Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was reading about the plight of some Chinese workers in Singapore and the ban on "tomboy dressing" in Malaysia, and remember a bit of my conservation about the current economic disaster that is happening now.

Since i am taking Introduction to World History for the past semester, i actually had the chance or maybe forced into reading a bit more about Socialism. While some people have not much idea about Socialism and might think that Socialism = Communism including me, i think if i may conclude that Communism is a subset of Socialism and Socialism has other components such as Utopian Socialism or whatever. Well, the lure of Socialism is obviously not how the entire country can all suffer together while the communist party members have a better lifestyle, but rather the lure that instead of competition to get things done, people will co-operate to make our society a better place. Capitalism has always advocates the invisible free hand of the market, and we all know how that free hand just went about around the world wiping away banks and companies. After so many years in the Singapore education system, i am really sick of endless competition. Like i said with reference to my study in NUS, either i can be really good and spent tonnes of hours in my studies and do really well, or i can climb up on bodies of other people so that i will do better because others fare worse than me.

So what are all these talks about economic, blog posts and Socialism? All of these are actually bound together in a cycle, a cycle of injustice that most of us know, but we chose to ignore it, just because we could. In the endless competition in society, where companies seek to better their profits through exploitation in Third World countries, they have brought upon injustice to a lot of people. Like how some part of society in Singapore were being marginalized because they were deem unproductive to society, the unforgiving culture that we have made it such that should one ever fail in the society, it is very hard to stand up. Like how if i ever fail 1 of my semesters, i would probably see my honors gone. I would probably argue this is the case for the economic woes, where banks and bankers alike because of intense competition to grab more clients, chose to lend their money who people who obviously cannot financed their loans on their otherwise too large house. It is because of management of companies who because of their greed, spent much of the company funds on otherwise unneeded luxury spending. And all these, is the state of our capitalism, where the weak become obsolete and the strong takes even more away from the rest of the population who already have so little.

However, the main problem here is the state of our social conscious. While i acknowledge all the injustice going around, when i think about the alternatives i would rather sweep the injustices under the carpet. I feel bad about the construction workers and cleaners who take low pay and long working hours, but i rather them be the one than me being the one who is doing it. If i am running a company, in order to keep my business competitive i would want to pay lower wages too so that i can earn more. We have to know that a lot of things we own is not possible without the exploitation of some parts of the world. The bonus of the employees of MNCs come from the low wages of the workers of the factories in Third World countries. We have people so desperate for jobs that they would work long hours and low pay just to survive because we want to save wage costs. We prefer having poor people around so that the jobs that no one else will do would be filled up. We rather the farmers growing our food earn less so that we can pay lesser for our food. All in all, we accept the injustice going around the world because we are on the receiving ends of the injustice. We have somehow benefit in different ways by turning a blind eye to all these problems. We chose not to look at these problems because it seems unsolveable, and attempting to solve it will result in our standard of living declining. Morals and ethics, we have study so much but yet the invisible hand of society is truly powerful, to cover our eyes to all the injustice.


pk said...

Would foregoing our bonuses and high paying job do anything to improve the situation of this world?

The answer is no!

I have to disagree that "we accept the injustice going around the world because we are on the receiving ends of the injustice" and that "attempting to solve it will result in our standard of living declining" that's why we will choose not to solve it.

History has shown that many many people worldwide have stood up and WILL stand up against injustice.

Consider the African slave trade. Would cost labour increase without slaves? Who stood up against slavery? Didn't they stand to benefit for it?

Consider sweatshop around the world. Who stood up against sweatshops? Aren't they consumers too who stand to benefit?

Injustices angers moral humans. That's why when Great men and women lead by stand up against it... people follow.

"If you wish to change the world, start with yourself". People make up this world; that's you and me.

kohtaka said...

Indeed there are people who stand up against all these injustices, but there is a reason why all these things didn't stop. Not only are the numbers not enough, but rather it feels like the consequences and results contradict each other. In order to eradicate wealth, there must be a more balance wealth distribution, but this will result in the decline of rich people which effectively they will resist against losing their wealth. So it is an irony for the wealthy country to try to help the poorer country. It feels like the only thing they do is to give food to let the poor survive, but never letting them break out of their poverty cycle.

It is a wonder how 20% of the world population control more than 80% of the world wealth, but a large % of the world population still live below the poverty line while corporation earns so much $ every year. Capitalism itself is flawed, seeing how when economy is good the corporation earn so much profit and they can spurge on unnecessary expenses, but when economy is bad, just because in order to preserve job loss governments have to spend $ to bail them out. Injustices are not something you can prevent by changing the world, because it is brought forth by people with power, in order to preserve their power.

pk said...

yea i have to agree with all your points... that's why we shouldn’t depend on corporations who are earning the big bucks to solve the world problems. for that matter i won't even bother about "solving"... i think of it more as "improving".

One step at a time in the right direction.