I do not usually talk about personalities.
But I was somewhat offended by this Forum letter, which I had initially causally glanced.
The Forum Page had titled the letter, “Beware the capitalist democracy trap“. How true, I thought to myself. Because capitalism is necessarily intertwined with democracy, when we pander to capitalism, we fail as a democracy because we necessarily have to deny the rights of people, over favouring capitalism.
And I thought to myself – how honourable of The Straits Times to publish this.
How wrong was I!
- Firstly, the title was misleading. When I read further, the article discussed how we should preserve “capitalist democracies” by not “moving down the slippery slope” where we provide a stream of handouts” – The writer implies here that governments should not observe the welfare of the people.
- Secondly, the writer brought out issues of “an increase in income disparity” but frames it such that this “puts further pressure on populist politicians to increase the number and duration of handouts to the disadvantaged.” – Here, the writer blames income inequality for governments have to redistribute wealth to balance inequality. The writer implies here that we should let income inequality grow.
- I was appalled by his argument. His letter blatantly praises the government’s focus on economic growth at all costs and wants the government to not value human rights and to rebalance income and social inequalities. I was horrendously disgusted and wanted to know who was the guy who wrote this.
Does anyone know David Grant?
I searched online and found only one David Grant in Singapore. He is the CEO of optionsXpress Singapore and is also a member of the Investor Education Advisory Committee the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) or SIAS. On its website, it states that, “SIAS is the largest organized investor lobby group in Asia, with almost 70,000 retail investors as members.”
What I want to know is this:
1) Is this the same David Grant who wrote in to The Straits Times?
2) I would like to request that the David Grant behind this letter be known to the public.
3) If it is indeed the same David Grant, I would like to know why his affiliations weren’t shown? This would have dire implications on the interpretation of the letter.
There are major implications, because if it is the same David Grant, then as a business leader, he would necessarily favours pro-business policies.
Business leaders would generally and naturally want the government not to focus on social welfare policies which are aimed at helping the poor and needy. But there are real Singaporeans who are poor and who need social and welfare support! Are we to ignore their plight, simply because we should strive to be “the most powerful and liberating” economies by being a “capitalistic democracy”? I would argue that by being one – we won’t actually be liberating though.
So, is this the same David Grant?
Then my next question is directed at The Straits Times. Once against you instigate and infuriate Singaporeans with your biased selection of letters which serve only to justify what the government wants to do. Is this a clear reflection of the thoughts of the majority of Singaporeans, or has the Forum Page become effectively a blatant machinery to push out government agenda?
I need to know if this is the same David Grant. I hope that he would be able to clarify.