Thursday, April 05, 2012
Episode 1291: Really, Yale?
It seems that the debate over the Yale-NUS College has erupted once more. I'm not au fait with the issue, so I won't presume to comment on it, but a friend of mine has written a response here. I particularly like how Yale academic James Sleeper keeps banging on in the comments about how Singapore is an 'authoritarian corporate city-state', as if that somehow invalidates any Singaporean attempt to critique the American reaction to the joint venture. Authoritarian is stretching the truth, since at the day-to-day level, no one in their right mind would think of comparing Singapore to a genuine dictatorship like North Korea. As for being a corporate city-state, I'd argue that if you carved major cities like New York and Los Angeles out of the rest of the USA, that's exactly what they'd become as well. Plus isn't the USA one of those countries where the government is either in the pockets of big business or pretty helpless to resist its lobbies? I suppose you could say Singapore, with all its GLCs, is being a lot more honest about the relationship between government and business. Ultimately, the whole debate reads like a textbook demonstration of why given half a chance, the rest of the world loves to hate the USA. I would hazard a guess that no other country is as full of people who believe their way is the only right way to do anything, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.