When Noel Pearson told his audience at the 2011 Sir Robert Menzies Lecture that a Confucian approach of development has provided a path out of poverty, he presents a false picture that there are no destitute in Singapore. Obviously he didn't read about Pelangi Village in LKY's "fascinating memoirs".
Given that Confucius (Chinese: 孔子; pinyin: Kǒng zǐ) places the family unit on a high pedestal, there should be no serious argument against making fathers pay to support their children, or against grown up children having to support their aged parents. Welfare policies fail only when they do not to address the core problem of the benefit system: perverse agendas of administrating bureaucrats.
Pearson lists 5 "Lessons of Paternalism", but not without conceding outright that Singapore styled paternalism is not feasible in a liberal country like Australia.
Second, in Pearson terminology, is a "set of railings" to represent the "support system" of apartment ownership, retirement funds and healthcare co-payment insurance funds. Nothing wrong with that - "He who does not economize will have to agonize" -, except when so much of one's life savings is vested into a dwelling, one has nothing to retire on. Asset rich, cash poor, is not a tenable position - it's no fun starving to death in an empty house. The CPF, our nest egg for old age, has no place in a Ponzi scheme.
Third, Pearson makes mention of the aim to put everyone on the development path and not want an underclass to develop. If the Gini coefficient is anything to go by, the aiming has to be way off target. According to the sage, “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”
Fourth, Pearson says money is redistributed to promote wealth and asset development, not consumption. Subsidising consumption is supposed to neutralise the incentive to strive and work. Is that why NKF-styled "subsidies" are set for housing, healthcare, education and transport, while food, water and basic essentials are taxed to the max? "To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace."
Finally, Pearson claims that Lee's paternalism is sourced in Confucius rather than Mao. Mao a source of paternalistic philosophy? That can't be right, Mao had kids accusing their parents of revisionism, rightism and shipped off to re-education camps. According to theory, paternalistic leadership is composed of autocratic leadership, benevolent leadership and moral leadership. Confucius makes this clear: "An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger."
Perhaps Mr Pearson needs to revise his choice of reading material; those memoirs may stand to be corrected.