International Business & Economy Welfare statists are economic authoritarians

Welfare statists are economic authoritarians

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

By: Bryan Cheang
Numerous local critics of the government are left-wing liberals, who advocate for the welfare state and its attendant policies. This position calls for the imposition of the , increased taxes on the rich to facilitate greater redistribution to the poor, increased social spending for the poor, as well as regulations on big business to rein in ‘corporate greed’.
Such a perspective held by numerous individuals – including Dr , blogger Roy Ngerng, and Mr Tan Jee Say – and opposition parties. At the same time, these are also individuals who criticise the incumbent government for its heavy-handedness, and hope to see greater political competition in Singapore, and more protections for civil liberties.
I insist that their position is disingenuous and downright inconsistent.
Welfare statists like them are simply authoritarians in another guise – they are economic authoritarians, against the rich and productive in society. The is an excellent case in point. By calling for such a law to be imposed, the welfare statists are in effect prohibiting businesses and workers from entering into a consensual, contractual relationship at a wage rate that falls below the mandated minimum.
If the minimum wage is $10/hr, its legally forbidden to hire a worker at $9/hr, even if it was freely chosen. Its interesting to me that the advocates of such an authoritarian law are also defenders of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. This is disingenuous.
As much as they, the welfare statists in Singapore, decry the authoritarianism of the government – a sentiment I share – they are guilty of the very same government heavy-handedness through their advocacy of such government interventions into the otherwise free-market economy.
A truly liberal society is one where the power of government is limited. The liberal tradition has always adhered to this basic tenet: that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A welfare state vitiates this goal by giving more power to the state. With more power to tax, regulate and direct economic activities, left-liberals are only concentrating more power in the hands of the government.
A free, unhampered economy is a pre-requisite of a free, open and democratic society. Political freedom requires economic freedom. It is a point made by the Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek, in “Road to Serfdom“, which trenchantly argued that increasing degrees of state control over economic activities lead societies towards authoritarianism, and potentially, totalitarianism.
Sadly, this is a point lost on Dr , who recently wrote a good piece on the Huffington Post titled “Authoritarian rule and the impending crisis in Singapore“, but who also elsewhere defended illiberal policies like the minimum wage, and increased social spending. Such is the illiberal liberalism of his position.
Anyone interested in defending freedom and democracy must do so consistently. If one should be free to make personal choices regarding his sexual preferences, speak freely in public, and associate with others as he pleases, he should also be free to enter into voluntary, consenting capitalist acts with other individuals.
Defending civil liberties, but not economic liberties is silly. What does it mean to have the freedom to publish freely if there are restrictions on the type of printed material that can be bought and sold? How can Singapore achieve freedom of press if the media companies are not in private, capitalist hands?
[fvplayer src=”http://youtube.com/watch?v=oWAyEzyp2xQ”]For the sake of consistency, I urge the opposition leaders in Singapore to cease their advocacy of more government interventions, to stop asking for the minimum wage, and all the authoritarianism that a welfare state requires. Singaporeans deserve to be free, that is, to live and choose as they please, as long as they respect the rights of others to do likewise.

Bryan Cheang is a graduate from NUS, and his research interests revolves around the political philosophy of classical liberalism and free market economics. He hopes that one day, Singapore will become a truly free society respecting individual rights. He blogs at bryancheang.wordpress.com

Please follow and like us:
Tweet
Share
- Advertisement -

Netizens ask why some employers demand to see PSLE results if they are not defined by scores

Responding to Education Minister Lawrence Wong's advise to 12-year-olds that they are not defined by their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results, some netizens have asked why some prospective employers demand to see job applicants' PSLE scores if what he said...

“A genius cut down by drugs” — K Shanmugam pays tribute to Diego Maradona

Singapore -- Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam paid tribute to football legend Diego Maradona, who passed away on Wednesday (Nov 25), and called him a "genius cut down by drugs" in a social media post on Thursday (Nov 26).   Maradona...

Woman poured boiling water on boyfriend’s groin area over cheating suspicions

Singapore -- A 50-year-old woman was sentenced to four years in jail on Thursday (Nov 26) for pouring boiling water on her boyfriend's pants over the groin area because she suspected he was cheating on her. The court heard that Zareena Begum...
Please follow and like us:
Tweet
Share
Follow Me
Tweet