"Even without going through the formal exercise of growth accounting, these numbers should make it obvious that Singapore's growth has been based largely on one-time changes in behavior that cannot be repeated. Over the past generation the percentage of people employed has almost doubled; it cannot double again. A half-educated work force has been replaced by one in which the bulk of workers has high school diplomas; it is unlikely that a generation from now most Singaporeans will have Ph.D's. And an investment share of 40 percent is amazingly high by any standard; a share of 7O percent would be ridiculous. So one can immediately conclude that Singapore is unlikely to achieve future growth rates comparable to those of the past. ".
Krugman was wrong! The paper written 1994 failed to foresee that the PAP will resort to brute force expansion of the workforce and population to keep the economy growing. Never in the Nobel Prize winner's mind could he imagine that a country would import foreigners in large numbers to maintain high economic growth. Countries usually keep their economies growing through innovation and increased productivity - it is a tough approach but leads to higher incomes thoughout the work force and a higher quality of life.
The only countries where there are comparable rates of immigration and size of foreign workforce are rich middle-eastern countries that have their native population comfortably positioned on top and foreigners to do all the hard work. In Singapore, foreigners are brought in at all levels intensifying the competition for jobs, space and services. A large segment of the Singapore population has been crushed both in the literal and figurative sense. We are crushed in the MRT trains and many are crushed by the competition for jobs and education.
Whether you need a hospital bed, a home or a place in the university, the large influx means there are fewer vacancies for Singaporeans. Singaporeans who were to be able to gain entry to various courses in universities now cannot get places with the same grades (Average Grades? Getting into Uni is a squeeze). At the masters degree level, the 'squeeze' is even tighter. Richer parents send their children overseas to Australia, UK etc so that their children can have the advantage of a university education. Poorer Singaporeans cannot afford to send their children overseas and these kids will not have the opportunity to get a university degree. The reality is human intelligence follow a bell curve - half the people are of below average intelligence. When you start to import the cream of the crop from China and India in very large numbers giving them scholarships to study free in local universities, you leave fewer places for Singaporeans who could have benefitted from a university education.
PAP leaders frequently lament the lack of talent among Singaporeans to justify importing foreign talents in large numbers. The leaders of many other countries accept and work with their own citizens and whatever talents they are born with to try to develop every person to the fullest making the best of what they have. They don't belittle their citizens as 'lesser mortals' lacking talent and drive. They don't call their own citizens daft and ignorant ...and they don't threaten stick the "spurs under the hide" of their citizens as if they are animals or slaves in their own country. Every year thousands of highly talented Singaporeans leave the country because they have enough of this type of leadership. While they are talented and can make a good living in Singapore, they don't want their children, who may be born average, to struggle in this system.
We need leaders who believe in their own citizens. What is happening today is the govt proactively bringing in foreign students in large numbers from developing countries, using tax-payer dollars to entice them with scholarships to study free in Singapore. When they do this, many Singaporean children especially children of poorer families will lose the opportunity to get a university education. One of my friends failed to get into NUS in the 90s because he failed his GP - he appealed but he was rejected despite having decent grades in other subjects. However, when the govt wanted to give students from China opportunities to get degrees in local unversities, requirement to be proficient in English was waived. They are willing to create opportunities for foreigners but not for their own citizens. It is too late for PM Lee to say "Singaporeans come first" - the fact that he has to tell Singaporeans explicitly that they come first just shows how deep the feeling of being relegated to 2nd class in their own country runs among Singaporeans.