Visiting professor lauds 'asset-building policies' of Singapore

SINGAPORE - In the United States, people on low income have nothing whereas in Singapore they have at the least, their public housing flats as assets.

This was the view of social policy expert Michael Sherraden, a professor at Washington University, who gave a public lecture at the National University of Singapore on Wednesday.

Prof Sherraden, who is also the first scholar under the S R Nathan Professorship in Social Work, was responding to a question on how the public housing policy contribute to wealth inequality.

He said while inequality is "not desirable", the situation here is not "a world where people have nothing".

In his lecture on social innovations in Singapore, he lauded "asset-building policies" such as the CPF scheme and public housing, the lack of corruption in the Government and the recent emphasis placed on building the skills of the population.

Even when discussions touched on contentious issues such as the public's recent displeasure with the CPF last year, the professor said the "pretty positive discussion" seemed like a healthy process.

The two-hour session was attended by 140 people in social work and the civil service.

kxinghui@sph.com.sg