Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cheaper, Better, Faster : Recycling a failed strategy....

NASA Report: Too Many Failures with Faster, Better, Cheaper"

Having a slogan linked to the Mars disasters is not so auspicious. However, "cheaper, better, faster" is not something new in Singapore. It has been practiced by the PAP govt for the past 2 decades - cheaper workers, better pay for elites and faster price hikes. The PAP has diversified its interests and it policy decisions clearly show this. Worker's Party MP Low once asked the PAP ministers to peg their pay as a multiple of the lowest earning 20% of the workforce to align their interests with those with the greatest need for improvement. The PAP refused and chose to peg their salaries to the highest earnings in various professions. The result is ballooning income gap - a constant stream of pro-business policies, regressive taxation and shifting cost burdens from govt to ordinary Singaporeans to lower corporate tax. When you have a govt driven by such mis-incentives, you sometimes wished they were not so efficient at hiking prices, eliminating subsidies and thinking of the next method of squeezing Singaporeans.

The "cheaper, better, faster" strategy like NASA's creates risks and passes them to ordinary Singaporeans. Because of the income gap, the faster we go with this economy (artificial steroids = massive foreign worker influx) the faster many Singaporeans fall towards the poverty line...hence Mr. Brown's famous article "Singaporeans are fed, up with progress!". We are also fed up with a govt that refuses to the interests of Singaporeans ahead of its other interests and it rewards itself handsomely for doing so.


Anonymous said...

Thinking of the next method of squeezing Singaporeans.

The new ezlink card is a perfect example of this.

I think we all know by now why they spent "millions" to change over to the new card.

Anonymous said...

But unlike NASA, so far Singapore not yet crashed leh.

On the contrary, PAP even become stronger than ever, socially more peaceful than ever. (Even Chee Soon Juan had given up on protests!)

So while CBF failed for NASA, it will definitely not fail for Singapore, even for the next 20 or even 40 years.

Because even if locals became extinct, we can still have 100% foreign talents turned citizens.

Of course PAP leaders will still be 3rd generation local elite.

Anonymous said...

I am fed up with progress in Singapore. Every time a wet market is renovated, the rent goes up at least 30%.

Every time a hawker centre or coffee shop undergoes renovation, the rent goes up a minimum of 50%.

Bills go up, rent goes up. The only thing that doesn't go up is our salaries.

And the best part is, the govt is actively trying to keep our salaries low.

Anonymous said...

We can complain and complain but we are not like EU whereby we can leave SG and live somewhere.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

The Captain and His Ship

by Lim Leng Hiong

A long time ago, there was a merchant galley, which is a small transport ship that is propelled by human power.

Above decks, a captain and his officers shouted out orders, while below decks the crew did the exhausting work of rowing the ship.

The captain wanted to travel from port to port more quickly so that he can charge a higher price for his fast shipping service.

In the beginning, he achieved this by convincing the crew to row harder for a few copper coins more. Although he and his officers each earned many silver coins more, the crew accepted this arrangement because a small raise is better than nothing.

Then, as the crew got accustomed to this, he had a better idea. Since the crew were stuck on the ship anyway, he could charge them a fee for using essential services during the journey, such as meals and sleeping bags. That way he can recover some of the copper coins that he paid out, back into his pocket.

When his plan succeeded, he got bolder and stopped paying extra. The crew were simply ordered to row harder if they wanted to keep their jobs.

They were told that they were lucky to have jobs, lucky to have visionary leadership and lucky to be aboard one of the fastest merchant galleys in the world.

At every port, the captain and his officers grew steadily wealthier, from silver coins to gold coins, from gold coins to gold bars. Meanwhile the crew were ordered to row faster and faster for the same number of copper coins, which were becoming smaller and smaller in size.

Not every crew member was happy with this. The few who dared to protest were locked up for weeks. This punishment silenced the others and helped to maintain order on the ship.

The job of the crew is to row, and the job of the leaders is to collect gold bars.

It is a system that works. Sort of.

Lim Leng Hiong said...


Then one day, the captain faced a big problem. After months of frenzied rowing, the crew had become worn out. Many of them ran away to work on other ships. Those who remain were on the verge of mutiny. Worse, he was unable to recruit enough new crew in his home port to replace them and continue with his fast shipping service.

Suddenly, he had a brilliant idea - recruit new crew from poor foreign ports! With this masterstroke he no longer needed to pay any copper coins, since the foreign crew were happy to be paid a handful of grain and the home crew also had to accept this new payment or starve. On top of that, the risk of mutiny is reduced since the proportion of home crew is now much smaller.

Unfortunately, rowing a ship quickly is a coordinated effort; not exactly unskilled work. The foreign crew and home crew have vastly different training and often could not even communicate with each other. There was lack of cooperation, mutual suspicion and bottled-up resentment as the ship plodded along in the open sea.

A concerned ensign asked the captain what would happen if the crew was to start fighting among themselves below decks.

"That is none of your business," the captain replied. "We are safe up here, as is our cargo and gold."

"But sir, what if the ship is damaged during the fighting? Our ship is fast and light and unable to withstand too many hits," the ensign persisted.

"Then THEY'LL drown!" laughed the captain.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps its time for the crew to mutiny

Onlooker said...

Bravo LLH.

Exactly :)

And may I add even if the captain reserve life boat for himself the lifeboat can only accommodate that certain amount of cronies,oops officers.

Anonymous said...

The Captain would not waste space on the lifeboat for cronies. The space will be for his ill-gotten gold bars. With gold, he can always get more cronies to do the dirty work!

Anonymous said...

When a big transport company started to recruit FT few years back, one old staff told the other not to worry. "Don't worry these FT need time to familiarise the delivery routes" he did not expect today any new driver with a GPS navigation device can easily get on the road immediately, he failed to see how new tech can make him dispensable. Then when he saw the other local old staff couldn't communicate well with the FT, his confidence was further enchanced. "one chicken one duck cannot work one, haha" but very soon his company changed all to one kind only. but he was still unconvinced by the reality. "I don't think the authority can allow so many driving test to take place in such a short time, driving licence is not easy to get." he is wrong again, I heard FT with licence from their mother land need only to undergo a computer simulation test.

Vigor said...

So how??

HJ said...

I'm really, really glad that finally someone pointed out that glaring resemblence to NASA's failed program.

For everything gained, something's got to give...

Anonymous said...

FT is cheape, bette & faster lor. Even local P6 student are no match for, haha

J said...

"Worker's Party MP Low once asked the PAP ministers to peg their pay as a multiple of the lowest earning 20% of the workforce to align their interests with those with the greatest need for improvement. The PAP refused and chose to peg their salaries to the highest earnings in various professions."

MP Low also pointed out that many people in the highest earning professions take a lot of risk. For example, businessmen can easily become bankrupt with the wrong business decisions. This is a fact that the PAP does not wish to acknowledge.