October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Tags
AIIB ASEAN ASEAN (R) ASEAN-ISIS Asia Beijing Big Tech CH: Hong Kong Country (R): Indonesia Country (R): Malaysia Country (R): Myanmar Country (R): Singapore Country: ASEAN Country: Australia Country: Cambodia Country: China Country: Germany Country: India Country: Indonesia Country: Japan Country: Laos Country: Malaysia Country: Myanmar Country: North Korea Country: Philippines Country: Qatar Country: Russia Country: Singapore Country: South Korea Country: Taiwan Country: Thailand Country: UK Country: United States Country: US Country: USA Country: Vietnam DE: 5G DE: Data privacy DE: Data security DE: e-Payments DE: Facebook Elections: Indonesia 2019 Elections: Thailand 2019 ESG: Climate Change ESG: Diversity ESG: Energy ESG: Green Finance ESG: Green Growth ESG: Haze ESG: Human Rights ESG: Peatland ESG: Riau ESG: RSPO ESG: Smallholders ESG: Sustainability ESG: Sustainable/Green Infrastructure ESG: Water ESG: Workers Rights European Union Event: SDSWR Events: AAF Fukushima G20 Global Citizens Singapore Google Indonesia: Jokowi Institute: ERIA Institute: SIIA JP: Abenomics Leaders: Kim Jong Un Leaders: Lee Hsien Loong Megatrends: Digitisation Megatrends: New Media Megatrends: Populism MM: Aung San Suu Kyi MM: NLD MM: Rakhine State MY: GE14 MY: Mahathir Mohamad MY: Najib Razak Nicholas Fang Oh Ei Sun Region: Africa Region: Latin America Region: Middle East Reports Security: South China Sea Security: Terrorism SG: Lee Kuan Yew SG: SG Secure SG: Smart Nation SG: Society Simon Tay TH: Protests Topic (R): Belt and Road Topic (R): Business Topic (R): Digitisation Topic (R): Economy Topic (R): Green Finance Topic (R): Infrastructure Topic (R): Palm Oil Topic (R): Peatland Topic (R): Smallholders Topic (R): Sustainability Topic: Anti-Globalisation Topic: Belt and Road Topic: Business Topic: Development Topic: Digital Economy Topic: Digitisation Topic: E-Commerce Topic: Economics Topic: Economy Topic: Elections Topic: Environment Topic: ESG Topic: Finance Topic: Global Citizens Topic: Globalisation Topic: Human Trafficking Topic: Indo-Pacific Topic: Infrastructure Topic: Investment Topic: Labour Topic: Nuclear Topic: Palm Oil Topic: Race Topic: Regional Integration Topic: Religion Topic: Security Topic: Singapore-Malaysia Relations Topic: Small States Topic: SMEs Topic: Trade Trade: AEC Trade: CPTPP Trade: FTA Trade: FTAAP Trade: Multilateralism Trade: RCEP Trade: TPP Trade: War Trends (Digital): Cybersecurity Trends (Digital): Smart Cities UK: Brexit United States US: Obama US: Trump US: Trump WEF

Is Singapore at risk of becoming a rentier society?

sg-skyline-stock-1

11 Jan Is Singapore at risk of becoming a rentier society?

David Pilling, Africa editor at the Financial Times, was quoted in an editorial by Lee Su Shyan for The Straits Times on 11 Jan 2017. Mr. Pilling’s comments were made at a Future50 dialogue organised by the SIIA in conjunction with SG50. The editorial in The Straits Times was published in response to a recent commentary by Professor Tommy Koh. Prof Koh is also an honorary member of the SIIA and was one of the founders of the institute. An excerpt is below:

The term rentier is used to refer to someone who lives off savings or inherited wealth, rather than through productive work. Every society has its share of rentier activity, with people and companies making money off investments.

Indeed, speaking at a Singapore Institute of International Affairs event in late 2014, Mr David Pilling, then Asia editor for The Financial Times, said that going forward, he expected Singapore to put more focus on investment through companies like Temasek Holdings.

“To some extent, I think part of the Singapore economy will become what you might call a ‘rentier economy’. Singapore is very wealthy, it has a lot of savings, it also has a lot of know-how. So one of the ways Singapore can make money is by placing bets on other companies, other countries, other technologies. Just like how a big pharmaceutical company, for example, has all its R&D in-house and it takes stakes in and might even buy technology companies,” he said.

“This is a process of hedging, it is a processing of turning savings into a stream of income. This is already a part of what Singapore does and it would be my guess that they will continue to do it and it will become more important,” he added.

So what then was Prof Koh warning against when he used the phrase “rentier society” and why did it resonate with many? A plausible explanation is that Prof Koh and many other Singaporeans are worried that a disproportionate share of the fruits of economic growth accrue to rentier individuals or companies, at the expense of people and small businesses doing productive work.