RH: ROBERT's ALMOST-COMPLETE ARCHIVE OF WORKS..... My other blog is "I came, I saw, I solved it" at http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/.......... Robert Ho REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS at http://roberthorequestforstatements.blogspot.com/2011/01/robert-ho-request-for-statements.html
- "DIRECTORs CID + IMH CRIMINALLY GUILTY"
- "RH: Defending against manned/unmanned/stealth warplanes and Land attacks"
- A second Singapore: Why we succeed and fail
- About Safire's article
- Albinocracy and Autisticracy
- An Unusual Challenge
- Appeal against WP Disqualification
- Break the Law - like your PAP Leaders
- Chinese New Year Story
- Computer Virus Wanted
- Cruel Punishment
- Crystal-ball Gazing
- Cult of Infallibility
- Deja Vu
- Dirty Bombs
- Email the SM PM and DPM
- Equal Justice for all
- Filmmaker Martyn SEE interviews Robert HO
- For Better or Worse
- Francis Seow's article
- GOH Chok Tong lies - Ministers who lose can remain
- Good Men don't join the PAP
- Government by taxation
- Handbook for the Voter
- Handphones against the PAP
- Hiring Foreign Talent - How many Jobs do we Lose
- ICONOCLASSING Pt 2
- ICONOCLASSING Pt 3 or RH Zero Sum Game Theory
- ICONOCLASSING SINGAPORE GDP MYTHS
- Idea: Why UFO Aliens havent contacted us
- Incrementalist or Infinitian
- Interpretation of the Amendment Bill
- Jingoism Fatique
- Karl Marx on Singapore
- LEE Suan Yew Award
- Lesson from Kursk
- Let Ghosts contest GE
- Letter from the Future
- Letter to a Son
- Letter to PM Blair
- Making home movies is this easy
- Man who cried Wolf
- May Day
- Mayor who shagged me
- MVC a 100% PAP idea
- No Privacy
- Nominate CHEE for NMP
- Opposition should do Business
- Opposition up against past; PAP up against future
- Original short Singapore political jokes
- Original Singapore political jokes
- Original Singapore political quotes
- Outwit the PAP
- Overseas Votes
- PAP afraid of Truth
- PAP bans Mirrors
- PAP should throw Black Sheep out
- Proposal to build Retirement Homes in Johor Baru
- Referendum Please
- RH MicroStories
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- RH: How China can deter a US attack with Space Junk
- RH: How Law began
- RH: How Singapore will End scenarios
- RH: How to conduct cheap accurate Political Polls
- RH: How to force Israel to its knees
- RH: Idea for a China "Atoms for Peace" Programme
- RH: Idea to 'Turn Oceans into FreshWater'
- RH: Idea to almost eliminate computer viruses
- RH: Idea to prevent Bio-invasion from ships Ballast Water
- RH: Inflight Immigration and Other Clearances for Airbus A380
- RH: Latency Low-Base and Tiny-Country Effects
- RH: Leeconomic growth measured in GNP mediocre all along
- RH: London and other DoughNuts in the making
- RH: New ideas to deter a US/any invasion
- RH: Petrol stations to become Multi-Fuel Stations
- RH: Philosophy of Law all wrong and how to put it right
- RH: Robert HO's Theory of Brain Language
- RH: Robert's Complete Case against Leeconomics [Main]
- RH: Robert's definition of "Idea"
- RH: Robert's Dictum of Public Service
- RH: Robert's Ideas Paradoxes
- RH: Robert's Thoughts on American bestiality 6
- RH: Robert's Thoughts on SARS
- RH: Robert's Thoughts on War 6
- RH: Robert's TorchLight Effect
- RH: Singaporeans soon to be extinct
- RH: Solve this SARS problem and win $10m
- RH: The Unchanging Nature of Dictatorships
- RH: Trees Leaves Vacuumer
- RH: UK Telephone Boxes as Smoking Boxes
- RH: Why Foreign Talent policy cannot work
- RH: Why Inflation should be 0 or even Negative
- RH: Why Law is a disreputable subject
- RH: Why Singapore should NOT have a govt
- RH: Why US high tech cannot win wars
- RH: Why US produces few IDEAs but many Gizmos thus bad for world
- Samizdat and Samizdis
- sex.com and SFD
- Sneak preview' of LKY's second book of Memoirs
- Something for Physicists to Philosophers
- Stockholm Syndrome
- Sweepers can help
- The Big 'S'
- THE MOST COMPLETE RUBBISHING OF LEEconomics EVER
- Tom Clancy's next novel
- US Deputy Sheriff in S.E.Asia
- Vote out 21 politicians and transform Singapore
- When to break the law
- Who hacked NSP's Mailing Lists
- Why pay Singapore Ministers huge salaries
- You can't eat Democracy
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
1. Today's essay is Iconoclassing Pt 3, which continues from "Iconoclassing Singapore GDP Myths" and "Iconoclassing Pt 2", whose urls are just below :
19 June 2008
ICONOCLASSING SINGAPORE GDP MYTHS
19 June 2008
ICONOCLASSING Pt 2
2. Today's essay takes off from a speech "The Puzzle That Never Was" given by Dr CHEE Soon Juan in 2001 to Stanford University, Institute of International Studies, url and complete text just below :
THE PUZZLE THAT NEVER WAS
January 29, 2001
Dr Chee Soon Juan
Secretary general, Singapore Democratic Party
Speech given at Stanford University, Institute for International Studies
Singapore society confounds the theory that wealth leads to an opening up of society. The Lion City is an affluent society unable, some say unwilling, to break out of its authoritarian mode. Therein lies the puzzle that the Singapore is.
A. THERE is a myth that goes something like this: Singapore's post-independence story has been one of a money-making miracle and the miracle-maker is, of course, the People's Action Party. We all know a myth, when repeated enough and left unexploded, gradually becomes fact. When you add to this another myth which is that Singaporeans, having become rich, seem not to mind living in an authoritarian state, a veritable puzzle develops.
B. Sieve out the hubris and scoop away the public relations puff, however, you have a reality that is very different and a politico-economic puzzle that is very explainable.
C. Singapore's economy has been designed to maximize GDP gains in the shortest time possible. The best way to go about doing this is to yell like crazy to foreign investors about the generous tax incentives that are on offer with cheap wages to boot. To make sure that the locals go along with the plan, the opposition, labour movement, and civil society in general is dismantled through laws such as the Internal Security Act which enables the ruling party to arrest anyone at pleasure and detain them at leisure. Workers must also be maintained on a strict diet of intellect-numbing presentation of government pronouncements sans critical analysis through a controlled mass media. Once these conditions are in place, one will be surprised how quickly multinational companies come in.
D. More than 7000 of these multinationals, involved in every type of business conceivable, have setup shop in Singapore. They account for more than 90 percent of investments in the manufacturing sector, 70 percent of the gross output in the manufacturing sector, over 50 percent of those employed, and 82 percent of direct exports.
The addiction to foreign capital
E. As foreign capital poured in and employment grew, the PAP started to get too comfortable in government and rationalized that continued discipline brought about by its austere measures was the way forward.
F. Of course with growth, cost has also risen. With its neighbours competing for foreign investments, the government has had to rethink its strategy. One solution would be to get Singapore out of direct competition with its neighbouring economies for low-end, labour intensive industries. Thus in 1979, the government embarked on a series of measures to encourage the influx of high-tech industries to replace low-tech ones. With typical authoritarian efficiency, the PAP raised the level of real estate prices and wages of the workers. Political economist Garry Rodan wrote: "Without any apology, the PAP tried to force lower-value-added, labor-intensive industries to upgrade operations or close operations in Singapore altogether."
G. The result was that unit labour costs rose by 40 per cent in six years.
H. But instead of responding to the PAP's call to upgrade their operations in Singapore, many of the low-tech companies simply moved to cheaper countries. Magaziner and Patinkin wrote: "The EDB [Economic Development Board] people explained that they'd misunderstood why companies had come to Singapore. Good infrastructure was important, but it wasn't the main driver. Cheap wages were."
I. In 1985, this policy resulted in a full-blown crisis. A combination of a 40 percent decline in investments and slothful international trade saw Singapore's economy plunge into a recession with the GDP registering a negative 2 percent down from its usual 8-10 percent.
J. Then, as it is now, it is the people who end up picking up the tab. With the same autocratic style that announced the switch to a high-wage, high-skilled economy, the government now decreed that wages of the workers be cut by 15 percent. Lee Hsien Loong, who was then the Minister for Trade and Industry, exhorted workers to increase their working hours to "44 hours a week...and to do third shifts and keep plants open 24 hours per day." In the meantime, the government declared that it no longer mattered whether the techs were high or low, "all forms of investment which can make profits were welcome."
K. And so with wages cut and dissent muffled, the government went about serenading foreign investments again and growth was subsequently restored. The question was for how long and how much do the people have to sacrifice again when difficulties revisit the economy?
L. By the early 1990s the economy was wheezing and puffing again. In 1994, nearly 8000 workers were laid off by more than 200 companies. This was an increase of 19 per cent of retrenched workers over 1993. In 1995, the number of retrenched rose to more than 14,000. By 1996 there were unmistakable signs of an imminent recession. Again the government pointed to the "restructuring" and "upgrading" of the economy. Then Minister for Trade and Industry, Yeo Cheow Tong - without a hint of knowledge of the problems that the triggered the 1985 recession - said: "In actual fact, such restructuring and upgrading are signs of a healthy manufacturing sector." Someone forgot to tell him that the companies that were moving out were high-tech electronic ones which the economy was supposed to be upgrading to.
M. As it turned out, the PAP was saved from an embarrassing situation by the Thai government which buckled under the weight of the baht and devalued it on July 2, 1997, sending Asia into its worst economic nightmare. Perhaps, we will never know the severity of that economic downturn because of the Asian crisis. It does, however, make the PAP's claim that Singapore's economy tumbled during the crisis only because of it was dragged down by its neighbours' financial misfortunes seem, at best, disingenuous.
N. As before, the workers end up having to make yet more sacrifices. In 1999, the Singapore government announced that it was cutting wages by 10 per cent. The retrenchments continue into the present and is set to get worse. The government's latest explanation for the loss of jobs is not very different from that in given in 1994, or for that matter, way back in 1979. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told Singaporeans that "economic restructuring also meant retrenchments will rise" and this was because "low-skilled jobs are being lost and high-skilled ones created." Here we go again.
O. The fact of the matter is that Singapore cannot, or doesn't know how to, get out of its dependence on foreign investment. Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld noted: Despite its seeming prosperity, Singapore in 1990 is trapped in the treadmill of the export-oriented economics that it once so enthusiastically embraced. Having so completely opened itself up to the world market and the multinationals with the illusion that it could influence the former and manipulate the latter, the PAP technocrats now see that their policies have reduced Singapore's economy to a mere service economy, the fate of which is totally dependent on the calculations and whims of the multinationals.
Economic growth for whom?
P. The reliance of Singapore's economy to foreign investment exacts a significant toll on the welfare of the people. The government's willingness to sacrifice workers' wages whenever economic conditions become unfavourable means that Singaporeans are consigned to having to work harder and harder just to maintain a standard of living that, contrary to government pronouncements, is not all that its made out to be. Let me give you a few indicators.
Q. In the Global Competitiveness Report 1999 which surveyed a total of 59 countries, Singaporean workers, especially those in manual jobs, were found to be relatively one of the worst paid in the world. The median wage of an office cleaner or driver, adjusted for productivity, "is among the lowest in 59 countries worldwide." Only Russia, Ukraine and Ecuador are paid less. Secretaries don't do much better, their wages rank 50 among the 59 countries.
R. During the Asia crisis, monthly wages for low-skilled workers fell up to 34 percent from $746 in 1998 to $492 in 1999. During that period, 16 percent of the work force earned below $1000 a month. Nearly 30 percent of households were not earning enough to afford the minimum standard of life. But when the crisis was over, salary increases among 14 Asian economies was the lowest in Singapore. While Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan had rewarded their workers between five to eight percent in wage increments (after accounting for inflation), Singapore averaged only 3.6 percent with the number predicted to decrease to 2.9 percent this year. It was reported that between 1998 and 2000, the average monthly income of the lowest 10 percent of households fell further by half to $133. The subsistence level in Singapore is estimated to be $1000 for a household of four persons.
S. All this in a city that is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive in the world. In the mid 1990s the Union Bank of Switzerland ranked Singapore as the 7th most expensive city - even costlier that Paris, New York and London. Just last week, the London-based Economic Intelligence Unit rated Singapore as the ninth most expensive city in the world.
T. And yet Lee Kuan Yew, without batting an eye, recently boasted: "Foreigners have noted how the people of Singapore have responded, putting national interest first by taking CPF cuts that helped this rebound (from the Asian crisis)." With trade unionism rendered comatose by the government - the umbrella National Trades Union Congress' chief is a government minister - a significant question arises: How do the workers tell the Senior Minister that they are hurting? How do they tell him that they don't want to be the ones having to put 'national interest first by taking CPF cuts' when the ministers increase that own salaries, which is already the highest in the world? Under the new pay scheme Goh Chok Tong's annual salary will jump by 14 percent to S$1.94 million, five times that of the US President's. How do they let him know that they don't want their employers to cut their wages by 10 percent when in the same period, the average household income for the top 10 percent rose by more that 3 percent while the number of millionaires in the country increased by 40 percent to a record high 742?
U. Gerald O'Driscoll, Kim Holmes, and Melanie Kirkpatrick wrote in the Index of Economic Freedom report 2000 that in Singapore "the authorities strive to be first but at the cost of efficiency and the ultimate well-being of the people."
V. For all the hype about Singapore being a near-paradise, 20 percent of its citizens indicated that they want to leave the country predominantly because of the stressful lifestyle and high cost of living. In 1999, a consumer health survey found that among the various Asian societies, Singaporeans are more likely to have suffered depression, stress and fatigue.
W. But in spite of all this, the PAP apologia will point to the political stability in the country and the notable lack of strife, and tell you that this is due to the ruling party's sound economic record and the people's contentedness. If the lack of civil strife is taken as an index of a government's popular support, then the North Korean regime must be one of the most loved ones in the world; Saddam Hussein, still in power after the rest of his counterparts in the US and Europe have left office, must go down in history as one of the most endearing political figures; and Burma's military outfit must be doing everything right since the crackdown in 1989.
X. Just because the surface of the water is calm, don't always assume that there is nothing lurking beneath. In an authoritarian state, the seeming tranquility is more a reflection of fear and of the effectiveness of the tactics of repression, than it is an indication of the masses affection for the ruling elite.
Y. There is no question that economic growth can occur in authoritarian states under the guise of free market regimes. There is no puzzle here. However, for there to be economic development, one that genuinely benefits the masses and one that is sustainable, the people must be active participants rather than mere digits of the assembly line. For this to happen, democracy is vital. History has shown that how right wing, free-market authoritarian regimes were not able to hang on to power forever. Singapore is no exception. The reason why the regime is still firmly in place is that the founder of the authoritarian system is still alive and very much in the political equation. The second reason is that Singapore is a much smaller country both physically and in terms of its population and because of this control is that much more effectual. Put Lee Kuan Yew in charge of a bigger country like say Malaysia (let alone even bigger ones like Thailand and large ones like Indonesia) and the results could be very different.
Living with fear
Z. I have related how much of a myth the PAP's economic achievements have been and shown you how the picture of the rich, fat, and politically contented Singaporean is just as fictitious. Let me now tell you about the climate of fear that Singaporeans live under and how this fear is induced.
AA. On the eve of nomination in the last general elections in 1997, I received a phone call from a woman who was the wife of one of our candidates. She pleaded with me to persuade her husband not to stand for elections. She was in tears. When I tried to explain to her the situation, she grew increasing desperate and threatened to jump off from the flat and take their children with her. We quickly sent some of our women folk to see her to make sure that nothing tragic happened. In between sobs she said that they had a family to look after and joining the opposition would ruin everything. She didn't want to see her husband again unless he agreed not to stand as an SDP candidate. Our candidate later managed to return home and pacify his wife. He continued on with the elections but hardly campaigned as he stayed home most of the time to make sure nothing happened.
BB. On an earlier occasion, I met up with an academic to discuss the possibility of him standing as a candidate. He picked me up and we quickly drove to a field that was unlit. We sat in the dark and started talking. He was visibly nervous and suggested another spot. And so we found another darkened place, this time in a carpark to talk about the business of his candidacy. We were behaving as if we were planning something illegal when we were just making plans for the elections.
CC. Another instance involved a well-known Asian author who had come to Singapore to work as well as do some research for her book. She told her Singaporean housemate that she was going to have lunch with me, whereupon the housemate became so terrified that she immediately asked the author to move out.
DD. In 1998 I was in Perth, Australia, to give a talk. A professor there told me that some students confided in him that they were interested in attending my talk but were afraid they would be blacklisted. In a similar occasion in Sydney, I was walking to the toilet after giving my presentation when a few students came up to me and said they were very supportive of what I was doing, but didn't want to be seen in public talking with me.
EE. We presently have a few younger Singaporeans who started the youth wing of the SDP. It is called the Young Democrats. Each and every one of them has come under intense pressure from their families not to get involved with the opposition. I am very glad they were able to persuade their families otherwise and stand firm in their convictions. Needless to say, I'm very proud of them.
FF. In case you think that these are just anecdotes that may not be reflective of the political situation in Singapore, a recent survey found that 93 percent of Singaporeans are afraid to speak out against governmental issues.
Is such fear unfounded?
GG. Singapore still retains the Internal Security Act (ISA) that allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely. Scores of opposition leaders, trade unionists, and social activists were arrested under the ISA and detained for years. Chia Thye Poh was one of them. He was imprisoned for 23 years without given a trial.
HH. Then there are the lawsuits. J. B. Jeyaretnam has recently been bankrupted because he could not pay the costs and damages outstanding to his opponents some of whom are PAP MPs. He has been sued repeatedly by Lee Kuan Yew and other PAP leaders and has paid more than a million dollars to these people, selling all his possessions in the process.
II. Tang Liang Hong, a successful lawyer who stood as an opposition candidate in the last elections has also been sued. He was declared a bankrupt and charged with tax evasion. He now lives in Australia.
JJ. Francis Seow, the former solicitor-general, was also detained under the ISA. He later ran for elections with the Workers' Party. He now lives in exile in the US after he was charged and convicted in absentia while he was in this country receiving treatment for his heart condition.
KK. These are just some of the higher profile cases. There are many more which time does not permit me to relate. I tell you about them because you will not read them in political science books or journals. Nevertheless, they are very real cases involving real people. The next time you read or hear anyone telling you that Singaporeans live in the comfort zone under cheerful climes with relatively little to fear, you can at least carry on a discourse with some intelligence.
LL. Which brings me to my next point. Why is there such a mistaken impression of Singapore in the first place? The mass media has much to do with this. Singapore's local media has been comprehensively subjugated in the 1970s when editors and journalists who crossed the government with their reports were put in prison. Many of the newspapers were closed down. Today all of the country's newspapers are published by state-run companies, the biggest being the Singapore Press Holding which is run by a former cabinet minister and a former ISD director.
MM. What about the foreign media? Time, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, Asiaweek, Far Eastern Economic Review, and the Economist have all been either sued or have had their circulation restricted, or both. The foreign broadcast media also recently came under attack. These actions by the PAP has had a lasting impact on the way the foreign media tends to report about Singapore.
NN. In such a situation who are the losers? The PAP? Hardly. It was a resounding victory for the government over the international media. The owners of these foreign publications? Not when you consider that their bottom line is to keep up their sales. The real losers are the people who have been deprived of yet more independent and uncensored sources of information. The PAP may have won the battle this round. But it has not solved the problem of the people being denied the right to freedom of information. All it has done is to set Singapore up for a much bigger fall in the future.
OO. This is not the only way people are deprived of dissenting opinion. Books critical of the PAP system, cannot find their way onto shelves in bookstores. None of them would carry my books. When I sell them on the street, I am prosecuted for illegal hawking. When I call up the Ministry of Environment to apply for one, they say that no such licenses are given. None of the newsvendors dare sell newspapers published by opposition parties.
PP. I have not even begun to relate all the appalling tactics employed by the ruling party during elections. Because of time restrictions, I will instead refer you to a report entitled 'Elections in Singapore: How free and how fair?' published by the Open Singapore Centre, copies which are available for sale here.
QQ. Having heard all that I've just said, can you truthfully say that this sounds like a government that has the kind of support it claims? Does this sound like a people who are unafraid and willingly allow the PAP this continued control over them? Or is there some truth to the fact that the PAP knows that the people want democracy and the only way to deny them of this is to institute more controls and device more ways of intimidating them?
RR. It is important to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the PAP is this visionary architect of Singapore's economy and, worse, that Singaporeans are so comfortable that they will just roll over and play dead every time the PAP cracks its whip. Why should Singaporeans be any different from the rest of the world which has unreservedly embraced democracy. From Mexico to Mongolia, Soviet Union to South Africa, people want to live in freedom and dignity, and to be able to hold their governments accountable. The last time I checked Singaporeans are humans too. And because we are humans we have this one thing in common that cannot be crushed. It's called the human spirit.
3. Dr CHEE is the only person in Singapore who has spent his entire recent life, >a decade, fighting/understanding/critiquing/writing/exposing the crooked, corrupt, nepotic, murderous, torturous, election-rigging, greedy, venal, LIE KY LHL WKS Cronies PAP LIEgime. He is also the only one who has done this well, with courage, skill, talent that no one else has displayed in Singapore. That makes him uniquely qualified to not only know and identify what is wrong -- and the entire system is hopelessly wrong -- but also how to fix it, given the chance. His books are not mere rants but contain insights into the problems and solutions to the problems.
4. As a sometime essayist/blogger, I would today like to take off from his above Puzzle speech, that portion relating to cheap labour that I have paragraphed-named as F to J and L, N and O.
5. It is my contention that Singapore has all along been a cheap labour economy, despite the few showcase high-tech and service sectors that are always trotted out and boasted to foreigners, like when they are bussed to some spanking HDB township touted as evidence of success. Dr CHEE has done me the service of stating the facts and figures in the paras mentioned. However, as in my 2 previous Iconoclassing articles, my theme is how LIE KY's GDP is a Myth. In today's article, I would like to postulate that "Singapore has always been a cheap labour economy." Evidence of this is in Para O : "O. The fact of the matter is that Singapore cannot, or doesn't know how to, get out of its dependence on foreign investment. Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld noted: Despite its seeming prosperity, Singapore in 1990 is trapped in the treadmill of the export-oriented economics that it once so enthusiastically embraced. Having so completely opened itself up to the world market and the multinationals with the illusion that it could influence the former and manipulate the latter, the PAP technocrats now see that their policies have reduced Singapore's economy to a mere service economy, the fate of which is totally dependent on the calculations and whims of the multinationals."
6. If you allow my arguments in my first 2 Iconoclassing articles and allow Para O, then it is clear that LIE KY is far, far, from being the genius and miracle worker that he and his lapdog media have endlessly portrayed him to be, but a total failure whose overhyped image is due to faked statistics, the Green Lever Effect, and an economy driven to ruin through 'managing FOR numbers'. The collapse of the Singapore economy and country will be when the Housing Bubble and Foreign Cheap Labour Bubble burst, as burst they must, as is inevitable with all bubbles. If you allow that "Singapore has always been a cheap labour economy", then you understand why so many citizens are unemployed, their woeful statistics disguised by renaming citizens + PRs as "Residents" and why an astounding 35% of the people on this tiny 700 sq km islet are FOREIGNERS.
7. Singapore has always been a cheap labour economy, only that, in the early days, we Singaporeans were the cheap labour, nowadays, the foreign workers are. This is inevitable. Through the years, due to the moronic policies of OverTax & UnderSpend in order to amass huge surpluses and reserves, which are regarded as evidence of success, as all money wealth seems to indicate success, the LIEgime raised the prices of everything, especially HDB flats where a typical tiny 4-room flat that costs S$30,000 to build, as proven by successful contractors' published tender prices, are now selling for >S$640,000. This Bubble can only burst and it will make the US subprime crisis seem modest. So, with frequent price hikes in GST, HDB flat prices, transport, utilities, every single possible cost, Singaporeans cannot pay their mortgage and eat 3 meals without a salary of at least S$1,000, which would be subsistence level. So, in order to keep the cheap labour economy going, Singaporeans are deliberately undercut by importing cheap foreign workers, until now they comprise 35% of people on this islet. UnderSpend means that the housing, transport, whole infrastructure do not keep pace, hence overcrowded metros, buses, malls, even parks. So, high GDP growth is at the expense of or balanced by ruinous social policies and conditions of life for the vast majority.
8. The common thread running through my Iconoclass series is that the supposedly high GDP growth that LIE KY got is false and distorted. Today, I would like to postulate that "True GDP growth is almost impossible and growth in one sector is always offset by decline in another or in a future foregone." We can call this the Zero Sum Game Theory.
9. Let us look at this puzzle or paradox by briefly checking the GDP growths of the advanced economies, especially that of Europe. After all, they have many of the best economists, planners, experts, think tanks, economic data gathering and studies, in the world. So how is it that they can manage no better than the ~2.5% in the best of times, even less in the inevitable troughs and downturns? If you minus the bad times GDPs from the good times, you get No Growth. Even the ~2.5% in good times becomes 0 when inflation and other factors are factored in. So, it is entirely possible that my Theory is right, that GDP Growth is impossible.
10. What of China and Singapore and other seemingly high GDP growth countries? Remember my Theory about 'future foregone'? In the case of China, its laudable record of >10% GDP growth over 3 decades is probably due to its one-child policy in which 2 adult parents pay taxes and contribute to economic activities while producing only 1 child to use back some of those taxes, mostly in minor expenditures such as schooling and a little healthcare, etc. This gives the China govt a big surplus for every family of 2 adults taxes/economics - 1 child's spending. Further, when that child leaves school to work, all 3 contribute for many years thus giving the China govt all 3 surpluses in economics. Any wonder China developed so quickly in just 3 decades? This may seem to contradict my Zero Sum Game Theory that no true GDP growth is possible and any growth is just a rebalancing of different sectors in which some sectors' growth are balanced by others' declines OR balanced by a future foregone or decline. In China's case, when the demographics turns bad, when there are many more old non-working people than young working people, the Zero Sum Game will happen and all the years of positive growth will then be nett off by years of decline. 7 years fat followed by 7 years lean.
11. The US also has had better GDP growth than the advanced European countries but this is offset or balanced by poorer societal conditions and many poor sectors. There is also future foregone in the huge deficits that future generations will have to pay back for the current generation's enjoyment. Zero Sum Game again. Nothing is for free. There is no free lunch.
12. If my Theory is right, then govts and economists must be very, very, careful what they wish for. If they want Big Growth in some sectors, then they must be very careful to ameliorate the declines in other sectors, or society, which will be inevitable. Or costs to future generations. The one salutary effect of my gloomy Theory is that govts and economists may stop chasing the mirage of high GDP growth and ask themselves what it is they really want to do, what they want for their societies. They may then become more like the advanced but slow-growing European countries and try to better the lives of their people, not just feed the economy. Better childcare, better healthcare, better schools, better public transport, better and more rewarding careers and jobs, more fulfilling lives. In the end, isn't this what govt should be all about?
RH Zero Sum Game Theory : "True economic growth is impossible. Growth as measured by GDP and other accountings are possible in some sectors, but are always negated by declines in others, usually measured over-optimistically for the growth sectors and over-pessimistically for the decliners. True growth over a defined period is possible, but only at the expense of future declines, like booms are always followed by busts and bubbles eventually burst. All this is due to the finite natures of Man and his systems. An emphasis in one area/s of endeavour is negated by neglect in another/s. A gain now leads to a loss later. In the end, it all adds up to zero."
Related somewhat to :
RH: MY ACQUAINTANCE, MR DAVID DUCLOS, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION. READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED "I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT" :
[ALSO AT THE ABOVE BLOG, LIE KUAN YEW's LIES, CORRUPTION, WRONGFUL JAILING, TORTURE AND BEATING TO DEATH OF INNOCENT POLITICAL PRISONERS LIKE MR CHAN HOCK HUA]
READ ALSO MARTYN SEE's INTERVIEW WITH ME AT:
FOR QUICK, IRREVERENT REASONS WHY LIE KY DESERVES A NOBEL:
MY ARCHIVE OF WORKS AT:
Thursday, June 19, 2008
1. I had, in this previous Comment in The Online Citizen [ http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/02/knowledge-based-economy-needs-more-uni-education-financing/#more-527 ] first tried to reason dispassionately about Foreigners and their effects on GDP, which have led to an unbelievable tidal wave of foreigners that has swamped our islet. Today, I will try to fuller.
2. What makes a Singaporean? -- vs a foreigner? I had postulated that it is SCE [Shared Common Experience]. "Thus, a Chinese and a Malay Singaporean can have More Shared Experiences than with a Chinese from China. However, if that Chinaman has enough Commonalities when he arrives, and gains more with time, he can be as Singaporean as any local-born." [self quote].
3. Thus, while we become emotional and even angry at Foreigners many advantages over locals, we need to remember that our ancestors were once immigrants but became Singaporeans. Singaporeans vs Foreigners is not one or the other, not Black vs White, but a SCALE which we all, locals or not, are on, each at various points of being more or less Singaporean. Simply, it is how much SCE you have, I think. My maid has worked here ~15 years. She can MRT and commute about, speak, read and write fairly good English, speak Teochew and some Mandarin besides Indonesian, and in looks and behaviour, indistinguishable from Singaporeans. I think, on my basis, she deserves to be given PR instead of the 'Foreign Talent' [FT] who flies in with few Commonalities. This SCE principle may already be implicitly recognised by some countries. My wife's colleague took his maid to London for several years. When he returned, his maid did not — she had qualified for PR!
4. Thus, countries may look into granting PR also on the basis of SCE and not just 'economic value'. This will save much maladjustments to both the immigrant and the receiving society.
5. In PAPadise, it is purely economic value but as usual, stupidly and typically UNTHINKING, leading to great harm and tragic results.
6. For example, suppose you vacuum your floor and wash clothes and dishes. You are generating NO economic value or GDP activity. Thus, a housewife, according to current Economic theories, generates little or no 'economic activity' and thus no GDP. So Singapore housewives are encouraged to work outside home because earning a salary gets recorded as 'economic activity' or 'economic value' and thus gets into the GDP figures. So when she earns $1,000, she 'generates' far more than $1,000 because she commutes, eats outside, buys office clothes, etc. All these suddenly boost the GDP simply because that is how GDP is measured. Further, the maid she has to hire to look after her kids, for $350, also 'generates' far more than $350 because the maid also consumes some personal-use goods and services, etc, thus also boosting the GDP -- again, since this is how GDP is measured. This explains the Second Wave in my 3 Waves Of Labour theory in my essay on Leeconomics [ http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/search/label/RH%3A%20Robert%27s%20Complete%20Case%20against%20Leeconomics%20%5BMain%5D ].
7. Thus, we see the ATTRACTION of foreigners to the MinisterMoron, PrimeMoron, and their Cronies Morons. Even a lowly maid or other foreigner cheap labour generates far more 'GDP activities' than just their nominal salary. To crystallise it, suppose they import a foreigner cripple without arms or legs. This cripple will still 'generate' appreciable GDP activity because he will house, eat, buy diapers, medical care, etc. So more GDP activities. In short, like in the movie "Matrix", just Human Bodies are enough to generate GDP. So the Morons keep importing bodies, almost all cheap labour since they cannot lure betters. Thus, today, >1 in 4 of people in Singapore are foreigners! The most astounding rate in world history! Do LIE KY LHL PAP know something we don't? The contrary.
8. I don't think these Morons, or anybody else, have reasoned it all thus. What they do know is that every time they import foreigners, the GDP goes up and hence, their Performance Bonuses, so they keep importing foreigners even when these DISPLACE LOCALS. In fact, by not understanding all this, their importing policies have the effect of Displacing Locals because the GDP GROWS EVEN MORE THIS WAY. Let me explain : suppose a cheap labour foreigner is imported to displace a local low-wage labourer. This cheap foreigner generates far more than just his nominal salary in GDP activities, so good for the Morons Bonuses. But the unemployed local labourer does not become 0 upon being displaced and unemployed. He still needs to house, eat, utilities, etc, so he still consumes and thus generate GDP activities. So the NET GAIN is not just from the foreigner but also the captive local who still needs to consume and thus generate GDP. Thus, 2-WAY net gains from this Displacement policy. This explains the callous policies and insane tidal wave influx of foreigners, almost all cheap labour -- but never mind, they still generate big GDP. The so-called FT are only handfuls and mostly used to justify the real tidal wave influx of cheap foreigners. FTs have better options elsewhere so most don't come or stay.
9. The Morons are like lab rats in a cage. They have discovered that by pressing the Green Lever, more marbles drop into their cage and somehow, the lab scientists reward them more titbits as a result of the more marbles. So they furiously keep pressing the Green Lever, thinking they are "successful" [Performance Bonuses] even though there are so many marbles they have little living space left. But they still keep pressing as if addicted. This analogy explains the Morons unthinking addiction to foreigners and DELIBERATE DISPLACEMENT of locals -- nothing is NON-Deliberate in Singapore, except maybe the unique or extremely rare KASTARI escape from an ISD prison! Which is why it is so unbelievable and led to so many conspiracy theories.
10. Another example of this unthinking Green Lever Syndrome is the DELIBERATE [like Displacement of low-wage Singaporean workers -- IN MANY CASES, ALSO HIGHER WAGE ONES, TOO] policy to bias towards Manufacturing as against Services. Our Morons have always scorned Hongkong for its Service Economy and prided themselves on still having a big Manufacturing sector. The Green Lever Syndrome at work again.
11. In the first place, Hongkong DOES have manufacturing and very big, too, except that it is all captured as China statistics in Shenzhen and other centres. Second, it is Green Lever Syndrome again because manufacturing is mostly measurable in $ [as in widget parts costs and final selling prices] and so easily captured into final GDP figures whereas Services like a Hongkong clerk processing forms or answering calls in a Call Centre is difficult to value in $ and so only their nominal salaries get into the GDP. This doesn't mean that Manufacturing is superior to Services! as the Morons think. Only that one is more measurable than the other -- at least in $ and GDP terms. But, just like reading to a child or volunteer social work instructing elderlies in exercise, activities that are not capturable in GDP does not mean inferior or not worth doing, as the Morons believe in both thought and action.
12. Thus, Hongkong has a more 'normal', REAL economy as opposed to the LIEgime FALSE and distorted economy. For example, like all Real economies, Hongkong considers many factors besides GDP numbers, such as inflation, unemployment, jobs creation, consumer spending, social spending and welfare, govt spending and taxations, etc, and devises policies towards these [multiple] ends, whereas the False and distorted economy of the LIEgime is constructed and deliberately designed to produce high GDP numbers only. The US, probably the most intelligently monitored and managed economy, has a whole slew of economic indicators besides GDP numbers. US business media almost daily analyse dozens of indicators, from housing starts to PMI to Producer Price Indices, stock indices and prices, etc, and not just the final GDP numbers. Only the LIEgime stupidly constructs an economy solely to produce high GDP numbers. Thus, Hongkong's Real economy is probably many times bigger and better than the False economy of the LIEgime, which is more like a shop window display, artificial and FOR SHOW ONLY, like everything else about the LIEgime.
13. This False economy of the LIEgime is paralleled by its equally stupid education policies. In Education, there is also obsession with scoring high marks in exams, thus paralleling the construction of the False economy to score high GDP numbers. So, schools, principals, teachers and students are obsessed only with scoring high marks in exams. This means that non-exam subjects are hardly taught and studied. Worse, teachers and students choose subjects purely to score high marks, hence the decades-long bias to Math and Science subjects [far easier to score] than say, Lit and Lang. Unfortunately, due to the nature of Singaporeans and the way Math is taught from primary to university, this bias produces several generations of unintelligent 'scholars' [many become Cronies Ministers or Generals who later metamorphosise into GLC CEOs] who, other than high Math marks, cannot think, since Language is the Basis of Thought, not Math. Thus, when you teach [and learn] TO the test or exam, you do score high marks but learn little, in not much of an education.
14. Thus, the LIEgime has only 5 aims of govt. First, to entrench and further the LIE family stranglehold on power and to increase that power without limit so as to control every aspect of work and life in Singapore. Second, to LOOK GOOD always -- an obsession -- even if this is only surface or cosmetic. Third, as regards the economy, to produce high GDP numbers. Fourth, to produce huge budget surpluses. This means decades of unremitting, relentless, Overtax and Underspend policies, overtaxing exorbitantly on everything possible, especially HDB housing, car taxes [both giving many, many, multiples of profit or rather, profiteering], GST, etc, while underspending on everything else except the military, which always has the biggest budget allocations. Thus, Singaporeans are overtaxed in every way possible and imaginable while spending on heathcare, education, the poor, etc, are all shortchanged. The budget surpluses are not enough apparently, so in order to create even bigger and more impressive Reserves and SWF [Fifth goal], Singaporeans CPF are withheld to make the Reserves bigger. Thus, Singaporeans have little access to and cannot even withdraw their own monies because the LIEgime wants it in its own kitty. CPF was as much as 40% of every worker salary and bonus OVER HIS LIFETIME CAREER, now slightly less. Thus, 'managing by/for results', which is pretty legitimate, became bastardised, like everything else, to become 'managing by numbers', further bastardised to 'managing FOR [GDP] numbers'. Thus, the economy is constructed mainly to score high GDP numbers and the easiest way is to massively import foreigners -- preferably rich -- but practically, mostly cheap labour, since millionaires or FTs cannot be imported in numbers for various reasons. This explains why the LIEgime bends over backwards [this time] to play nice to all foreigners. It also explains why there is such an unbelievable tidal wave of foreigners in Singapore, the Third Wave in my essay.
15. The >1 in 4 of us being foreigners has obviously [how can anyone NOT notice!] become 'sensitive', meaning actually 'explosive' -- as it would be in a democracy instead of the secretive, suppressive dictatorship here. So, being politicians, and a govt obsessed with looking good ["Every time LIE KY looks good, the Truth doesn't" -- self quote] they spin and rationalise. They also Reclassify. This Reclassification trick reclassifies foreigners as Residents, PRs and even citizens to reduce resentment when the 'official' figures are out. If we grant PRs and citizenship more on SCE, this Reclassification trick will be harder. As is now, they can, with a simple sleight of the hand, change the numbers of foreigners into Residents, PRs and citizens. There is here, the 'magic trick' of DOUBLE or 2-WAY 'gains', just like in Displacing local low wage and even HIGH WAGE workers with foreigners. When the LIEgime reclassifies a foreigner into a PR or citizen, 1 MORE is added to the PR or citizen group while 1 LESS is reduced in the foreigner group. So double-counting 'gains'! But foreigner or local or whatever, the buses, trains, food centres, roads, infrastructures, malls, etc, are all overcrowded [noticed the many big groups of dark-skinned young men watching the big tv displays or loitering near the money-changers or just loitering]? The problem is vaster than anyone, including the Morons, realise. They are just rats pressing levers and thinking they are doing a great job.
16. What can anyone do about it? Nothing. LIE KY LHL PAP are proven to have rigged the 1997 Cheng San GRC election, almost certainly also the 1963 General Elections in a suspicious 6-hour electricity blackout centred around the City Hall Vote Counting Centre, most probably also the Ong Teng Cheong Presidential election, plus the Malaysia Referendum that offered no, only rigged, choices. We can all do nothing because LIE KY LHL PAP need no mandate since they cheat massively ['winning' 82 out of 84 seats is mathematically, politically and electorally impossible without massive cheating -- like Saddam Hussein >90% votes every 'election'] so they do what they like, "never mind what the people think" -- LIE KY.
17. According to a 2008 report from the Asian Development Bank, "The Singapore govt estimates that foreign labour contributed 3.2% of its annual growth rate of 7.8% in the 1990's." Another factoid : >40% of Singapore total labour force are cheap foreign labourers and >170,000 of the nearly 1 million foreign labourers are maids.
18. In an official Report from the ManPower Ministry for 2006 : http://www.mom.gov.sg/publish/momportal/en/communities/others/mrsd/Publications/ReportonLabourForceinSingapore2006.html
The 2006 Total Labour Force was 2.59m; 'Residents' [note Reclassification Trick] were 1.80m. UNEMPLOYED 'Residents' [seasonally adjusted] were 70,000 or 3.6% but 84,000 or 4.5% non-seasonally adjusted.
19. The point to note is that the overwhelming PAPaganda which has overpowered all thinking and discussions about foreigners, is that firstly, "foreigners do the dirty and dangerous jobs we locals shun". Secondly, "FT do the kind of Talented Jobs that we locals don't have the Talent to do so shut up and don't dare complain when YOUR job goes to a foreigner". Thirdly, "foreigners average DOWN business costs so businesses can profit more" [this is actually done by rigidly tying foreigners to employers so they cannot jobhop to better, plus other draconian conditions to give employers great advantages to exploit them, which explains why no employer wants Singaporeans!]
20. To this, I can only ask, pointing to MOM statistics in Paragraph 18, are there really so many "dirty and dangerous" jobs in Singapore? Or so many Talent jobs we cannot do? To the extent 3.6%/4.5% of us are unemployed? Or is it the usual politicians scapegoating and 'blaming the victims'? After all, even garbage collection is highly mechanised, requiring few workers. Same for cleaners who even drive cleaning machines. Same for construction work, since there is a limit to how many workers can work at any time because concrete floors are laid and harden floor by floor. The Truth is, employers PREFER foreigners because they can be exploited far more easily due to LIEgime policies, entirely pro-business and anti-workers at the best of times, having jailed union leaders from the moment LIE KY seized power half a century ago, who then constructed and maintained by force, a fake NTUC 'union' body to further supppress workers, an NTUC whose main objective like every LIEgime org or institution, is to profit from its multiplicity of businesses from supermarket 'co-ops' to condos and even funeral parlours.
21. This is the tragedy for us -- not for the Morons. They just keep pressing levers and collecting marbles and Performance Bonuses. While the tidal wave of foreigners continue to swamp every aspect of life on this little islet.
Recommended Reading :
A recent 500-page brilliant, extensively-researched book, “Lion Without Teeth” that proves that everything most people, especially foreigners, know about Singapore and LIE KY are carefully planted and fabricated LIES.
On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 10:03 AM, Robert HO
1. Since this is INFLATION Week in TOC, thought I would contribute the following snippets. Just short quotes and their urls :
"...fixated on wholly meaningless govt data that managed to report the lowest inflation... However, the govt's ability to make 'economic growth' magically appear is based purely on statistical finesse."
"...govt [should] adjust nominal GDP gains using the GDP deflator, which represents the inflation rate. This is done to strip inflation out of the GDP calculation so that only real growth gets counted: not nominal gains that result purely from inflation."
"Similar illusions are created in other numbers, such as retail sales, corporate earnings, and stock prices, which are all rising merely as a result of actual inflation being higher than the official reports. For example, higher retail sales reflect consumers paying higher prices for the products that they buy. They may in fact be buying less stuff, but are paying more for it."
"Similarly, just as inflation causes prices to rise for goods and services, it causes stock prices to rise as well. Though such gains may be less than the actual increase in the cost of living, as long as the govt gets away with using bogus CPI numbers which fail to fully reflect inflation, ...takes credit for nominal gains as if they were real."
"However, as ridiculous as the phony GDP number was, yesterday's biggest joke was a report on global competitiveness put out by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which ranked the [LIE KY LHL PAP] economy as [among] the world's most competitive. To arrive at this conclusion, the forum has obliterated the obvious under a mountain of theory. In determining country rankings, the WEF weighed strengths in their "12 Pillars of Competitiveness", including: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation. It is as if the WEF decided to judge a weight loss contest without using a scale, by instead focusing only on mental attitude, dedication, perseverance, and nutritional education! As a result the prize is awarded to the fattest contestant. [Singapore] is clearly not [among] the most competitive economies in the world.
"More Proof That Numbers Lie"
"Numbers don't lie, do they? Ha! Numbers are the biggest liars on the planet."
"...govt statisticians – and corporate ones too – typically "crunch" numbers into the shape they want. Numbers get punched, beaten, hammered, bullied, and bamboozled. When the torture session is over they'll admit to anything. That is how we get a "consumer price index" of only 3%...when everyone knows prices are rising a lot faster.
"Increasing prices in just about everything has overshadowed the city state's prosperity in the last four years."
"The city-state has been hit by an unceasing bout of price increases that has overshadowed the city's prosperity in the past four years. Inflation is at its worst here in 12 years [now 26 years] and has become the people's biggest worry today. For many, the high costs are blurring the Singapore Dream."
"Worst affected is the broad middle class, ...a punishing [from] 5% to 7% rise in the Goods and Services Tax (GST)."
"There are two immediate effects. The value of money is dropping by the week, and savings are discouraged since consumer prices are rising faster than interest the banks pay on deposits."
"The govt appears unable to take action to stop the epidemic, a contrast to the first-generation govt during such crises."
"But so strong and persistent is inflation that many Singaporeans feel they are the poorer for it."
"...the govt ...priorities are economic growth and asset accumulation (for foreign investments) – even at the expense of a higher cost of living. To that end, it has increased GST from 5% to 7% and may eventually reach 10%. Fees for public services are being raised to ensure no drop in Treasury collection."
"Deficit budget, although not entirely unknown in Singapore, is a very rare happening."
"Many young professionals who just start off in life are worried that the sharp run-up in property prices has made it virtually impossible for them to buy a flat. Some are putting off marriage or raising children."
"Understandably inflation has become a hot debate subject. This is tough for the middle class and working class, which are just struggling for a living amidst the perceived wealth, unhappy and with few choices in life."
"Grocery bills increase as prices for foodstuffs go up."
"A Straits Times check on a random basket of basic goods sold at supermarkets here revealed price increases in almost every category, from fresh chicken to coffee and milk formula."
"Rising food prices have contributed to inflation here. September's  overall Consumer Price Index showed that prices generally retreated by 0.3 per cent from the previous month, but the food component - the biggest item at 23% - rose 3.7% as the cost of fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood and milk powder, as well as hawker and restaurant food, went up."
"Consumers The Straits Times spoke to said that while increases for each item may seem like a token sum, together, they add up to a much bigger grocery bill."
"She said that rental on her stall, which is now S$4,500 a month, is set to rise to S$5,500 at the start of next year, and then to S$6,500 in 2009."
"In GDP math, sometimes one plus one equals zero."
"If you don't understand that, welcome to the confusing world of national income accounting, where up sometimes is down, and where sometimes one plus one can equal zero."
"Because of the way govt counts and reports the numbers, real-life inflation was understated and growth was [therefore] overstated."
"The economy didn't really grow 3.9%, and inflation really wasn't 0.8%. The numbers aren't as good as they look."
"...it did produce quirky numbers that don't accurately reflect reality, even though they are correct from an accounting point of view. The accounting is right. But it's not reality."
"Why the GDP link?" "...the higher the gross domestic product (GDP), the bigger the bonus — even some ruling party MPs question the wisdom of such a link."
"If Monday's parliamentary debate on pay revisions for ministers and civil servants focused mainly on that "benchmark thing", yesterday's session saw the spotlight being trained on the GDP bonus."
"This bonus is a component which ministers, parliamentary secretaries, top civil servants and MPs are eligible for. Several of the 13 backbenchers who spoke yesterday had reservations about the GDP bonus. One common refrain heard in the House was whether it is a fair performance peg to use."
"We all know that a rise in GDP may not benefit all sectors of society equally. Some may even lag behind. I would suggest that the Govt consider using indicators that directly impact the livelihood of all Singaporeans," said Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC)."
"He proposed one other indicator to be considered: That of the total cost of running the Govt as a percentage of total revenue. After all, CEOs in the private sector have to ensure profits are not eroded by increasing [inflation] costs and expenses, Mr Loo said."
"Other suggestions of alternative benchmarks included: The consumer price index and the inflation rate, as a way to keep cost of living affordable and protect savings; citizens' feedback to major public services; the number of jobs created for Singaporeans; and even the number of Singaporeans who migrate."
"Based on the latest revisions, ministers will enjoy a GDP bonus of between 3 and 8 months if the economy grows between 5% and 10% or more. But they will not get any bonus if the economy grows by 2% or less. For example, the entry-level annual salary of a minister this year is expected to include a 5.9-month bonus based on Singapore's estimated GDP growth of between 4.5% and 6.5%."
"Another comparison, between the civil service pay increases and the S$30 monthly increase for those on Public Assistance, was raised in the House. Said NMP Kalyani Mehta: "If we are going to be [so] generous to civil servants, then let's be generous to the very poor." In response, Mr Teo Chee Hean, Defence Minister and Minister-in-Charge of the Civil Service, said: "The needs of these individuals are quite different and we need to find more holistic and flexible ways of looking after their needs.""
"One new issue that cropped up yesterday was the danger of concentrating too much power and money in the hands of top public officers. MP Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC) said: "As responsible leaders, we must be careful not to leave behind a system or structure that combines power and monetary rewards to such high levels that incumbents are so handcuffed by this lethal combination that they find it hard to let go." NMP Eunice Olsen argued that the coupling of political and financial power is more likely to lead to the creation of a rogue govt."
"On this issue, Mr Teo said that the checks are elections [RH: a lie since elections are routinely rigged] and the ruling party's selection process. "If (a person's) motivations are self-serving or to make money, we do not select him. And if we discover that's what he's about after he has come in, we drop him," he said.
"But economists say one crucial aspect to watch out for is rising inflation. It hit 2.9% in August - the biggest monthly rise since 1994. MAS expects inflation of 1.5% to 2% this year, and up to 3.5% for the first half of 2008. But it expects this to ease in the second half of the year, with inflation at 2% to 3% for the whole of 2008."
RH: Many, many, THANKS to Mr Kaye Poh, from whose brilliant email all the above articles are sourced and excerpted here. The thrust of all these articles prove convincingly enough, that GDP Numbers are faked Higher when Inflation is faked Lower than it really is. They prove why LIE KY LHL PAP kept reporting abnormally Low inflation numbers for decades, when the experience of every Singaporean is of rampant inflation. Also, by reporting falsely Low inflation numbers, LIE KY LHL PAP disguise the simple fact that our CPF monies are actually Reducing in value, eroded by Inflation because the miserable, exploitative, cheating, scam 'interest' they give us are far, far, below inflation -- "an implicit tax" as Prof Mukul Asher [ http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/Faculty_Mukul_Asher.aspx ] wrote. . Also, by reporting -- and convincing us through their PAPaganda media -- that inflation is 'low', the alleged GDP each year becomes automatically and fakedly Higher thereby giving the Ministers and top civil servants more millions in GDP 'Performance Bonuses'!!! Disgusting, dirty, cheats and scammers who routinely rig elections so as to be able to keep paying themselves more millions.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
1. An Iconoclass is an iconoclast who does it with class. This essay is an expanded version of a comment I penned in The Online Citizen 2 days ago on January 15, 2008 at 6:10 pm as Comment 22 in http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/01/15/mm-lee-lucky-indonesians/#comments in which I first publicly penned thoughts I had recently conceived. Thoughts that are a sudden realisation of something I had skimmed recently, probably a UN Report on Cities and its mention that many/most? people are now living in cities. The sudden realisation was that this fact, that many/most of humanity are now living in cities, must be because of the many advantages/efficiencies of city life versus suburban or countryside life. This instantly crystallised the thoughts that Singapore's -- and Hongkong's as well as other similar cities' -- economic progress owe much to the efficiencies of CITIFICATION and HIGH DENSITY LIVING. AS WELL AS TINYNESS. These latter thoughts are not new and I have had them for some time, maybe even a year or more, and have exampled them in the closeness of bus stops in Singapore -- and Hongkong, etc -- where buses can come far more frequently than in Less Dense Cities. There, future historians can now trace these ideas that follow in this essay.
2. We all know vaguely that cities, especially very dense cities, offer higher efficiencies and therefore a higher quality of life. For example, to reprise my Bus Stop examples, bus stops in Singapore -- and Hongkong, etc, can be sited less than 1 km apart and buses come frequently, even 5 minutes apart, and it can all be still profitable. Thus, high density = high efficiency = high quality of life. The 3 HIGHs Theory. Another example; in dense cities, you can find everything nearby, from cardiologists and toe transplant surgeons to shops selling pet chihuahuas. If you un-migrate from the city to the suburb or countryside, you will instantly suffer loss of or unreliable cellphone signal reception as well as a host of other inefficiencies and inconveniences from sparse petrol stations to lack of Chinese restaurants. Thus, I don't need to labour the point further.
3. Given that cities are automatically far more efficient than suburbs or countrysides, we can now examine Singapore, Hongkong and similars. Singapore and Hongkong are among the densest cities in the world and renowned for their efficiencies and high quality of life. The S$3.7++ million dollar question is then, "Are these the achievements of their govts or simply the inevitable effects of simple economic laws such as supply and demand, low costs of logistics, the efficiencies of tinyness where a deliveryman and his van/truck can do a dozen trade deliveries a day compared with say, having to drive 50-100 km to each delivery point and hence only making 2-3 deliveries a day. In shopping [very important for economics and quality of life, since life and economics revolve around buying and consuming], a Best Denki or Challenger electronics store can revenue even S$1 million a day and hence can afford to display lavish displays of laptops and flat panel TVs for shoppers to try and experience, etc. A Giant hypermarket need only be a km or 2 away and offer a vast cornucopia of products you can never try them all even in a lifetime.
4. Thus, the unending PAPaganda of Good News and Even More Triumphs of LIE KY LHL PAP and its controlled, fawning, worshipful, media must be countered with the understanding that almost all of Singapore's -- and for that matter, Hongkong's, etc, economic achievements ARE DUE TO CITIFICATION, TINYNESS AND ULTRA HIGH DENSITY OF POPULATION. In fact, I will proffer that even China's astounding economic progress over the last few decades, is largely due to Density. Of course, being Chinese, with all the usual, typical, Chinese characteristics and cultural values, etc, also help but it is probably Density that explains everything. Realising and proving this is important because it offers lessons for the rest of humanity and the world. An indication of my theory as expressed in China is the fact that almost all of China's economic juggernaut progress is in the Dense Cities and not the suburb or countryside. Point proven? Probably.
5. The fact that Hongkong never had a LIE KY -- or China, or Taiwan [among world's 20 biggest economies], for that matter, proves conclusively that LIE KY is not the reason for Singapore's progress. Singapore would have made similar progress under LIM Chin Siong, if he had not been treacherously supplanted by LIE KY in a secret deal with then British PM Harold MacMillan, to serve British interests in return for the arrest, jailing and political elimination of LIM without charge or trial under the ISA. LIE KY's treacherous nature also saw him collaborating with the Japanese during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in WW2, when other young Singaporeans were going into the jungles to fight and resist the Japanese.
6. However, although with some research, I could probably draw many other cities and countries as examples of my theory, I consider it proven, even with these limited, unacademic examples. I would like to finish by comparing Hongkong's progress with Singapore's, since they are almost as identical as twins. At first glance, Singapore and Hongkong's economies seem comparable, with Singapore slightly ahead [2006 estimates of Nominal Per Capita GDP puts Singapore slightly ahead at 21st spot with US$34,152 against Hongkong's 27th spot with US$29,149] but these figures OVERSTATE for Singapore due to LIE KY LHL PAP incessant manipulation and falsification of statistics so the Cabinet can pay themselves bigger million-dollar 'Performance Bonuses', since these bonuses are directly correlated to GDP! while the Hongkong Govt gains nothing from exaggerating GDP numbers and so doesn't lie about it like LIE KY LHL PAP.
7. In fact, I believe that Hongkong's GDP is grossly UNDERSTATED and exceeds by far that of Singapore's. For example, prior to around 1978, Hongkong was the biggest toy maker in the world and every kid in the world had at least 1 water pistol or model car Made In Hongkong. After Deng Xiao Ping opened the adjoining Shenzhen SEZ around 1978, Hongkong's toy industry disappeared. Relocated to nextdoor Shenzhen. Thus, although official statistics would seem that Hongkong today has little or no toy [and other] manufacturing industries, THESE STATISTICS ARE CAPTURED AS CHINA [SHENZHEN] PRODUCTION EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE OWNED AND DRIVEN BY HONGKONGERS. Hongkong has no manufacturing? Only services, mostly financial? That is erroneous. To correct this, economists should include most of Shenzhen's economic output to Hongkong, not China. Worse, Hongkongers, having conquered Shenzhen, went on to other parts of China, especially Shanghai and Beijing, not just in toy manufacturing but also a vast outpouring of goods and services industries. Hongkong businessmen are so brilliant they dance circles around the Singaporean, whose Chineseness and business acumen and native ingenuity have been distorted by LIE KY into obedient, even STUPID, fearful, cowed sheep who cannot think, let alone solve problems or start and run businesses. Every Dictator produces stupid people and since LIE KY is an Absolute Dictator, the most powerful in history over his people, naturally the Singaporean is now very, very stupid. The GLCs' dominance and deliberate elimination of small businesses so as to reduce the ranks of financially independent [and hence politically independent] Singaporeans to render all subservient to LIE KY also deleted the business genes from Singaporeans.
8. Thus, there are several lessons for humanity here. High density living = high efficiencies = high quality living. Town planners and architects, please note. Cities offer better lives than suburbs or countrysides. Hongkong is what a truly free and open society and economy can achieve in quality living as well as GDP, trumping Singapore by far in everything. LIE KY LHL PAP are stupid and cheats, not only cheating in elections but also true GDP figures and other statistics. Overpaid, incompetent, cheats. I rest my case.
Recommended Reading :
Recent 500-page brilliant, extensively-researched book, “Lion Without Teeth” that proves that everything most people, especially foreigners, know about Singapore and LIE KY are carefully planted and fabricated LIES.