Monday, March 31, 2008

On Policy

In Singapore, we often hear our Government announcing policies that they would be implementing or considering to implement within months. Among the policies there are fiscal policies such as increasing the GST rates to 7% or tax rebates to companies. There are also others such as incentives for citizens such as Workfare and one time tax rebates for electrical bills.

Yet among all the various policies and the relative success our Government has achieved in planning and implementing them, it seems that the policy making in regards to moving Singapore towards higher standards of living has worked too well. Although it has only began to felt apparent in the last 5 years, I would say that it is the cumulative result of 30 years of policies towards "green pastures".

The policies of the Government are terribly lop-sided, in regards to education. It creates a perception of demand for a range of jobs in the market, based on its current policy decisions, such as "Singapore to become an -- Hub". The mass media then announce and broadcasts the Government's views to the citizens to influence their chain of thought. Its schools and institutes then craft out courses specifically meant to solve the Government's demand curve and its citizens will choose the courses to solve the Government's demand curve.

In the end, the supply always exceeds the demand, and the "unwanted citizens" either 1. Study more, 2. Get some other non-related field job or 3. Look for Greener Pastures, literately.

On the other hand, the factories and intensive labour businesses that give Singapore's citizens of the 1970's much needed jobs now finds out that no young ones in Singapore will want to work on this kind of menial job - at least not for long commitments.

So, put simply, job demand is always there, but of a different kind. And it is partially caused by policies that the Government made and excaburated by the business that requires a different kind of labour. Which is probably why Singapore has so many foreigners in this tiny City of 4 million... they are filling up those jobs we do not want to do. And for our people's case, we move to where the jobs is - no much choice whether we love being a global citizen or not eh?

I forsee an increasingly hollow nation in the times ahead.

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