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The family was musically inclined and often took their talent on the road in that funky, multi-colored, Chevrolet bus! The Partridge Family wasn't going to cure cancer or bring about world peace, but it was beloved and entertaining family viewing, achieving the highest ratings for its Friday night time slot in seasons The Cowsills were a popular act in the '60s but were not cast as themselves in the sitcom because they were not actors.

They were a very talented family musical group with many hit songs to their credit, including the title song to the musical Hair. Each cast member had a distinct role on the show and in the band from vocals to playing musical instruments.

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And of course, Reuben, the family band manager, who was not a family member, always booked their gigs. Each character brought their own talent and unique personality to the show. Shirley, a traditional mom, was ultimately in charge of the family as well as being a vocalist and keyboardist in the band. She constantly struggled with juggling the best welfare of her family, both personally and professionally.

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Keith, the oldest child and lead vocalist, and guitarist was an irresistible teen idol and heartthrob for many teen girls. Laurie, also a heartthrob for young boys, was a vocalist and pianist. Danny, the precocious and mischievous middle child, was a vocalist and bass guitarist. Danny was always at the center of most of the family drama and crises. Chris, the youngest boy, was a vocalist and drummer. But it is also true that the Asian financial crisis of and , and the fear it instilled in the elite, led to an erosion of the groundwork for fast economic growth.

The tectonic friction between the traditional elite and electoral democracy has played a big part for the relatively sluggish growth. The crisis marked the beginning of a turf war over resources, a war which has only worsened with time. The crash had reduced many billionaires to being merely rich.

This imagination of Thai society as a pyramid, with the king for its apex, a tiered bureaucracy to assist him, and a broad peasantry living happily at the base, is still alive in many minds a government agency published a memorable depiction of the pyramid in The idea that everything good should radiate from the top downwards has had the effect of blunting popular pressure for widespread benefits.

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It is something more like a self-inflicted wound see chart. Pick any country in East or South-East Asia and make the same comparison. This failure to return to more rapid growth has been the foundation for the deep divisions that have riven Thai society since Mr Thaksin had many deep flaws. And like Sarit Thanarat, a military dictator who had been at the centre of a American-sponsored revival of royalism that began in , Mr Thaksin made sure that economic rents accrued to himself and his cronies first.

But also like Sarit, Mr Thaksin insisted Thailand had to become a modern state and set out to build the foundations for it. He introduced a simple idea to Thai politics that had been ignored by his rivals: find out what people want, and give it to them. Ever since he has been unbeaten at the polls. The national discussion of economic policy, including that led by the current junta, has concentrated on the idea of reducing the cost of household expenditures. The point of its methodically executed coup is to eradicate the influence of the Shinawatra family from the body politic.

The country should expect a new constitution that puts paid to the idea that the people chose their own government.

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If it takes deploying soldiers in the malls of Bangkok to stifle coup protests , so be it, or so the regime seems to think. At the moment everybody appears to be bending like bamboo to the power of the junta. One wonders what will happen when the novelty of repression wears off. The army inherits an economy that was rendered stagnant by Suthep Thaugsuban, the street-level embodiment of the traditional elite—the civil service, the judiciary and the royal court that surrounds the frail King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the army itself.

If history is any guide, its first priority will be to set up a system that maximises their slice of the pie, disregarding the size of the pie as a whole.

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One consequence of this time-tested approach is likely to be prolonged economic and social failure. Another is that Thailand is likely to retain one of the most unequal income distributions in the world. It is unclear what the army can do to reverse a collapse in domestic demand. The coup itself is perhaps the biggest obstacle to reviving it.

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The junta has begun paying off rice farmers and some of that cash will be spent, but much of it will be used to service existing debt. The coup has put a hedgehog in the pockets of consumers and producers.

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Some 62 countries have issued travel warnings for Thailand. The army is talking about big infrastructure projects, trains and urban transports. But few of these projects are shovel-ready and their impact will not be felt for some time. Crucially, investment follows demand; with the latter collapsing, the former will show little patience for languishing on. This leaves exports as a possible route out of stagnation. The relatively strong baht, supported by a current-account surplus that was fed by a collapse in imports, does not help. Were that to happen, it would also be the day the generals started talking economic sense.

The shadow of the next royal succession is hanging over the kingdom.

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In the words of someone who has spent time with people near the top of the pyramid, this sense of anxiety is like the curvature of the universe: you cannot see it, but its existence can be proven empirically. Whatever that may mean, it had better not depend on the arrival of prosperity. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today.