Thursday, July 1, 2010

A No Brainer Vs A New Policy Level Thinker

The ongoings at SC is a juicy one.....meleleh air liur gua .....but worry not this monkey shall not venture into such a clear case of failure in the the fulfilment of the fiduciary duty of the Stock Exchange and SC in maintaining orderly markets and protect end investors

I shall let this one pass.....boring, brainless shit and too easy to pin-point their gross incompetence....sekarang nak tunjuk perangai samseng.....apekelancau....

gua kasi lu orang satu clue kecik la...

Why did Bursa Malaysia continue to allow the trading of Kenmark after the 31st May incident? Was it to allow for the Forced Selling of the Collaterals by their buddies in the Financial firms? more here

Perhaps Zarinah and Yusli should start to answer that first......

anyway folks what is interesting is this opinion piece....have a look a let me know what u think 

Wake up Malaysia, it’s time to play the ‘beyond GDP’ game! — Mohd Mahyudi Mohd Yusop

JULY 1 — The bulk of the discussions surrounding the recent announcements on the government’s economic strategies, particularly the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) and the New Economic Model, have been centred on the issue of a high-income economy. To the discerning few, this situation raises a pertinent concern on whether or not a high income is necessarily good for the wellbeing of all Malaysians in the spirit of 1 Malaysia.

Indeed, this is a valid reaction given that; as rightly pointed out by many segments of the society who have commented on those official announcements, the actual thrust for those plans is the rakyat’s or people’s quality of life. Hence, in the absence of the most complete and universally accepted measure of overall quality of life, should we then allow Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be the irrefutable link to prosperity and progress even when the “father of GDP”, Simon Kuznet, himself admitted that GDP was never meant to be a measure for welfare and wellbeing? In other words, should we continue to feel comfortable with the skewed pursuit of economic growth especially when we are more than aware that economics is merely one of the various spheres in life?

It is taught in economics classes that GDP is simply an index of a country’s entire output, nothing more and nothing less. Its specific components, construct, computation and flaws are fully deliberated and thoroughly discussed to ensure that it is absolutely clear to students of economics that GDP and its variants, for that matter; are strictly a bunch of not-so-fullproof economic measures that act as a general guide for policymakers.

To shed light on the preceding point, it is just absurd to humanely accept that expenditures on pollution clean-up, that go through the proper market channels like the ongoing desperate exercise along the Louisiana coast in the US caused by the recent BP oil spill disaster, would actually contribute positively to the US GDP; whereas, the loss of wildlife and other environmental damages are completely ignored. Furthermore, that it is a measure devoid of other domains, for instance, social, psychological, and spiritual, is well-known to the numerous civil society groups whose raison d’etre are concerns that surpass economics. Nonetheless, a majority are still bewitched by the beauty of GDP for reasons which are less than convincing to the increasing many.

Therefore; the critical question to the general public is; don’t we want to be free from this unintended spell, for our own and our future generation’s sake?

As a start, the rakyat should be enlightened on the notion that GDP must cease being the surrogate for quality of life. In fact, there exist a lot of other indicators used by supranational entities, governments, and local councils throughout the world to measure the true level of wellbeing for their diverse constituents.

For one, the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) that takes into account income, education, and health has been there for the past 20 years. In terms of coverage, HDI would surely serve as a much-improved reference benchmark than GDP. However, HDI still lacks the objective and holistic features for it to be the best measure of social progress. Despite this sorry state of HDI, the noble idea behind its birth has actually been embraced, extended and applied by more and more countries.

Among the developed nations, Canada; which is a G7 and G20 member country, seems to be leading the pack by the official commencement of the initiative referred as the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) that garners the expertise of Canadian government agencies, non-governmental organisations and universities. To these direct contributing parties, good living standards, robust health, a sustainable environment, vital communities, an educated populace, balanced time use, high levels of democratic participation, and access to and participation in leisure and culture is what quality of life is all about.

These ideal pictures of national happiness are encapsulated in the eight domains of wellbeing; namely, Education, Environment, Democratic Engagement, Living Standards, Healthy Populations, Time Use, Leisure and Culture, and Community Vitality. And by the end of this year, CIW will be published for the consumption of primarily the people of Canada to realign domestic political discourse and direction of public policy; better assess policy options and solutions, and, more importantly, to hold decision-makers directly accountable for the actual movements in areas that really matter to the Canadians.

As a consequence from feeling the heat of living in this age of turbulence, the US is also adopting this paradigm shift. In February 2003, the Government Accountability Office in partnership with the National Academy of Sciences acted upon this positive shift by convening a forum to create a national system of indicators that helps ordinary Americans to better assess for themselves the position and progress of their beloved nation.

From such earlier efforts, the State of the USA or SUSA was institutionalised in 2007 to operate as a non-profit, non-partisan and tax-exempt entity. Working within the boundaries of Key National Indicators Act 2008, SUSA has been entrusted to come up with a Key National Indicator System that would measure and factually present the country’s most pressing issues for the policymakers to address in a more coherent, consistent and concerted manner. This exemplary development underlines the seriousness in efforts to dethrone GDP even in this economic super power’s own backyard.

Not surprisingly, the interest on this “new game” has gone across the Atlantic Ocean. The European Commission, European Parliament, Club of Rome, OECD and WWF jointly organised the inaugural “Beyond GDP” Conference in November 2007. Its single most important objective was to settle the issue of which indices are most appropriate to measure progress so that they could best be integrated into Europe-wide public debate and decision-making process.

As a follow-up to that ground-breaking event, a policy paper “GDP and beyond: Measuring progress in a changing world” was communicated in EU Roadmap 2009. That important document was prepared based on the premise that GDP must be complemented with environmental and social indicators to better measure progress. Quite similar to CIW, it was put forward in the paper that quality of life is reflected by indicators of income, public service, health, leisure, wealth, mobility and a clean environment combined. Evidently, this scenario clearly highlights that the tides of change have also reached the shores of Europe.

In final analysis, the real catch-up game that our policymakers should be concentrating on is: how well we are doing on a more proper wellbeing or quality of life scale rather than the no longer trusted pseudo-measure, GDP. Yes, their preoccupation with the “old game” would certainly lead us to be superficially happier enjoying the endless array of products and services that the market can perpetually offer.

But unfortunately, at the same time, we would be feeling truly envious of the citizens of those other countries whose policymakers have long started playing and thus mastered this “new game” which may be simply called the “Beyond GDP” game.

On the part of the general public, let us have a consensus on the proposition that we have to stop playing the “old game”. To prevent from being trapped in that outdated game, it is imperative for us all to sincerely contemplate upon what really important in life. Related to this point, Joseph E. Stiglitz; winner of 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, lays down a very practical guiding principle in his early 2010 published book entitled “Freefall”; “what you measure is what you value, and vice versa”. Think long and hard on this philosophical stance and chances are everyone would come to his or her senses.

Therefore, it is an opportune time for our country to be smart, proactive; hence, committed to this new game. The confidence and optimism to succeed is always high for the majority of Malaysians proudly believe that our beloved country does have the right resources, talents and spirit to be a strong contender, if not the winner, in this “Beyond GDP” game.

Only then, the rakyat would be genuinely appreciative towards the various efforts undertaken by the democratically-elected government to improve their quality of life.

* Dr Mohd Mahyudi Mohd Yusop is attached to the Islamic Economics and Policy Research Unit, Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia.

Dr Mohd Mahyudi, this monkey salutes you with all 4 of his tangan for some refreshing thots on such a boring day. 
Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. -Lord Thomas Dewer