12/07/2005

moderation on the road to privatisation

as we embarked on this unending road to privatisation, let us take a step back and ponder, and ask, are we all going money crazy? are we going bonkers that money is the solution to everything? the privatisation of hospitals, public transports, education, independent schools etc all boils down to one thing, money. can this be moderated, say keep the fees of a few top notched schools down as normal schools while govt provide them with a bigger subsidy? this way, not every bright child or their parents needs to grimace every month when school fee is due. similarly, the 3 classes of hospital wards be priced in such a way that c class is really subsidised for those who don't need the frills, b class with some frills, and a class mainly to generate profits like private hospitals. we cannot go on down the slippery path of no return like the prices of hdb. no way to unwind unless we are prepared to upset a lot of people, hurt a lot of people and the banks and economy. or like the relentless push for high salary for workers. now it is payback time. our high cost of living will continue to go up but not the salary. and the problems the people are facing are aggravated by the diverging forces of higher cost but dwindling income. it is time to hold the brakes and return to some sense. otherwise we will be hearing the sound..'snap' very soon.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can the brake be hold with the PAP still in power?? A lot of businesses that I knows of fails mainly due to exremely high rental cost not salary as what the government always wants us to believe.

redbean said...

you should read the comments by prof mukhopadhaya pundarik of nus as quoted in www.littlespeck.com on where the high cost of salary goes to and how much the lower income group has suffered from low salary.

Anonymous said...

Hi Redbean, this is the uk anonymous. I believe the main problem with the situation is the wealth divide of this country. It is getting bigger. The lower income Singaporean have their salary increased just to cope with inflation and to keep the mass from starving. The top earners of this country have been getting it too good and they are not complaining. Privatisation of essential services in one way to efficiency and increase productivity. You do not need that here because the current system is already efficient and good value for money. If privatisation happens in Singapore it will only mean job cuts, redundancies and an avenue for making more money for the selected few of this country.

redbean said...

this is the weakness of man. when you are in it and having a good time, you forgot about others and never know when is enough. for people to think that the widening income gap is beyond our control is basically bull.

the reasoning for privatisation is also bull. if privatisation equals efficiency, then all our ministries and stats boards are inefficient. isn't that frightening.

don't forget, all the ministries and stats board are manned by supertalents, many are more talented than politicians, or at least academically. and they must be held accountable for their work if they are prepared to be paid top dollars.

they can only be inefficient if their bosses allow them to. if you have a good leader with a clear objective, everything will be in order.

there is no need to privatise to be efficient. this is a singapore myth.

IMAGOD, the original said...
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IMAGOD, the original said...

The privatisation of every resource is the only way to long-term peace and prosperity.

Private ownership ensures that people really behave with their own self-interest as a guiding light, also taking into account the self-interest of others, and the shared interest in continuing peace and prosperity.

anything else will lead to:

MATILAH SINGAPURA

redbean said...

privatisation must be genuine. if privatisation is just a change of clothes, then it is anything but privatisation. if privatisation is still a monopoly, then it is a more dangerous animal.

IMAGOD, the original said...

Ah, we are not in agreement with our definitions. My definition of privatisation is based on the premise that private property is natural as it emerges from the spontaneous order of things, and is congruent with the nature of humans - i.e. "people wanna own stuff".

When people "own stuff" they are likely to look after the stuff they own - provided they really believe they own the stuff. They nuture and preserve the value or add more value to what they own.

Extending the concept to the social realm: ALL resources and ALL institutions should be privately owned - especially the land and water. Then buildings, and then public institutions - justice system, healthcare, education, roads, military, police, utilities etc.

In that way we can ensure more rational use, preservation of value and a nuturing spirit.

... all comes form the spontaneous order of things :-)

Nature, don't fight it!

redbean said...

this one i agree. private ownership leads to pride of ownership and improvement and protection of the property.

what we are seeing today, in terms of public assets and even commercial assets, is that the privatisation is unreal. what happens is that the non owners assumes control and becomes pseudo owners and rip it apart for their own pockets. the americans is the leader in this field. all the public companies are up for grabs. all the top honchos are paying themselves crazy from assets and organisations that they do not owned but put in charge and control.

this is exactly like what happens in animal farm. the dictatorship of the proletariate. the workers/employees take charge.

redbean said...

now we are in a discussion about jokes and comedy. there are several unique things about singapore. despite its great achievements and ability to do many things, control and solve many problems, they cannot solve the problem of loan sharks, they cannot solve the problem of widening income gap.

and many govt organisations are waiting to be privatised to become efficient.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Ah. They won't become efficient just because of 'privatisation', because as we know, 'privatisation' here can mean the govt still can control it. e.g. the nkf, the esplanade, SIA, etc.

Privatisation is only the begining. The thing that makes privately owned businesses efficient, is through a time-process in the market: facing and dealing with competition, and serving its customers.

Customers and competition are th market regulators. The consumer is the sovereign. Without the consumer, no competition would exist either.

Consider the truism: Capitalism HATES a profit. This means: if there is a profit to be made, businesses (who only exist for profit) will do what is necessary to earn those profits by trading their goods and services for the (sovereign) consumers' money. Now, who can stand sitting on the sidelines? Not for long. If there is profit to be made, in comes the competition - and they will fight fiercely for the favour of King Consumer.

Damn, it's so nice to be a Monach! :-)

redbean said...

we in singapore disagree with you. our privatisation is the most effective and efficient means to generate profits.

for when we privatised, the consumers still must buy from us. they either have no choice or limited choice. and when we price our services, we price it according to what we think our consumers can afford. not how much is our service or product worth.

and we have the last card. a card to name whatever price, to make sure the organisation makes money. and the consumers must pay our price.

and the latest, you want good service or service with a smile, also can. just pay a little more. oh sorry, we call it tips.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Well, I like to look at the bright side of life. Sure, the current scheme of privatisation is nothing more than govt-granted monopoly to its political favourites and ball-lickers - especially in the GLC area.

On my (extremely inactive) blog you will find reference to the local "quanxi" network.

However, in time, these companies will have to compete on in the global market. Already the URA is owned by an Aust company. I hear rumblings that SingTel is looking juicy to some Aust. corporate raiders.

Even stock markets are not immune from takeovers. In the jungle of commerce, the process of rationalisation in the form of mergers and aquisitions ensures that resources are allocated in the most efficient ways - so that the Sovereign Consumer benefits.

No problem redbean. Just be patient. ;-)

redbean said...

ok, i be patient. and see what else is being sold off.

only thing that i am cynical about is that privatisation does not lead to efficiency. it is only profitable because it is a monopoly and can ram up fees and charges at will.

and then they said, 'don't worry, no one will be deprived from it. we have many assistance plans.'

isn't it lppl?

Matilah_Singapura said...

Privatisation is first. Second to come is the exposure to the free market - i.e. no more govt protection - total exposure to CEO error, bad choices in investment, competitors, political instability, acts of god etc. etc.

For me, I want to see how genuine the govt is about privatization. So far, I'm not convinced. To me, free market, means free market. We are in a mixed economy, with a regulated or "hampered" market.

When the market is free, then resources are allocated accordingly to consumer demand - the consumer is the real king.

Let's wait and see.

P.S.: even with a hampered market, it is better than socialism. As long as there is prices and production, you get market activity - i.e. one cannot "control and command" nature by artificial means. Nature is all powerful, it won't be enslaved. The market is a completely natural, spontaneous phenomenon.

redbean said...

the market is completely natural, just like nature. you can skew it for a while, create a force market for a while. after sometime when the stress is too huge, like a dam, which is unnatural, it will burst.

all enforced unnatural forces will have to make way for the true force of nature.

may the force be with you.

amen.