atans1

Describes two generations of PAP leaders to the T

In Economy, Political governance on 12/11/2014 at 4:53 am

I came across the u/m in FT. It was a reader’s comment on the UK political scene. But it applies here too.

“The current generation of politicians understand two things: how to attain power and to use the powers of office to retain power. There is very little evidence that they understand how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”

GCT and LHL (and their gangs) knew that to get into positions of power and retain the posts, they had to get top grades from one LKY. To do this end they applied his Hard Truths.

But they didn’t understand (like he and the Old Guard did) “how government might be used for the public good, or the underlying mechanics of the economy and society that they are supposed to be governing.”

So Hard Truths were applied mechanically as a way to pass their exams and earn the “reasonable” mega-salaries

Take the issue of globalisation and the rise of income inequality. The PAP administration until recently, did not really acknowledge inequality as a problem that merited serious policy action; simply blaming globalisation for the growing wealthy disparity here. It only started doing something because the voters were unhappy.

If it had not applied LKY’s Hard Truths mechanically, it could have realised, that the world has experienced two great eras of globalisation. The first combined minimal redistribution with minimal political power for non-elites. The second combined universal suffrage with substantial redistribution. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that redistribution is the price democracies pay for globalisation. – See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/07/inequality#sthash.7O8p4Lrl.dpuf. Emphasis mine.

In an essay in “Governing Asia: Reflections on a Research Journey” by Donald Low, author of “Hard Choices”, Donald Low wrote,That Goh Keng Swee was so ready and willing to question not just the country’s growth model but also its population strategy in 1972 – seven years after Singapore’s independence – speaks volumes about the state of the policy discourse in Singapore today. Goh’s remarks also hint at the fact that we have many more policy options than subsequent generations of government leaders have presented to Singaporeans, that our economic choices are not as stark and binary as they are made out to be, and that we are better off – as a society and economy – to have a robust and vigorous debate on these issues.

In 1972, there were no Hard Truths, juz pragmatic ideas to solve real and serious problems. Hard Truths hadn’t chiseled into tablets of stone to be memorised and deified by succeeding generations of PAP leaders.

 

 

  1. Perceptive and well written. You are showing that you can be bolder than in your older posts, yet not shouting shrilly. keep it up Sir!

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