Friday, August 29, 2008

GRC celebrates our racial harmony....

Tonight, somewhere in Denver, a man is nominated to run for the president of America - his name is Barack Obama. The people who have nominated him have made a grave mistake. This man is black and has an African name - the people of America, the majority of whom are white will never see pass the color of his skin and funny name. If the Americans want to ensure that the minorities are represented in the presidency, they should change their system to elect a racially mixed group of people that will form a presidential team rather than one person to be president.

GRC is one of the many great innovations of the PAP govt. It is certainly unique and there is no other country on earth where people vote for a team of politicians. You see the people else where have enough problems deciding on one person to represent them let alone a team of people. For them to figure the quality of men & women who form such a team will be a practical impossibility....and this whole idea of having a team defeats the purpose of having an election in which voters are to exercise free choice to choose the person who best represents them. In Singapore things are different - the PAP selects candidates through exclusive tea sessions and launch them into politics. We are told these are the best people to represent us, elections campaigns are short and primarily for the purpose of showing support for upgrading programmes. You don't have to worry about the quality of the people as long as they are from the PAP and not the Opposition. Although they don't have to face long and tough elections, they will understand your concerns and work hard for your interests. Elections give you a chance to show which estate upgrading plan you support - we are given this choice : vote for the PAP and you get $400M worth of upgrades, vote for the other fellers and you get zero. Most people don't even remember who they voted for - can you name all the MPs in your GRC? But most of the people will know when they are going to complete that blue dolphin fountain at the town centre.
Why do we need GRCs? Our govt tells us that we have trouble overcoming the barriers of race when it comes to choosing our leaders. Although representatives from the minority such as Devan Nair, David Marshal and JBJ, the PAP govt suddenly found out in 1988 that it was harder to get a candidate from a minority race elected. Electoral wards are merged to form GRCs which must have at least one minority candidate. The GRC started with groups of 3 and then grew to 6. Voters have to figure out 6 people (or 12 if you include the opposition slate) to cast their vote. The GRC is there because the PAP worries a lot about representation of minority races, it doesn't want them to feel disenfranchised ...... the other minority (33.33% of the citizens) who voted irrationally and ungratefully voted for the opposition. of course, deserves nothing.
Somehow years of promoting racial harmony has not help us to overcome the mental barriers when it comes to electing our political representatives. We need the GRC system to help us have a racially harmonised parliament. If minority candidates in Singapore which is so racially harmonised have difficulty getting elected, then Barak Obama has no chance at all in the US presidential elections. The Americans don't have laws to make sure neighborhoods are racially mixed, that races do not form "enclaves" and they don't jail racist bloggers....what chance does Barak Obama have in such a racially unharmonised society. The American learn something from us and adopt our GRC innovation.


Anonymous said...,4136,174746,00.html?

Anonymous said...

Obama and the American System will fail big time because they fail to learn from the greatness of Singapore. That is the only to build a great nation is give more money than corruption could offer to statesmen, practice unlimited nepotism and cronyism, and running the country as a business corporation, removing all voices of dissident and jail those who dare to question the government. Most importantly, they fail to practice legalised corruption and kangaroo courts, the hallmark of Singapore's uniqueness and LKY's legacy.

Hence, USA will never as great as Singapore because they fail to practice the pragmaticism and ruthness of our great LKY.

USA will never have a great emperor and dictator like Singapore.

Onlooker said...

Hopes he wins too :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky

Have you heard the Obama speech?

It is still early days yet. But I envy them. They always seem to have hope.

I do not know which is sadder.

That we do not have a Obama.
Or that Obama wouldn't stand a chance in Singapore even if he had Gandhi in his corner.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Time for the Singapore people to get acquainted with Public Choice Theory.

Public choice theory is often referred to when discussing how individual political decision-making results in policy that conflict with the overall desires of the general public. For example, many special interest and pork barrel projects are not the desire of the overall democracy. However, it makes sense for politicians to support these projects. It may benefit them psychologically as they feel powerful and important. It can also benefit them financially as it may open the door to future wealth as lobbyists (after they retire). The project may be of interest to the politician's local constituency, increasing district votes or campaign contributions. The politician pays little to no cost to gain these benefits, as they are spending public tax money. Special interest lobbyists are also behaving rationally. They can gain government favors worth millions or billions for relatively small investments. They face a risk of losing out to their competitors if they don't seek these favors. The taxpayer is also behaving rationally. The cost of defeating any one government give-away is very high, while the benefits to the individual taxpayer are very small. Each citizen pays only a few pennies or a few dollars for any given government favor, while the costs of ending that favor would be many times higher. Everyone involved has rational incentives to do exactly what they're doing, even though the desire of the general constituency is opposite.

A field that is closely related to public choice is "rent-seeking." This field combines the study of a market economy with that of government. Thus, one might regard it as a "new political economy." Its basic thesis is that when both a market economy and government are present, government agents are a source of numerous special market privileges. Both the government agents and self-interested market participants seek these privileges in order to partake in the monopoly rent that they provide. When such privileges are granted, they reduce the efficiency of the economic system. In addition, the rent-seekers use resources that could otherwise be used to produce goods that are valued by consumers.

Public choice theory attempts to look at governments from the perspective of the bureaucrats and politicians who compose them, and makes the assumption that they act based on Budget-maximizing model in a self-interested way for the purpose of maximizing their own economic benefits (e.g. their personal wealth). The theory aims to apply economic analysis (usually decision theory and game theory) to the political decision-making process in order to reveal certain systematic trends towards inefficient government policies.

Another major claim is that rent seeking can waste resources. Gordon Tullock, Jagdish Bagwhatti, and Anne Krueger have argued that rent seeking has caused considerable waste. In a parallel line of research Fred McChesney claims that rent extraction causes considerable waste, especially in the developing world. As the term implies, rent extraction happens when officials use threats to extort payments from private parties.

Several notable Public Choice scholars have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, including James Buchanan (1986), Stigler (1982), and Gary Becker (1992). In addition, Vernon Smith (2002) was President of Public Choice Society from 1988 to 1990.

Economist with a heart.

ps- who do you think the dictator cared most for? His son or the people?

Anonymous said...

I believe our state economists (e.g Lucky's fren Bart) lean towards Mankiw(New Keynesian).

James Buchanan (1986), Stigler (1982), and Gary Becker (1992) are all from Chicago.

And Singaporeans are all too rational.

Each citizen pays only a few pennies or a few dollars for any given government favor, while the costs of ending that favor would be many times higher. Everyone involved has rational incentives to do exactly what they're doing, even though the desire of the general constituency is opposite.

So there is no hope for change?


Anonymous said...

Interesting link on money.


Anonymous said...

hmm very interesting theory...

So what does public choice theory means to singaporeans?

Does it mean that politicians are only interested in lining up their own pockets by pushing policies that are only favourable to them?

Are you saying that the public choice theory can explain why the Ministars increased salary doesn't lead to "wage spiral inflation" BUT if janitors/cleaners/low wage workers increased their salaries can lead to "wage spiral inflation"?

Can public choice theory also explains why the P*P created GRCs?
Is it because to reduce competition?

Please help.

Is it true that economics can explain what is happening in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Why not make it simple ? Instead of Public choice theory, rename it as PayAndPay theory as whatever in PCT is totally application to PAP

PAP we understand better !

Anonymous said...

PCT means as long as people like you & us are afraid, we will continue to vote PAP even though we may not like them. See the turnout at Hougang at the last GE vs the landslide victory by PAP.

A better understanding of PCT might give the opposition(Ms Lim & CSJ) a better chance at the next GE.


Anonymous said...

up you asses.

On 1 Septermber, we will be organising a protest in Speaker’s Corner. Wait till u see see....

Anonymous said...

GRCs were implemented to give the bloody PAP a clear cut edge over the opposition. The BS minority racial representation is used to sell their idea that they are above board. They have much to hide with many skeletons in the closet. Despots all do! Everything the PAP have done is self serving to retain power. They are despicable political cowards !

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! didn't know that there is such a thing as Public choice theory.

So what it basically means is that a prata man sells prata not because he loves the customers but because he loves the money thats coming in, especially if there is NO competition.

The same goes for the small time politician. He goes up the political ladder NOT because he loves the Singapore people but because he wants ABSOLUTE power in Singapore.

So in ESSENCE the prata seller and the small time politician are SELF SERVING CREATURES.

So am I correct? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

If my understanding is correct, I feel a lil bit sad because I always thought that those politicians who went overseas using TAX PAYER MONEY to study in ELITE universities would have a kind and compassionate heart similar to Mother Theresa to elevate the problems of the 98% of the population who are not MENSA material.

A sad citizen.

ps: if I'm paying my taxes but I don't get to enjoy scholarships to UK and US, can I ask for my tax money back?

Anonymous said...

And the people buy prata because they are afraid if prata-man leaves they will have no prata (just in case they suddenly have a craving). Or that the new prata man cook that time never wash hand?

Maybe our elites are going to Harvard instead? Looks like your tax money and mine are going to scholars who goto school to learn more ways to squeeze us?

GRC = barriers to entry.
Reducing serf pay = cost efficiency.
Increasing ministar's salaries can definitely be explained by supply and demand curve (of a monopoly- which we gave away to them)

Yup economics can explain much :-)

Looks like Lucky is too busy to chitchat. oh well, Lucky's time is a scarce resource :)


Chee Wai Lee said...

Just a quick comment to correct a statement you made. It is not true that Singapore is the only place where you vote in a team.

Israel, for example, votes by proportionality on a party basis. So, if Likud gets 57% of the popular vote, they would get approximately the same percentage of seats in the Knessnet and so on. I believe there's a threshold on the lowest percentages though, am not sure about that. Each party submits a sequenced list of people. The people who get elected will depend on the number of seats actually allocated to the party as a result of the election (e.g. top 5 members of the list submitted). The top person on the list is expected to be Prime Minister if the party leads any coalition that is formed as a result of the election.

You are correct only in that our system is unique amongst parliamentary first-past-the-post systems.

I believe there has been (and still is) significant debate over which is better, the first-past-the-post system where proportionality can have little to no impact on seats or something akin to the Israeli system.

LuckySingaporean said...

chee wai lee,

Thanks for pointing out the Israeli system. Under the Israeli system our parliament would be filled with 25 opposition members who collectively garnered 33% of the votes would be in parliament - thank goodness who don't have their proportionate representation scehem...because PM Lee said he can only handle 2-3 opposition members.

The Israelis are interesting - they have about half a million (1M?)palestians living within their borders, orthodox jews, pensioners etc who are the minorities. These people would not get any representation if not for the system. For a country under constant and immense threat, they demonstrate that that you can be strong and united without central authoritarian power....their neighbors who are authoritarian or semi-authoritarian are actually weaker. The Israelis have "extreme" democracy - it is often said that there are 5 million prime ministers in Israel because every one wants to speak up and have a say. Every few weeks there is a protest somewhere in Tel Aviv. About a year ago, when the govt tried to increase implement payment($5) for currently free outpatient medical by the underprivileged, the entire population was outraged and people were out on the streets to protest this and stop it. There is no lack of sense of ownership in this country - when the Hezbollah rockets fell on Haifa 2 years ago, people did not rush for air tickets to get out. There is no drop in fertility rate in this country - people love their country and they love children.

I think the Israeli system may have originated from the kibbutz culture during the Ben Gurion days. In the kibbutz, they shared everything they shared the work, profits, power etc.

Anonymous said...

Sense of ownership is something only citizens(free men and women) can have.


Anonymous said...

liberty does not lead to ownership. only the golden rule will lead to ownership.

but in a culture that practices...doing unto others only what you can get out of others( led by people who only serve if paid in millions), the rich will never receive in kind from the poor and therefore, the golden rule doesn't apply.

in such a society whose lives are held by a trading contract, no one really cares and the system inevitably dies .

Anonymous said...

Mind I also add, the devolved Scottish parliament also follows proportional representation, it coming from a socialist leaning nation...

As far as I can tell, one democratic gahmen follows our system of GRC.

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