Population and economy can be separated

I refer to the 8 Mar 2013 Straits Times report of Mr Edwin Tong’s parliament speech [1].

Mr Tong insisted that population strategies must be related to the economy. Implicit in Mr Tong’s thinking is a population driven economic strategy. But many First World nations / territories sustain strong economies without a population driven strategy. Hong Kong for example outgrew us economically between 2007 and 2011 with a much smaller population growth [2].

Country Name per capita GDP growth 2007-2011 (2005 PPP USD) Population growth 2007-2011
Singapore 7.9% 13.0%
Hong Kong SAR, China 9.1% 2.2%

Mr Tong also took issue with Worker Party MP Lee Li Lian’s suggestion for more affordable foreign domestic workers because it will increase the number of foreign workers which didn’t square with Worker Party’s proposal for zero foreign labour growth. Mr Tong should understand that foreign domestic workers live in their respective employers’ homes and so contribute neither to housing demand nor to train and bus crowdedness, the two biggest bug bears of rapid population growth. Her suggestion was thus neither divorced from the larger picture nor a merely politically expedient one.

[1] Straits Times, Population, economy cannot be separated, 8 Mar 2013

[2] Data from World Bank


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