Thursday, September 7, 2017

SG Population: We have opted for the harder problem to solve

I first got the above story, the Bloomberg version in an email. It has a useful chart which is absent from the ST one.

A long time from now, I would still be able to read the Bloomberg's one but the ST would be much less accessible. I might even have given up my ST subscription by then but I digress.

After a while I was convinced that our graying population could not be reversed and we have to live with its consequences. The cure which LKY tried to persuade us to have more babies is much better than the disease but it was impossible to persuade the people. To most that negate the reason why they work so hard to get rich in the first place. It is already too stressful to have one or two kids. I hope we are much more determined to solve this problem when the time comes than when it was easier. We were less determined simply because twenty years into the future is simply too far out when most of us are fire fighting today's problems. It is human nature to work incredibly harder putting out fires than preventing them.

Our external wing will get even more important than now. Many and more of us will travel the region and beyond. In fact the more innovative we are the farther we will go because the demand for our creations will be more widespread.

The more successful we are externally the richer we are and the more expensive things will be at home. Those who make their living mostly from the domestic economy will suffer. Their income will also rise but fail to catch up. They become price takers of those who make their living from our external wing.

At that time quite a few will leave or simply live overseas permanently than come back because their dollar goes much further against a very pricey Singapore. Therefore sprouting an even stronger external wing is not a solution if it provides little attraction for them to be based here. Nevertheless no matter how much we try, we will lose talent at a higher rate than now. It would be more practical to have a bigger front door whilst the flow out grows than trying to keep people home. A very attractive quality of life ranked among the best in the world is not just nice but a matter of survival for Singapore.

For those harboring ideas of retiring in Singapore, most of you will discover that you are dreamers. Unless you are among the few rich ones and being upper middle class will not cut it, either you forget about retirement and continue working or relocate to another place to retire. Now the problem may not even be a choice between continuing working and retirement. It might be you are not employable.

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