Productivity at its lowest ebb
For the past decade or so our productivitiy has reached a point of zero, save only by the influx of foreign workers. They contributed to practically all the growth numbers to our economy. Taking them out of the equation our growth is zero, yes zero. That's why everyone in the know is so grateful to the foreign workers. I am not going to ask what have the supertalents contributed if our growth came from the low down and poorly paid foreign workers. Now we are going to increase or boost productivity. And it seems so simple, a few training courses will do it after languishing for all these years. I think there are easier ways to improve productivity than training courses. Just follow the examples of the property industry. Every 4 or 5 years, the price could be double. That should be the kind of productivity numbers we be looking for. How to go about it? We used to call it asset inflation. But there are many areas that we can inflate the prices, the consumers just pay. By increasing the prices of things and services here and there, productivity will simply go up proportionally. A plate of char kway teow can be increased from $3 to $3.50, giving a 17% increase in productivity without having to do anything except changing the price tag. Some measures could be more ingenuine, like erecting another few toll gates and money will keep rolling in. That is productivity. One thing that will reduce productivity and should not be thought of is pay rise. Any increase in pay will definitely lower productivity unless there is also an increase in goods or services produced, or increase in price. The latter must be more than the hike in pay. Whenever the rental goes up, the stall holders simply raise their prices, several percentages more than the rental hike. So the productivity of the landlords and the stall holders also go up disproportionately. Now we can understand why stallholders are not complaining. They constantly raise their productivity to improve their income. I must add that this kind of productivity growth is only possible in a monopolistic or near monopolistic environment, or insular market when supple and demand can be managed.