The enlightenment of Tharman
Front page ST material. Tharman says, ‘Inclusive growth needs govt hand…Market forces will only widen S’pore’s wealth gap.’ Many of his colleagues could not see this. And it is refreshing and promising to see Tharman finally came to this realization, that market forces can not be counted on to take care of the people across the board. I hope this light of wisdom will spread to his equally brilliant and well meaning peers so that they can now find the answers to serving the people at the lower end of the economic strata, to tilt in favour of those with less.
‘Singapore’s social compact cannot be left to market forces because these will only widen disparities in wealth and income.’ Tharman added. Obviously they could not see anything like this in Lim Chong Yah’s shock therapy which is exactly about tilting in favour of those with less. Maybe Tharman could impress among them that what Lim Chong Yah said made sense. Let the light of his enlightenment embraces those that are a bit duller or a bit dense, and viola, the govt will bless the people with more people centric policies.
Tharman is now convinced of goodness of a more equitable society when wide income gap is not meant to be a necessary evil. Govt intervention can close the gap and there are four components to make it happened. ‘First, an activist govt focused on social mobility and on guarding against extremes of wealth and income.’ For Tharman to raise this point means that he has some misgivings about this, that there were lapses in this area. His second point about childhood education when some had a head start is valid only partially. The head start can only get them up to O level. Pass that the intellect embedded in the child will take over and no amount of head start can do much subsequently. But it is good that every child should have an equal footing to start with. His third point is individual effort and responsibility. Today wealth is gained by many by not working but sitting on inheritance in property. The rage of property prices is killing not only enterprise but draining the resources of the ordinary Sinkies through high cost of living. The fourth point about community initiative and activism is a bit wishy washy and is like those youthful idealism.
The crux of the matter is still his enlightenment, to finally realize that market forces have to be curbed and not be the master of the people’s economic well being. It is so difficult to understand this perplexed idea but good that he now knows. Please enlighten your dull and dense colleagues and Sinkieland could be a better place for the lower half of the population.
PS. Shit, I deleted this article at the same time.