September 2, 2007

Buy Annuities Or Retire In Gulag!

Singapore, as IFEX has noted here, is an "authoritarian state notorious for its undemocratic practices and laws". A city that has been an one party state since 1959, muzzled the media during the 2006 elections to ensure that the ruling People's Action Party wins again. Quoting from IFEX,

... the government barred even the "legitimate" bloggers and website managers from promoting political manifestos and banned the use of Internet technology such as podcasting and videocasting to disseminate political content.

It's not surprising, therefore that the Singapore Government now wishes to meddle with the economic decisions of individuals and families. It is planning to make it mandatory to purchase annuities, so retirees who are expected to live to eighty and beyond have enough savings to meet their expenses. The government's own Central Provident Fund scheme that already makes it compulsory for employees and employers to contribute to retirement savings, may not be adequate to meet the expenses arising from increased life expectancy.

To defer or not to defer my consumption, to live or not to live beyond the age when my savings run out, or to depend or not to depend on my children and grandchildren is my choice and mine alone. It's my personal responsibility to save adequately for my retirement, and the government should have no say on how much I save and how I invest those savings. Why should a Singaporean trust a boneheaded crowd that clamps down on any dissenting views to know what is best for him or her?

  1. Well, if the govt finds that enforcing such savings is a better way to care for its burgeoning retiree population, even if it discomforts the younger crowd, then there does not seem to be anything wrong in that. After all, every choice that the govt makes about what laws to make has somebody's rights being crushed. It is perhaps in the larger interest of the Singapore society to have such laws. The govt does not steam roll such laws. It makes a very good case of it and presents it persuasively to the public. I have good confidence on the Singapore govt on the decisions it makes.

  2. This is one country that has amazed me. It has come as close to the term 'benevolent dictatorship' as one can imagine. Though I am no expert on the country, I have never ceased wondering at the overt contradiction of a relatively free economy and an oppressive Statist intrusion in everything else.

    BTW, the Word Verification in your blog is going to newer heights, with every comment needing a tangle of almost 26 alphabets to be typed before it recognises me as a competent human being! ;-)


Leave a Comment