Economics

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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Econ 101 Does Not Only Justify Free Market Policies

In a recent Straits Times article, Benjamin Goh and Donald Low warned readers against the use of simplified economic theory in informing public policy. They point out that economic proposals such as free trade benefiting society and the minimum wage reducing employment may in fact simply be expressions of ‘the speaker’s ideology or dogma’, and…
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Political Freedom, Without Economic Freedom, Does Not Bring Growth

One of the most enduring questions in economics is what causes economies to grow. The full title of Adam Smith’s well-known treatise, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, clearly shows that the causes of prosperity were Smith’s primary concern. He concluded that free markets, the protection of private…
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Nudging: Should We Be Wary of the Latest Fad in Behavioural Economics?

Behavioural economics has gained plenty of traction in the past few decades. The concept of ‘nudging’—popularised in the 2008 bestselling book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein—is well known in the political sphere and even to non-economic students. With Thaler being awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics and Sunstein…
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There is No Such Thing as Trickle-Down Economics

Critics of liberalism and the market economy have made a long-standing habit of inventing terms we would never use to describe ourselves. The most common of these is ‘neo-liberal’ or ‘neo-liberalism’, which appears to mean whatever the critics wish it to mean to describe ideas they don’t like. To the extent the terms have clear…
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Capitalism Is Good for the Poor

Critics frequently accuse markets and capitalism of making life worse for the poor. This refrain is certainly common in the halls of left-leaning academia as well as in broader intellectual circles. But like so many other criticisms of capitalism, this one ignores the very real, and very available, facts of history. Nothing has done more…
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