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5/05/2008

Planting Trees

There is a Chinese saying that the present generation plant trees and the future generations will reap its benefits. What the govt is doing, in investing for the future is similar to planting trees and is a laudable initiative. A more short sighted govt would have used the money now and make many people happy and win many popular votes as well. The worst govt is to spend the future earnings now, like what the American govt is doing. They are bankrupting themselves into the future. We have seen a lot of our money, billions, being invested for the long term, and recently the buying of big foreign banks. The timing, a golden opportunity, also presents risks. The immediate short term losses have naturally invited a lot of criticisms. With hindsights, some were saying that it would be better if the decisions were delayed a little. And people would expect the professionals to do their sums right. In this case, it is easy to say we were a bit hasty. The loss is no small change. The other angle of unhappiness is that while we have so much money to invest for the future, we are seeing immediate pains and suffering affecting some of our less able citizens. It is a question of how much to invest and how much to share with the people. Admittedly it is very subjective and what one sees as right another will see it as wrong. While planting trees for the future is definitely a prudent move, it should not end up as an obsession as the present needs to be taken care of too. Many of the owners of this national reserves will not be around in the future to reap the fruits of long term investments. And when we have more than enough, a little more generosity for the present is most welcomed.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

In the first place, growing the reserves to benefit who? So many Singaporeans are not getting married and so many married couples are choosing not to have any children. So when they say it is to benefit future generations, will it make sense to those without children? Would they care?As they say, there is now no such thing as sacrifice for the sake of the nation. We learn that from our leaders.

Secondly, how many Singaporeans really believe the reserves belong to its citizens? Do the people playing around with those reseves allow us to have an opinion, just an opinion, on how it is to be invested or managed? No, the reserves are now almost like a private fund, with no public accountability for losses.

Thirdly, someone is going to say you sheepies deserve the government you yourself elected.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Yep. I was going to say that, but you beat me to it.

S'poreans have been led to believe that having huge reserves are a "good" thing. Throw in CPF being a "good thing" too.

Good for them. Now the state has an inexhaustible pile of chips to play with at the Global Casino of International Investment.

Black or red? Aw shit... we lost. No problem... as long as the people keep working and putting money in CPF, we can play FOREVER!

Roll the dice...

redbean said...

i know that people are going to ask what is enough? $100b $200b or $300b? we started in 1963/65 with almost nothing and a lot of work to do.

today we are quite build up, the basic infrastructure are in place, and a war chest that is the envy of many countries.

no i am not asking to slaughter the goose that lays the golden eggs. not even asking for a drumstick. just some eggs to those who really need them.

and no need to keep giving the eggs to those who have a hoard of their own chicken laying a lot of golden eggs.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> i am not asking to slaughter the goose that lays the golden eggs.<

There is no "goose" and no "golden eggs".. i.e. no "miracles". singapore is rich becuase the people worked bloody hard, and the govt in the early days was born out of the people and served the people's interest.

After about 20 years, the govt changed and began to serve its own interests. But the people kept voting the same govt in, election after election.

> we started in 1963/65 with almost nothing [...]
today we are quite build up,[...] a war chest that is the envy of many countries. <


Exactly. That "war chest" is troublesome--it is too big to be controlled (owned?) by a few 'special' people who need not answer to anyone because there is nothing to stop them.

redbean said...

i would love to be given a sum of money to manage/invest for the long term. and i have been waiting for such an opportunity to come along for a long time. this is hoping against hope.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, redbean, wait long long. The oracle will say 'over my dead body'