24 May 2006

The misuse of the state

Lee Kuan Yew says (again) that a multiparty system is not necessary for a democracy. Multiparty democracy, he said, will mean that "we will not have a stable environment," implying that economic growth will be sacrificed. I argue here that the purpose of a state is not economic, but for justice and security. By misdirecting the state, its institutions and processes to economic ends, we distort our obligation to provide justice, which includes social justice and political rights. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

In an ideal world where state and government are not one and the same, your arguments are sound. But its really messy in the real world, and idealogically speaking, you are right that LKY got it wrong in the "western" thought of statehood. I think his idea of statehood is a conficianistic form of statehood where the state is paternalistic just like a family lead by the father. I think his comment about alternative parties is a rather old stance of his, same old same old.

Anonymous said...

This once again brings to mind Jaimie Han's remarks regarding "founding father".. that the man isn't trained in historiography and lacking understanding in the area. The emperor isn't wearing any clothes but no one dares to tell him.

KiWeTO said...

Once an emperor, forever an emperor?

He has fused party and government. I'm not sure what the party was created for in the first place (definitely not based on ideology); maybe it was to take power back from the British; maybe some element altruism to bring a tiny country forward; or maybe, hypothetically, in a piece of revisionistic history, he happened to be the frontman for a bunch of altruistic idealists (who weren't very eloquent and now have long left the party.)?
(the winners write the history afterall.)

The clear fact in his statements is that he has fused the ideology of party and government. State? probably too. Either way, to him, it appears that Singapore,Inc is the way forward, and nothing else can be as good as this model of state control.

It will not take away the fruits of his labours for Singapore in the past 40 years, but it will cast a long shadow into the annals of history for his unwillingness to let a child go, make mistakes of his own, and mature into an adult member in today's new geo-political ecology.


Anonymous said...

"For example, take questions of gender discrimination in the workplace. Because processes can be so complex, it is hard to say for sure whether or how much discrimination there is. However, by observing an organisation over a long period of time, the fact that, for example, all 12 consecutive CEOs are white heterosexual married males, surely tells you quite a lot about where women, gay people, divorced heterosexual males and other races stand in that organisation."

Alex: I agree with the main gist of your essay, but feel that the above example jumps to too hasty a conclusion about gender discrimination in the workplace. Gender discrimination definitely is existent almost everywhere in the world, however why a company could have a chain of 12 CEOs who are white heterosexual married males may not be solely or majorly attributed by the merit of their race, gender and sexuality. For example, one point could be that the % of white heterosexual males compared to % of white homosexual males in the work place, in the absence of discrimination, would probably be skewed in favour towards the white heterosexual males. that would mean a much higher possibility that a white heterosexual male would be the CEOs?

Just my 2 cents worth, as I feel that yours is a very well-written essay and that examples such as the above have a negative effect on the credibility of your whole essay. I continue to be a fan of your fair POVs essays.

Anonymous said...

there are just too many blogs and not enough useful discussion; reading and discussing serious material takes effort; mindless bickering does not - which is how PAP sees opposition

in any case for people who want some serious - but not too serious - material

Non-Constituency Parliament Members and Senators


Singapore's Elected Presidency


Press and Blogger Bias in Singapore


"Catherine Lim, Prospective Politician"


The Implosion of Singapore Democratic Party