Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Stealing People's lunch.

In Singapore, the Prime Minister entourages citizens to "steal other's lunch". This seems to be a rhetoric that he keeps repeating.

I guess this can be said about his success.

It is of course, his wife Ho Ching that manages Temasek Holdings. And together with him managing GIC, they manage all the sovereign funds. It could be said that the sovereign funds are not managed as well as it should, and they probably over charged, but such behaviors where related parties are placed into important positions and given high salaries is all too common.

In the SMRT, the CEO is paid a very high salary, and yet there are no improvements in the train system. Without relevant experience and connections, and accountability, breakdowns are common.

On the Crony-capitalism index, Singapore is #5.

People in parliament, and high ranking officials in government linked companies are much related.

With connected people in high positions, they seem to get away with mediocre performance, and enjoying high salaries.

I would say there are a lot of people whom I respect, made their way to the top and became rich, but also many others who are there because of their connections.

Many rich families with mediocre second generations get into the family business, and in Asia, by managing properties, get even wealthier and believe they have made it. With their egos inflated, they fail at everything else and then increase rents to cover their outside losses.

With enough of these rent seeking families who own most of the properties in the market, they create a non-elastic situation where they can make money off the backs of everyone else.

In many countries, such practices are often curbed as it affects social mobility, but in countries where the ruling party controls finance and much of the economy with their friends and families, they can create rules and regulations that favor their friends and families.

In the case of a country where the GDP is so high but a lot of people do not have buying power, it is easy to see how some of these cronnies have so much money to enjoy the high life, yet they provide so little value to society.

Controlling media, it is easy to make others angry at foreigners for "stealing your lunch" but with lax immigration policies, "low business morality" and paying people below market values, it is easy to sway others away from the fact that "There is much less social mobility than before"

If you are born in those families, you can do nothing and be rich, and if you are outside, you can work till you die and not even afford public housing.

Don't get angry at foreigners and think that unskilled labor and semi-skilled cheap programmers can easily come to steal your lunch. Remember, it is the policy makers and their connected friends who own the business that decide to hire these low wage staff and not pay market rate while they keep the profits to themselves and pay little taxes on that.

They have been stealing your lunch from the start yet people are often too distracted to realize that they are in for the ride.

-- Iron bowl.

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