Monday, November 08, 2010

Creating employment

Many countries faced the challenge of creating employment for the large number of unemployed, under-employed and new entrants to the work force. This challenges will continue to be difficult under the current economic system. In this article, I have some suggestions of the changes that can be made to create more job opportunities and build a better and more sustainable environment for the future.

Tan Kin Lian


Jamesneo said...

Hi Mr tan i believed that some of your ideas could work. However, my greatest worries is how to make this work in a world of "peak fossil fuel" whereby the foundation of the economy and human industrialized civilization is in extremely precarious grounds. The evidence is mounting that in a post peak oil and post natural gas and coal world, the world will undergo many monumental shock to the economy over the next two decade.
Here is one paper by the New Zealand government on this issue:

davewongblessing said...

hi james. just fyi, the peak oil theory has been mentioned since the 1970s. nobody really knows how much more oil is left, the numbers vary according to who you choose to believe in. on the one hand, the cost to extract marginal oil has increased, but exploration technology has also improved and labs all around the world are working on alternative energy sources. so my belief is, long before the oil tap runs dry, we would have put in place several solutions. the need for oil won't simply vanished, which is impossible because it feeds into so many industries and materials. but we can imagine a world which doesn't rely on 90% oil, but instead 50% oil and the rest make up of alternatives.

Jamesneo said...

hi David, i know all about the controversies about peak oil. The problem is that a lot of people are over estimating that alternative energy sources would be developed in time for the transition to the "50% oil and the rest make up of alternatives". I am working in this alternative energy sources(solar) and things are progressing quite rapidly but not as fast as the common public thinks. it will take decades(10-20 years) before this alternative energy become competitive large scale to oil and natural gas or coal. Even then it will take an additional 10-20 years for the public to adopt it large scale.
Moreover most of this newer generations photovolatic cells require expensive, scare or toxic compounds such as indium, cadmium, selenium. Using traditional silicon is still the modus operandi for now but the process for a silicon cell is extremely energy intensive.

And the issue now is not with oil running out but with oil becoming so expensive due to the supply buffer gone that it starts to disrupt the world economy. The problem is that the US military estimates that this supply disruption will occur as early as 2015. We will have to see if such a thing occurs around 2015-2020 then. But by then it will be too late for Singapore. Our many industries will be badly affected such as tourism, manufacturing except of course the oil refinery part which will rake in huge money due to the huge oil prices.
Moreover, there are also the QE2 from Mr B that will cause havoc in the commodities. Commodities such as agriculture , oil are poised to increase significantly over the next decade making the problem even worse(barring any huge selloff like in 2008).

davewongblessing said...

yes, it will take immense political will and perhaps doomsday reckoning before renewable energy takes center stage. light bulb did not replace kerosene overnight and it took several decades for oil to match coal conumpstion. unlike the internet and information which transforms commerce instanteously, energy industry feeds into too many facets of life and require extensive infrastructure to support, hence it is no surprising that any fundamental shift will take decades to materialise. true enough, we will experience supply shocks more frequently as a result of QE2 and more expensive offshore drilling. but these shocks will also drive a more intensive search and effort worldwide to adopt alternative energy sources. solar is but one of the many alternatives being explored currently (algae, wind, waves, bio-mass/bio-diesel, more efficient engines, nuclear, fusion, smart grid etc). i tink human has learnt from the past that we shouldn't rely on a single source and be held ransom by the those few countries possessing the resources we need. so now i am betting on a multi-prong approach to solving our energy crisis. when the day comes, i am more concerned abt the middle east economies which r overly reliant on big oil and seem slow to adjust to what's happening in the world. as for the short term fluctuations, i guess we have survived oil at $140 per barrel without any subsidy. Singapore consumes around 1mil barrel a day and our GDP is around $150 billion. assuming oil jumps up to $200 pb from $90 pb and our govt is willing to subsidise for anything above $150 pb just to keep the economy going strong. that will cost the govt $50 pb X 1mil = USD 50mil daily subsidy or USD 18 billion annually. i believe our govt can afford that if you consider our GDP. but nah, we will be crazy to believe US and Europe will allow the fat cats to charge $200 pb on a sustained basis! one more thing, consider the fuel efficiency of cars now (tink volkswagen). transport accounts for 20-30% of oil consumption and the adoption of these new cars can easily drop that to 10-15%. i tink we r pretty safe from a meltdown....

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