Economy: priority · State should be the chief


Govt involvement is necessary when the state can fashion policies
to boost or regulate the economy for the benefit of the country

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But too much regulation or intervention as populist measures can

E.g. Yingluck administration buying rice from local farmers at
higher prices

o    Campaign
promised to boost income of rice farmers led to landslide victory in 2011

o    But led to
ballooning debt and immense stockpiles of rice unsold in warehouses as markets
simply turned to other countries for rice at market rates

o    Policy is
hardly sustainable, runs counter to common sense and law of economics

E.g. Robert Mugabe Indigenisation policy

o    Forcibly took
back agricultural farmlands from whites and transferred to black Zimbabweans

o    Led to utter
collapse of agricultural industry due to to lack of expertise to manage
commercial farms

E.g. Regulation of US economy / bank bailouts / austerity measures
in Greek Crisis

o    Necessary when
there is excessive / risky borrowing that may lead to economic crisis – 2008 US
financial crisis in banking industry

o    Greek economic
crisis pushed the country to bankruptcy and austerity measures to cut welfare
and freeze wages were necessary to get more bailouts from EU



Powerful tool used by the state to influence people for better or
worse – common curriculum necessary to inculcate common values for stronger
social cohesion and set a common benchmark

State should be involved to provide infrastructure, manpower and
means by which people can gain equal access

Public education should be provided by the state – quality varies
widely from country to country depending on government’s priority

State should be the chief architect of education system to steer
its direction to better meet the economic needs of the country

E.g. SG direction towards bio-engineering and technology

o    Requires
support of an educational system that prepares students for the new industry

o    New life
sciences courses and universities (SUTD) meant to nurture students of calibre
to fulfill these jobs

Too much intervention is widely seen as a form of state propaganda

E.g. Beijing govt attempt to instil a greater sense of love and
nationalistic enthusiasm in HK for mainland China

o    National
education curriculum met with widespread outcry

o    Criticized for
being biased against Western democracy, pushing it as harmful to inculcate
greater appreciation for China’s one-party rule

o    Attempt to
brainwash the children



Most people see the state as having the responsibility to provide
public healthcare – build hospitals and provide necessary expertise and
infrastructure to cater to the public’s health care needs

But cost and quality and duration of healthcare are extremely
complex, extent of provision thus varies widely from country to country

E.g. Obamacare aka Affordable Care Act

o    Fun fact most
americans dk they’re the same thing lol

o    Prior to ACA,
most americans lack access to healthcare due to high costs and lack medical

§  Most healthcare
policies charge high premiums for good coverage

§  Do not cover
pre-existing health conditions

o    ACA mandates
everyone get health insurance or pay a tax

§  Provides
subsidies for middle-income families

§  Tax some
healthcare providers

§  Led to millions
having access to healthcare for the first time

§  Force insurance
companies to cover pre-existing health conditions

o    Many saw this
as a form of govt overreach for they feel it should be a personal choice
whether they wish to have insurance

o    But govt
involvement ensures those who previously could not have insurance now have full
access to medical care

§  State
redistributes resources for greater equity amongst people

E.g. Trump Administration Health Bill Collapse aka Alternative
Health Bill

o    Trump made this
a central campaign promise to bring a more “beautiful” plan that will be
“cheaper and better”

o    However, bill
was widely criticised as it meant less responsibility from the state to provide
healthcare to people

§  24 million
americans would lose their healthcare plan and be uninsured

§  Lower income
groups would be unable to afford insurance without generous subsidies

§  Allows
insurance companies to charge older people more and younger people gain as they
do not have to pay more for the elderly

§  Rich get tax
cuts (as subsidies are cancelled)

o    Ironically,
large majority of Trump’s voters who are the working poor would lose most under
this plan


Social Vices:

People not always rational but give into their baser appetites and
desire that may bring more harm to themselves and others

In liberal countries, excessive government intervention can be
seen as overreach into the private lives of citizens, trying to run their lives

E.g. SG take on drugs

o    Banned in SG,
whether soft or hard

o    Understandable
as drugs taken without any form of restraint exact a heavy toll on society –
lives ruins, families destroyed and violence brought by rival drug cartels

o    Traffickers
face death penalty and abuse is criminalised with offenders facing imprisonment
and rehabilitation

E.g. Consumption of sugar / unhealthy foods

o    Sugar tax to in
a bid to prevent rise in obesity – Mexico tax on soda

o    Former NY Mayor
Bloomberg’s call to bn drinks seen as an overreach

§  Feel that it is
a matter of private individual choice

§  Law was
repealed in court as it was deemed unconstitutional

While the state may have good intentions, people may not view the
state’s intervention in personal choices as necessary and is seen as leading
them to become a “nanny state”

E.g. UK ban on hardcore pornography

o    Some see this
as a form of state surveillance and overreach into personal lives

o    Govt imposed
legislation to censor and ban pornography that depicts excessive violence
against women

o    Demand all
homes to opt for firewall for protection of minors being exposed to porn

o    Child
pornography also banned as it is morally reprehensible and should not be left
to individual’s free choice as it harms children and violates their rights



In religious states, freedom to practice religion that differs
from the state’s religion is prohibited

o    Infringes on
the individual’s right to choose for himself his personal beliefs and faith

o    Freedom to
practice one’s religion and not be persecuted for it is a human right that
should be protected by the state

E.g. ISIS controlled states

o    Only practice
of islam is allowed

o    Believers who
turned from the faith are “apostates” and are subjected to harsh punishment

E.g. France burqini ban

o    Ban on muslim
women wearing the veil in secular states

o    Citing security
concerns and that this is against french secular values

o    Muslim women
challenge the law saying that it violates their freedom of expression and right
to freedom

o    Ban is cited to
be ridiculous and islamophobia


Freedom of

Fiercely guarded by the state and constitution in liberal states –
france and US

In authoritarian states, it is viewed with more caution as some
are wary of the social disharmony it can create with offensive remarks

E.g. SG – civil liberties are guaranteed (liberty to practice
religion and having a place of worship) but there are curbs to  freedom of
speech and freedom to peaceful assembly

o    Amos yee online
rant and his subsequent prosecution show the limits of free speech

o    Many supported
his right to disagree but not his methods in expressing dissent due to the
timing and insensitivity of the comment as it was a period of national mourning


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