Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spending on public works

We are spending staggering sums on our roads and MRT system. I wish to remind everyone that in some countries, excessive spending on public works is a source of corruption. (I do not wish to imply that this is the case in Singapore). 

I wish to share this joke told to me by a friend from Europe:
The head of the ministry of works of an European country attended a prestigious US business program and met his counterpart from an African country.
One day, the African was invited to visit the home of his European counterpart. It was a grand and impressive house. The African asked the European friend how he could afford such an expensive house.  The friend pointed out to the newly build highway not far away from the home and said "Do you see the new highway? It takes only a small portion of the budget to pay for this house".
The following year, the European visited the African country and was invited to the home of his African friend. It was a palace, much grander and more expensive than his home in Europe. He asked the African how he could afford it.
The African said, "Can you see the highway out there?". The European looked out and said, "But there is no highway. I only see jungle". The African pointed to his palace and said, "Well, the money is spend here", i.e. pointing to his palace.

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