What should government’s role be in strengthening the social fabric of a society? How do politics affect social policymaking?
Explore all Articles
In 2005, Pope John Paul II died, Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League, and the Dow Jones had not yet broken 11,000. It was also the year in which then Prime Minister Gordon Brown started a radical experiment to provide every child born in the U.K. with a long-term tax-free savings account or “baby bonds.” […]
In September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court made history by unanimously voting to repeal Section 377, which explicitly forbade “unnatural offences of carnal intercourse” and was often used against the country’s LGBT+ community. As the ruling was being celebrated in India, three separate challenges were made in Singapore’s courts against the country’s similar Section 377A. […]
Aloysius Foo responds to our previous article by Andrew Chia, Rethinking Scholarship Diversity: The Pre-U Education of PSC Scholars. In his letter, he highlights the need to go beyond diversity, and explore the deeper issues surrounding Singapore’s social class reproduction, which has created an “Aristocracy of Merit”.
As a record number of Americans file for unemployment and families struggle to make ends meet, the COVID-19 Pandemic has not only accentuated deep flaws and inefficiencies in the U.S. healthcare system; it has also exposed gaping holes in America’s social safety net. In response, U.S. policymakers must act boldly to construct a new social […]
How might we mainstream social justice ideas and language, beginning a national conversation that extends beyond more recognised civil society actors? Reflecting on the discourse surrounding migrant rights, Quah Say Jye draws upon philosopher Miranda Fricker’s concept of “epistemic injustice” to propose a shared vocabulary that might allow migrant workers into our linguistic community. He suggests that our semantic choices need to accurately represent the lived experiences of migrant workers, be accessible to them and the general public, and have the potential to pivot towards broader structural critiques.
Poh Yong Han argues that while addressing poor dormitory and food standards for migrant workers are important, they merely represent the tip of the iceberg. Unless we tackle the underlying structural issues that explain why migrant workers “consent” to such poor standards (low wages, high agency fees) in the first place, we are not addressing the root cause of the problem. To address them, she proposes setting a Minimum Income Threshold, and enforcing fair recruitment practices. She further suggests reconsidering whether the Work Permit scheme as it stands is even ethical, and asks if current restrictions (such as tying workers to specific employers) need to be loosened, and whether a fairer migrant worker policy would entail providing them with pathways to citizenship or residency.
Since the attempted coup on 15 July 2016, Turkish state authorities have engaged in what they characterize as a counterterrorism campaign against the political enemy they blame for the attacks: the expatriate cleric and government critic Fethullah Gülen, as well as hundreds of his followers who fled the country. The Turkish government still maintains that […]
In Singapore, foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on Work Permits are subject to various bio-political restrictions: namely, restrictions that govern who they can marry and whether they can be pregnant.
What explains these restrictions, and why is the state so invested in policing the private intimacies of foreign domestic workers? Poh Yong Han traces through parliamentary debates and newspaper articles to show how these restrictions are informed by a neoliberal philosophy that informs how we view citizenship, and unpacks its consequences.
Paul argues that policymakers need to move beyond numbers-driven, utilitarian logics of decision-making and incorporate a human-centered approach to policy-making. Drawing from Teo You Yenn’s seminal work on the need to understand issues like inequality as lived experiences rather than just statistical data, Paul considers the benefits of a social analysis approach and examines the ways in which it can be implemented in Singapore.
Past the Pilot Stage: Policy Makers Must Consider Impacts of Police Body-Worn Cameras beyond Accountability
In September 2013, attorney Scott Greenwood of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said of police use of body-worn cameras, “You don’t want to give officers a list and say, ‘Only record the following 10 types of situations.’ You want officers to record all the situations, so when a situation does go south, there’s an […]
Meritocracy is generally celebrated as an ideology that promotes equality of opportunity, and hence, seen as just. Xuan Yee interrogates this view by exploring the moral, psychological, and intellectual ramifications of meritocracy when taken to its extreme. He argues that an unquestioned belief in meritocracy is dangerous, for it encourages the successful to justify their own moral deservingness of their position in society, and thus, legitimizes inequality.
While recent events have triggered concerns over democracy and fundamental freedoms in Singapore, Seow Yongzhi argues that these debates conflate the terms “democracy” and “liberalism”. Democracies, as Yongzhi points out, can be highly illiberal. Instead, what Singaporeans want is not necessarily democracy, but liberty – the right to voice their disagreements.
Call for Submissions
Join the HKS Student Policy Review—
to research, write, and learn about policy in a new way. We offer Harvard students an opportunity to engage with the most important policy issues of our time, across a whole range of topics and regions.