From living with his parents and sisters in a one bedroom house to becoming the permanent representative of Singapore in the United Nations, Kishore Mahbubani has definitely come a long way. He is a noted and celebrated academician, who currently serves Dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Mahbubani’s numerous accolades are testimony to his spirit and struggles against the test of destiny and time and his contributions to the world of public administration and academics.
There is one more domain in which Mahbubani has made a mark. It is through his writings and his perspective of the Asian economy and free markets.
How Kishore Mahbubani Began the Journey
Today Mahbubanimay be on the boards of several prominent institutions in Singapore, Europe and North America, such as the Yale President’s Council on International Activities (PCIA). However, the journey has been far from smooth.
During the partition of India and Pakistan, the Mahbubani family shifted base to Singapore. The Joo Chiat public library became a haven for young Kishore. Unlike other boys his age, Mahbubani would be found lost in books at the library after school. His struggles paid off when he was awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1967 and graduated in philosophy with a First Class Honours degree from the University of Singapore (now the National University of Singapore) in 1971. He continued his academic pursuit with a Master’s degree in Philosophy in 1976 and an Honorary Doctorate in 1995 from Dalhousie University in Canada.
Contribution to the Free Market Philosophy
Mahbubani has authored several books, such as Can Asians Think?, Beyond The Age Of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World and The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. His latest contribution to the literary world is a book titled The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World. His works revolve around practical solutions to global issues. He mentions in his book that the adoption of the free market philosophy contributes towards greater global harmony, with less war and a continuous decline in poverty. According to him, free market economics is the only practical tool for promoting prosperity and bring the world closer.
With such thoughts and contributions to the world of politics and economics, Mahbubani has established himself as an expert in Asian economics. In a recent talk, he emphasized that Asian countries are proponents of free market economics because it works. He explains that Asia has “seen how Japan first took off and then Japan’s economic take-off was followed by the four economic tigers: Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. Then it spread through Southeast Asia, to Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand.”
With contributions such as these and a career that spans over 40 years, Mahbubani is at a key position in global economics and decision making. Here’s hoping that his open support to free market policies will being about positive change in all Asian nations.