15 June 2008

Did unbridled capitalism leave people vulnerable to oil and food price rises?

Globally, we have enjoyed half a century of unparalleled economic growth though some countries did better than others. Yet today we have protests breaking out across the world over oil and food price rises, because for hundreds of millions, the pain is real. Why are people still so vulnerable? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

What makes things worse in Singapore is that the union movement is aligned to the govt which is pro-capitalist. So the NTUC is capitalistic in actions, philosophy and attitude, so dont expect it to pressure the govt. or to look after workers' real interests.

Anonymous said...


Once again - brilliant! I was once a champion of capitalism but the sub-prime crisis and the insane inflation (in my opinion, they are 2 independent events), reminded me once again of the role of the government -

social justice.

Are we missing it? It seems that our excessive faith in capitalism has brought about complacency. This complacency has managed to coax us to give up the power to bring about social justice.

In the other news, this week's Economist has a haert-breaking article on the situation in Ethiopia - made worst by the government's mismanagement.

See - http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11549764

Kelvin Quee

yuen said...

>role of the government - social justice.

more than just issue of principle -in a free market system, doctors would earn more doing cosmetic surgery or curing minor sicknesses among the rich than saving life or solving serious health problems among the poor; lack of medical service for the lower classes is not merely socially unjust, but simply not pragmatic, as a country with large numbers of unhealthy people would not function well

in the same way, lack of assistance for people with temporary economic setbacks, such as retrenchment, major sickness, etc, might make the setbacks permanent like loss of house due to loan default, long term ill health, etec, leading to problems like loan sharking, crime, etc; so it is again pragmatic to provide help to tie people over bad patches

yet governments have to act carefully to avoid long term dependence on government help and an attitude of entitlement; there has to be a compromise

Anonymous said...

"Unbridled" of anything is inevitably bad. the key is balance.

"Socialism\populism" has been totally discredited. Political leaders in US, Singapore\etc, no longer have spectre of socialists\commies breathing down their necks. Not too hard anyway.

Throw in the effects of globalisation; easy flow of hot money and the competition of "talent".

Add to mix, u have the welath mgrs, hedge funds and deriv products even seasoned traders do not fully understand. Everything is monetarized\securitized thanks to the greed and brillance of Wall street.

so the well-off never had it better. the poor ... too bad. Well until the tipping point ... as they say, the straw that breaks the camel's back?

The wheel of time turns and turns.