Saturday, July 28, 2007

Creating the BEST socio-economic system in the world...

"My ambition, having created this Singapore, is to preserve the system that produces the answers that we must have as a society to survive," - MM Lee, Sep 2006.
If someone comes to you and say which society/system do you think is the fairest, most equitable and ensures the gives the best chance of survival for your children and your children's children what would be the answer....
I found this question by Warren Buffett most thought provoking:-
Suppose 24 hours before you are born, a powerful genie comes up to you and says he will create any socio economic system you wish. There is just one catch - you cannot choose which family you're born into - you can be born rich or poor, smart or stupid, man or woman...any race, possess any kind of talent or no talent at all. What kind of system will you ask the genie to create?
Warren Buffett gave some interesting comments on this, you can watch his video here...his comments on this is in the middle of the video.
"There are people out there who claim they have a capitalist mind and socialist heart but there is no greater capitalist mind than Buffett's and no bigger socialist heart than that of Buffett's after making his vast fortune, he is giving it ALL away"- Lucky Tan
If you think hard about it, you will realise that people will leak from societies/systems that they feel is unjust & unequitable where there are large segments of people who are unempowered to places with better systems. You see you're the genie for your children and your grandchildren, where you choose to live (suppose you can afford to move) or stay that is where they will be born. You cannot control how intelligent they are and your middle class fortune cannot ensure that your grand children will be rich by the time they are born. You would want them to be cared for when they are sick regardless of their ability to pay and you would want them to get a fair chance when fall on hard times.
"Welfare is a dirty word. How come all my friends who emigrated went to countries with a working welfare system? " - Lucky Tan
I'm sure the PAP govt thinks about building an equitable system for its citizens all the time. Although our esteemed MM Lee seemed relieved when he said that 80% of the populace cannot afford to emigrate, he has worked hard to build a society based on justice & equality....not one where a handful of elites feel they are entitled the disproportionate amount of wealth our society creates while the poor live on 2 meals a day.


Anonymous said...

problem is, our current world system doesnt raise people that way. and a very very very few exceptions shouldn't be used to raise any false hope or to justify an impossiblity - would they give up all?. that's why it is an abominable system to some authoritative beliefs and yet, they perpetuate it.
they don't know it is a cursed position?
maybe they should go check their book?
i am just glad i only sell roti

Anonymous said...

After reading your latest articles, what more can I say. MM Lee really cares for the people, so long as they have "enough to eat" as one cleaner cited in your article confessed.

After all MM Lee never promised to build a system where people becomes comfortable. He only said one for society "to survive", even if it means grinding poverty.

Of course when it comes to the top echelon, "to survive" means that a few million dollar a year is still not enough. So there must be regular pay raises for them or they will turn corrupt.

"Survive" is one of those ambiguous words. It all depends how you define it.

Anonymous said...

everyone looking forward to the new golden age..ahem....well, looks like it is coming true. capital and talents are pouring in like a flood. the stock and property market have attested to that.

however, we have witnessed that euphoria back in the mid 90s. because of increase demand - some say they increased supply of homes in anticipation of hkies taking up residency here with hk handover to china etc , they keep building and suddenly, wham, expats run and everything plunged leaving many lives and families destroyed.

and it looks like they are building again in anticipation of the success of our new gambling dens isnt it?

well, i read recently macau has an edge partly due to their 'sleaze' factor. similarly with the success of the blossoming clubs here, we need some form of erm...assistence.

do you think our brilliant garbermen will relax erm...more... to make it successful?

if these gambling dens dont take off, we may have another shake down of the market you think?

but hey, we are lucky because, our highly paid leaders will always do the right thing you know.haha.

My Uncaring Face said...

>You see you're the genie for your children and your grandchildren, where you choose to live (suppose you can afford to move) or stay that is where they will be born.

which is why *you* (Lucky Tan) should opt for them to be raised in SINGAPORE, you fool!!!

You see, Warren Buffet was talking about something different, because his scenario was "you cannot choose which family you're born into - you can be born rich or poor, smart or stupid...".

But your children have already had a "choice" made for them -- they are going to be born into YOUR family, and you, Lucky Tan, are not poor! And so your children are not going to be born poor. Likewise, your children are not going to turn out stupid (assuming you believe nurture plays an important role, and that you, Lucky Tan, as a graduate, value education and have the time and ability to coach your kid in their school work).

So, tell me, in which country, will your rich, clever child get all the resources allocated to him, courtesy of the state?

Let's just talk about educational RESOURCES. In a country like USA, for eg, their public schools, by law, have to be as diverse as possible. This means that within each school district, they distribute the poor, (which usually correspond to under-achievers) to various schools instead of allowing them to congregate in one school. And within each school, they distribute the poor/under-achievers to various classrooms, so that each class is as diverse as it can get.

This means that if you want your kid to go to a "good" school: either you buy a house in an expensive residential area so that the students in those areas all comes from "good" background, or you send your kid to private schools where the schools can choose students based on academic results. Either way, you have to fork out money from your own pocket.

But in sg, that's done at no cost to you, by the government! Not only are children streamed to various schools, they are also streamed to various classes within the school. Then the best teacher is allocated to the best school. And within each school, the best teacher is allocated to the best class.

The govt then pours in lots of money to give free edusave scholarships to independent schools, and to fund music elective programs, and humanities scholars programs, and art elective programs etc etc. (for a comprehensive list of programs, see web page of RJC, RI etc).

You do not need to come out with a single cent, and automatically, your kid gets the best. In fact, your kid's future is assured if he gets a govt scholarship. He can be only a mediocre performer throughout the rest of his life, but no matter, he will have a bright future nevertheless.

Again contrast that with USA, where an actor can become a President (Ronald Reagan), or a child with an alcoholic step-father can become President (Clinton). In such a country, even if Lucky Tan's child is bright and rich, he has to compete with the likes of Reagan and Clinton, for top jobs in the public sector. Not so in Sg.

Get what I mean? If you already know your kid is bright and rich (and you do know, on a matter of probability, that that's very likely the case given your own background), sg is the best place for him where competition is removed for him by the government!

Maybe the socialist in Lucky Tan will ask: But what about those who are born to poor and uneducated parents?

Well, my answer to you is simple: Singapore's education system has been around for 40 years! ALL parents, educated or otherwise, know how their children's future are determined in primary school, and how once determined, their children will be blessed or cursed forever. THEY LIKE SUCH A SYSTEM! Yes, even parents whose kid are cursed forever by a normal (technical) label, love such a system. Or else, how could a govt, which banish 50% of its citizens into the normal stream, get top votes year after year (even before GRC etc are instituted)? And if you need further proof, look at the way the cleaners in your latest article, accepted their fate on the sole count of their educational level.

Bottom line: FIRST: You, lucky tan, and your kids will benefit from our elite system. SECOND: The poor, strangely, love such a system too, and they dislike people such as Chee Soon Juan and Jeyaratnam, who keep trying to work for a more socialist government (Wasn't it Jeya who kept talking about "GST is poor man's tax"? How many singaporean voted against the PAP in protest of the way it treated Jeya? Zero?). So everybody gets what they want. Why bother?

Enjoy Singapore. It is good for you and I. As for the poor, they are there to serve us, and they love it! (For if they don't, the non-scholars, who has resources removed permanently from them since 18 year old to 80 yr old, would have voted against PAP long ago!)

my uncaring face said...

>your middle class fortune cannot ensure that your grand children will be rich by the time they are born

Well, your middle class fortune can "ensure", to a high level of probability, that your children (leave your grandchildren to your children lah!) will start life in a relatively more advantageous position, compared to those from the "low" class. Thus it follows that your children will probably perform better in their PSLE compared to their peers. Once that has occurred, the govt will take over and help ensure that your children get a good life, free from the competition from peasants. If your children are born overseas in welfare states, they would have to contend with such competition throughout their lives!

Resources are limited. In countries of welfare, they are distributed in an equitable way, which means YOUR children get less. In Sg, they are distributed to kids from background similar to Lucky Tan's (real?) profile: a graduate in the investment field, which means YOUR children get more!

my uncaring face said...

>you would want them to get a fair chance when fall on hard times.


You want they - other people's kids - to *not* have a fair chance when fall on hard times. This will ensure that your own kids will have an unfair chance (advantage!).

Eg. Because Clinton and Reagan were given a fair chance when they fall on hard times, they could become presidents. That does not augur well for your own kid - more competition!!

You would want your kid to get into RI, go on a scholarship at the mere age of 12, and then become free from competition for the rest of their lives. That's possible only if the non-RI, non-scholars are not given a fair chance in life, once they have fallen to "hard times" (i.e. didn't do well at PSLE).

A system that does not allow flexibility or a second chance or a fair chance, is good for people like us, who can give our kid a head start in life - we ensure the head start till, say, 12 year old, and the govt will help enhance this head start to a life long one.

How wonderful life is for us and our children!

To repeat: peasants love such a system and we know that - every parent, even the illiterate ones, knows how our education system and scholarship system works. And they are prepared to work within this system by sending their children for extra tuition etc. Peasants do not wish to rebel against such a system -- they rejected oppositions who spoke out against streaming during those days when streaming first started. Nowadays, oppositions have stopped even talking about streaming - they know they cannot garner votes in this way. PEASANTS LOVE A SYSTEM WITH NO SECOND CHANCE. Good for them, better even for us! LOL

Anonymous said...

As my uncaring face said...

The garmen gives you this, the garmen gives you that. So good, why complain.

If you don't like the system blame it on the stupid and slavish poor. They must are so happy with the system else why election after election, PAP comes back into power.

So for the well-to-do just be happy, be self-centred lah.

And I just realize from your convoluted talk out that the garmen produces money and other goods by itself like magic to give to the people.

There is no such things as taxes and levies.


elite uncaring face said...

Anon above,
There are indeed such things as taxes and levies. To be specific, the govt imposed taxes and levies on the *poor* (GST is poor men's tax, as Jeya pointed out), and allocate the money collected to the *rich* (low income tax of 20% as opposed to 35-45% in welfare states) and the *book-smart* (scholarships for independent schools and for university education and best teachers to best schools with best facilities, and most importantly, no more competition from slow-starters once you get into the scholar track - life long high earning and pension in the admin service).

So, if you are *rich* and/or your kid is *book-smart*, this system is good for you. Why should you tell the hypothetical genie to let your kid be born in a welfare state. Lucky Tan should stay in sg, and so should his kids!

But if you are *poor* and/or your kid is *book-stupid*, this system is bad, very very bad, for you. Specifically, you pay taxes and levies, but you dont benefit from it, and most importantly, your kid can never catch up and benefit from the system later in life, once he is labeled as a non-scholar/peasant at PSLE, O/A-level!! So in such a case, you *should* request the genie to let your kid be born in a welfare state.

BUT, **EVERY** ADULT SINGAPOREAN KNOWS THE UNFORGIVING NATURE OF OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM (eg. do you not know it? Name me any relative of yours that do not know about streaming, or about how 1 slip at psle means the end of the world!!) AND 66.6% OF THEM PREFER IT, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE AT THE LOSING END OF THE DEAL with their kids being non-scholars, lousy schools with lousy teachers etc etc working as slaves paying high gst to support the elites!

So who are we, the elite, to complain? why should we complain? Get what I mean?

my uncaring face said...

Anon wrote:
>So for the well-to-do just be happy, be self-centred lah.

I assume you are being sarcastic. But pray tell me, what is the alternative?

Remember, Jeya has been calling GST a poor man's tax since the day GST was started at 3%!! The workers' party under him, had been advocating taxing the rich more instead of increasing gst, if the govt want to raise revenue. Even under Low Thia Kiang, that's still the case. In fact, that's what every opposition party has been saying: tax the rich more! Stop imposing a blanket wide consumption tax!

Now, clearly, the majority of Singaporeans (850% at least) do not pay the highest tax bracket, but everybody has to pay GST. So, they clearly should support Jeya and the workers' party and SDP. Right?

But look what happen? The govt said: "we can't tax the rich, else they will leave sg. So we have to tax the poor via GST instead". And the abovementioned 85% of the population agreed. They are considerate enough to think for the rich and to sacrifice themselves to pay high gst so that the rich can pay low income tax!!

If you think I am talking crap, well, all you need is to ask your colleague this question: "why lower income tax and raise gst?", and I bet your average colleague will regurgitate the govt's explanation to you and tell that he buys this explanation!

So the end result is this:
Rich = happy in sg (20% income tax compared to 40% in welfare states)

Poor = happy in sg (they are considerate people who think more for the rich than for themselves).

Govt = happy, since it want to take in the rich only and abandon the poor and the poor agreed!!! Where else in the world will you see that? Of course happy lah.

Jeya/WP/SDP = SAD. Sued to bankruptcy for speaking up for the poor, but betrayed by the poor who can't be bothered with his "gst is poor men's tax" argument.

So what should we do? Be a happy rich man, or be Jeya and Chee - the betrayed politician?

Peasants are NOT being bullied. What I just explained are well-known to every peasant. Take my challenge. Pose the question in bold to your colleauge, any colleauge - the more typical, the better - and see how he/she respond.

Bottomline: Let's bully the peasants even more. They loved to be bullied. Serious! Go ask around. You will be amazed.

my uncaring face said...

Anon wrote,
>They must are so happy with the system else why election after election, PAP comes back into power.

That's absolutely true and two simple statistics will prove it.

1. More than 85% of Singaporean earn less than $300,000 per year, and hence will not benefit from a lowering of income tax from the 35-45% of Europe/Australia to 20%, but will instead suffer from an increase of GST from 0% (before implementation) to 7% that the govt imposed to compensate for the lowering of income tax for the highest bracket. Of these 85% peasants, 66.6% know it, love it and vote for it. The rest have no opportunity to vote, else they would vote in support too.

2. More than 95% of Singaporeans do not have scholarships and are not in admin service. 80% do not get to go university. 60% do not pass English at O-level in 1990 (which means those people in their 30s now). 40% are labeled as "normal" stream. They know very well that resources will not be allocated to them, but to the minority which they do not belong to. THey know they are paying taxes and levies for nothing. Of course they know - you mean you know of a singaporean who doesnt know the meaning of these sg terminology: "normal stream", "scholarship", "admin service"??? Everybody knows. Of these 95%/ 80%/ 60%/ 40% peasants, 66.6% know it, love it and vote for it. The rest have no opportunity to vote, else they would vote in support too.

So yeah, you are absolutely right: "They must are so happy with the system (which suck money out from them so as to give it to the rich) else why election after election, PAP comes back into power.

And so, we should respect their wish. Remember they are in the majority - see my statistics. Meaning, anytime they are unhappy, they can vote out the govt. (But they better do it quick. the FT coming in will dilute their majority stand. lol)

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