In 2016, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employed 65 per cent of the workforce and contributed 48 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP). Last year, SMEs employed 72 per cent of the workforce and contributed 44 per cent of GDP.
This is a telling sign of productivity decline.
Based on Gallup chief Jim Clifton's book The Coming Jobs War, this could indicate a systemic failure that allows "actively disengaging" work behaviour.
The pandemic's role in the sweep of retrenchment and hiring freezes could be mistaken for a cause instead of a trigger. This phenomenon would change the entire discourse of the economy in the Covid-19 climate.
The pandemic could serve as an opportunity for the country to re-evaluate its policies, and propel the nation in a smarter, more sustainable fashion.
An alternative to the boundless GDP growth economy would be a doughnut economic model which calls for transforming our capitalist worldview obsessed with growth into a more balanced, sustainable perspective that allows both humans and our planet to thrive.
This philosophy aims to design regenerative and redistributive frameworks across all sectors by utilising resources in fair and responsible ways.
Singapore will need to produce initiatives that champion these sentiments to ensure long-term survival.
Shoki Koh Dai Yuan