ANWAR IBRAHIM AND HIS FREE MARKET ECONOMICS.
Anwar Ibrahim says he is a firm believer in market economics. But he says he is also a humanist. I take it by that he means, the excesses of free market economics must be tempered with goodwill discretion. In other words, he says we must take care of the less fortunate. So what’s new about that?. I have long believed that Anwar Ibrahim has made running with the hare and hunting with the hounds into a political art. He is of course practising realpolitik- i.e. all his decisions and policies are based on calculations of gaining power and furtherance of his personal interests. He is after all eyeing to enter parliament soon as the prime minister.
Anwar Ibrahim’s economic policies will change according to what he is thinking at any given moment. He is I suspect a habitual welfarist. he will always be inclined to tilt towards socialistic policies which are calculated to win him support from the masses. He is in that sense like Gorbachev- he will articulate a strategy to escape blame from the excesses of capitalism and then going on, as he is now doing, to take credit for being more humanist, pragmatic, modern and insightful. Pak Lah of course is not a tactician on the same class as Anwar Ibrahim. .
Having consideration for the less fortunate is not the monopoly of Anwar Ibrahim and his ilk. The present government however despicable one feels about Pak Lah’s indecisive leadership, has accomplished many things to care for the less fortunate. As workers in the JABATAN KEBAJIKAN MASYARAKAT can fully attest, they are up to their necks processing the distribution of living allowances and various forms of financial and non financial assistance. Heck! The whole country is already turning into a welfare state.
Anwar Ibrahim was of course commenting on the recent decision of the present government to increase the price of petroleum products. He says he understood the issues of macroeconomic instabilities associated with unhindered spending by way of giving subsidies. It would of course lead to inflation. Already we the people are feeling the early signals of inflation- the cost of everything is rising which are reflected in general price increase of everything. Although he was saying something related to a specific issue, let us discuss the idea of free market economics.
Anwar Ibrahim’s acceptance and belief in capitalism( another word for free market economics) rests on his belief that there is no alternative to create wealth. But here is where Anwar Ibrahim’s economics ends. He then goes after the jugular- he wants to tax as much as possible. He believes in capitalism because he is not stupid as he looks. He sees around him the triumph of capitalism. Almost every country in the world wants to introduce free market economics. That is the only way to create wealth, relying on the natural impulses or tendencies for every human to pursue what interests him or her. Free market is essentially the full expression of free will of the people. But we must be aware and circumspect of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim- he wants to control every one of us.