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Posts Tagged ‘Dr Goh Keng Swee’

Why S’pore’s economic progress went downhill after Dr Goh retired

In Economy, Political economy, S'pore Inc on 08/02/2019 at 10:54 am

Remember Goh Cock Chok Tong’s tots about building 5G leaders? This cock talk had me laughing because he (and his DPM, one Lee Hsien Loong) cocked up Dr Goh’s economic framework that took a lot from the Germans:

The Germans have a name for their unique economic framework: ordoliberalism. Its origins are perfectly legitimate – a response of Germany’s liberal elites to the breakdown of liberal democracy in 1933. It was born out of the observation that unfettered liberal systems are inherently unstable, and require rules and government intervention to sustain themselves. The job of the government was not to correct market failures but to set and enforce rules.

[…]

The ordoliberal world view is asymmetric. Current account surpluses are considered more acceptable than deficits. Since the rules are based on national law, ordoliberals do not care about their impact on the rest of the world. When they adopted the euro, the rest of the world suddenly did start to matter.

FT

As a very junior officer in the central bank, it was clear to me that Dr Goh tot

The job of the government was not to correct market failures but to set and enforce rules.

Cock Goh and Lee Jnr aided and abetted by people like Tharman (ang moh tua kees’ think the sun shines from his black ass) moved to a pseudo market economy where

Current account surpluses are considered more acceptable than deficits.

And where GLCs dominated the economy, sometimes wayanging against one another (think telcos).

To be fair, I think they were, and are, not cynically conning S’poreans. They really believed in their version of the mkt economy.

Coming back to Dr Goh, Dr Goh was really ordoliberal not socialist nor free market liberal. That was how he made S’pore great. The 2G, 3G and 4G leaders remain clueless on what made S’pore great.

[The folowing was added at 1.35pm]

As I wrote

For all their academic brilliance Ah Loong and team have not advanced beyond tinkering with the framework that Dr Goh Keng Swee, Hon Swee Sen and Albert Winsemius devised. Evolution is fine to a point. But surely the world has undergone revolutionary change. When they were constructing their model of serving MNCs as a path to grow the economy, serving MNCs was “neo-colonialism”. Today even Red China serves as as the MNCs’ factory.

Problem S’pore, PAP face

Related posts

Dr Goh’s HK counterpart had similar views on MRT and other major issues

Why S’pore industrialised in the 60s

SG50: Three cheers for Goh Keng Swee

 

Dr Goh’s HK counterpart had similar views on MRT and other major issues

In Hong Kong, Political economy, Public Administration on 10/11/2018 at 3:35 pm

Remember Khaw saying this?

It was a very different era. Finance was tight, so we really had to scrutinise every dollar of spending.

The government of the day thought very hard if we could really afford an MRT line. It took months to think through and debate through this major strategic decision.

It was not easy. Some of you who are younger might not remember.

But I remember, as a civil servant, the big debate which was televised on the options – an all-bus system or an MRT system.

There were proponents for the MRT, as a city without MRT is almost impossible. But there were others who were extremely worried whether we can really afford it.

So sometimes today we spend money as if money comes easily. We forget that it was not too long ago. So when there are people who criticise the North-South and East-West Lines on why we did not do this and that, we were simply short of cash.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/comparing-singapores-newest-and-oldest-mrt-lines

He left out the elephant in the room: Dr Goh Keng Swee. He wasn’t convinced that an MRT would be cost effective. Hence the scrutiny the project underwent, even after the cabinet (sans Goh) had agreed to build it.

A contemporary of his, Sir John Cowperthwaite, HK’s financial secretary (17 April 1961 – 30 June 1971) had earlier opposed the building of the MRT system in HK, citing the cost: despite the traffic jams in the streets. Construction only began after he retired.

Here’s more on Sir John Cowperthwaite, who came to HK as a British civil servant in 1945. He should be interesting to S’poreans because he had views, some like that of Dr Goh, some unlike, on how to have a prosperous, thriving economy in a small state.

Like Dr Goh, he was for

Low taxes, lax employment laws, absence of government debt, and free trade are all pillars of the Hong Kong experience of economic development.

And

No deficit government financing, which could merely push costs to a future generation and make the territory vulnerable to financial upheaval.

[…]

Public housing would be funded, but only for tiny flats; reservoirs would be built, but users would be charged.

[…]

Requests by industry for subsidies were routinely rejected.

Architect of Prosperity: Sir John Cowperthwaite and the Making of Hong Kong

https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21729983-sir-john-cowperthwaite-most-unlikely-things-bureaucrat-hero

Sounds like a PAPpy?

But throughout the 1960s, Cowperthwaite refused to implement free universal primary education, contributing to the relatively high illiteracy rate among today’s older generation in HK.

And he really believed in the importance of the private sector, unlike the PAP (not excluding Dr Goh) who talked the talk of the importance but the private sector,  but who made sure GLCs dominate the local economy.

“I myself tend to mistrust the judgment of anyone not involved in the actual process of risk-taking.” This faith was rewarded. As industries such as cotton spinning, enamelware and wigs declined and Cowperthwaite declined to offer assistance, businesses shifted their attention to promising areas such as toy and electronics production, and then finance. Migrants found work in the expanding industries, becoming a cog in a productive engine rather than merely a cost.

(Economist review)

But he allowed private sector cartels to continue to dominate the HK economy. In his time, it was the Hongs (Jardines, Swire and other ang moh Hongs) and the big banks (HSBC and StanChart).  A tradition continued today with local property cos controlling the property mkt (no massive affordable public housing), and Cheung Kong, Jardines and Swire having a big share of the retail mkt, and HSBC and Bank of China dominating the finance sector.

 

 

Why S’pore industrialised in the 60s

In Economy, Political economy on 29/11/2017 at 4:43 am

Local historian Loh Kah Seng posts articles on Facebook about the industrialisation of S’pore. Here’s one piece that I tot would interest because it shows the link then betweewn GDP growth and how it benefited the ordinary S’porean:

The main reason why Singapore pursued rapid industrialisation after the Second World War was not that the existing economy, based on the entrepot trade, was doing badly.

It was rather the high population growth rate, as increasingly people settled down in Singapore instead of returning to their home countries.

In the 1930s, more Chinese women entered Singapore and formed families. Just before war broke out, the Deputy Controller of Chinese Labour reported ‘swarms of Chinese children in their teens, mostly local born, and still more who have not yet reached their teens’.

This trend increased near the end of the Japanese Occupation, when multiple children were born, who became known as the postwar ‘baby boomers’.

In 1961, Singapore had a population of 1.6 million. The growth rate between 1947 and 1957 was 4.5% per annum – the highest in the world – while the size of a nuclear family in was 5.4 persons in 1957 and 5.6 in 1970.

Goh Keng Swee’s study of low-income households in 1956 found that a fifth of the households lived in poverty, with a monthly income under the minimum of $102.

High population growth created impending problems of employment and dependency. Under the entrepot economy, many of the growing children and teens would likely be unemployed or underemployed. Furthermore the entrepot trade was unlikely to grow. A youthful two thirds of the population would have to rely on the work of a third.

Labour-intensive industries, on the other hand, would absorb many more people. The aim of the State of Singapore Development Plan for 1961-1964 was to increase the number of jobs for young people entering the workforce each year.

Know this about 1993 PE?

In Political governance on 20/09/2017 at 4:01 pm

In fact, I recall that in 1993, the Government’s preferred candidate was Ong Teng Cheong. Everyone knew he would win. But Dr Goh Keng Swee still went out of his way to persuade Mr Chua Kim Yeow to stand for elections. Why? To prevent a walkover and give citizens the dignity of expressing their choice”

Tan Chin Bok on Facebook

I must say I didn’t know Dr Goh did this.

SG50: Three cheers for Goh Keng Swee

In Uncategorized on 01/11/2015 at 4:44 am

If we were still part of M’sia, S’pore would be like this?

———————————————-

— In April 1964, Zanzibar merged with mainland Tanganyika to form Tanzania.

— Zanzibar was a trading port

— Its population was (is) different from the mainland and were largely immigrants)

——————————————————

Over time, rule by a single party has stoked up Zanzibaris who believe that their state should be more independent than it is. Already Zanzibar is very different from the mainland. It is almost entirely Muslim. A large part of its population is descended from Arab traders. This election has been no exception. On the stump the CUF, together with its opposition allies on the mainland, called for a new federal structure for Tanzania. CCM meanwhile campaigned on a platform of no change, warning that a CUF win on Zanzibar might mean the break-up of the union—or even the return of the Sultan, who was deposed in 1964 and now, aged 86, lives in exile in Portsmouth in Britain. In practice, neither side’s cause is plausible. With a population of around 1m, Zanzibar is too small to have much chance as an independent state. Yet it seems that the status quo is unacceptable to most of its inhabitants. Without a compromise, the islands could retain their curse for some time.

(Economist blog)

I’m glad the Tunku kicked us out and that one Harry was wrong about wanting to stay in.

May 28, 2010 – ST Forum

Separation from Malaysia: How crucial was Dr Goh’s role?

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew made an interestingly significant remark about Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in his eulogy at Sunday’s state funeral for his colleague-in-arms, former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee.

MM Lee said he had asked Dr Goh to negotiate a looser rearrangement for Singapore, but to keep Singapore within Malaysia.

Added MM Lee: ‘He (Dr Goh) decided that the best alternative was a clean break. After (Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister) Tun Abdul Razak and (Minister for External Affairs) Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman agreed, (Law Minister) Eddie Barker and I worked furiously to settle the terms of the separation.’

MM Lee’s remark is intriguing in the light of the conventional narrative of the events leading up to Separation in 1965. From all that historians have gleaned prior to MM Lee’s remarks on Sunday, MM Lee, who was then Prime Minister, played the pivotal role involving Separation.

His remarks suggest that the decision to break away from Malaysia was decided unilaterally by Dr Goh at the crucial moment; against the proposition MM Lee, and perhaps the collective Cabinet, had decided; which was at the very least, to still remain a part of the Malaysian federation of states.

If the above is true, the apparent contradiction should be resolved. A key question that arises from MM Lee’s remarks is this: What was the extent and significance of Dr Goh’s role in Separation? Furthermore, MM Lee’s remark also suggests that the key Malaysian leaders – Tun Razak and Dr Ismail – agreed to Dr Goh’s proposal of a clean break.

This would imply that it may well have been Singapore which precipitated the idea of Separation, rather than Malaysia, as has been the notion all this while, stemming from first Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s view. He reconfirmed, when I interviewed him a few years before he died, that he overruled the strident objections of his extremist colleagues in Umno in deciding to sack Singapore from Malaysia.

It would be informative, if not instructive, if MM Lee or Dr Toh Chin Chye (then chairman of the PAP and the only key surviving member of the Old Guard today) shed more light on this critical turning point in the history of Singapore and Malaysia.

Associate Professor Hussin Mutalib

Problem S’pore, PAP face

In Economy, EDB, Political economy, Political governance on 16/08/2015 at 4:56 am

Creativity and innovation drive global business today. Capital is just one resource, important, but no longer the major differentiator.”

– Peter Georgescu, the chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam.

For all their academic brilliance Ah Loong and team have not advanced beyond tinkering with the framework that Dr Goh Keng Swee, Hon Swee Sen and Albert Winsemius devised. Evolution is fine to a point. But surely the world has undergone revolutionary change. When they were constructing their model of serving MNCs as a path to grow the economy, serving MNCs was “neo-colonialism”. Today even Red China serves as as the MNCs’ factory.

And many of our PMEs have not gone beyond thinking like clerks, hence they are easily replicable by cheaper FTs?