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February 27, 2020

Broken window

Newspost

 
February 27, 2020

I think there was/is a lot of hope when the new government came into power. It was a great opportunity that was lost – and would have set the stage for betterment in the country. There are people who want change; however, they are too few.

Let’s look at Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and how he led his newly independent nation through a difficult path. One talks about how things changed in his time, his focus on rule of law; efficient government structures; the continuous fight against corruption; and overall stability. But what is overlooked is the real secret to Singapore’s success. When there is a large population that is accustomed to getting away with not paying taxes, cheating the government and heavy corruption, the trick to turning society around is to become very punitive in minor nuisance enforcement. To have an effective state, you need to have a population that does the right thing most of the time without anyone looking. And how you train them to do that is by being mercilessly unforgiving for observable bylaw type offences. This is the broken window theory. Rather than building society from the top by a sort of emergency management approach, the broken window theory holds that societies can never be functional, no matter how wealthy, without orderliness. If people can be trained to be worried about small things like traffic/parking laws, you can retrain your whole population relatively quickly to be concerned about following the law in areas where it matters.

Hasan Raza

Karachi