Saturday, 23 February 2013

Imperial Partnership, Great Famine and Singapore Inc. under the PAP


In my previous post [(http://pijitailai.blogspot.sg/2013/02/sustainable-singapore-or-sustainable.html)],  I used the IPAT equation to show the PAP government is adopting the developing country’s mind-set to run a developed country.  Hence, the emphasis of population driven economy is always the strategy option for the PAP leaders, from the first (father) until the third (son) generation leadership.

I also discussed the PAP is just like an East India Company (http://pijitailai.blogspot.sg/2013/02/political-tsunami-pap-is-just-another.html),  running Singapore like a British master (governor). And so the administration option is to have local middle men and women as elites helping the PAP to rule Singapore Inc. 

Imperial partnership means the partnership between the British rulers and the local middle men (i.e. elites).  They are happily co-operating with each other for mutual benefits, i.e. British administrators enjoy their life, pay (million dollars?), and helping British businesses.  While the local Indian elites also get their education, income and business enhanced.  Similar imperial partnership can also be found in China, in the late Qing dynasty. 

Singapore Inc. under the PAP has noticed this advantage and it even goes one step further, to enlarge the imperial partnership to foreign talents.  The saying is we do not have enough local talents (elites) and for economic development we need more and so we need to import more foreign elites. We must give the PAP a credit for creating a new extended meaning of imperial partnership, a tri-parte co-operation of rulers, local and foreign elites.

Before I go further, let revisit the sad history of the Great Famine in India: 

The case of Great Famine 1876-1878 in India In part, the Great Famine may have been caused by an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau.[2] However, the commodification of grain, and the cultivation of alternate cash crops also may have played a role,[3] as could have the export of grain by the colonial government; during the famine the viceroy, Lord Lytton, oversaw the export to England of a record 6.4 million hundredweight of wheat.[4] 
The famine occurred at a time when the colonial government was attempting to reduce expenses on welfare. Earlier, in the Bihar famine of 1873–74, severe mortality had been avoided by importing rice from Burma. However, the Government of Bengal and its Lieutenant-Governor,Sir Richard Temple, were criticized for excessive expenditure on charitable relief.[5] Sensitive to any renewed accusations of excess in 1876, Temple, who was now Famine Commissioner for the Government of India,[1]insisted not only on a policy of laissez faire with respect to the trade in grain,[6] but also on stricter standards of qualification for relief and on more meager relief rations.[1] Two kinds of relief were offered: "relief works" for able-bodied men, women, and working children, and gratuitous (or charitable) relief for small children, the elderly, and the indigent.[7] 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1876%E2%80%931878#Famine_and_relief

More information on this sad history of Great Famine can be found in the Internet.  There is even a youtube video giving analysis on this particular case:


History as we read and know may not be 100% correct and providing a true picture. So do the case of using the British rulers as the PAP leaders under the imperial partnership.  However, history always serves as a reminder to us and unfortunately history always repeats itself.  

Reasons for the Great Famine and potential risks in Singapore:


Great Famine reasons
Potential risks in Singapore
1
Bad harvest and crops
We cannot guarantee our economy is always growing so do the world economy.
2
Lots of Indian produce are exported to world market (that benefits British and local businessmen)  
We depend heavily on export and trade. We need foreign investments. No profit they will go away.
3
Due to export, foodstuff is not available to South India.
We import foodstuff with strong S$.  Cost of living is a big concern in Singapore, especially low income families.
4
Liberal economic policy, government should not intervene the market, esp. helping the poor.
Govt is in partnership with businesses (local and British) in the export of foodstuff.
We are not a welfare state. We are an open and free market.  We must support foreign and local businesses for their labour demand. MNCs, GLCs and the govt are partners.
5
Stricter standards of qualification for relief and on more meager relief rations.
Social welfare, medical coverage, CPF MSS, housing, all these are problems of unhappiness.    

If you read about news of “Incomes up for most, not for poorest”#1, the rise of inequality and the high GINI in Singapore#2, one will have to worry the fate of lower income families in Singapore. The PAP government always claims that they are ready to help but like the British administrators in colonial India they seem to be more interested to partner with local and foreign elites in creating wealth than helping the poor.

Singaporean core has reasons to worry about the Population White Paper, worrying about their future and their children’s future under the new imperial partnership. This is in particular the concern of Tan Jee Say – the political implication of new citizens. 
<The only reason to give them citizenship is political, not economic. New citizens tend to vote for the government of the day – just look at what is happening in East Malaysia. 130,000 new citizens voted in the 2011 General Election, representing 6.32% of the total vote. Without them, PAP’s share of the national vote would have dropped to below 54% and several more constituencies would have been lost to the opposition. With 25,000 new citizens a year for the 5 years to 2016, there will be another 125,000 new citizens, accounting for 5-6% of the national vote; together with 60% they had in GE2011, this  gives the PAP a buffer of 15-16% before its share drops below 50%. It is a very high hurdle for the opposition to overcome. At the constituency level, new citizens give the government an additional tool to gerrymander. New citizens can be added in sufficient numbers to save vulnerable constituencies. So the White Paper will help the PAP maintain its grip on the government without having to care for Singaporeans’  well-being.> Tan Jee Say’s speech at Hong Lim Park 16 Feb 2013
In some ways, it seems to suggest that more new citizens are to strengthen the new imperial partnership (PAP-local and foreign elites).  And clearly, who will suffer if there is a crisis in Singapore?  Oh, we still have our reserve but do you think the government will use it to help the poor who are hungry and homeless? 

The worst case scenario is we do not know how much is in our reserve.  Do we really have the reserved money when we need it most?

What do you think?

#1
http://www.asiaone.com/print/A1Business/News/Story/A1Story20130223-403999.html

#2
http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/singapore-income-inequality-rise-dept-135226813.html

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