Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lee Ang, Can Budget 2013 Produce One?

What is the relationship between Lee Ang and our Budget? No, not at all, the Budget is fully of figures, incentives, taxes, costs, etc.  However, when you talk about quality and inclusive growth, better Singapore and restructuring, then you will need a creative and innovative solution.
After reading the figures, the mainstream commentaries and the examples benefiting families, this is what I mean creativity - The Budget cannot produce creative businesses and individuals. The most, it can help to achieve, is to raise the productivity; even that it is harder and harder to achieve.   

“Shifting gears for better S’pore” as described in Mypaper today, does it mean using the same old (PAP) car to shift gear? No, we need a creative car to face the challenges of restructuring.   

This is why I mention Lee Ang.  His creativity brings him a second Oscar award – a quality growth.  And his inclusive growth achievement makes many Asian proud in particular Chinese and Indian people. Prior to the announcement of the Academy award, Lee commented there was a lack of respect for Asians in the western movie industry.   His winning at least shows the opposite.

Creative economy

Coincidently, the new South Korean President, Park Geun Hye vows for a new “Miracle on the Han”.  She wants to build a new “creative economy’, moving out of the traditional manufacturing base. And most importantly, she wants to implement “economic democratization” meaning a more level playing field for small and medium size companies.

Like our GLCs, South Korean economy is controlled by the giant and family-run conglomerates (chaebols). The new President has sent a warning to them.

Unfortunately, we hear no similar (bold) creative policies or strategies in the Budget, only repeating the same old solutions – more taxes on the luxury cars and property, incentives for productivity, families, etc.

Knowing and not doing

The PAP knows the solutions but refuses to take the necessary steps.  This is because using population to drive the economy, pushing the wages downward is a quick and easy solution.  

Table 1: 1965-2011 Singapore population and income@
Year
Population (‘000)
Population increase (‘000, %)
Income@ (S$)
Income increase (S$, %)
Government Administration (PM)
1965
1,886.9

1,631

Lee Kuan Yew
1990
3,047.1
1,160.2 61.49%
22,868
21237 1302.1%
Goh Chok Tong
2004
4,166.7
1,119.6 36.74%
42,455
19,587 85.65%
Lee Hsien Loong
2011
5,183.7
1,017 24.41%
61,692
19237 45.31%

@ Per capita GNI at current market prices
Source: Department of Statistics, Singapore

No wonder, China also refuses to learn from us. A famous Chinese economist, Wu Jing-lian urges and recommends that China can no longer follow Singapore’s way of authoritarian control.# 

Wu pointed out that as early as 2000 in Davos World Economic Forum Lee Kuan Yew had already mentioned the Confucian problem and the USA will remain creative and innovative.  He commented that here (in China), people still talks about learning from Singapore but this is already outdated.#     

This comment is quite close to view points of Lee Kuan Yew’s new book:   
China will never match US in innovation: Lee Kuan 
YewIn a new book about the relationship between China and the United States, Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew says China will never be able to compete with the United States in terms of creativity, reports the Australian.http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130221000091&cid=1101
Economist Wu also mentioned about the Suzhou Industrial Park.  In the beginning, it might be good to use the Russian authoritarian system (referring to Singapore). But when it comes to the 21st century, the same authoritarian way is not suitable. #

Instead, he stresses the importance of creativity:   
From a follower to a member of leading group, you need original creativity. The government cannot direct you to do this and do that. You need to be creative and demand less restriction.    
它从一个追赶者变成领跑集团的一名成员,就是说它需要原始性的创新。用政府来指挥你来干这个你来干那个,这个不行,这个需要有创造性,需要减轻束缚。#
Wu also said in fact in the 1990s when he was doing research in Singapore, the government had already noticed the problem as many citizens (professionals) were leaving Singapore.   This is why he (Lee) thinks in the information age, (the government) should promote entrepreneurship and creative spirit.#

We should restructure our economy long ago in the 1990s or 2000.  But the government takes the easy route – population increase.  Our population grows faster and faster and it takes shorter time to increase one million people in Singapore.
Year
Total Population ('000)
Singapore Residents ('000)
Prime Minister
1990 (Census)
3,047.1
2,735.9
Goh Chok Tong
1991
3,135.1
2,794.7
1992
3,230.7
2,849.8
1993
3,313.5
2,904.5
1994
3,419.0
2,959.4
1995
3,524.5
3,013.5
1996
3,670.7
3,068.1
1997
3,796.0
3,123.4
1998
3,927.2
3,180.0
1999
3,958.7
3,229.7
2000 (Census)
4,027.9
3,273.4
2001
4,138.0
3,325.9
2002
4,176.0
3,382.9
2003
4,114.8
3,366.9
2004
4,166.7
3,413.3
Lee Hsien Loong
2005
4,265.8
3,467.8
2006
4,401.4
3,525.9
2007
4,588.6
3,583.1
2008
4,839.4
3,642.7
2009
4,987.6
3,733.9
2010 (Census)
5,076.7
3,771.7
2011
5,183.7
3,789.3
2012
5,312.4
3,818.2
Dept. of Statistics, Singapore

Goh Chok Tong takes about 10 years to increase 1 million people from 3.047 million in 1990 to 4.027 million in 2000.  In fact, the population growth slowed down during the last 3 years of Goh Administration. However, Lee Hsien Loong takes only 7 years to increase 1 million people from 4.166 million in 2004 to 5.183 million in 2011. 

Our economic restructuring, our push for innovative and creative spirit should begin long ago.  The government, even knowing the problem, still refuses to change and still want to maintain the authoritarian control.

Now according to the economist Wu, China can no longer learn from us. The South Koreans under the new President wants to change and want to become a creative economy.   

And right now, we still discuss about the old authoritarian way of population growth.   So, the Budget cannot produce a Lee Ang as we still talk about human productivity and others have uplift to creative spirit and innovation ambition.    

Really, is the budget a quality and inclusive growth model or just another population driven exercise?  

#吴敬琏:中国不能再走新加坡式威权主义道路 
  但是很不幸,我们东方国家改革非常困难,包括日本在明治维新脱亚入欧。另外一个例子是新加坡,新加坡大致上是福建省的移民组成的,但是在英国殖民时代把西方的法制框架引进来。所以它是一个很特别的威权主义的法制国家,一方面国家政府强大有力,另一方面它还要走法律程序。我在新加坡也待过,反对党的领袖往往被起诉,往往被判,领导人的攻击诽谤罪赔款赔的倾家荡产。这些东西它在追赶时代,看不大出来它对经济发展的影响。因为强有力的政府如果善于学习,又具有效率,别的国家是怎么走的它能掌握。所以威权主义的政府还是可以有效地支撑经济发展。 
    李光耀先生一直说美国人那一套不行,我们亚洲价值观比它搞的要好,用儒家的思想来治国。但是在2000年的时候,它出现了一个使得全世界关心亚洲发展的人都震惊的一个言论,就是在2000年达沃斯会议上他接受了外国记者的采访,他说在信息时代,儒家思想已经落后了。我们这里比较闭塞,很多人还再说我们应该学新加坡。但是在早期阶段,如果说在20世纪我们学新加坡用俄国式威权主义治理国家比法制要先进。所以我们在苏州工业园区学习新加坡这一套,以至于拓展到整个苏南地区,这个起到很好的作用,但是21世纪不对了,因为它已经发现这个不行了。发生什么变化呢?它从一个追赶者变成领跑集团的一名成员,就是说它需要原始性的创新。用政府来指挥你来干这个你来干那个,这个不行,这个需要有创造性,需要减轻束缚。其实早在90年代我在新加坡国内政治研究所工作,90年代他们内部的调查已经知道,专业人员都觉得太束缚,不愿意在新加坡待。到了20世纪他们的领导人确实是比较有眼光,他发现这个不行。90年代的调查,大概有70%以上的人希望移民,就是专业移民。所以他就提出,在信息时代要发扬的是企业家,发扬创造精神 
http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2013-02/24/c_124380346.htm

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