PAP doesn’t know what to do about economy

October 15, 2003
Singapore Democrats

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When there is economic growth in the country, the PAP takes the credit and says that it is because of its policies that Singapore is so prosperous. And because of this, the ministers say they must be paid millions of dollars in salaries.

But when the economy takes a turn for the worse, the ministers are ever so quick to point to “outside” forces such as the slowdown in the US economy. Conveniently, however, the ministers salaries stay up.

Singaporeans must realise that, hard as it is to believe, the PAP talks a good talk when it comes to the economy but doesn’t really know how to steer it. World-reknowned economist Paul Krugman, who predicted the 1997 Asian crisis, said of the PAP:

When Asian economies delivered nothing but good newsit is easy to assume that so-called planners knew what they were doing. It is easy for government policy -makers to look competent in a prosperous economy. But they may not have a clue!sooner or later Asias growth will slow down. It will be sooner than later for original tigers like Singapore.

In fact, economists say that the PAP’s policies are hurting Singapore’s economy. Below are excerpts from an editorial by Dow Jones analysts, who blow wide open that myth that PAP’s economic policies are good for the country.

Of course, Singaporeans know very little about the sorry state of Singapore’s economy because the media is controlled by the PAP.

This is why the Singapore Democrats emphasize so much on the need for the freedom of speech and expression which includes the right of citizens to a free and pluralistic media. Without a free flow of information Singaporeans can, and will, be fooled into supporting the PAP against their own interests.

What experts say about Singapore’s economy:

Singapore’s growth has been based largely on one-time changes in behavior that cannot be repeated…one can immediately conclude that Singapore is unlikely to achieve future growth rates comparable to those of the past.
– Paul Krugman, economics professor at Stanford University

Since Singaporean growth rates were no higher for all the compulsory investment required of its citizens, it is fair to say that the government effectively dissipated all the forced savings…The savings were squandered over the years by Singapore’s policy of “industrial targeting.”
– Index of Economic Freedom Report 2000

Singapore had one of the lowest returns to physical capital in the world. The days in which Singapore can continue to sustain accumulation driven growth are clearly numbered.
– Alwyn Young, economics professor at MIT

While the suppression of wage costs contributed to the speed of the recovery, it also helped to sustain labour-intensive activities in the economy. This slowed down the economic restructuring processthe lessons of the severe 1985 recession and the deficiencies of the wage policy have not been learnt sufficiently.
– Cheah Hock Beng, professor at University of New South Wales

[Singapore is an example of] technologyless industrialisation…if there is anything industrialising about Singapore, it is because it serves as the offshore centre for foreign capital.
– Kunio Yoshihara, a Japanese economist and author

Singapores problem is expecting competent technocrats at home to operate as fire-in-the-belly entrepreneurs elsewhere in Asia, without creating a political climate in Singapore that rewards free enterprise.
– Salil Tripathi, Asiaweek columnist

There isno transparency or public accountability concerning where [GIC] funds are invested. These funds, however, are believed to be wholly invested abroad. No information has been provided on the performance of these investments.
– Mukul Asher, economics professor at NUS

Having so completely opened itself up to the world market and the multinationals with the illusion that it could influence the former and manipulate the later, the PAP technocrats now see that their policies have reduced Singapores economy to a mere service economy, the fate of which is totally dependent on the calculations and whims of the multinationals.
– Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld, economists & authors

Even the money invested by the government abroad has earned such low returns it is dragging down the overall economy’s growth potential.
– Morgan Stanley

Studies have show that [Singapore] uses capital less efficiently than its rival, Hong Kong. Meanwhile, industrial policy has massively distorted the structure of the economy.
– Dow Jones editorial

[Singapores rapid economic growth has been] artificially stimulated by the public housing programme.
– Linda Low, economist