OECD Meeting Comments – Asian Perspective
June 5, 2007 – Paris

WESTERN VIEWPOINT

1. Democracy – 1 man 1 vote
Freedom of media Political
freedom Private enterprise

2. Rule of law; no death penalty (Europe)

3. Congress or Parliament for Legislation
Freedom of speech
Freedom of media
Freedom of internet

4. Elections – Need money (US) (25 years – compare Leadership) Elections – Money, TV ads

5. Infrastructure – political influence Highways depend on political decisions.

Housing – Habitat

6. ME – individual Proposition 13 – Calif

7. Migration – qualified & educated people from developing nations

8. Fork, spoon, knives

9. Human rights – Demonstrations Summer heat No torture Right to strike

10. Hedge Funds; Private Equity – Hybrid Funds Capital controls

11. Tibet – (At Aspen meeting) Han invasion Railway – no permission from Tibetans

Cuba – old cars

12. Conflict between Shareholder/Management

ASIAN VIEWPOINT

1. Strong leadership – longer term than 4 years Economic freedom till income rises, people educated, poverty reduced – then political freedom when votes are not sold 4 Tigers – Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong & Singapore State control of major companies to compete with developed countries more powerful companies. Potential large market – India & China. (Auto and airline industries).

2. Lack well paid judiciary Quick justice – death penalty

3. Too slow – technocrats for economy?

Restriction

Not too long ago, Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister who won against Winston Churchill said, “Democracy means government by discussion but it is effective if you can stop people talking.” Maybe the abundance of talkative lawyers in the Philippines and India has been the disadvantage of these two countries as compared to the faster growth countries in Asia!

We are told that freedom of media is a “must” for every nation. But in poor nations media, when not owned by government, is controlled by major business groups who have their own interests to project. To promote circulation, sensational headlines, almost like the London papers, are the daily diet!

Has restrictions on media freedom harmed Singapore? In the Philippines we do have an excellent business paper, two very competitive dailies and an admirable Center for Investigative Journalism. India also has freedom of media, but maybe we should ask whether the freedom of media in these two countries have reduced corruption or improved peace and order which are the priorities of poor countries.

Right to censor – pornography

4. Local elections – more transparency (Jimmy Carter – Deng Hsiao Ping) Not national election Name recognition – TV personalities Movie stars Husband & wife

5. Poor infrastructure with democracy – India & Phil. Better infrastructure – with authoritarian leadership – China & Malaysia Housing with community movement

6. WE – Group; Family ties Alex Tyler – 1787 – Univ. of Edinborough “A democracy is always
temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy.”

7. Charge develop countries for education

8. Chopstick economies – work in kitchen

9. Unions – not to strike Negotiate problems SQ – Lee Kuan Yew

10. Prostitutes – higher prices Short term Not Foreign Direct Investment Hybrid funds – call girls Defense against hedge funds Other large markets

11. Tibet – Per capita income up

Railway to West Coast – no permission from Indians Cuba – Literacy rate, Health care

12. Most companies in Asia except Japan, management & share – holder same

I HAVE JUST CITED A FEW CASES WHERE ASIAN PERSPECTIVES MAY BE QUITE DIFFERENT FROM THE TRADITIONAL THINKING OF MY WESTERN FRIENDS.

IN CLOSING I WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS ASIA, WITH TWO HUGE COUNTRIES, CHINA AND INDIA, ASIA MAY OFFER MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESS OR PROFESSIONALS THAN EUROPE, U.S. OR LATIN AMERICA. TRADITION OF DESIRE FOR EDUCATION, HARD WORK, BUT DO NOT ASSUME THAT AMERICAN OR EUROPEAN WAYS AND IDEAS WILL DOMINATE ASIAN THINKING. CHINESE, INDIAN AND MALAY VIEWPOINTS WILL SURELY INFLUENCE WESTERN PERSPECTIVES.

A PRIEST WAS DRIVING ALONG AND SAW A NUN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. HE STOPPED AND OFFERED HER A RIDE WHICH SHE ACCEPTED. SHE GOT IN AND CROSSED HER LEGS, FORCING HER GOWN TO OPEN AND REVEAL A LOVELY LEG. THE PRIEST NOTICED AND NEARLY HAD AN ACCIDENT. AFTER CONTROLLING THE CAR, HE SLID HIS HAND UP HER LEG, THE NUN LOOKED AT HIM AND IMMEDIATELY SAID, “FATHER, REMEMBER YOUR SERMON LAST MONTH.” THE PRIEST WAS FLUSTERED AND APOLOGIZED PROFUSELY. HOWEVER, HE WAS UNABLE TO REMOVE HIS EYES FROM HER LEG. FURTHER ON, WHILE CHANGING GEAR, HE LET HIS HAND SLIDE UP HER LEG AGAIN. THE NUN ONCE AGAIN SAID, “FATHER, REMEMBER YOUR SERMON LAST MONTH.” ONCE AGAIN THE PRIEST APOLOGIZED. “SORRY, SISTER, BUT THE FLESH IS WEAK.” FINALLY ARRIVING AT THE CONVENT, THE NUN GOT OUT. ON HIS ARRIVAL AT THE CHURCH, THE PRIEST RUSHED TO GO OVER HIS FILES AND CAME ACROSS HIS SERMON WHICH ENDED WITH THIS SENTENCE: “GO FORTH AND SEEK; FURTHER UP, YOU WILL FIND GLORY.”

THE LESSON HERE, IS, ONE SHOULD ALWAYS BE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT ONE’S PROFESSION OR BUSINESS; OTHERWISE, THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO BE LOST.