Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PAP Economics

The fever swirling around GE has begun to die down, but here I am getting all riled up.

the following equation is from a man who graduated with a first-class honours degree in economics (incidently, he also possesses an M.A. in development economics):

Unhappiness + Others who are happier = Net Happiness

a formula coined by sm goh chok tong in response to concerns raised by singaporeans with regards to the (over)heated property market and the policies of hdb.

in sm goh's words:

"for those who missed out, who can't buy this, can't upgrade and so on, they are really feeling the unhappiness. question is, was the policy good? unhappiness plus those who are happier, in total there's net happiness. there's no such thing called total happiness. i mean, don't believe in it. it's whether we can create net happiness in all of this."

for the old man's sake i really hope what he meant to say was that the government cant please everyone with their policies.

but to the untrained ear, it really sounded as if our ex-PM was telling us to build our happiness on the misfortunes of our fellow citizens, to wise up and not expect to have everything that we want. that we can only be marginally happy at best.

sm goh's remarks naturally resonated with many singaporeans, some of whom were so inspired that they proceeded to make a song out of his words:

funny but i never learnt about the economics of net happiness in school before leh.

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