by Brad Bowyer
Recently Charles Hugh Smith, the well-known alternative philosopher and financial blogger wrote an article entitled “Vested Interests in Charge = Guaranteed Failure” and in it he noted: –
“vested interests must suppress, undermine or co-opt structural innovation, which threatens to obsolete the status quo” and “Cartels and monopolies are especially vulnerable to structural innovation”
The article also goes on to demonstrate how political power alone cannot stop change when the forces of economics get involved.
This they eventually do, and the history books are full of examples, because Vested Interests eventually get to an incompetent stage where they are arrogant. lazy, lose any incentive to provide quality and continually raise prices/taxes until a national/business breaking point is reached where varied painful outcomes occur as change is forced upon them and they collapse, or they are ousted/replaced.
What happens when politics and economics are held in the same hands?
Then you get a situation in South East Asia and the other former Colonies as described in a very thought-provoking Asia Times article, “The solution for China’s prodigal son” by Joseph Nathan where the line between politicians and tycoons became blurred and eventually cronyism, nepotism and corruption took deep root.
We have seen the result. Vested interests pushed the people to breaking point and through a combination of “street democracy” and the ballot box the old guards have been removed. The latest being the major confrontation developing in Hong Kong where, due to their two-system heritage, they do not have the same access to the ballot box in the way Indonesia and Malaysia did and so are far more “street” focused.
Now I don’t believe in “street democracy” unless there is absolutely no choice because the longer the incumbent Vested Interests remain recalcitrant the worse the outcome becomes for everyone. This despite the myriad examples of chaos and destruction we have seen around the world whenever an uprising happened, which included for the vested interests as well, while they persisted in trying to force their wills against a national will to change from the people.
Lessons from the corporate world
Now in my recent post on the People’s Action Party (PAP) being off target I talked about a concept called “Enlightened Self Interest”. This is where you do the right thing not necessarily because you are being altruistic but because you get a benefit from doing it. This is a way of thinking now coming back in to favour within the capitalist world today as companies adapt to a disruptive space where old monopoly or vested interest power no longer serves them, and they must adapt or fail.
Traditionally companies have been the ultimate top down autocratic dictatorships so are a very good model for governments that practice this way of thinking, operation and treating their people.
It is a model I hope both sides in the ongoing Hong Kong dispute can think of. There is much distance between what mainland China wants and the Hong Kong people want but if they can have mutual respect and understanding for one and other then a status quo point can be reached that benefits both before too much chaos and destruction is wrought.
And of course, the resolution of this latest iteration of a national uprising is for them to decide internally without any external influences for it is their lives and economic futures at stake.
As Joseph’s article describes there have now been what he calls “progressive uprisings” in many of the old colonial outposts as the people have eventually ousted or changed the Vested Interests.
Indonesia, Malaysia and now Hong Kong have become part of a worldwide movement against small groups gaining power and wealth by imposing their wills on the wider people through a combination of political and financial monopoly under the guise of globalisation, central banking and a drive towards unelected transnational governance sold to the masses by captured media and controlled information.
It has happened in America, The Middle East, South America, Europe and now Asia as the old world “Elite” model is rejected because the information of the truths of the world are no longer solely in their hands and the worsening effects of these monopolies on the everyday lives of the people is becoming unbearable for many.
There is a tidal wave of change sweeping the globe and it has lessons I hope the wiser heads in China can learn from. The age of dictatorship is coming to an end an age of enlightenment is emerging with the only question really being how painful will the birth be and not whether it can be stopped or not?
The wise will make it as painless and mutually beneficial as possible, the stupid and stubborn will cause suffering for all.
But what of Singapore?
For Singapore we have the same cronyism, nepotism and unaccountability that the other old colonial nations had just manifested under a different guise. Our “men in white” have become the “white men” of old regardless of how they pretend to be otherwise doing their best to hold monopoly power of politics and finance and stifle any democratic move to the contrary.
But like vested Interests elsewhere they are reaching the stage of incompetence and the tidal wave of change is reaching our shores.
Our question now will be: “Will our Progressive Uprising be restricted to a progress of consciousness and actions taken solely in the ballot box to effect change or will it eventually be something worse?”
With all the new and expanded laws we have seen, the surveillance system being put in place, the expanded police force and the oppressive moves recently against members of civil society, including members of the “first family”, we see them digging in their heels to resist so the signs are not good that there is much enlightenment or wisdom on the PAP side of the equation.
We however can do our best to have a progressive mental revolution in the people’s minds and have the weight of numbers at the ballot box overwhelm the short sightedness of the incumbents before we end up in the terrible place many countries elsewhere in the world have been and so bring the wisdom from our side.
Let’s work together to bring Singapore painlessly into the 21st century and the global age of enlightenment and say goodbye to nepotism, cronyism and dictatorship once and for all.
It is now the age of true leadership and there is no more place for self-serving rulers. We must collectively state this loudly and clearly and use our votes wisely because to do nothing or worse invites a disaster we can ill afford.
It is definitely a time to be Progressive.
This was first published on Mr Bowyer’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.