In 1992 when Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, he truly did not anticipate what would come of liberal democracy and the state of capitalism today. In a 2014 WSJ opinion piece, he reminds readers that liberal democracy still do not have an intellectually-appealing challenger in the realm of ideas, but the truth is that the idealism that has surrounded this political system has weakened considerably. Francis Fukuyama talks of ‘political decay’, where values of liberty and economic opportunity is eroded by crony capitalism.
While musing about the future of Singapore, and just the general lack of leadership within what I consider the ‘western world’ and adherents of ‘liberal democracy’, it occured to me that that could have something to do with being in a liberal democracy for a little too long. One of the reason for the recent lack of statesmanship in the global economy is definitely the problem of lack of leadership within individual nations; this in turn is perhaps a consequence of decades of peace, lack of outright crises or clear-cut ‘big’ problems in the liberal democracies. As a result, talents abound but their attention becomes focused on making gains for themselves rather than to secure a better future for the whole of mankind. The kind of complacency that Francis Fukuyama felt about liberal democracy as a political system was probably shared by so many people that there was no more a need to ‘strive towards a better system’.
Now back to thinking about Singapore. Are we as we are today because of the similar sort of complacency? As we see other nations & powers (and I’m referring to US and UK) struggle with lack of leadership, do we not realise that might be seeing potential versions of our future? Are our talents working to secure a better future for our society and people or just trying to make a name for themselves as individuals? Without leadership in organisations, government, business or clear direction for an economy’s development, can the human capital of our generation still be harnessed for the betterment of our people or would it be squandered? I am working on a roadmap out of this seeming rut. And I hope to find likeminded fellows who would join my endeavour.