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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovate ideas about effective government, 6 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World (Belfer Center Studies in International Security) (Hardcover)
Lu Kuan Yew (LKY) must be the most experienced political leader still living to day, born in 1923 and still being as insightful as ever. The book is based on interviews by Harvard academics and on analysis of what LKY has written and his speeches. This format of questions and answers is effective, because the LKY gives original and innovative answers. He explains what is likely to happen as well as the risks that it can go wrong, very wrong. The chapter subjects are China, the USA, India, Islamic extremism, Globalization and Democracy.
In the rest of this review I have selected some of LKY's comments as examples of what you can expect on the subjects of vision, the purpose of government, the system of
Government, Leadership, National economic growth, China and the USA. His comments.
LKY comments. Society must maintain a balance between nurturing excellence in performance of the most capable, and encouraging the average to improve. There must be cooperation between people in the same society. There is a continual need to balance between a successful competitive society and a cohesive, compassionate one. To maintain cohesion, we buffer in Singapore the lowest 20%, the weaker achievers, from the tough competition of the market place. We support the lower-income workers with extra income.
Human beings are inherently vicious and have to be restrained from their viciousness. Confucius theory says people can be improved. I am not sure it can be, it can be disciplined. Law and order is essential, but many do not recognize that without order laws cannot be applied. Order also demands that people act in a disciplined way, which is not "natural".
The art of government is utilizing to the maximum the limited resources at the country's disposal (which requires continuous change, innovation, applying best practices developed in the own country or imported, and the application of science). We all seek a form of government that will be comfortable because it meets our needs, is not oppressive and maximizes our opportunities'
A political Leader must paint his vision of the future to the people, and then translate that vision into policies, which he must convince the people are worth supporting. Leaders must have the ability to plan and chart the way ahead and the fortitude to stay the course. There is no better way to run the country than putting the best man (as the leader) in the job.
The real issue is whether any government's political system., irrespective of whether it is democratic or authoritarian can forge consensus on the policies needed for the economy to grow and create jobs for all. LKY believes that Western democracies are not doing enough to teach the necessity of discipline of self-control, and self-reliance. LKY does believe in the merits of regular elections. A democracy can only function with a strong leader with the ability and courage to implement unpopular changes.
China will want to become co-equal with the USA by becoming economically in GDP number one. China does not want to dominate the world. It will aim to increase its sphere of influence in Asia where it will meet opposition. India and the USA together can maintain the necessary counterbalance in Asia. China will not become a liberal multi party democracy. It will expand freedom slowly, maintaining order with the Communist Party in charge even though LKY considers the government system that was copied from the Soviet Union a major weakness.

LKY is convinced the USA will overcome is problems as it has by far the most entrepreneurial culture in the world and will continue to be a world power.
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