Sunday, July 03, 2016

SCMP: Singapore has a poor investment record

Taiwan comes in pretty much at what you might expect, a net primary income surplus running at 3.3 per cent of GDP. But in Singapore the figures are negative. Singapore shows a consistent primary income deficit running at 4.4 per cent of GDP.
There are two reasons it has happened. The first is that Taiwanese investors own Taiwan’s industrial base but Singapore’s is predominantly owned by foreigners. These people have done very well. “Thank you, Singapore,” they say and then they take the money they made in Singapore back home.
The second reason is that the Singapore government itself has a poor investment record with the consistently big fiscal surpluses it generates.
But it all comes down to one big reason. Singapore used to be an entrepreneurial place. It is now a nation of bureaucrats. The foolish thing about this is that bureaucrats easily fool themselves that they are good at business. And here is the wisdom: Wake up and smell the coffee, fellows.

1 comment:

Yujuan said...

Our Govt seems to operate on a short term span in 5 block years in each General election, as if there is no tomorrow.
The main culprit is the Ministers' pay based on GDP growth, the higher the more bonuses they receive, private sector style. A short sighted self interest approach, thus leading to a "hotel economy",
i.e. people and MNCs come, stay to make as much money as possible, take the money and say bye bye. So Govt has to keep replenishing new entrants to upkeep this "Hotel economy", without it there is no economy to talk about, no bonus talk also. Everything is just instant tree style, transcient, Aug San Suchi saw this flaw and vowed she won't follow Singapore's way.
The Swiss economy is the best comparison. It is based on branding and technology. A Swiss watch must be made in Switzerland and no where else, honed from centuries of skills. Nestle, a Swiss MNC conglomerate stays headquartered in home country, Nestle would stay Swiss unless she is acquired by foreign entities, but the Brand remains Swiss, thus Switzerland could survive.
Think Singapore in 25, 50 years? Can we survive? Here monkey see, monkey do, so local new start ups and
old branded Companies cash out fast to interested foreigners, why continue to work so hard. No sense of National pride and loyalty, as long as the money is in one's pocket, better immigrate and enjoy, the locals also taking part in this "hotel economy".
With the Haves and the Have-nots divide getting wider throughout the world, we are sliding back to the Agrarian Society of the 18th century, the Have-nots may have to balik kampong to grow padi, rear chickens for survival. Taiwanese can at least survive on agriculture (plus their entrepreneur skills), but Singapore? Unless we could find a high tech way to grow food and rear poultry in our tiny HDB flats.

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