Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Subsidising Idleness is Soul-Destroying

I love reading the Financial Times – especially the op-ed articles. If I have to choose reading only one newspaper, FT is the one.

This is from Martin Wolf today. Besides his usual remarkable insights on the matter he writes on, I found the last few paragraphs being rather instructive in thinking about economic policies in Malaysia.

How to promote employment while protecting the low-paid
Martin Wolf
Published: April 10 2007

…The impact of globalisation on workers’ incomes depends on the size of the pie and their share in it. The evidence of a positive impact on the former is overwhelming. The evidence on the impact of globalisation on the latter… has been a factor, but not the dominant one.

Yet the most striking conclusion of this analysis has been the benefits of policies that promote employment… While incomes can be sustained through transfers, subsidised idleness is soul-destroying. French voters, please note (Elanor: Malaysian voters too).

The right policy, then, is to promote employment while augmenting the incomes of the low-paid… It is also to promote the highest quality of basic education across the labour force and provide good opportunities for motivated workers to upgrade their skills.

The right policy is to combine openness to trade with a politically acceptable sharing of the gains in high-income countries. The challenge is huge. But it is one at which we cannot afford to fail.

General pointer on the direction Malaysia should move towardsstop being insular, embrace globalization; stop subsidising idleness and complacency, improve education.

Unfortunately, the country is currently moving the other direction.

*Mumble grumble, emphases added*

1 comment:

Resurrected said...

It is amazing how far behind we are now in terms of education and skills development. Walking into a school here makes you think we are in some sort of backwardness. I think we ever so often like to brag about the number of universities/colleges we have, the vocational skills training available, etc without really understanding that quantity is fine but it needs to come with real quality too.

I think we just don't have enough (political) will to have the best human resources in place to develop young (and old) minds.