1/29/2012

The primacy of state or the people?

The state and its people are two sides of a palm. The first impression is that what is good for the state must be good for the people and vice versa. Can it be that what is good for state is not good for people and vice versa as well? There is this disquiet about the primacy of state versus its citizens. Should there be a test on which should come first, what would the govt do? There is a dichotomy between the perpetuation of the existence of the state and the well being of the people. Could there be a situation when putting one above the other could lead to the other’s demise?

There is a school of thought that the continued existence of the state is primary, that the state should go on as a continuous entity, a legacy, and the interest of the people can be compromised if necessary. And there will be a time when the citizen’s interest has to give way to the interest of the state. One good example is the importation of great numbers of foreigners to replace or reinforce the locals in the name of good for the citizens. Depending on how many were brought in, the original citizens could be diluted.

This to some is a necessary evil when the original citizens are no longer competitive, their DNAs and genetic codes have degenerated and a new set of DNAs and genetics are needed to replace them. Putting it simply, the people are dispensable and can be traded or discarded for better stocks to keep the state alive into the future and for economic growth.

Such thinking or approach may not be acceptable to those who see the primacy of the citizens, the people over that of the state. The state exists because of the people. It is not necessary to compromise or endanger the existence of the state just for the sake of its citizens. It is just a case of citizens first and their interests must not be adversely affected for the good of an inanimate construct, an artificiality called the state.

This brings back the conflict between state and people. The state exists for the people or the people for the state? For a state to exist for its people, then our policy of bringing in foreigners at the expense of the locals, to become locals, is not agreeable to the citizens. The policy makers may argue otherwise, claiming that the imports are necessary and really for the good of the people. To the believers of state primacy, the people or citizens are dispensable. Bad people or poor quality people can go and be replaced. Bring in foreigners, give them citizenship and make them instant citizens, no difference.

The above argument is not similar to a stateless situation where there is no state and no citizens, a to each his own, to make the best of his own according to his talent status.

The people, particularly the PMETs and top professionals, are feeling the heat. There is an angry perception with many case examples to show that many locals have to make way, becoming redundant or by passed for the top jobs, to foreigners who were not better than them. Many were judgement calls or for more flirtatious reasons. Is it really the case that no locals are found better than foreigners at the senior positions and at the lower levels, locals could end up jobless in favour of foreigners because the latter are better skilled, qualified or simply cheaper, or because of political reasons, office politics or whatever?

The bad bards pointed to the primacy of the state and if needed, the whole original local population can be replaced by more vibrant and cheaper foreigners just to keep the state vibrant. The assumption here is that the locals without the foreigners would not be able to keep the economy vibrant for the good of everyone. They are daft, too complacent and not willing to work. There are two sides to the argument or selective arguments that can be self serving. Some see it as a sell out of the original citizens.

There are now some indications of a change in direction, to be more local focused whether in form or in substance. This is a serious matter as it affects the well being of the original citizens and the viability of the state. Which wisdom shall triumph?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You got this wrong.

Should have been....the primacy of London/New York or the people.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The primacy begins with the smallest FREE ACTING AGENT: the one and only, The Individual.

Greetings from sexy Joo Chiat!

Anonymous said...

Evidence is here that smart ass dont need any stupid construct known as state or nation.
The Teochew Tribe will tell You 'di ko liang, ti ko chor', meaning choose whatever suits one best.
The state and the people are all not important in ones' existence.
ME and my well-being is what matters!
THIS is the Greatest Philosophy Of Being!

patriot

Anonymous said...

Then you deserve what's coming to you