Economics

Can Markets Bring Relief From Disasters?

As hurricanes have hit the US, a debate has been raging over the role of markets and governments in disaster prevention and post-disaster relief. Only this week, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz pointed out what he described as an “obvious lesson”, which was that “markets alone won’t protect you” from natural disasters. This, he explains, is…
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What About Monopolies?

One of the main criticisms levelled against the free market is the concept of market dominance, or market power. Free markets are great, but they often lead to the accumulation of power by certain firms, who end up as monopolies, or so the argument goes. One firm may eventually end up gobbling other smaller ones,…
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Lee Kuan Yew liked Fredrich Hayek. Do you?

Former Prime Minister and Founding Father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, we can all agree, was an intelligent, well-read man who saw Singapore through its turbulent years. It would be interesting to explore some of his intellectual influences and whether they hold any relevance for us today. Significantly, Lee was a strong supporter of the…
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Why Lee Hsien Loong Is Absolutely Right On Inequality

Income and wealth inequality is recognised as a big problem around the world today. It is perceived to have contributed to the backlash against globalisation in Western countries, the rise of populism amongst the electorate. The World Economic Forum identifies rising inequality as a big threat against the world economy. In Singapore, there is a growing chorus of economists…
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Don’t Study Economics As A Martian

A Martian is observing Grand Central Station in New York. He is bedazzled by what he sees. Bodies wandering around aimlessly. He is curious and wants to understand what is going on. Then he notices that when the small hand on the station clock points to eight, there is a lot of movement as bodies…
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How Sweden Was Saved By Free Markets

A cursory glance at online political discourse in Singapore today will yield a common buzzword: inequality. This word paints a heart-wrenching image of a mass of people left behind in this rapidly digitalising age of global capitalism. Ask any idealistic university undergraduate how this problem can be solved, and the same politically correct answer will…
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Avengers Endgame: How Ticket Scalping Serves Consumers

Avengers Endgame hits theatres later this month, sparking a mad rush among Marvel fans to secure the best seats for the opening week. The issue of ticket scalping is back in the spotlight again as resale prices of tickets are skyrocketing. Intuitively, ticket scalping strikes us as insulting and an unethical practice that justifies legislative…
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The Dilemma of Vaping Regulations In Singapore

Telling someone that legalising vaping in Singapore is a great opportunity, will cause a headache. Your friends will say ‘Isn’t vaping unhealthy?’, while your aunties and uncles will probably choose to include more profanities in their response, and a message about how you ought not to be smoking. If you’re well-versed on the issue, you…
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Singaporean Youths Should Be Thankful For No Minimum Wage

The true home of the free and the brave is Singapore. Or more accurately, those courageous Singaporean workplaces willing to take on unpaid interns. All their labour can be free, but you have to be brave. If you don’t believe me, go to the first year students in Singapore and you will find plenty willing…
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In Response to Donald Low

Donald Low responded to my piece from yesterday. In his response, he now concedes that the concept of market failures is given coverage in introductory econ classes. But I’m afraid this was not the impression given to his readers from his original co-authored article, which in my opinion gave more the impression that Econ 101…
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