Presentation on theme: "Freedom for Sale By John Kampfner Presenters: Tang Wei Guo and Kohei Fujikawa."— Presentation transcript:
Freedom for Sale By John Kampfner Presenters: Tang Wei Guo and Kohei Fujikawa
John Kampfner John Kampfner is Adviser to Google on freedom of expression and culture. He is an author, broadcaster and commentator specialising in UK politics, international affairs, media and human rights issues. Journalist. (Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, BBC, New Statesman) Freedom for Sale- published in 2010
The Cold War Margaret Thatcher democracy and free markets as mutually reinforcing The Third Wave Unprecedented levels of US military, economic, and cultural dominance The Wests victory in the Cold War appeared to confirm the supremacy of both ideology and business model.
In the 21 st Century Quality crisis of democracy China and Russia emerge as authoritarian capitalism 9/11 and George Bushs war on terror -the inherent weakness of democratic systems -the hypocrisy on the war on terror
The Authoritarian Pact with the People Selective Repression Public and private freedom. Make people feel sufficiently free
Right to Earn and Keep Money The Right to Travel Lifestyle Choices Environmental Protection Contract lawsProperty Rights Peoples Priorities Free ElectionsOpen Media The Government Selective Repression Private freedom Less public freedom Sufficiently Free The alliance of political leaders, business, and the middle classes
Despite Barrington Moores No bourgeoisie, no democracy, Consumerism provided the ultimate anesthetic. The Middle Class
Whatever systems we happen to live under, our priorities are more similar than we would ever want to admit. Singapore China Russia UAE India Italy Britain USA Why have freedoms been so easily traded in return for security or prosperity?
Singapore Upon independence from Britain Singapores GDP per capita was the same as that of Ghanas. Worlds economic miracle. Fractious ethnic groups, Chinese, Malays, and Indians live in relative harmony through remarkable social housing and public services.
Outline Lees Singapore The Singaporeans Consumer Lifestyle Authoritarian Measures Analysing the Singapore Model Prospects of Change Conclusion
Summary Pact between the Government and its people State provides prosperity and stability while the people cooperate willingly. More and more of us are willing to trade freedom for wealth or security. It describes the unwritten "pact" between the middle and upper classes of most countries and their governments: freedom to make, keep, and spend money in exchange for the freedom to question authority.
History of Singapore Backwater and swampy island, back in 1819s Founded by Sir Stamford Raffles (British trader) Melting pot for Chinese, Malays, Indians, Armenians and Europeans (basically, anyone keen to make $$) British control ended during the World War II when Japan invaded Singapore in 1942.
History of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) was heavily influenced by anti- colonial politics and Fabian socialism of the Labour Party 1954: Founded Peoples Action Party (PAP). 1957: Singapore gained full self-government from Britain. 1959: LKY became first Prime Minister. 1963: Singapore joined the Federation of Malaya. 1965: Separation (*)
The Singaporean Lifestyle LKY pushed for state-funded regeneration, and started building Singapores social infrastructure. Public housing, roads, schools and hospitals. HealthcareGDP/GNIEducation
The Singaporean Lifestyle In essence, the author feels that Singaporeans are leading an extremely comfortable lifestyle that they have no desires to disrupt. This applies to both the affluent and the less affluent. Food, ¾ of the workforce does not pay income tax and nobody pays more than 20%. Housing Development Board (HDB) flats Ethnic ratio, common space Toa Payoh: second oldest estate in Singapore, with aplenty of activities and amenities catering to the residents In short, people have no complaints.
Selective Repression Media and Elections in Singapore Singapore Press Holdings : Newspapers MediaCorp: Broadcasting Elections Once every five years Any politician or journalist who says anything controversial about those in power is open to arrest and the subsequent charge of defamation.
Democratic Procedures Constituency changes Opposition wards (occasional democracy) Chiam See Tong (mentioned in the text) Low Thia Khiang Governments carrot and stick do not seem to work in these constituencies. Opposition leaders Chee Soo Juan and J. B. Jeyaretnam were harrassed for years. (p22) Western governments treatment of the opposition parties in Singapore. Passive and lukewarm; do not show much interest in its domestic politics.
Authoritarian Procedures Internal Security Act Chia Thye Poh (23 years in jail) Gives the security forces the authority to make arrests without having warrants (bequeathed to Singapore by the British Criminal Law Temporary Provisions Act Allows jailing of dissidents Undesirable Publications Act Clamps down free speech Public Entertainments and Meetings Act Proscribes any unauthorised gathering of more than four people.
Sustaining the Regime Renumerate officials with high pay * Ensuring that the most talented, and potentially, the most outspoken can be absorbed or co-opted by the state. Fighting off corruption (increasing the opportunity cost) Scouting for foreign talents Discrete domination of Malays and Indians by Chinese China, India, Malaysia etc.
International Disapproval HR Groups: Capital Punishment Death penalty and Caning US State Department: Preventive detention, executive influence over the judiciary, infringement of citizens privacy rights, restriction of speech and press freedom and self-censorship by journalists… British Government: Does not mention much about its former colonys HR performance. Realpolitik (political considerations) toned down international communitys criticisms for Singapore.
Peoples Disapproval Speakers Corner Rules and Regulations Must stay within the law. Aplenty of political and social sensitivities to be aware of (Race, religion, political leaders) Application for permission (apathy and a lack of utilisation) Internet Absence of an open media or political discourse has bred a flourishing rumour mill. Vigorous discussions on sites of the Workers Party and Social Democrats. Reluctant to shut down offensive sites. (Recent MDA Regulation)
The Singapore Model Mahbubani: Practising democracy more harmoniously than the West. Singapore is by every indicator the most successful nation. (e.g. wealth and social safety net) LKY: Not to sustain PAP in power, but to ensure stability more broadly. Good governance vs. democracy Offers what every citizen wants – a good life, good education, and a future for their children. Comparison with its neighbours political systems.
Reviewing the Singapore Model Governments from Indonesia to Malaysia, Kazakhstan to United Arab Emirates are seeking to learn from Singapore. Most important student: CHINA. LKY: Not for export v.s. Asian values (a contradiction?) Sens argument Resisting Western hegemony LKY can be seen as the Machiavellian Prince, deploying virtu (Asian values) to rule his people.
Singapores Middle Class Wang Gungwu: Hobbesian Contract Persuading the middle class to remove itself from the public sphere Social contract theory: Unrestricted freedom will produce a war of all against all. Chua Beng Huat: Unconscious pact Political culturalism Cultural citizen, instead of liberal citizens. The greater good is impossible without some constraint on individualism. The weakness of liberalism is the unwillingness to pay the cost of its membership.
Pact is most vulnerable in the social realm. Material comforts are not yearning for major political changes. Traditional VS. Modern Citizens are now seeking complete control of the private sphere. Prescriptive views on marriage, sex etc. are not shared by many in the parliament. Old and outdated laws: determining the length of mens hair, etc. Discussions with people who are not worried about their career development in the private or public sector Taboo topics such as sex, nepotism, corruption, secrecy etc. Homosexuality: antagonising the heartlanders
Trends Economic crises (1997 Asian Financial Crisis, 2003 SARS..) -> Reinforced the yearning of political stability. Brain drain trends are worrying. Use of defamation suits has actually increased in recent years -> signalling that people are increasingly vocal. Lees defence that the West sees that Russia and China are learning from Singapore, and therefore sees this as a threat. Disneyland with the death penalty
Will Singapore change? Yes, for its economic interest. Innovation and creativity, are by definition, not orderly and not regulated. Striking the balance will require skilled stewardship and risk-taking. Heavily controlled media also failed to act as a check on the states two main investment funds. No, it will remain status quo. Most people – Singapore citizens, international businesses, foreign governments – had a vested interest in preserving the status quo. Group think (=orders handed down from on high, and is obeyed without discussions.)
John Kampfner (Author) Michael Teo (High Commissioner to the UK) A modern form of authoritarian, quite distinct from Soviet Communism, Maoism and Fascism, is being born. It is providing a modicum of a good life, and a quiet life, the ultimate anaesthetic for the brain. Every society has to strike its own balance between individual liberty and the common good… But the true test is what works in the real world, with real societies. To worship a western model as the only way, and dismiss all other solutions as authoritarian or undemocratic, is surely the ultimate anaesthetic for the brain. Conclusion
ANY QUESTIONS? 1) WILL MARGARET THATCHERS PREDICTION EVENTUALLY BE REALISED? 2) PRIORITIES? SHOULD ECONOMIC PRIORITIES COME FIRST BEFORE POLITICAL PRIORITIES? 3) LIMITS TO FREEDOM IS WHAT MAKES FREEDOM POSSIBLE? Thank you!
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