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ocial conditions and underlying assumptions

Administrative Note:

Week's Agenda: Social Conditions

  Minimum Wage
  Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work to be made clear
  Introduction of Social Security Net
  Introduction of identity card
  Removal of Age discrimination at work
  Creating conditions so that reservations will no longer be necessary


I have been a silent observer for a while now. First I would like to say
that  the effort is commendable and it is great that some of you are
devoting a lot of precious time to this effort.  

I see a trend in the debates that seems to think that planning and
regulation of any kind are something that we should avoid like a plague.
"What right does anybody have to tell other parents whether to educate their
child or not, why do we need rules on safety of personnel, people would know
that safer place is better and shun those who do not  provide safety".  The
underlying assumption is summarised by Barun's statement  "The assumption
that people are too ignorant and don't / can't think about their own future
is too insulting."

I agree with this statement, it is insulting. But let us face the truth, for
every parent  "who will sell his last goat to send his child to school",
there are multitude others who would not miss their trip to liquor shop for
the sake of their child's education. For every diligent person who saves up
for his future there are many who would slacken in their  "well" paying
regular work no sooner have they got some extra money in their pockets.

I am not an economist nor an expert in human behaviour, but these are the
responses of the urban poor that I have had chance to observe.  Even in
Singapore, where until recently there was full employment, there is a need
for rules of safety for personnel at work, albeit to protect the poor
immigrant construction workers.  If 90% of the Singaporeans today are home
owners it is because they are forced to save 40% of their income as central
provident fund.  Of course it curtails choice, but it has resulted in
increase in home ownership and a better social security net.

If the underlying assumptions for deriving our policies are that "all people
are smart and would make decisions for their long term well being" I think
we need to think again !

My comments on this weeks topic:

Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work should be made clear and
Introduction of Social Security Net should be done is such a way that the
person who wants to benefit from this in his "unproductive" years, should
himself contribute substantially in building this up during his "productive"

I am in favour of introducing identity cards.


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