population growth not essential to wealth creation
Why the population is not essential in wealth creation Kan Seng is repeating the call to Singaporeans to be nice to foreign talents and to encourage them to settle here. I think we must also remind the foreign talents to be kind to the less talented Singaporeans and stop calling them silly and stupid, and stop bullying the locals. The position of the govt is very clear, so clear that no one is saying otherwise. Not even in the academic world or economic and social thinkers. Or maybe all wise men think alike. Singapore must grow its population or perish. That is probably the true reason why no one is coming out with a counter argument against growing the population to 6 or 8 million at such a rapid pace. At least no Singaporeans will be foolhardy enough to say the unpleasant. The MSM too is agreeable to this school of thought. It is just a school of thought. Not unlike Keynes versus the Chicago School of thought on expansionary monetary policies or restraining and reducing expenditure to manage the economy. I think the MSM has a change of mind and is trying to say something to the opposite in the best way it can. There is an article by Victor Mallet from the Financial Times today with the title in the above heading of this post. It quoted several eminent economists trying to debunk the myth that countries need population growth to sustain their growth. They pointed to the contrary, saying that if population growth is critical to economic growth, then countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Africa and Latin America would be rich. Mallet started by saying 'I wanted to debunk the idea that countries with falling numbers of inhabitants were heading inexorably towards social and fiscal disaster or even extinction...A year on, there are encouraging signs of a change in attitudes. In particular, economists are increasingly challenging the myth that population growth is essential for economic growth.' It is a different issue if a country is facing negative population growth and needs to boost up the declining numbers. Small is not necessary a disadvantage. We have capitalised on our smallness to grow in quality. Growing with more rubbish will mean more rubbish is what we get. Mallet quoted Richard Jackson, director of the global ageing initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, 'We should also ask why policymakers focus on absolute economic growth rather than the per capita income growth that would make more individuals better off. Even if one accepts the economic need to boost a country's workforce, increasing the entire local population is a crude way to do it. In Japan - where the population is shrinking, remember - the labour force has been rising this year as older people rejoin the workforce and more women take jobs. The truth is that nations with small, stagnant or falling populations can produce strong economic growth.' Mallet concluded by saying that it is a natural or normal tendency for the wealthier population not to reproduce as many as the third world population. And it is not only inevitable, but also good and there is no point trying to fight this trend. Basically go for quality instead of quantity. Many European nations are small and doing exceptionally well for its people on a per capita income basis and the general quality of life. We are experiencing tremendous growth and a rapid marginalisation of our population with the quality of life going downwards for many, with many, including the upper middle income needing govt assistance. Compare to the way the European countries manage their growth and quality of life of their people, there is obviously something wrong with the general health and wealth of our nation and people.