Ground-up initiatives crucial for a healthy civic society: DPM Tharman

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, at German Centre on Oct 26, 2015.
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, at German Centre on Oct 26, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - It is critical that we support more ground-up initiatives, as these initiatives build civic society, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said at the opening of the CSR and Social Innovators Forum on Thursday (Sept 1).

"You really need ground-up initiatives and networks to develop, (because) it's the only way of growing intrinsic relationships," Mr Tharman said.

"No government scheme can replicate that."

Social science has shown that most individuals motivated to do things to change their behavior do so based on instrinsic factors, intrinsic motivations, like what they like to do or what matters most to their family, Mr Tharman noted.

"And incentives, sanctions, penalties, all the usual instruments of government policy around the world are helpful, but they only go so far," he said.

For this reason, the Government encourages ground-up initiatives and social enterprise, said Mr Tharman.

"At the end of the day, whichever problems we look at, we need a variety of approaches... (otherwise) Government would be too dominant a force in society."

The two-day corporate social responsibility event was held at Suntec Convention Centre.