Friday, February 15, 2019

Why Workfare works better for Singapore than a minimum wage


13 FEBRUARY, 2019

In recent months, there has been some discussion on whether Singapore should have a minimum wage and whether that would be better than the current Progressive Wage Model and the Workfare scheme.

Here, we will explain why Workfare is still a better scheme than a minimum wage.

As pure market forces will determine the prices of private goods and services as well as wages, government intervention in the labour market to set a minimum wage is usually deemed necessary only when there is some market failure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

If we leave it to our kids to fix the planet, it may be too late

By Kim Stengert

06 February, 2019

The other day, sipping on my strawless kopi-o peng at Orchard Road I witnessed an army of National Environment Agency volunteers in white polo shirts walking down the street, checking for errant smokers outside of smoking areas marked by orange lines.

It is clear that when it comes to public health, the laws here are strict, and for good reason.

Globally, seven million deaths a year are linked to tobacco, and 1.6 millionto diabetes.

Now let me share another set of numbers: 6.1 million deaths are linked to air pollution and nearly 30 million people were affected by extreme weather events last year.

Environment-related threats impact us in a way that is as real and tangible as drugs and chemicals. Natural disasters like extreme weather events have escalated at an unnatural pace. New Zealand just named climate change as its “greatest security threat”.

But despite the imminent threat that environmental problems pose to humans, accountability for these problems has been murky and actions, downright passive.

China’s pigs are vanishing as consumers go the whole hog for leaner pork

Pigs are seen at a backyard farm on the outskirts of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China on September 5, 2018. Reuters file photo

06 February, 2019

HONG KONG — The Year of the Pig may be at hand, but in China the animals themselves — central to Chinese cuisine for thousands of years — are disappearing.

Across the country hog breeds are vanishing rapidly, taking with them some of China’s signature dishes and, more worryingly, exposing the remaining swine to increased risk of disease, agricultural specialists said.

As the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork, China has been domesticating pigs for 8,000 years.

But indigenous Chinese pig species dropped from 90 per cent of the market in 1994 to less than 2 per cent in 2007, the last year the Ministry of Agriculture made such figures available to the public.

Breeds like Jinhua and Chenghua, which used to be associated with specific regional dishes, have been depleted because of changing market demands and diets that have allowed Western breeds to increasingly take over the Chinese market.