Meritocratic society must retain human touch

Retirement means different things to different people.

Some relish the opportunity to indulge in the niceties of life not available to them during the hurly-burly of their working lives, while others feel their full potential has not been exploited and that they have been put to pasture prematurely.

It is certainly sensible to assert that humans are not economic tools to be used until they are fully exhausted ("Role models for state-sponsored retirement exist" by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; Oct 3).

A model of social democracy, somewhere between absolute egalitarian Marxist communism and unbridled capitalism, would be appealing.

However, it may be difficult to implement such a model in Singapore, where low taxes, personal responsibility, self-growth and achievement are entrenched into a capitalistic framework.

While we will never be a universalist welfare state, it is obvious that we are working towards improvements in social mobility.

Unions, employers and the Government are also working together to ensure labour welfare and retirement benefits evolve with the times.

Indeed, a meritocracy-inclined society must also have its humanistic values.

We must certainly help those who help themselves, be they struggling workers on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder or unprepared retirees in dire financial straits.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)