Blame GKS?

In Economy on 05/07/2010 at 10:45 am

There is a gd post at Temasek Review on where they PAP goofed badly.

So can Goh Keng Swee be blamed for this state of affairs? He is the architect of S’pore’s economy, the MSM tells us.

It took a lot of balls,  intellectually and politically,  for LKY and GKS to adopt the advice of Dr Winsemius. His advice was against the grain of the conventional wisdom in development economics which saw inviting MNCs in as another form of colonialism.

Where the GKS/AW/LKY model broke down was when China developed and the USSR fell. Inviting MNCs in became the conventional wisdom. The model worked for us only when few did it. Bit like financial arbitrage which gets harder when more do it.

No it’s not GKS fault.  Blame GCT, LHL, and their team for not moving on.

They are like the “big warship” admirals who kept insisting on building warships when the submarine and aircraft carrier made big warships obsolete. Or the British and French generals that insisted that World War I tactics using infantry and artillery would win battles, when the Germans were building their panzer divisions, and refining tactics that would lead to the destruction of the French and British armies in June 1940.


S’pore’s problem is that the old model like an antique car still functions, encouraging govmin to juz tinker, and us to accept the tinkering. Maybe only a disaster will shake everyone out of complacency. Dubai after its financial crisis is now changing. According to FT: Ahmad al-Tayer, the new head of Dubai’s International Financial Centre, says the philosophy now “is to go back to our core business . . . which is that Dubai is a hub for trade, re-export and services” … The government is centralising decision-making and clawing back power from the sprawling state-backed business empires that came to dominate the economy. New boards are being introduced; the authority of the government audit department has been bolstered. A tough technocrat, Mohammed al-Shaibani, head of the ruler’s court, is now considered the dominant power in town, charged with cleaning up the financial mess.

The old families that helped the emirate turn itself into a regional commercial hub, but found themselves shut out by the state-linked companies in the late 1990s, are also making a comeback.

The younger breed of aides on whom Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler, once relied, are now being marginalised. Some have fallen in a dramatic and humiliating fashion that has shocked the emirate. Probes into alleged past abuses of power – deemed necessary and fair by the government but denounced as a witch hunt by critics – have targeted dozens of former executives, forcing some to pay back their bonuses while locking up others or preventing them from leaving the country.


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