Global & ASEAN perspective on S’pore’s vanishing workforce

In Economy, Political economy on 04/03/2012 at 6:39 am
“Singapore labour force to start shrinking: DPM Teo” was the healine in Friday’s Today. The next decade will see the Singaporean workforce start shrinking, while more go into retirement, such that come 2030, there will be only six citizens starting their working lives for every 10 going into retirement. And beyond that, the Republic’s population will start to “decline sharply”. Article
The chart here shows that the following nations are all set to see declines of more than 10% in the expected change in working age population between 2010 and 2035. ; Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Poland, South Korea, Russia, Japan and Germany. In the last two cases, the decline is set to be 20%. Despite the comments of one LKY, the Japanese are happy and properous, happily ignoring his advice on demographics.

Well I don’t see waz wrong being in the company of  Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, South Korea, Japan and Germany. S’pore’s decline is much less than 10%, and it has the company of HK, Thailand, Denmark, Finland and China.

But maybe the government is worried about Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines? Don’t want them to be more successful than S’pore?

Whatever it is, maybe it’s about a variation of the theme behind this poem by Bertold Brecht, a famous playwright and Marxist activist (he was even a Hollywood screenwriter in the golden years of Hollywood in the 1930s):

After the uprising of the 17th of June

The Secretary of the Writers Union

Had leaflets distributed …

Stating that the people

Had thrown away the confidence of the government

And could win it back only

By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier

In that case for the government

To dissolve the people

And elect another?

  1. Actually PAPies know that the workforce won’t really shrink that fast, coz they know that many of those turning 60 and above will still need to work in some form. A majority of Sinkies will need to work for the rest of their lives simply becoz they cannot afford retirement. Problem is that companies don’t want to hire ah peks and ah mahs. So PAPies need to hold open the floodgates while giving a plausible story to the masses.

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