The Gifts vs. Welfare Debate and Lee Kwan Yew’s Much-Ignored Advice

The problem is not free, but the constraint of limited means. If a government has money, it can give out whatever freebies it wants, but not if it is heavily indebted, writes TN Ninan

Topics
welfare economy | provident schemes | Ruminations of the weekend


The “gratuitous vs. developmental expenditure” debate reflects an overarching problem that economics is meant to address: the relationship between unlimited wants and limited means that have alternative uses. So, would you sacrifice an electricity subsidy to invest in better schools? Or would you rather build more highways than increase the health budget? This is the question the Prime Minister asked when he said that handouts were going to hinder development.


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First published: Friday, August 12, 2022. 7:26 PM IST