Singapore royalty slogs it out for the crown.

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Milo
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Re: Singapore royalty slogs it out for the crown.

Post by Milo » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:22 pm

neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:46 pm
neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:37 pm
Milo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:07 am
I wonder if the Lees are just putting on a show. That way they can siphon some votes away from opposition parties.
I don't believe that they need to Milo. Short trem the disunited opposition is still no threat to the ascendency of the PAP.

Long term the tougher conditiions Singapore residents will likely find themselves living with indefinitely into the future is likely to inspire disillusionment with the PAP and growing interest in alternatives. T only factor that might preserve PAP power beeyond its effective "use by date" may be the failure of disparate opposiion factions to coalesce into a unified position.
Singapore didn't get where it is by leaving things to chance!

In any case, I am not sure about this idea but it's hardly impossible.

neverfail
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Re: Singapore royalty slogs it out for the crown.

Post by neverfail » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:07 pm

Milo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:22 pm
neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:46 pm
neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:37 pm
Milo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:07 am
I wonder if the Lees are just putting on a show. That way they can siphon some votes away from opposition parties.
I don't believe that they need to Milo. Short trem the disunited opposition is still no threat to the ascendency of the PAP.

Long term the tougher conditiions Singapore residents will likely find themselves living with indefinitely into the future is likely to inspire disillusionment with the PAP and growing interest in alternatives. T only factor that might preserve PAP power beeyond its effective "use by date" may be the failure of disparate opposiion factions to coalesce into a unified position.
Singapore didn't get where it is by leaving things to chance!

In any case, I am not sure about this idea but it's hardly impossible.
NOT my post Milo. Where did you dig it up from?

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Milo
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Re: Singapore royalty slogs it out for the crown.

Post by Milo » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:30 am

neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:07 pm
Milo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:22 pm
neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:46 pm
neverfail wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:37 pm
Milo wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:07 am
I wonder if the Lees are just putting on a show. That way they can siphon some votes away from opposition parties.
I don't believe that they need to Milo. Short trem the disunited opposition is still no threat to the ascendency of the PAP.

Long term the tougher conditiions Singapore residents will likely find themselves living with indefinitely into the future is likely to inspire disillusionment with the PAP and growing interest in alternatives. T only factor that might preserve PAP power beeyond its effective "use by date" may be the failure of disparate opposiion factions to coalesce into a unified position.
Singapore didn't get where it is by leaving things to chance!

In any case, I am not sure about this idea but it's hardly impossible.
NOT my post Milo. Where did you dig it up from?
Perhaps something with the new server? The post did look strange but was attributed to you.

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cassowary
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This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by cassowary » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:27 am

For those interested, the Singapore election results are as follows. The ruling PAP won 83 seats. The opposition Workers’ Party won 10 seats, nearly doubling their Parliamentary representation.

I am alarmed at my fellow Singaporeans growing infatuation with Socialism. They are turning their backs on the values and traditions that made Singaporeans rich - untrammelled commerce and unbridled capitalism.

This is the beginning of a slow decline into poverty.
The Imp :D

neverfail
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Re: This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by neverfail » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:41 am

cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:27 am
For those interested, the Singapore election results are as follows. The ruling PAP won 83 seats. The opposition Workers’ Party won 10 seats, nearly doubling their Parliamentary representation.

I am alarmed at my fellow Singaporeans growing infatuation with Socialism. They are turning their backs on the values and traditions that made Singaporeans rich - untrammelled commerce and unbridled capitalism.

This is the beginning of a slow decline into poverty.
Considering the massive parliamentary majority that the PAP still holds, I would have counted the few seats it lost yesterday as having been of no particular consequence. Not in terms of having a working parliamentary majority.

It seems to me Cass that you fear nothing other than the unknown. I will do my best to explain why below.

There has never been an occasion I know of in the entire 120 year long history of our Federation when the governing party (or coalition) has ever commanded such a crushing parliamentary majority. Presently our current governing coalition holds but 77 seats in our Lower House - a bare majority of just one seat - and no majority in our Upper House where no one party prevails in numbers: which means that whoever in in government has to negotiate their Legislation through with more than one party often with independent Senators to help. For us that seems to be a rather normal parliamentary situation and it has not brought about "the end of civilisation as we know it".

There is even an opinion, more often held by political scientists and political journalists that by members of the public, that you need a strong party of opposition to keep the government on its toes. This is to say to provide the government with an incentive to work diliigently for the betterment of the country and the wellbeing of the general public: based upon the looming fear that if it bloody-well does not then come the very next election (or even sooner if some government members defect to the opposition) it will lose power to the party in Opposition as a just penalty for not having done the right thing. The trouble with having the same party or stable coalition incumbent in power for too long is that with the passage of time it tends to become smug, complaiscent; prone to abuse power and prone to commit blunders (and I have seen that happen here on occasion).

Using that as my benchmark standard for judgement: I find Singapore an amazing place because it has had the same governing party in power for the past half a century (you would have no personal memories of any other government Cass) and yet according to Transparency International is up there alongside the likes of Denmark and New Zealand as one of the World's least corrupt countries. Considering how long the PAP has held office and the opportunities for abuse of power, petty corruption and worse, it must have had in the interim, to me that juxtaposition almost goes against nature itself.

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cassowary
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Re: This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by cassowary » Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:26 am

neverfail wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:41 am
cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:27 am
For those interested, the Singapore election results are as follows. The ruling PAP won 83 seats. The opposition Workers’ Party won 10 seats, nearly doubling their Parliamentary representation.

I am alarmed at my fellow Singaporeans growing infatuation with Socialism. They are turning their backs on the values and traditions that made Singaporeans rich - untrammelled commerce and unbridled capitalism.

This is the beginning of a slow decline into poverty.
Considering the massive parliamentary majority that the PAP still holds, I would have counted the few seats it lost yesterday as having been of no particular consequence. Not in terms of having a working parliamentary majority.

It seems to me Cass that you fear nothing other than the unknown. I will do my best to explain why below.

There has never been an occasion I know of in the entire 120 year long history of our Federation when the governing party (or coalition) has ever commanded such a crushing parliamentary majority. Presently our current governing coalition holds but 77 seats in our Lower House - a bare majority of just one seat - and no majority in our Upper House where no one party prevails in numbers: which means that whoever in in government has to negotiate their Legislation through with more than one party often with independent Senators to help. For us that seems to be a rather normal parliamentary situation and it has not brought about "the end of civilisation as we know it".

There is even an opinion, more often held by political scientists and political journalists that by members of the public, that you need a strong party of opposition to keep the government on its toes. This is to say to provide the government with an incentive to work diliigently for the betterment of the country and the wellbeing of the general public: based upon the looming fear that if it bloody-well does not then come the very next election (or even sooner if some government members defect to the opposition) it will lose power to the party in Opposition as a just penalty for not having done the right thing. The trouble with having the same party or stable coalition incumbent in power for too long is that with the passage of time it tends to become smug, complaiscent; prone to abuse power and prone to commit blunders (and I have seen that happen here on occasion).

Using that as my benchmark standard for judgement: I find Singapore an amazing place because it has had the same governing party in power for the past half a century (you would have no personal memories of any other government Cass) and yet according to Transparency International is up there alongside the likes of Denmark and New Zealand as one of the World's least corrupt countries. Considering how long the PAP has held office and the opportunities for abuse of power, petty corruption and worse, it must have had in the interim, to me that juxtaposition almost goes against nature itself.
Thanks for the long and well argued reply, Neverfail. You have raised many valid points. But I will raise some points that you might have overlooked.

I find the constant change of governments in the mature and mostly western democracies to be unsettling. How is it possible for you to make long term plans? The answer is you can’t. Each opposing party changes policy when they attain power. You cannot do any long term planning. Some things need a generation or two to bear fruit.

The mature democracies are very short term in thinking. A policy such as saving for a rainy day will not make sense to your politicians. Whatever taxpayers money saved would be squandered by your opposing party when power changes hands. Better to spend the money now to win votes rather than let your opponents do it.

Our PAP government regularly saved money ie run Budget surpluses over the past two generations. It has invested globally and we now enjoy a stream of income to help defray current expenditures, helping to keep taxes low. In emergencies such as in this current crisis, our government can take money from our piggy bank.

Having power alternate between two or more parties is detrimental to long term planning. I think it is better to have one dominant party and weak opposition parties to keep the main party on its toes. That is sufficient to prevent corruption. It’s always waiting in its wings but not strong enough to threaten the main party’s hold of power unless there is a major fail. This makes long term planning impossible.

Secondly, the main party must be confident enough to make bold, correct decisions for the long run even though unpopular. Let me give you an example - the choice of English as our main language.

When Singapore gained independence, our PAP chose English despite the fact that the majority of people were educated in Chinese language schools. LKY wanted to create a new identity to unify a multiethnic country of Chinese, Malays and Indians. Using Chinese might be politically popular but the minorities would have felt left out.

Singapore would have been a Chinese country with no place for the Malays and Indians. So a neutral language was needed. Also, our Malay neighbours would be suspicious of us, seeing us as a third China and possibly a source of communist infiltration. Indonesia had at that time just slaughtered 500,000 Chinese after an attempted coup by communists which had support of many Indonesian Chinese.

Thirdly there was the practical reason of engaging in trade with the US and UK as well as the advantage of attending British and American universities.

But it was unpopular. The benefits will take a generation to bear fruit. In the meantime, those who spent more than a decade in Chinese schools and attended our Chinese language university found difficulty in getting jobs. Sometimes good decisions are not immediately apparent.

You need a strong government assured of being in power for the Long haul to carry out such policies. That’s how we succeeded and did better than many western democracies. We have the ability to think long term and make tough decisions that hurt in the short run but bear fruit only far in the future. Your system cannot do that.
The Imp :D

neverfail
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Re: This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by neverfail » Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:29 pm

cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:26 am

Thanks for the long and well argued reply, Neverfail. You have raised many valid points. But I will raise some points that you might have overlooked.

I find the constant change of governments in the mature and mostly western democracies to be unsettling. How is it possible for you to make long term plans? The answer is you can’t. Each opposing party changes policy when they attain power. You cannot do any long term planning. Some things need a generation or two to bear fruit.
Constant? Not always. Governments that govern responsibly and well with workable policy agendas tend to get re-elected so long-term planning can be and does get undertaken. It is the governments that screw up that get cashiered by the voting public..
cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:26 am
A policy such as saving for a rainy day will not make sense to your politicians. Whatever taxpayers money saved would be squandered by your opposing party when power changes hands. Better to spend the money now to win votes rather than let your opponents do it.
Not really! You are throwing out the baby with the bathwater stigmatising all governments in mature democracies as vote cadging irresponsible like that. We had the example (not a one-off) of a government led by John Howard (1997 - 2007) that repaid all of this country's remaining government debt and turned our Federal government into a net creditor (like your Singapore government). A change of government occurred in november 2007 - right on the cusp of the GFC. So the newly elected government embarked on a programme of budget defecit spending on a rescue package to prevent unemployment from going through the roof. It was highly successful and much praised globally - not least of all by the World Bank and the IMF. Had they not done so even at cost of turning government back into a net debtor then that government would have been acting irresponsibly in policy. A lot of employees would have lost their jobs and businesses gone bankrupt (and voters would have been very unhappy) had that government not acted preemptively to counter the effects of the global downturn as it impinged on Australia like that.

That is NOT an example of policy "instability" Cassowary but of policy flexibility.

I don't have time to deal with all of the points you raised Cass (and thanks) except to point out that you seem in thrawl to your (narrowly focused upon) Singapore experience which, as I acknowledged above, is a unique one-off. I would also point out that I consider it very rash, imprudent, for any country to equate its fortunes with that of just one party - better to have an alternative waiting in the wings to take over once the governing party has "passed its used by expiry date". In the Case of the PAP in Singapore: yes, I agree that so far they have managed your nation's finances responsibly and well. But is it possible that they have erred in making the maintenance of budget surplusses something of a sacred cow - that is have become inflexible in policy to the point where they would rather let unemployment rip than change policy direction? It is relatively easy to run surplusses and save when things are going smoothly; whenmthe economy keeps on growing and tax revenues are growing from that expansion. But I fear that in the new, depressed and unstable era of world history we are entering now you will discover the hard way that the PRP has found no magic bullet and with returns from investments turning from posative to negative Singapore will not reap the dividend from "national savings " that it used to during the better times gone by but (the contrary) will find this more like a millstone around the country's neck.

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cassowary
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Re: This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by cassowary » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:42 pm

neverfail wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 2:29 pm
cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:26 am

Thanks for the long and well argued reply, Neverfail. You have raised many valid points. But I will raise some points that you might have overlooked.

I find the constant change of governments in the mature and mostly western democracies to be unsettling. How is it possible for you to make long term plans? The answer is you can’t. Each opposing party changes policy when they attain power. You cannot do any long term planning. Some things need a generation or two to bear fruit.
Constant? Not always. Governments that govern responsibly and well with workable policy agendas tend to get re-elected so long-term planning can be and does get undertaken. It is the governments that screw up that get cashiered by the voting public..
I don't know about Australia. But I notice that the US and Western Europe (especially the PIGS) have horrendous government debt. Not only are their governments not being able to save for a rainy day, they incur debt that future generations have to pay for. So I don't see any long term planning in these countries. I think long planning ispossible when two equally powerful parties alternate in power. Both parties need to "buy votes" by spending lavishly to win elections. No time to think of the future generation, who of course cannot vote.
Not really! You are throwing out the baby with the bathwater stigmatising all governments in mature democracies as vote cadging irresponsible like that. We had the example (not a one-off) of a government led by John Howard (1997 - 2007) that repaid all of this country's remaining government debt and turned our Federal government into a net creditor (like your Singapore government).

Maybe Australia is a rare exception among the mature democracies.
It is relatively easy to run surplusses and save when things are going smoothly; whenmthe economy keeps on growing and tax revenues are growing from that expansion. But I fear that in the new, depressed and unstable era of world history we are entering now you will discover the hard way that the PRP has found no magic bullet and with returns from investments turning from posative to negative Singapore will not reap the dividend from "national savings " that it used to during the better times gone by but (the contrary) will find this more like a millstone around the country's neck.
I think I mentioned already that our government is taking from our reserves to spend on this crisis. That's what the savings are for - a rainy day. It is not just raining right now but a deluge.

Also note that our system allows us to bear short term pain in exchange for long term gain. Our choice of using English as an unifying language to create a new identity (Singaporean) among disparate ethnic groups caused pain for one generation.
The Imp :D

neverfail
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Re: This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by neverfail » Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:09 am

cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:42 pm

I don't know about Australia. But I notice that the US and Western Europe (especially the PIGS) have horrendous government debt. Not only are their governments not being able to save for a rainy day, they incur debt that future generations have to pay for. So I don't see any long term planning in these countries. I think long planning ispossible when two equally powerful parties alternate in power. Both parties need to "buy votes" by spending lavishly to win elections. No time to think of the future generation, who of course cannot vote.


The USA is a special case (I would differentiate it from Europe) because (as I have mentioned before) it's internal domestic political power structure is inane and the resultant political indiscipline makes a bi-partisan committment to curb spending and reduce the national debt impossible. Government in the USA does not solve problems (as they are elected to do) but allow them to accumulate.

Australia's national debt would by now be rising rapidly not due to lack of long term planning (both parties for years previously were committed to reducing and eventually eliminating the budget defecit) but due to an abrupt change in spending priorities. This was forced on our government by the need to mitigate the effects of the emerging coronavirus depression. Singapore is of course in the same boat as we except that as you point out your government is paying for your rescue package by selling off assets rather than incurring more debt. But wait a moment:

(the Americans have a saying: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.)
https://spendmenot.com/national-debt-by ... 20trillion.

13. National Debt of Singapore – 108.79%
( :roll: Boy, that's a USA grade of indebitedness!)

Despite that prudence in accumulating state assets as a hedge against a rainy day Singapore is still numbered among the 20 most indebted countries in the World.
cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:42 pm
I think I mentioned already that our government is taking from our reserves to spend on this crisis. That's what the savings are for - a rainy day. It is not just raining right now but a deluge.

They can't keep on doing it forever Cass. Sooner or later they will run out of state assets to sell off leaving Singapore with only the national debt (see my link and note above). In your shoes Cass I would be praying that this Coronavirus recession (which afflicts all of Singapore's international trading partners as well) turns out to be a short sharp one; in which case Singapore can return to growth and prosperity and your government to its old game of accumulating assets against another rainy day. But I would not count on it. Like the 1930's Great Depression this one has the look of a game changer - in terms of more rancourous, abrasive international relations, not just pure economics.
....................................................................................................................................

Out of curiousity I looked up the most and least indebeted countries in the world to see whether there was any link between indebtedness and adversarial party politics as you allege and found that the very most indebeted is neither in Europe nor was it the USA but is JAPAN.
1. National Debt of Japan – 234.18%

Japan is the country with the highest national debt to GDP ratio. The national debt is more than twice the amount of annual gross domestic product. It is estimated to be more than $9 trillion. Japan’s national debt is largely owned domestically, with the majority being held by the Bank of Japan.
Japanese, like other east Asians have an aversion to buying on credit but much prefer to salt something away '"for a rainy day". Characteristically they deposit their spare cash in the country's Post Office Bank which their government then treats as a national asset: as though that enormous accumulated mass of savings were state property. May God help Japan if their public ever loses confidence in their Post Office Bank out of fear of imminent corporate and national insolvency.

Does this use of a national asset to counter-balance a high level of national debt resemble your Singapore scenario, Cass?

But there is more:
Japan is also the most indebted country in the world in terms of national debt per person.

And yet, this isn’t the worst debt to GDP ratio in the history of Japan’s economy. Namely, the post World War II ratio exceeded the country’s GDP. It was the result of financing the costly war with government bonds. The government dealt with the debt by introducing war indemnity taxes and printing out more money.

The situation improved in the following years, however, it all came to an end in the 1990s – also known as Japan’s lost decade. It is no wonder that Japan is among the most indebted countries, with the stock market crash and the financial crisis in the 1990s.
There you have it. Since 1989 their governments have inagurated one multi-trillion dollar (equivalent) stimulous package after another to try and restore their stagnant national economy to growth and every one of them has failed to acheive that objective. The reason has nothing to do with competitive vote buying and everything to do with managing a refactory economy.

Japan resembles Singapore politically also in that for approximately half a century after the Americans allowed it back its national soverignty it was governed by the same party which was reelected over and over again (and their party/s of Opposition were similarly ineffectual over that period) - called the Liberal Democrats Party . Different party name in a different country but corresponding to the same pattern.

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Sertorio
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Re: This election marks the beginning of Singapore’s decline.

Post by Sertorio » Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:35 am

cassowary wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:42 pm
I notice that the US and Western Europe (especially the PIGS) have horrendous government debt. Not only are their governments not being able to save for a rainy day, they incur debt that future generations have to pay for.
Japan's public debt equals 225% of GDP... Generalizations, particularly ideologically motivated generalizations, are usually wrong...

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