Risk orientation and public service

I’ve often taken stance against the mainstream education system that we’ve been cultivating our ability to optimise along certain parameters; and that the predictability of our system means that ultimately, the meritocratic system tend to entrench privilege. Let’s pause for a moment and not be too bothered with inequality, privilege and unequal access to opportunities.

Rather, I want to consider the fact that those people who have privilege and lots of cushion is life are not encouraged enough to take sufficient risks in their personal and financial lives in order to benefit the society.

Each year, our education system serves as the threshing floor to separate out the smart and orderly from the ones who are too disorderly, or dull ones. This is so that we can bring the brightest into civil service eventually and try to benefit our country. Yet within civil service, they are taught to be even more orderly, to try and keep most of their views that may be against the status quo private, to not contradict existing decisions in public. That is, to not take too much risks, to be basically driven by fear of being left out of the system that protects them, that gives them a career, and elevate them naturally in exchange for a few years of hard work.

Personally, I don’t see how this is good for a country that is at the frontier of development and going further, when we no longer have a roadmap to follow. This is a point where we need creativity and innovation; and that is simply too difficult when we don’t give our people the girth to fail, to recognise that creativity requires us to fail. Seth Godin even says creativity is a commitment to fail. So for all the grooming and privilege, I’d expect these privileged boys and girls to use their privilege to fail, to fall so that the country might rise through real, original innovation.