Jurong West Street, Singapore - February 11, 2017: A team of construction workers use angle grinders to remove the old paint of guard rails and polish them along the traffic road divider (From Shutterstock.com)

Deep systemic problem on labour and industry

by Tay Kheng Soon

One cannot understand ground sentiments without understanding how problems are the result of its systemic origins. The 'problem' here is that Singapore economy is based entirely on big corporations' interests and needs.

The ideology of the state is to give priority to the corporate sector which includes its own government-linked companies. SMEs and PMETs are not important in this system. They are therefore left to struggle with meagre support from the state.

Globalists game the system to force states to bend to their will. Ours are very willing because of belief that there is no choice. Trans-Pacific  Partnership (TPP) is an example but that is for a different discussion. To succeed corporate enterprises need high but cheap productivity and compliant workers and a supportive state that controls the unions.

Productivity is through cheaper foreign labour and through mechanization. But there are cost constraints. Machines need lots of money so until cheap labour is restricted by supply or by local protest it will be the main means for productivity. Only a robust regional economy can offer alternatives for SMEs and for larger local enterprises.

Meanwhile, that's how wages are kept low and minds kept petty and it ripples outwards into the local labour market hence disquiet among local workers and small-mindedness among the educated. Foreign investment plus neo-colonial mentality among our managers and leaders, therefore, prefer Foreign PMETs. So local PMETs suffer.

So is it systemic is it not? Sympathy for the ground needs deeper understanding and deeper solutions. It's a deep systemic problem.

This was first published as a Facebook post and reproduced with permission