Saturday, April 28, 2012

China's State Capitalism Compared to S'pore's

Economist Graeme Maxton has a good summation of China's style of state capitalism. In a way S'pore State Capitalism approach is worse than China's. Words in brown below Maxton's points are my comments & observations:

- Big business often state controlled or at least state directed.
Same too for S'pore.

- Profit is less of motivating factor.
Profit is 1st priority for S'pore's ruling party. As if milking from citizens are not enough, floodgates are opened to flood in foreigners to boost consumption (gdp up) to rake in more profits for govt-linked companies. Nevermind that it makes many citizens lives worse off in the process (housing, vehicle prices etc shot up due to high demand).

- Led or directed centrally by ruling party with senior managers often moved between domestic competitors
Same too for S'pore. Perhaps even worse? Even scholar generals who has never run a private enterprise can be 'parachuted' into high positions upon retirement.

- May have shareholders & listed on stock market but reward for investors is meant to come mainly from how well they gamble on the market.
Many of S'pore's govt linked companies are listed companies & give out dividends. Govt being the majority shareholder uses the dividends approach to extract cashflow from its companies annually. $$ goes to sovereign wealth fund.

- New contracts often given to local companies to ensure skills & jobs & wealth are kept at home.
S'pore's ruling party doesn't care if skills & jobs are kept at home. They only care about $$$. Local skills & jobs can be displaced & replaced with generally cheaper foreigners as long as more profits for ruling elite. In a sense S'pore would face a Marianas Turkey Shoot scenario with locals lacking adequate skills & experience when foreigners leave.

- When chinese companies go aboard, the govt is behind them. State or 1 of its banks will provide client with low-cost financing while chinese companies provide low-cost labor, making it impossible for rival European or US bidders to compete.
S'pore companies go abroad? There's a lack of them since govt linked companies make up to 60% of S'pore's economy, the private sector are left with the leftovers & scraps. There is no low-cost S'pore labor since high public housing prices are being used to suck sinkies dry.

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