Saturday, December 03, 2022

WOTC - Supermarkets in Singapore

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 49% of respondents preferred to shop at Fairprice supermarkets, 40% at Sheng Siong and 12% at Cold Storage.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

WOTC - Harmful content on social media

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 60% of the respondents said that harmful contents on social media should not be moderated as it is difficult to make a judge what are harmful and the content should be left to the discretion of the reader.

The dangers of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

 I read a chapter in the book Megatrends by Nouriel Roubini. Here are his key points about cryptocurrency:

1. The rush to DeFi (decentralized finance) is premature and ultimately misguided. The rush to bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin and thousands of fledging cryptocurrencies since 2010 expose our collective wilting faith in fiat currencies.

2. There are no signs that crypto-assets are performing any useful social or economic functions. They are not generally used for retail or wholesale payments and do not fund consumption or investment.

3. The blockchain alternatives are not able to perform five essential functions of a currency - unit of account, scalable, stable store of value, stable value relative to prices, be a benchmark to compare value of goods and services.

4. Cryptocurrencies are subject to risks that can become systemic. They are widely used for criminal and terrorist activities and to hide income from tax authorities.

5. One study suggests that 80% of ICO (initial coin offerings) were scams in the first place that flouted security laws.

6. There are evidence of widespread market manipulation - pump and dump schemes, illegal wash trading, fake transactions and front running.

7. Unlike regulated banks, the purveyors of cryptocurrencies furnish almost no protection. If private keys are forgottoen, lost, hacked or stolen, crypt wealth can vanish with no way to recover it.

8. Free riding DeFi flouts the supervision and regulation that traditional financial institutions face, such as AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (Know your customer) tracking that impose heavy compliance cost. This is unfair competition. 

9. A regulator said - DeFi is most certain illegal. It flouts securities laws, lacks investor protection, preys on regulatory arbitrage against regulated financial institutions, fails to provide the essential services that financial intermediaries provide. Decentralisation is more a myth than reality.

10. If we want to revamp a centralized financial system with safeguards and supervision, we don't need crypto or blockchain. There are tools that the firms can use to collect and process financial data at blistering speeds without the use of blockchain.

TKL has been skeptical of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies right from the start. But the experts in MAS held a different view and were optimistic about the future of decentralized finance and blockchain technologies.

Several cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges have collapsed due to unsustainable values of the tokens and to fraudulent operations.

The view held by Roubini and TKL have proved to be correct.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

WOTC - Trust in government

Wisdom of the Crowd: 68% of the respondents said that they do not trust the government to act in the best interest of the people. Instead, they act in the best interest of the wealthy and themselves.

WOTC - Freedom of speech

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 53% of respondents said that it is important to have absolute freedom of speech. 47% said that it can lead to harmful content and should be controlled.

WOTC - University education

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 68% of the respondents said that university education should be subsidized and made affordable for all students.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. Which is a better vaccine against covid?
2. Will the mRNA vaccine have long term harm?

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WOTC - Book on the economy

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 78% of the respondents prefer my book on economic strategy to be 100 pages or 200 pages. They do not like a longer book.

WOTC - Price of major medical procedures

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 97 % of respondents said that the govt should publish the recommended rates for major medical procedures, based on supply and demand in the market.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

WOTC - President Biden talks with world leaders at G20 Summit

 Wisdom of the Crowd: 84% of the respondents said that President Biden held few talks with world leaders at the G20 Summit in Bali.

Wisdom of the Crowd - New Issues

1. What is the best way to fight the rising cost of living?
2. Will Anwar be able to help the people fight the rising cost of living?

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Is Tharman Shanmugaratnam too old to take over as prime minister?

Senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is now 65 years old. He is 5 years younger than the current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Is Tharman too old to take over as prime minister?

Apart from age, we have to consider his credentials, experience and capability.

Tharman entered politics in 2001 and over a period of 20 years, he held the office of minister of education, minister of finance, deputy prime minister and now the senior minister.

He had also served with distinction as Singapore’s representative in several international bodies, including the G20 Eminent Persons Group, the International Monetary Fund and in the United Nations. He is well known and respected internationally.

He is not a newbie politician who needs several years to learn the ropes of leading a nation.

What about his age? At 65, is he too old to take over the reins of power?

Heng Swee Keat, who was 4 years younger than Tharman, was earlier selected to take over from Lee Hsien Loong. Heng entered parliament in 2011, 10 years later than Tharman.

If Heng was suitable at 61, would 4 years make a lot of difference in considering age?

Donald Trump became President of the United States at the age of 71 years. Joe Biden took over this office at the age of 78 years. Ronald Regan was 69 years when he became president in 1981. He was considered to be quite old then, but he served two terms and retired at 77 years.

Xi Jinping was elected in 2022 to serve the 3rd term as leader of China at the age of 69 years. He will continue as president of China and may serve another 10 years in this office.

By the standards of the presidents of the two most powerful nations in the world, Tharman can hardly be considered as too old to take over from Lee Hsien Loong.

We should rule out age as being an important factor. If Tharman takes over, he should be able to serve at least 10 years as prime minister of Singapore. He looks healthy enough.

The other reason given by the ruling party, that Singapore is not ready for a non-Chinese prime minister, has already been debunked by several public opinion polls.

The current leader selected by the MPs of the ruling PAP party is Lawrence Wong. At the age of 49 years, he is 16 years younger than Tharman.

While we cannot diminish Lawrence Wong based on his younger age, it is generally accepted that he has less political experience and lower international stature, compared to Tharman. For a small country, the international stature of the leader is important.

Was it a wise decision for the ruling party to bypass Tharman as the next leader, in favour of a younger minister? We will know in a few years time.

Prime Minister for Singapore

 Is Singapore ready for a non-Chinese prime minister? The answer is "yes" among the ordinary people, not "no" among the PAP.

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