Asian Values

Jeremiah confesses to becoming somewhat of an Asiaphile. Check out this ad from Bank of Singapore. We looked into this “Asian values” thing, and found Kishore Mahbubani.

Like you, we believe success is built on the Asian values of integrity and hard work

In addition to integrity and hard work, Professor Mahbubani has identified seven “pillars of wisdom.”

  1. Free market economics
  2. Science and technology
  3. Meritocracy
  4. Pragmatism
  5. Culture of peace
  6. Rule of law
  7. Thirst for knowledge

Sound familiar? Those sneaky Asians have lifted our values! Jeremiah distinctly remembers free market economics in America, as recently as the 1980s. In fairness, this is a Singaporean list. For China, meritocracy and rule of law may be more aspirational.

[Western intellectuals] had sharp minds, always producing new insights as they spoke. It has come as a huge personal shock for me to see this same group of Western intellectuals now totally blind to emerging new realities.

Mahbubani writes that he is personally surprised to see intellectual leadership – or wisdom, as he calls it – waning in the West. He draws lessons from our policy failures, as in this article, motivated by the minimum wage debate.

If the powerful American Constitution and its system of checks and balances have failed to prevent dysfunctional governance in the US, we in Singapore should take heed

America is not a place, they say, but an idea. If we have forsaken the idea, we should be glad it has found a new home. Good values are good for everyone. We hope to see them discovered – and rediscovered – around the world.

See also: The Road from Serfdom

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