Looking at issues through only economic lens is silo mentality

Silo mentality is so widespread that few people are aware of how deep or widespread it is among decision-makers.

The report by Mr Tim Harford, highlights this phenomenon (Why big companies squander good ideas; Sept 9).

The issue is essential for Singapore's survival too.

Singapore's biggest resource is its people, who have to be fed, clothed and housed.

Of course, money has to flow to fulfil all these basic necessities, and hence the preoccupation with the economy and the gross domestic product.

This is a logical and reasonable approach, but it can also be seen as germane to silo thinking.

It takes more than food, clothing and shelter to create a nation of multicultural, multiracial citizens.

Racial and religious harmony was rightly a fundamental issue the founding elders didn't overlook, and the methods used were essentially political and regulatory.

As long as the people were compliant and certain areas of commonality were gradually nurtured over time, success was forthcoming.

However, with the advent of disruptive technology, where the information highways are revolutionising the flow of news and knowledge, differences can become enhanced and prominent.

Sameness and monolithic cultural assimilation can no longer nurture and keep the harmony.

Coupled with the ever-widening generational and wealth gaps, as well as the differences with newly minted citizens, this is a powder keg of potential disharmony in the making.

Paying inordinate attention to solving and maintaining economic viability appears to be silo thinking.

Making citizens feel like they belong through asset enhancement and wealth creation appears to be dealing with social divides and bread-and-butter issues through only an economic lens.

Failing to use a holistic approach to see what living in a compact space demands may be preventing us from seeing how a silo mentality has invaded our decision-making bias.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

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