In the context of an ageing population, a corresponding manpower crunch, and low rates of productivity growth, the adoption of innovative business models and technology in the food-services industry – such as ready-to-eat meals, digital services in the kitchen, skills and career upgrading of workers, and cashless ordering and payment systems (ST, Sept. 9) – makes economic sense. As it stands, furthermore, low remuneration and few benefits mean locals shun jobs within the sector, and yet the engagement of migrant workers comes with socio-political implications. Continue reading
Both Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon – in the final months of their stints as President of the United States and Secretary-General of the United Nations – highlighted the many problems the world still faces, even as they urged the world to come together. Through their General Assembly speeches, President Obama extolled the benefits of globalisation, but acknowledged that “A world in which one per cent of humanity controls as much wealth as the other 99 per cent will never be stable”. Secretary-General Ban pulled no punches, and in fact singled out world leaders who were “rewriting constitutions, manipulating elections, and taking other desperate steps to cling to power”, though he did not name the regional or global partners who have exacerbated conflicts.
The same problems continue to plague the world: the end of a seven-day truce in Syria, fatal shootings of black men by white police officers in the United States, and the corruption scandal in Brazil. In China, the botched repair across a section of the Great Wall – which wiped out gnarled features such as the crenelations and towers – has left Chinese preservationists and Internet users incensed. Continue reading
A review of Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson’s “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty”. Continue reading
That 80 per cent of those who invested their monies through the Central Provident Fund Investment Scheme (CPFIS) “would have been better off leaving their monies in the Ordinary Accounts” (TODAY, Sept. 14), and that 45 per cent of them actually lost money should not come as a surprise, if these empirical findings are evaluated in the context of financial literacy rates in Singapore. Notwithstanding the limitations in its methodology – as to whether the sample might be representative of demographics – a survey conducted by Mastercard earlier this year found that even though the 422 respondents scored well in investment knowledge, retirement planning was the lowest-scoring component. Continue reading