Four years later, a 30 per cent water tariff increase is announced at Budget 2017, and again the prime minister is acknowledging the government’s shortcomings in communication. “Before announcing the water hike last month, the government perhaps should have spent more time explaining the rationale and what it would be doing to help households cope” (Mar. 25, TODAY), and these remarks echo the frustration and the confusion when the White Paper was rolled out. Then, the 6.9 million figure dominated the discourse. Now, the 30 per cent figure is doing the same. Even if Singaporeans are cognisant of the policy need for the hike – that prices have not gone up since 2000, or that infrastructure investments are expensive, for instance – the details are lost in the noise. Few paid attention to the hike over two phases, or the assistance rendered to the lower-income households too. Continue reading
“Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017” is an annual industry forecast penned by American academic and writer Lucy Bernholz, who works at the Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society in Stanford University, and who has been consulting to philanthropy and the social economy since 1990. “The Huffington Post” called her a “philanthropy game changer”.
Many of the perspectives in the blueprint may have been written with an American audience in mind – to galvanise further conversations within the sector and within organisations – but some are also applicable around the world. I have therefore summarised a few perspectives which may be relevant to the Singapore context, and in this vein perhaps even further contribute to a pool of research questions for the future. Continue reading
Which is why the universal basic income experiment in Finland is so fascinating. (Finland, where I spent six months in, also has a special place in my heart). “The New York Times” ran a feature on December 17, describing the experiment as underscoring “the deep need to find effective means to alleviate the perils of globalisation … to lessen the vulnerabilities of working people exposed to the vagaries of global trade and automation”. But what is even more useful is a 62-page working paper – translated and abridged from a report in Finnish – published by Kela, or the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, in September. Continue reading