05 February 2009

Time for the Ox to heed the lute

Guest writer Abun Hentag examines the applicability of measures being tried by other governments to the economic downturn to Singapore and finds that we have limited scope for doing likewise. Longer term issues too remain unaddressed. Guest essay.

1 comment:

manbeer said...

The shopping voucher idea will not have any effect. People would just use the voucher for purchases they would need to make anyway. Unless of course the vouchers are specifically for non-essential items.

I too am worried about the govts. refusal to explore ideas beyond supply economics. If in the US the supply side economics model has been rejected politically after almost 28 years (since Reagan) maybe we too should reexamine its viability.

Moreover our economy seems to be built on high growth rates during global bull years while high contraction rates during global bust years. What is the net benefit? Since the last recession if we aggregate all our growth rates and minus our current and projected contraction rates do we have any net growth at all? Would it be better to have an economy that has slower growth yet with more stability?

If productivity is the cornerstone of economic growth. Shouldn't we be finding out why our productivity has been falling the last few years (see: http://www.singstat.gov.sg/stats/themes/economy/ess/essa22.pdf).
Note that welfare state countries are as productive as the United States. GDP per hour worked is 50.8 hours in Belgium and 47.7 hours in France while in the US it is 46.3 hours. These are recent OECD estimates from 2004 (see: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/31/7/29880166.pdf). Please correct me if I'm wrong, my economics is rudimentary at best.