The villagers decided to initiate the practices of a sufficiency economy without any governmental support and have carried them out successfully. At the community level, the villagers began practicing these principles by gathering and simultaneously learning to manage their lives. They came together to pool their financial resources and establish a “Community’s Bank.” In 1986, the community fund group was established, as well as a community shop, which is stocked by villagers and sells daily consumption goods. Of the profits gained from the investment, 30% was earmarked for the community’s activities. This movement corresponded with the government’s policy to be “the center of market system learning.” The policy was aimed at encouraging residents to learn how to manage their agricultural products. To manage the community bank as well as the village shop, several meetings were organized and the community management system was formed. In 1987, the community purposely established a fund for community development projects. Thus, a lot of development activities could be effectively operated. At an individual level, the villagers also changed the way they lived. Villagers stopped conducting a mono-agricultural system, and replaced it with integrated farming policies in which chemical pesticides and fertilizers were not used because of environmental concerns and the intention to reduce production costs. Though they gained less financial profits, they were satisfied and happy with the outcomes. This is because they realized that a plentiful environment is more valuable.
In 2006, the community received a trophy from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in recognition of being a best practice community where the sufficiency economy philosophy was practically applied for the development of the people’s well-being. The outcomes of the community practices were widely recognized as an effective model for rural community development. Thus, the community was promoted as a learning center for the practices of sufficiency economy principles. After achieving success and public renown, the villagers continue to run their sufficiency economy activities.
Today, the community comprises 44 working groups with members from the whole district. A representative of each group is assigned to participate in monthly meetings in order to share and discuss issues related to progressive outcomes as well as constraints in the development. Currently, the issue of human resources for the future development of the community is much emphasized, due to concerns about future development. Though realizing that community income and household income might not be increasing as rapidly, and life might be less comfortable, villagers gain plenty of happiness and satisfaction from the current conditions (based on the results of interviews; Chartchai, September 2015).
2.3. Trust Concepts
The concept of trust has been applied in many research fields such as information technology management [25
], business management [25
] as well as social sciences and humanities [27
]. However, scholars in several fields define the concept of trust in the same way; namely, trust usually occurs in situations where individuals or groups are in a situation of uncertainty, and share similar risks [12
]. Rousseau et al. [34
] defines trust as individuals’ intention to accept vulnerability and risks based on positive expectations of actions or behaviors of another. More simply, Rotter [13
] defines trust as an individual’s confidence that a statement, message, or actions of another individual can be relied upon. Some other scholars also explain the meaning of trust in another way. For instance, trust is created based on individuals’ perception of ability, loyalty, and sincerity. Abdul-Rahman and Hailes [35
] divide trust into four levels: no trust at all, no trust, trust, and more trust. At the highest level, people who want to create trust do not have to prove any action since past outcomes clearly show that such a person deserves trust.
Trust is an important factor that influences residents’ decision to perform sufficiency economy activities that have the potential to bring about improvements in people’s quality of life. As stated in many previous studies, trust in someone or something enables people to change their attitude, behavior, and act in ways that can enable them to achieve their goals [36
]. Moreover, the presence of trust can minimize contradiction and risk, and strengthen relationships between trustors and trustees. In other words, many researchers address the fact that trust can be defined as a social capital that can potentially contribute to cooperation between individuals [39
]. In the field of construction management, high-quality communication and effective performance can be achieved by building trust [39
2.4. Factors Contributing to Community Trust
Community trust is diversely affected by many factors: cognitional, relational, emotional, time, spatial, intelligential, and experiential [38
]. More simply, Lewis and Weigert [42
] state that trust in daily life is a combination of both emotionality and rationality. Similarly, McAllister [43
] also categorizes trust into two types: cognitive-based trust and affective-based trust. According to literature reviews, factors that potentially influence trust among people in the philosophy of sufficiency economy can be classified as follows;
Factors related to emotional-based trust
: Emotional-based trust, sometimes called alternative-based trust or relational trust, is confidence in an individual, group, or something based on emotionality contributed by the level of empathy, care, and honesty [44
]. Trust based on emotional perspective is naturally subjective and can be solely generated based on feelings and emotions [45
]. This type of trust can be enhanced or destroyed based on the level of social interactions as well as experience [46
]. As stated in previous studies, the degree of relationships among people who want to gain trust or who want to create people’s trust in a particular manner takes a significant role [45
]. Similarly, Yaojun et al. [48
] address the fact that people who have greater neighborly relations have a relatively greater amount of social trust. In this study, individuals’ relationships with community leaders as well as neighbors likely influence residents’ trust in the philosophy of sufficiency economy since both community leaders and neighbors put a lot of effort into establishing community collaboration to conduct sufficiency economy activities.
Factors related to cognitive-based trust
: Cognitive-based trust, sometimes called system trust or knowledge-based trust [49
], is naturally created based on reasoning about knowledge and evidence. It implies a willingness by individuals to rely on the capabilities and competence of others [50
]. In the case of building and strengthening public trust in objects and notions, such as trust in science and technology, trust in regulation, and trust in information-sharing systems, many previous studies revealed that factors related to cognitive-based trust were significant [30
]. Those factors include prior experience [53
], perceived benefit from trusting and accepting a notion or system [30
], privacy concerns [52
], and risk taking [12
]. For instance, it was found that public perception of the ability of the public service system to fulfill the needs of the public positively influenced public trust [30
]. In addition, the study conducted by Platt and Kardia [52
] reveals that an individual’s privacy concerns had a reverse correlation with public trust in the information-sharing system.
Factors related to demographics characteristics
: Besides factors related to emotional-based and cognitive-based trust, much of the literature also reveals factors related to demographic characteristics possibly affecting public trust. Ben-Ner and Halldorsson [55
], for instance, address the fact that the environment in which the person lives might influence trust of people. In addition, Riedl and Javor [56
] reveal that trust of people can be explained only by biological factors such as genetics, hormones, and characteristics of persons. A study carried out on public trust in gene technology reveals that female respondents exhibited lower trust and perceived less benefit than male respondents [51