Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Economic transformation: What if they choose to give up?

Top level people from large organizations offering their views on what needed to be done. Experience tells me that most are helicopters that can't land. So they see the forest but not the trees.

Ask the people who have to worry about the business day to day fighting fires and watching the cash flow. They are not ready. No surprise here.

My point? We love to form such economic restructuring committees even as the world moves faster and change is no longer much harder to predict but now often ambush us more frequently. It is terribly disruptive. It is a matter of time fighting fires take on a new meaning, i.e., fires that are too large to fight.

So what must we do? Well Heng Swee Keat committee will do what they have always done. It is the nature of things that when life is run by committees we get into trouble first before we are able to start dealing with it successfully. The risk of being hit by Black Swans should be rising. Businesses especially the small ones run huge risks not because they want to but they can't help it. They typically have little to no wiggle room. Many SME bosses won't admit it but they will tell their spouses and close friends to pray for their business, i.e., luck is vital. Often they also carry the risks of large companies who basically transfer their risks to them. If they are not ready for economic transformation in the past, they are even less prepared now. Of course they can't be persuaded. They will only respond to carrots and sticks. At the end of the day that is how change comes about in this town. These helicopters must discover where is the tipping point when many businesses choose to roll over and die because living is more cruel than death. Perhaps it won't happen this time but it will happen sometime if this is the way we always deal with economic transformation.

Whatever we must not run an economy which risk the "extinction of entire species" in double quick time. It will make politics toxic and dysfunctional. We must allow a lot more businesses across the board to fail more often in order to avoid catastrophes.


  1. Shared your views completely, this is just going to be another meaningless exercise. A shame really.

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