George Yeo – Reversal of economic trends

I was reading George Yeo’s observation of the bigger economic trends in the region. It took just about one generation for the economic trend to go one full circle and for the trend to be reversed. Rewind the clock to 1980, Singapore was at its peak in manufacturing and looking for a qualitative change in its economy, from labour intensive manufacturing and low wage economy to high value added and high wage economy. Remember knowledge based economy(KBE)? China was opening up and needed all the jobs it could get, low skills, low wages were all gratefully welcomed by China to create jobs for a hungry economy. Singapore was happy to transfer the low wage manufacturing industries to China and China was grateful for it. MNCs also moved and we hollowed out our manufacturing economy.

Just past 30 years, today a new trend is emerging. China has grown so much that it is thinking and planning to move up the skills level to high value added industries. China is planning to move out its low skill labour intensive manufacturing industries to Southeast Asia! What, what?  And the countries in the region will be benefitting from the relocation of low skill manufacturing back to the region. China is moving up the economic ladder to provide higher skill and higher paying jobs. It is returning the low skill and low wage industries and jobs to the region.

Singapore is going to be a beneficiary too. We are so well prepared to absorb all the low skill and low wage jobs once again. Now you know why we need 6.9m and then 10m population. We have topped up our labour force with plenty of low skill labour hungry for any jobs and any pay. Singapore can become a low skill manufacturing hub once more with plentiful of cheap labour available. China would be most happy and generous to return the favour.

Singapore could look forward to a new phase of low skill manufacturing activities. We don’t have enough cheap labour then, today we have plenty of them. If this is not enough can always import more workers from the region. 10m should be a good number to start with to cater for the manufacturing boom coming our way. 

Singapore is going to get a new lease of life as a low skill manufacturing hub and more economic growth.


Anonymous said...

"Singapore is going to get a new lease of life as a low skill manufacturing hub and more economic growth."

So what is wrong with that?
A low skill manufacturing hub may be a better match for the abilities and skill set of our PAP government tio bo?
If a PAP government was capable of creating and managing a highly skilled Singaporean workforce, wouldn't they have done so a long time ago?
How does it benefit a PAP government to have a highly skilled Singaporean workforce anyway?
Think. Think. Use your brains.
Does the salary of PAP Ministers get reduced just because Singapore becomes a low skilled manufacturing hub?
If not, then do Singaporeans have the correct incentive plans in place to incentivize a PAP government to work harder?

Anonymous said...

Everything coming together and making sense. 10m, Singaporeans no need to get degree, more cheap foreign workers. Fake degrees also never mind lah. Singaporeasn to form the core of workers. Top position hire foreign talents.

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

@ lousy economic understanding, RB:

>> Singapore is going to get a new lease of life as a low skill manufacturing hub and more economic growth.

No way. Land prices are too high to have low skill manufacturing. Anyway, there won't be any more low skill manufacturing soon because all that stuff can be done even cheaper by robotic technology. even if you think of going back to be sua ku or sua teng...you won't survive.

Have a look at today's robotic/ automated farms. They are HUGE, and they are more productive than when humans were tending to the plants and tilling the soil.

Singapore will possibly experience more "structural unemployment" as the use of AI and robotics, and "decentralised" enterprise increases. Many of those FT's who come to Singapore to work and earn, will soon be replaced by hardware running software owned by shareholders and operated by a few "specialists". In addition to advances in AI and robotics, other game changers are 3D printing, nanotech and synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology has already created NEW TYPE OF LIFE ("alien" life) using 6 base pair DNA instead of the 4 base pair found in ALL life on our planet.

Genes can be "edited" (cut, splice and add sequences) by CRISPR, so even now the bottom-up "design" of new life forms, or genetically enhanced natural lifeforms, is within the realm of possibility.

Chinese scientists have already used CRISPR on human embryos, without much success, BUT, that will improve or probably already has but they're just not telling us because of the serious blow back from the rest of the world.

The thing about CRISPR is that it is cheap (~ USD75) compared to the older techniques of gene editing which can run into thousands of dollars. Knowing the Chinese, it is even probably cheaper now ;-)

Technology is being adopted at a faster rate than the classical "old fashioned under educated" labour force can adapt, therefore MORE structural unemployment is to be expected. LKY's "spur in the your back hide" from "foreigners" is not going to be your main concern. You better worry about your dinosaur skill sets if you want to remain "employable" or start in private enterprise.

Other than that, better start accepting reality that you and quite possibly your kids will experience UNEMPLOYMENT in their lifetimes---more than once.

Got S.T.E.M education?

Anonymous said...

So that's why myanmar's lady leader is there recently to beg for the low cost manufacturing jobs lah since her economy is ripe for opening. Maybe there will finally be jobs and food for the rohinya. Everyone happy right?

Since Tharman said with such embarrassment at the St Gallen symposium to the BBC anchor and crowd that Singapore DOES NOT produce anything..then it must manufacture for other people once again lor.

The only thing Singapore is REALLY good at producing is their Political Leaders! So good that we not only pay them 2-3 million dollars per year, give them carte blanche publicity on state owned media vehicles, singing praises and waive off any finger-pointing and accountabilities of their mistake. These days, we even start and train them early because we are molding leaders for the future, which can only be attained through treacherous mountain climbing fit for 10yo. Sacrificing lives not withstanding! We even have laws to protect them post-humous and remand and jail anyone who might harrass them after death. And of course, deitifying them with bible books of Hard truths and other testaments of his-story books. The nation as a people and machine right down to its adoration have crafted and honed this skill to #1 where it can make even the inside/outside world look on and in with great envy and admiration, that even North Korea needs to stand aside as they can only earn with scorn and disbelief. This is a skill-set that Singaporeans are very good at manufacturing I wonder why they are so under-promoted. Which other nations like us can make and drink our own cool-aid like no other species can? When you can have one good top species of animal, why need more more sub-standard and bad quality of other species? Any more wonder why doubling it to 10m is the best way to use our skills? Pop more bubblies while you are living in the bubbles lah..coz when you burst it, and the rock and boulders start raining down, please don't be too busy looking for your trampoline to catch you either lah. The double confirmed harnesses and belts and helmets you were wearing are already proofs that you were very protected from harm and were indeed safe to begin with. Some more many before you came and gone safely. Whose fault is it? No faults lah...mother nature...lets move on. Keep manufacturing world class politicians - rinse, lather, repeat. Is good business, win win win for everyone lah.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Anon 10:46, you are spot on. The only thing we produced is good leaders. And like you said, they are starting young. And they are not reckless, the Mount Kenabalu brochure said 10 year old can climb, they played safe and only allowed 12 year old to climb.

All these leaders can be exported next time to other countries. Made in Singapore leaders. Quality tested and proven since 12 year old. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is correct to say the PAP government only got plans for adding more Aliens and Billionaires into Singapore?
Do you think it is correct to say the PAP government got NO plans for Singaporeans in the Singapore economy?

b said...

Sg is very small lah. Unlike EU and US and Japan, just need to print some small amount of money ($1b)and can easily do well. SMall has its advantage.

Anonymous said...

"Sg is very small lah. Unlike EU and US and Japan, just need to print some small amount of money ($1b)and can easily do well. SMall has its advantage."
June 11, 2015 3:18 p.m.

Really ah?
So easy then why PAP Ministers need million dollar salary for?
So easy then anybody can become government tio bo?
No need to be specially qualified scholars or Generals tio bo?

patriot said...

George Yeo is quite a darling of Sinkies except for the Aljunied Voters in the Last General Election.

Me am of the Opinion that if he makes a come back and stands together with Tharman Shanmugaratnam another favourite of Sinkies and Heng Swee Kiat at Aljunied GRC, they will take the Cake

With the Three Heavy Weights together, Alternative Party(ies) shall sink like stone in water. Absolutely no fight.


Anonymous said...

Why did the PAPig cross the road?

A1: To avoid losing another General Elections.
A2: To avoid getting food poisoning ... I mean loose stools
A3: To avoid questions on the Mount Kinabalu earthquake.
A4: To avoid the safety net in favour of the trampoline.

Anonymous said...

At 12 years of age we have decided to train busy bodies and scoundrels to tell others what to do which we will call leaders.