Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Future Economy of A One-Party State

{It is a Future Economy with Comprised Democracy, Freedom of Speech, Checks and Balances.}

The recently released ‘Report on The Committee on The Future Economy’ is just another (updated) blueprint of a one-party developmental state.  

It is a state-led macroeconomic planning from first generation PAP leaders to the fourth generation PAP leaders.  They want to continue direct and control the economy as before.

It is the future plan of the People’s Action Party, a present value of the discounted cashflow of future Singapore economy as defined by the PAP standard and monopoly.

The discounted cashflow comes from 7 strategies:

1.      Deepen and diversify our international connections
2.      Acquire and utilise deep skills
3.      Strengthen enterprise capabilities to innovate and scale up
4.      Build strong digital capabilities
5.      Develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity
6.      Develop and implement Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs)
7.      Partner each other to enable innovation and growth

The Committee also agrees we may not get cashflow as planned because there are risks and uncertainties. The risks are also the yields of the strategies.

The most the Report represents 60% or 70% Singaporeans who support the PAP, even it has consulted more than 9,000 stakeholders.  Alternative views are not consulted, as usual, as in all previous PAP government economic committees reports.

Due to one-party rule, additional risks and uncertainties (it can also be opportunities for some) are present in this ‘exclusive’ exercise where 30% or 40% of Singaporeans are not welcome or invited for feedback.  

In any portfolio structure, when we fail to consider 30%/40% of the total risks, you cannot claim your portfolio is an ideal one.    

Even within the 60%/70% PAP supporters, only the top elites are concerned about the issues and thinking of how their future (and their families future) are tied to the Future Economy. And perhaps, they can share their views freely, in a democratic closed arrangement.      

The Report in its conclusion says:

[Our people and enterprises will be the key agents of change and the drivers of value-creation. Our people must have that curiosity to seek out challenges to address and problems to solve. And our enterprises must have the ambition and drive to create fresh concepts and bring them to market, striving always to stay ahead.]

In a developmental state, the change agent is still the government. How can people and (private) enterprises create value in a PAP government-led monopoly?  How can they generate curiosity and promote fresh concepts in a controlled society, like Singapore?

future economy.jpg


Reading ‘A series of unfortunate events’ about Yale-NUS’s Halcyon Days#1 makes me compare it with The Future Economy Report. The unfortunate events refer to administrative decision:

[We stand at a crucial moment in our College’s history, where our core traditions—those of academic freedom, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a shared commitment to community-building—are being eroded.] #1  

Even students from the most liberal college in Singapore also feel there are new administrative controls. They worry a period of peace and happiness (Halcyon Days) may be over. Not to mention other higher institutions of learning in Singapore, how free can they be as they are less liberal?  

Maybe, the Future Economy Committee is like the liberal college - free to think about the future of Singapore.  However, from time to time, under the one-party rule, the PAP can always change the game play and appoint PAP approved change agents.     

From another perspective, to many Singaporeans, the PAP is giving a moderate version - from unfortunate events to troubling developments:

Yale-NUS holds townhall over concerns about ‘troubling’ developments#2

[a Yale-NUS spokesperson said: “Our model of education at Yale-NUS College is founded on the basis of free exchange of ideas”. The college supports “respectful sharing” and has a “thriving culture of open discussion and debate”, the spokesperson added.]

The media is projecting an image of ‘ the one-party rule is open and they are giving townhall discussion.’

Unfortunately, many Singaporeans are not elites like Yale-NUS College, not even other university students in Singapore. They don’t have townhall. There is no “respectful sharing”.  



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