If you don’t earn as much you have to settle for a poorer quality of life, said Gerald Giam as he took aim at meritocracy.
He was speaking at a Singapore Perspectives 2021 forum organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. The theme for this year was ‘Reset’.
What does Gerald Giam expect? That everyone enjoys the same quality of life regardless of how much we earn?
Meritocracy simply means the best person for the job. For example, if you are selecting someone to be a judge, you will choose from those well versed in the law and not just any person. That’s meritocracy. Then you would look, from among those who are well versed in the law, someone with strength of character and integrity. That’s part of meritocracy.
Meritocracy is not narrowly defined as academic achievements alone. There is a meritocracy of skills too, among other things.
Some of us have a great voice and with vocal training, we wow the audience. Some of us are just tone-deaf and sing out of tune. Who wins the singing contest? That’s also meritocracy. Fair? Yes.
If not Meritocracy, then what?
As Gerald Giam himself said, meritocracy works against corruption, cronyism and nepotism, the three evils that prevent deserving people from rising up through the ranks.
Meritocracy, in fact, allows those from a disadvantaged background the opportunity to break out of it through hard work.
Meritocracy is not the problem. Don’t let meritocracy become a bad word.
Equal rewards regardless of performance? Look to North Korea.
Equal opportunities, not equal outcomes.
Poor comparison of the private sector to a situation at home
Moot point. The poor in Singapore enjoy generous subsidies to live a decent life.
Rewarding everyone equally regardless of performance takes away motivation.
What’s Gerald Giam’s alternative solution?