Where is the magic moving escalator in Singapore?

“Society needs a moving escalator where everyone is moving up, and policymakers must bear this in mind in the basic design of economic and social policies, said Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in London yesterday.

Speaking at British think-tank Institute for Government’s 10th anniversary conference, he stressed the need to be concerned about inequality and social mobility, with the best ways to tackle these issues being “absolute growth of incomes and absolute mobility that takes all people up towards something that they want to achieve better in life”.

Addressing a room of about 100 people, Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, said: “It is much harder to address the inequality or to spur social mobility if the escalator is stationary… We need a moving escalator where everyone is moving up because that is the best way you can get the fluidity in society as well.”– 13 June, Straits Times

So the question is, based on Tharman’s magic moving escalator theory of economics, who is moving where? Certainly, most ordinary citizens are not moving up anywhere anytime soon as far as I know.

The PAP Government’s most important strategy to address social and income inequality is to “ keep the escalator going”……This is their magic escalator of economic growth that will make inequality history.

Well, if this were true, then why do we have the chronic social and income inequality we have in Singapore despite the Singapore miracle of economic growth and the People’s Action Party (PAP) Government being in power for 60 years since 1959?

Where is the land of milk and honey your theory promises? You have had 60 years of a magic moving escalator and the exact opposite of what you promised has happened. Please explain.

In Singapore, stagnation in the middle of society has most unfortunately already taken place over a long period of time. In fact where is the middles class in Singapore? Where is the “fresh and bold ambition” in Singapore after 60 years of PAP rule? Where is the growth, opportunities and economic prosperity in Singapore that makes the least well off better off? Where is everyone’s “fair chance of taking these opportunities and achieving a decent and dignified life”?

I always talk about social and income inequality and the PAP’s self-serving class-based interests using two aphorisms: “Two Singapore’s” and “Rich country. Poor people” to hammer home the call for a total systemic overhaul in setting new priorities to achieve a better quality of life for the many and not just the few here in Singapore.

The point I am always keen to make is that while Singapore is supposed to be a competitive market driven economy, it’s the unbridled state-sponsored excesses of capitalism that I am against. Capitalism is justified to the extent that it makes the least well off better off. I call this ”socially responsible capitalism”. I am against putting profits ahead of people. Greed is morally unjustifiable. In Singapore, the system is broken and needs an urgent overhaul.

I say to the PAP Government that talk is cheap but look at the realities. Where is that Swiss standard of living the PAP Government promised us?

Tharman and his PAP Government are selling pipe dreams. The “moving escalator” is a red herring. It moves only for the rich who benefit from the PAP’s brand of financial capitalism that is simply not socially responsible. The rich get richer speculating on the stock and property markets and otherwise from realising gains in the narrow banking sector.

Economic growth for whom? Success for whom? The many ordinary citizens or the few elite who benefit from the Government’s patronage?

The PAP Government want to sell you the “moving escalator” “Singapore Dream” when in fact for most it is a “Singapore Nightmare” with ordinary citizens suffering to make ends meet; with escalating cost of living, depreciating HDB leases and bleak job prospects due to ever increasing competition for fewer and fewer jobs against more and more people.

 

Khush Chopra

 

 

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25 Responses to “Where is the magic moving escalator in Singapore?”

  • TruBlu:

    ya,mr T,are you having blurred vi$ion?

    our SOCIAL ESCALATOR is going down,down and down!

    we used to take the elevator up till your bo$$ took over and shoved us DOWN the escalator?

    the only ONE$ riding up the ea$calator happen to be you and your fellow PAPple.

    you take a DIFFERENT ESCALATOR from all of us???

    maybe we should switch and you guys take the DOWN ESCALATOR or,better still,we shove you OUT OF THE WINDOW from UP OF YOUR IVORY TOWERS.

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  • DSW:

    Leaders reminds me if a washing machine

    Spin and spin and spin.

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  • Samuel S:

    Well remember this country was run by PAP government for more than 60 years since day 1. What we have achieved good or bad is on PAP hands, so don’t blame others.

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  • sgs's living a nightmare:
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  • opposition dude:

    The so called magic escalator is moving downwards towards the abyss actually. It’s only moving up if you are non Singaporean or connected to the PAP.

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  • Hsiam Loong Loong:

    No wonder we the ordinary citizens will never find the Singapore Dream or reach the Swiss standard of living which was promised. We’re on the escalator whereas the elites have the non-stop elevator.

    It’s indeed a nightmare when you’re the ones on the slow, over-crowded, over-loaded and often problematic MOVING ESCALATOR!

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  • I think hoh:

    Very clearly, he is not saying there is one in Singapore.

    He is saying he wish there is one in Singapore.

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  • iwanastaircasetoheaven:

    on an escalator to no where..
    when it reaches the top the doors are shut ..for many of us ord sgs.
    only if u are their brothers or kaki langs , then the doors will open wide.
    just like our cpf money…
    the withdrawal age keeps going up n up with no end in sight.
    one day it’ll be just enough to pay for our funeral service & the coffin ..due to rising inflation.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Most $G escalators are built in China or India and stop working after about 2 years. No warranty or fake warranty is given.

    The repairman is also FT and in jail or has run away for assaulting a Pinoy maid somewhere.

    Then you have to use the stairs or gahmen charge you for another one.

    So the escalators are not really a solution – just another gimmick to scam your money with fake promises.

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  • What more to say of Cronyism?:

    “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone… The day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs; and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real human problems – the problems of life and of human relationships, of creation and behavior and religion.”

    - John Maynard Keynes

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    What escalator? It had been broken down since 1997/98 (time of the Asian Currency Crisis) & hasn’t been repaired at all. Middle class prosperity had declined and the middle class segment in S’pore has become a myth! In reality, we’ve become a nation of wage slaves (eg. the elderly & low income) & debt serfs (middle income, business owners, etc). What we think we owned are just asset mirages, in truth, they’re liabilities or zero asset values of no true worth. Your HDB flat & car are zero-asset values at end of life ie. expiry of lease or COE. The price of private real estate are overinflated without any real economic worth nor potential. It is, at best, a greater fool game where you wouldn’t want to be the one holding the asset!
    The only escalator we have in S’pore is a rising cost one re: an Inflationary Economy. Using the cost of a bowl of fish-ball noodles, cost of living has risen 2x-3x over the last 2 decades. A bowl of fish-ball noodles used to cost around SG$2.50 (in 1997/98), today, it is around SG$4.50 in the food courts. Private property prices have risen even more dramatically ie. by 4x-5x since 1997/98. And the S’pore govt had been asking people to give up the dream of “owning” a car for the inconvenience of public transportation which remains rather congested.
    Since the foreigner’s floodgates opened around 2004, wages had been stagnant since. The job creation is all low level work since the better jobs all goes to the foreigners.
    And S’pore’s low taxation economy is disguised by the fact that everything in S’pore is so expensive! S’poreans are constantly being fooled & fooled again! When will people ever wake up?

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  • De-escalate:

    Moving escalator? Yes moving downwards or breakdown and servicing takes 3 months.

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  • True facts:

    More n more sinkis are currently out of job due to overflooding of fts into this land.

    Good news you voted for these.

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  • True facts:

    Only old goh enjoy the Swiss standard of living.

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  • good job:

    thank u to the many intelligent writers who care to speak out for the rest of our suffering sgs.
    their writings bring out the realities of our lives into the open.
    for a lot of us we can only feel it and suffer alone, but are not articulate enough to put our thoughts into words.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Tharman uses a “Metaphor” to tell his inner “THOUGHTS”…it is the Cabinet with an IDIOT that do not AGREE and see it through!!!

    Remove the stoopid IDIOT and his cronies and we may be able to see a CHANGE, not small change

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  • this is not disneyland:

    they give us cheap handouts n subsidies that can see but cannot touch. then pat themselves on the back feeling theyve done their job!
    no one asking for such gimmicks
    we just asking for fair play..
    dont ever come out n talk about meritocracy anymore..it doesnt exist.
    bringing in mils of 3rd world aliens and still expect the quality to improve?
    loong n his gang are living in dreamland in their ivory towers.
    Wishing wont make it come true.
    this is not disneyland.

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  • Lick Arses:

    You should join their fast tracked lift instead.
    Just be low enough.

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  • Pioneer Gen honor/humilation?:

    PAP says they r honoring citizens for the part they played in Nation Building n accord them with Pioneer n lately Merdeka Generations. Many of the PGs r currently under routine checking by their doctors in various hospital. But most r private patients when the began their routine checks n with the Pioneer Generation, they r refuse the privilege provided. Is this the policy of the hospital or that of the govt. Is Pioneer Generation privileges come with conditions as the hospital seems to imply. The patient must go back to polyclinic n get a referral letter to return. Why such procedure. Pioneer Generation has to be redorsed ny the polyclinic before they r pioneer generation to the hospital. Is Pioneer Generation an honor or a ticket to permit to beg. Could Medical director n ministry of health clarify bearing in mind that Pioneer Generation came before those Seniors could exercise the privilege?

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  • AcertainDeath:

    The higher up your greed leads you up the height of personal(self interest) glory, wealth and power( God/christ-like), the lesser and limited vacancy it gets and finally at the top, only one seat for the king, the strongman and the biggest mouth( the word of God all must bow to) is seated

    You know he is the tempter, the minister of darkness(censorship/ damning laws to shut out those who rail against them/media monopoly/ perpetrator of a brand of truth by the elites etc)

    And the tempter never loses in a democratic rat race(you voted) of the “good life” but frankly, who can resist the highway of high learning(the better educated by them you are, the better your prospect up the tower of heaven) with promises of the “good life” or a pot of gold in the clouds?

    Not your proud mothers!

    Bark up the wrong tree, a certain death awaits you, guarantee by the Author.

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  • Darth Vader:

    Dear turdman,

    I’ve got a MUCH better idea. Instead of the pap offering us such an escalator, how about we THROW ALL YOU ASSHOLES OUT of office by electing a government that would put ONLY Singaporeans, NO PRs first, and take action against countries that violate the free trade agreements they signed with us by sending their people here to work WITHOUT buying our products, something we all KNOW is happening because no less that lky itself has admitted that the pap has been growing GDP SOLELY by importing cheap foreign labor, which of course means that these countries are NOT buying our products in sizeable numbers

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  • Pic a 1,000 words ?:

    Harder Truths:
    Most $G escalators are built in China or India and stop working after about 2 years. No warranty or fake warranty is given.

    The repairman is also FT and in jail or has run away for assaulting a Pinoy maid somewhere.

    Then you have to use the stairs or gahmen charge you for another one.

    So the escalators are not really a solution – just another gimmick to scam your money with fake promises.

    -
    The photo above succinctly points to the obvious – the escalator is broken . . .
    -
    Where’s Tharman ???
    -
    Remember the Ballot Box !

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  • Haigen-Diaz:

    Really bad recessions happen when people are not aware of the danger to which financial manipulations have exposed the economy. Fiscal policy is captured by the gilded elite class entitled to take the escalator. For the average(?) person, the economics are simpler. How much more does a bag of groceries cost? What do you pay to fill your car? Can you afford an evening out? All these metrics are very apparent, particularly in first two quarterly 2019. They give the lie to reports of inflation not being very high.

    We’re dealing with the opposite of stagflation. We have economic growth but it’s only benefiting 1-5% of the population. En-bloc windfalls and bonuses for financial institutions like DBS, Temasek, etc. But Retail & food outlets @Jewels reported no customers during the late night hours. Sentosa Cove homes selling at 50% loss. Close to 70 per cent of retrenched residents were PMETs and there are around 24,000 existing private housing units that remain vacant.

    Also not ignoring the recent shoring up of 45 billion to GIC by MAS under mysterious and questionable circumstances. The next big downturn is likely to come from some financial overexposure which is not recognized, or recognized by only a very few.

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  • Black magic and desecration:

    Rhetoric as empty as our opaque CPF savings records: the filthy rich Hypocrite promises what he will not do; betrays the trusts bestowed upon him; deceives you as he speaks; and disputes and abuses you for differing with him.
    The only advanced political economy globally to deny its citizens a minimum wage guarantee while housing and medical costs soar through the roof of the world. The young marry not and do not become householders, and the old are committing suicide by the dozens. The most overworked people on earth to be dazed into emotional alienation. Some trickle-down economy this crony capitalism!!!

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  • oxygen:

    @ Khush Chopra,

    WHAT SINKIES GOT IS NOT MOVING ESCALATOR but moving feast of ever-lasting hunger, disappearing retirement savings and ASSET SILENT DEPLETION (HDB is NOT YOURS despite bravado claims to the contrary from officialdom).

    IF HDB IS OWNED by its buyers, HOW COME, LIKE COPYRIGHT LAW PROOF OF OWNERSHIP RIGHTS AND ENFORCEMENT, CANNOT BE GIVEN AWAY similar to will to defined/named beneficiary/beneficiaries?

    If it was yours as the buyer, you can give it to homeless or blind invested in a trusts of deceased estate for the benefits of whoever the nominated beneficiary/beneficiaries till 99 year expiry. WHAT DOES HDB HAS TO SAY ON THIS?

    silence!!

    Others in officialdom is talking on BEHALF OF HDB BUT SILENT ON THIS LAW APPLICATION!

    Those claiments that HDB buyers are owners of their flat based their claims on these (DUBIOUS) so-called facts and law.

    - you have possession
    - you can rent it
    - you collect proceeds on sale.

    NONSENSE!!

    Renters have physical possession for the rented period. Renter could even sublet to others if the whole HDB is let out to one nominal renter. HDB collects resale levy on HDB sales proceed, SO DOES THAT PROVE THAT HDB IS ALSO PART SILENT OWNER of flat fully-paid up by buyers???

    How about supermarkets taking stocks from suppliers on consignment? If these are sold to its customers, does the supermarket owns all the proceeds and then refuse to pay the supplier as THE LAW ALLEGEDLY CLAIMS WHOEVER COLLECTS THE PROCEED PROVE HIS/HER OWNERSHIP OF THAT PROPERTY as claimed by PAPpypolitics??

    BULLSH*T!!

    PAPpypolitics Ah Kong shouldn’t try to bluff Ah Sengs, Ah Lians and Ah Huays anymore.

    THIS IS INTERNET AGE!!!

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