The Wisdom of Crowds-Singapore Election Perspectives

From: Peter Lye
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 09:05:37 -0700 (PDT)
Local: Tues, Jul 7 2009 12:05 am
Subject: The Wisdom of Crowds-Singapore Election Perspectives

The Wisdom of Crowds-Singapore Election Perspectives

Sir Francis Galton who is a half cousin of the Charles Darwin and a
person steep in aristocracy and the study of inheritance of
intelligence during the early 1900s was surprised that the crowd at a
county fair was able to guess the weight of an ox better than the
estimates of the cattle experts at hand. Although no single guess of
the crowd and cattle experts were correct, the mean of their
collective guess of the crowd was more accurate than that of the
cattle experts. For Francis Galton, this was not only a surprise but
most probably represented an unlearning of his basic belief in the
superior wisdom of the intelligentsia proxied by the aristocrats of
his time relative to the wisdom of the crowd.

Many years ago, the elder statesman of Singapore; Lee Kuan Yew once
made a comment that perhaps there should be a re-examination of the 1
man 1 vote system which is the cornerstone of democracy. Such a
comment by a politician would have been equated to a politician
committing career hara-kiri. However, in Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was
commended for his candor in being willing to surface such a sensitive
topic for the public to start pondering about. The topic did not take
much root and died a natural death on the media and eventually in much
of Singapore.

It was an old Washington Post editorial where Francis Galton
experiment was mentioned that revived my memory of the comment made by
Lee Kuan Yew. What unsettled me was that Lee Kuan Yew have a few
parallel in terms of beliefs with Francis Galton with both of them
being highly intelligent, influential members of society and thought
leaders. In addition, the topic of inheritance of intelligence has
also some parallel in the 'Graduate Mother Scheme' that has been
abolished. This scheme provided off-springs of graduate mothers
priority points in getting into choice schools. This scheme was
relatively short-lived as it saw opposition not only from non-graduate
mothers who were dis-advantaged by it but also by the graduate mothers
themselves I believe on an altruistic heart chord of preserving the
scared equal opportunity for all and sundry. At least it proves that
political apathy has not gone as far into the woods as some might have
thought. To be fair to Lee Kuan Yew, it was a Ministry of Education
policy and not entirely his making.

Perhaps, we all should be mindful that though the 1 man 1 vote system
is not perfect, it is most probably the best that we have. To me, this
is so scared that most attempts to improve the system will more likely
injure it than do any good to it and perhaps should be considered an
out of bounds topic for a long time.

Peter Lye aka lkypeter

Safe Harbor. Please note that information contained in these pages are
of a personal nature and does not necessarily reflect that of any
companies, organizations or individuals. In addition, some of these
opinions are of a forward looking nature. Lastly the facts and
opinions contained in these pages might not have been verified for
correctness, so please use with caution. Happy Reading. Peter Lye

From: wakalukong
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 19:22:20 -0700 (PDT)
Local: Tues, Jul 7 2009 10:22 am
Subject: Re: The Wisdom of Crowds-Singapore Election Perspectives

On Jul 7, 12:05 am, Peter Lye wrote:


- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -

> The Wisdom of Crowds-Singapore Election Perspectives

> Sir Francis Galton who is a half cousin of the Charles Darwin and a
> person steep in aristocracy and the study of inheritance of
> intelligence during the early 1900s was surprised that the crowd at a
> county fair was able to guess the weight of an ox better than the
> estimates of the cattle experts at hand. Although no single guess of
> the crowd and cattle experts were correct, the mean of their
> collective guess of the crowd was more accurate than that of the
> cattle experts. For Francis Galton, this was not only a surprise but
> most probably represented an unlearning of his basic belief in the
> superior wisdom of the intelligentsia proxied by the aristocrats of
> his time relative to the wisdom of the crowd.

> Many years ago, the elder statesman of Singapore; Lee Kuan Yew once
> made a comment that perhaps there should be a re-examination of the 1
> man 1 vote system which is the cornerstone of democracy. Such a
> comment by a politician would have been equated to a politician
> committing career hara-kiri. However, in Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was
> commended for his candor in being willing to surface such a sensitive
> topic for the public to start pondering about. The topic did not take
> much root and died a natural death on the media and eventually in much
> of Singapore.

> It was an old Washington Post editorial where Francis Galton
> experiment was mentioned that revived my memory of the comment made by
> Lee Kuan Yew. What unsettled me was that Lee Kuan Yew have a few
> parallel in terms of beliefs with Francis Galton with both of them
> being highly intelligent, influential members of society and thought
> leaders. In addition, the topic of inheritance of intelligence has
> also some parallel in the 'Graduate Mother Scheme' that has been
> abolished. This scheme provided off-springs of graduate mothers
> priority points in getting into choice schools. This scheme was
> relatively short-lived as it saw opposition not only from non-graduate
> mothers who were dis-advantaged by it but also by the graduate mothers
> themselves I believe on an altruistic heart chord of preserving the
> scared equal opportunity for all and sundry. At least it proves that
> political apathy has not gone as far into the woods as some might have
> thought. To be fair to Lee Kuan Yew, it was a Ministry of Education
> policy and not entirely his making.

> Perhaps, we all should be mindful that though the 1 man 1 vote system
> is not perfect, it is most probably the best that we have. To me, this
> is so scared that most attempts to improve the system will more likely
> injure it than do any good to it and perhaps should be considered an
> out of bounds topic for a long time.

> Peter Lye aka lkypeter

> Safe Harbor. Please note that information contained in these pages are
> of a personal nature and does not necessarily reflect that of any
> companies, organizations or individuals. In addition, some of these
> opinions are of a forward looking nature. Lastly the facts and
> opinions contained in these pages might not have been verified for
> correctness, so please use with caution. Happy Reading. Peter Lye

-------

LKY suggested fiddling with the one-man-one-vote system after the PAP
did badly in elections. He suggested that perhaps older people should
be given more than one vote since they had seen more of life (he
always suspects that the young would do him in since they're more
demanding).

He should be thankful that his suggestion died a natural death. If
older people had been given more than one vote each, the PAP would be
soundly thrashed in the next elections because these older people
can't get their full CPF and suspect that their money would be gone
forever.

Wakalukong

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