Money can literally buy anything, even happiness. But some will disagree. There are some kinds of happiness that cannot be bought by money. At the national level, states also think that with money they can buy anything. So Singapore is going to buy power with its money. Nobody can resist a willing customer with loads of money to want to buy power from them.
While we tend to get carried away with our greatness and the large coffers we have, let us remind ourselves that our money cannot buy everything. Maybe can, if we are going to pay all kinds or ridiculous price, like a few billions to get our football team to the World Cup. But no need to look that far. Our money cannot even buy cheap commodities like sand and water from our neighbouring countries. And these are abundant resources, while water will just run into the sea if not sold to us. No, some will not just sell you anything for money. Just because we have this mentality that we can sell everything away to anyone, even strategic resources, it does not work the other way.
We are buying gas from Indonesia. And recently there were calls to stop selling gas to us from the Indonesians. And with oil or energy becoming rarer, and more strategic, the possibility of countries refusing to sell to us or at a prohibitive price will be a matter of time. It will come, sooner or later, when the earth’s population hits 15b or when our population hits 10b and energy is vital to our continued growth. So will be water and gas.
As we grow bigger and consume more, we need more energy and more water. Our reservoirs will not be enough unless we convert Orchard Road into another reservoir. What all these mean is that we will get ourselves into a thick bind. We have just extricated ourselves from the water vice grip and free ourselves from being dependent on external water supply. Our growth strategy will bring us back to a more precarious situation, whereby we will be more dependent on water again, plus energy and gas. And we could end up being held ransom once more.
We may have the money, not counting that it can run out, but not everyone is going to sell strategic resources to us just for money. Can our money buy everything we want and we need?