The Missing Link: We Need Virtuous People in Positions of Power | Avneet Singh

We are going through multiple crises: the viral pandemic, the struggle for Social Justice for all, and adapting to geo-political changes in the world.

We are also searching for a new narrative or model or story that will replace Neoliberalism which is the dominant socio-economic-political model of our times.

Great philosophies, ideas, and models are of no use if the people in power do all they can to undermine it. 

“There’s a lot of talent being wasted because it’s not able to rise, but there’s also a lot of relatively untalented people who aren’t falling and end up occupying positions they shouldn’t,” said Richard Reeves, a Brookings Institution researcher. ‘Fail your way up’ is a common expression in the corporate world and popularized by popular media. Tucker Carlson said, “The people in charge squandered a great nation.”

A review of Thomas Piketty’s influential book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ says “managers and financial professionals making up 60% of the top 0.1% of the income distribution in the U.S.” and “this huge rise in relative income inequality has brought no discernible economic benefit.”

There are a lot of undeserving and overpaid senior managers in government and private corporations that don’t deserve to be there and have ‘squandered a great nation’.

Rising From The East

Kishore Mahbubani, Singaporean academic and former diplomat, Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and two-time President of the United Nations Security Council gave his MPH formula for good governance. He asks, “why did Singapore succeed so comprehensively? The simple answer is exceptional leadership… This exceptional team also implemented three exceptional policies: Meritocracy, Pragmatism and Honesty… Meritocracy means a country picks its best citizens, not the relatives of the ruling class, to run a country.”

It is no surprise that Singapore leads the world in providing exceptionally good governance, leads the way in managing COVID-19 pandemic, is second best in the world in World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business rankings’, and the physically tiny nation joined with its neighbors to form the ASEAN economic bloc which is on its way to becoming the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030.

It is honest and competent people in key positions of power(exceptional leadership) that made this possible.

Khalsa (The Pure)

Khalsa, (“the Pure”), is the name given to people who follow the Sikh religion. The founders of the religion did not think it is enough to just have a new philosophy. It was equally important to transform ordinary people to be virtuous (pure), free of traits that weaken and corrupt them, and worthy of providing good governance for the benefit of all.

The Sikh Maharaja (‘Great King’) Ranjit Singh was nominated in BBC History poll as the Greatest Leader in World History.

History is witness to a Golden Age of his rule. “The recorded history finds no parallel for his remarkable military genius, able administrator-ship and astute statesmanship”. Barron Charles Hugel, an illustrious Austrian traveler, said ‘Never perhaps was so large an empire founded by one man with so little criminality’.

The Greatest Leader in the History of the World showed that criminality and extortion is not necessary to create prosperity.

‘De Facto’ and ‘De Jure’ 

There is a big difference between what the intentions (‘de jure’) are, and what actually happens (‘de facto’). Any new socio-economic-political model of the future will only be as good as the people running it.

Simply replacing private health insurance with universal health care; replacing old laws with new laws; replacing one political party with another; will not bring social justice if the old power structures and people in charge undermine it.

Business leaders promote change and talk of the need for ‘PPT’ in their Powerpoint presentations: People, Process, and Tools. New processes/models/systems and tools/resources are essential, but having the right people comes first.

Call To Action 

“We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity”: Dr. Martin Luther King.

The call to action during these times of multiple crises is to replace oligarchy with meritocracy; crony management by the privileged with ‘exceptional leadership’; and undeserving and overpaid senior managers with virtuous people in key positions of power.


Voice of Mankind is a non-profit Think Tank working to influence public opinion on issues that affect us all. We are here to make sense of this changing world.

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