If you watch the video I put up in the last posting, you will hear Mr. Lee explaining why we need so many foreign workers because our TFR (Total Fertility Rate) has fallen to 1.01 per couple. He said that Singaporeans needs 60,000 foreigners per year to keep our workforce young and if we have a TFR of 1.80 we can do with a much smaller influx of about 20,000. Then he turned to Joan Sim to ask her if she has a boyfriend and when she will complete her PhD as if people like her are to be blamed for the need for foreign workers. Over the years the explanation for why we need such a large influx has morph from Singaporeans refusing to do certain jobs, Singaporeans lack certain skill sets and now it is blamed on Singaporeans' low fertility rate.
Here is the chart of the fertility rate in Singapore:
In order to maintain a stable population with a constant profile you need a TFR of just over 2.
See, uing today's fertility rate to justify the need for foreign influx is wrong because the people entering our workforce are born about 23-25 years ago roughly in the 1985-88 period. During that period the fertility rate averaged 1.71 with a high of 1.96 achieved in 1988. We need roughly 60,000 babies a year for a stable population - a shortfall of 0.1 in the TFR translates to about 3000. In the late 80s we have a TFR of about 1.7 so the shortfall is about 9000-12000 entering the workforce today. However, the PAP was importing people at a massive rate:
“Between 2005 and 2009, Singapore’s population surged by roughly 150,000
people a year to 5 million—among the fastest rates ever there—with 75% or more
of the increase coming from foreigners,” Wall Street Journal.
Today's TFR of 1.01 means we have a shortfall of 30,000 that means we need 30,000 babies today to balance up or 30,000 20-year olds in 2030. ...we do not need 30,000 20-yr olds now.
The real reason for the large influx, I believe, is to expand the workforce rapidly so that we can show very fast GDP growth - more input more growth. It panders to business demand for cheaper labor and benefits GLCs that are service providers as the aggregate demand expands due to population expansion. This generally works against the ordinary workers and in particular lower wage workers. Singapore has a very high rental to wage ratio due to high concentration of people+business. High rentals forces businesses to seek cheaper labor to stay competitive and it is a vicious cycle. Our labor chief Lim Swee Say tells workers to be cheaper but never says that rentals should go down to make Singapore more competitive. By growing the economy through workforce expansion rather than productivity growth, we are seeing very poor outcomes for ordianry Singapores - high cost of housing, overcrowded public transport, and stagnant wages. These are also the causes of low fertility among Singaporeans. The worse part is the govt turns around and blame all this problems on Singaporeans' themselves for having low fertility.
It is not Joan Sim'x fault that we need to import so many foreigners. It is not the fault of ordinary Singaporeans whom the PAP govt likes to blame. The truth is PAP's unbalanced policies, poor planning and pro-business attitude have put the interests of ordinary Singaporeans right at the bottom in its decision making....that is why so many Singaporeans are angry with the PAP.