Monday, March 31, 2014

Tommy Koh on Market Economy to Market Society

Professor Tommy Koh contributed a magnificent article to the ST on Saturday. Someone also asked me if I had read it. More than that, I had been thinking about it on and off since then.

Tommy Koh feet is firmly planted on the ground. This guy gets it. Few can articulate the issues as well as he had.

He said that what we want is a market economy but not a market society. I think that market economy has already spilled over into society and its presence is growing. I have no idea how this can be restrained because the market economy cannot be fenced off  from society at large. It wants to grow and push the edge of the envelope. A market based economy if successful will want to assert its confidence in using prices to decide more and more rights, activities, goods and services. The only value it understands is price. Every intangible will be given a price and everything that has unrecognizable short term value but essential long term necessity would be sold for a song.

Experience shows us that we cannot reverse the market without very serious negative consequences. What we can do is put up no-entry signs in spaces where the market is hopeless at pricing in view of its short term and philistine character.


  1. 1000 apologies for intruding into your pte blog but your thoughts tend to be provoking yet again it's your own personal myob blog but 1 thing - no such thing as market society only my group, my space, myself and my blog. why am i not myob?

  2. The learned Professor said it well! Sigh!