Sunday, October 23, 2011

Politicization of Steven Levitt's talk.

I was very privileged to attend Steven Levitt's talk yesterday on unconventional thinking. This is the first time I took time out and paid to listen to 1 hour seminar. In the past, I have been tight-fisted with my money but given that my finances in better control, it's good to pay for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

I would'nt talk about the speech content in this blog. I want to talk about the behaviour of some participants.

During the Q&A session, some participant, knowing that there are prominent ministers in the audience ( I managed to see Yaacob Ibrahim, Lee Boon Yang and heard that Mah Bow Tan was there. ), decided high-jack the Q&A session to express his displeasure at the government initiatives to curb loan-sharking.

I think this is vulgar and uncouth behaviour, you can disagree with the government on many forums including Facebook or even the elections, you don't have to choose a paid seminar to do that. Many participants wanted to pick on Steven's brains on economics and unconventional thinking, so making a long speech during Q&A would just waste everybody's time.

Which leads me to a point I want to make about politicisation. Sometime on my Facebook, I want to describe a generic problem faced in society, like "Why can't we have more entrepreneurs ?". Invariably someone will jump into the fray and say that it's the government's fault. Some very disgruntled experts can politicise issues like dating and even family relationships.

If you take a step further, such behaviour reflects upon just how dependent we are on our government. The government has to take the blame even in a forum where they they should'nt.

In this aspect, we have to accept that if we can't curb our behaviour, it's probably better for everyone that more control is exercised in Singapore. That louts who waste everybody's time have their rights to ask questions taken away by a Big Brother organization. Is this the Singapore we want ?

I propose that tools like twitter and social media be used to allow participants to twit their questions to a moderator for filtering in future talks.

Anyway, the question I wanted to ask but could'nt was whether should we provide an incentive for University students to drop out to run businesses. ( First proposed by Peter Thiel )

No comments: