Economy: priority · State should be the chief

Economy:

·        
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
backfire

·        
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

 

Education:

·        
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

 

Healthcare:

·        
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
insurance

§  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

 

Religion:

·        
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
Expression

·        
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

x

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