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7/08/2007

Be mindful

I am not going into a discourse on Buddhism. Political leaders too need to be mindful of the life they want for the people and how the country should move forward. There is this opposing pull of forces to run the full capitalist way and the softer socialist way. The former will let things run their full course, where human nature and the law of the fittest survives will not be restrained. The latter, a more humane look at the inequalities of people and their social makeup that make them less able to pursue their dreams. Criticism of this path is that people are lazy and deserved to be in the doldrums. There will be such people, no doubt about it. Taking the capitalist road, a lot of wealth will be generated and a lot of rich people will be made. At the same time a lot of people will get poorer and less able to get by. In the long run, the pool of the very rich will shrink as they are supreme in their abilities to accumulate wealth at the expense of their less able countrymen. The system will breakdown unnaturally and there will be a new beginning. The role of the govt, with all the powers vested in their hands, has the privilege of being god, to allocate resources and wealth to the people. It has to be mindful where the wealth and resources are going and whether that is the best direction to take. For the last few years, we are seeing this relentless pursuit of money within the govt and outside the govt. The private sector, with money as their only motive while obligation to nation and society as incidental or not in their mindset, will push for the highest return they can get, at all cost. They will maximise profits for short term benefits and ruin the country in the long run. The future of the country is not their concern. Instant gratification, money is. We are seeing cost increases in properties, rentals, services and goods and salaries going only in one direction as if it is the law of gravity, that cost can only go up. The consumers will eventually bear the brunt of everything until they can bear no longer. Forget about the top 20% when their income will always outrun the rising cost and will not matter to them. There must be a price to all these. When will it stretch to a point where it snaps? It is dangerous to slow down growth by shackling the enterpreneurial drive of the able. They must be allowed to push to the limits of efficiency and returns. They are the growth drivers. What can the govt do to keep the less able part of the population more wealthy without increasing their income and pushing up cost? This is the other danger of losing our competitiveness. Rising cost will drive us out of business. Stretch their dollar! The people can live better and feel richer if the cost of 'their' living can be restrained and keep low. Housing, transportation, medical, education, food and essential services can be kept low to increase the value of every dollar these people. This will create a 'controlled economy' at the lower end when govt intervention is necessary to make life more manageable and without pushing up cost to an unbearable state. There can be two economies existing side by side, like two systems, one country. The full force of capitalism and free enterprise shall be allowed to run their 'full' steam in one economy and a managed one for the people who are mostly not so talented but needed to form the base of a thriving nation. This makes the human world different from the animal kingdom. It is the animal farm but subject to how the animals want it to be. This is the mindful part.

4 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

*You have a warped idea of capitalism. The answer to all of lifes problems in the world is MORE capitalism.

Why?

Capitalism is all about PRODUCTION and EXCHANGE. To solve a problem "something" needs to be produced and implemented. The people who solve the problem need to be compensated for their work, and that is how we get exchange.

However, over time, capitalism has got a (unfair) bad reputation, mainly because of 2 reasons:

1 Jealousy from people who can't make it

2 Bad behaviour from a few of the many who have "made it". Bad behaviour examples: arrogance, rudeness, insensitivity, corruption, using power to screw people, conspicuous consumption (ego driven), boastfulness and brutish behaviour.

Capitalism benefits ALL in the long run—"a rising tide floats all boats".

Contributing to the "bad rap" for capitalism is an absolutely wrong belief that "money is the root of all evil" which kids learn from their dumb loser parents.

If you look in the Business Times yesterday, you will note that there are workshops run by private bankers (JP Morgan, M Lynch etc) for "intern millionaires"— the children of the wealthy who are now being groomed to preserve and enhance the wealth of their forebears.

Thank god that there is at least some common sense left in the world—to ensure the survival of our species we need MORE capitalism*.

Some believe we need more socialism... oh well to each his own. Let's see who "wins" in the long run :-)

redbean said...

no i don't have misgivings about capitalism. that is why i said the enterpreneurial quests of the able must be allowed to go on. i only have misgivings about the selfishness and greed of human beans.

let the capitalists go on with their pursuits of wealth. but the govt must not behave like capitalists and ignore the less able segment and condemn them to their tough life or make life that much more difficult for them.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Without selfishness and greed, life on this planet as a human bean would be boring!

I drink a toast to selfishness, pride, greed and fear—can you imagine humankind without these qualities? Boring lah—everyone's character will be FLAT!

redbean said...

that is true. we would want to be in heaven won't we?

maybe god finds heaven too boring so created earth for his entertainment. earth is so colourful compares to the all white in heaven.