These three essays received the most number of votes for May 20's Thought Leadership Question (after a public voting period that ended at midnight, May 29): "How can Singapore ensure sustained growth given the depressed economic environment in the United States and Europe?"
It is fundamental that Singapore invests in various up-and-coming nations like China and South Africa. Singapore has pumped funds into China's Tianjin Eco-City project to grow the Republic's external economy and promote the overseas growth of Singapore-based companies.
The concept of placing Singapore's eggs in various baskets protects her by defraying the adverse effects of economic shocks around the world on Singapore's economy and output while generating revenue from regions that are prospering.
Adapting Singapore's economy into a knowledge-based one capitalises on her strengths of having a core educated population. A research-based industry enables Singapore to benefit from the "intellectual" trade, by offering solutions to problems present across the globe, that contributes to her income at a time when the United States and Europe, which are research-intensive economies, are cutting funding to these industries.
Ajey T. M. Premanath, 17, JC1, National Junior College, 149 votes
Focus on backbone of our growth
As much as our economy is dependent on the euro zone and the US, we must leverage on the fact that our internally oriented sectors have had accelerated growth in the past year. Sectors like manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail, finance and insurance/business are such examples of what formed the backbone of our growth last year.
We should make sure that existing resources are not diverted away from them so that growth in these sectors is maintained and this would tide us well over the depressed economic environment in the US and Europe.
Furthermore, Singapore should create more job opportunities to welcome the influx of highly skilled Europeans who are capable of furthering the growth of our economy.
This is the determining factor as it regulates how much the depressed backdrop would affect our economy. However, this should be done such that locals do not experience even tougher competition for employment.
Darren Fong Guo Ren, 17, JC1, Anderson Junior College, 119 votes
Adopt multiple strategies
To sustain economic growth, Singapore should adopt three strategies: namely, exploring new markets, attracting foreign investment and making breakthroughs in innovation.
First, Singapore should explore new markets so that it is less hit by the depressed economic environment in the United States and Europe. Instead of catering to the Western consumers, Singapore can target rising markets such as India and Brazil where the economy is growing rapidly and demand for higher-end goods such as electronics is increasing.
Second, being a country without its own natural resources, Singapore should stay competitive and relevant so as to attract foreign investment. Singapore should create a more conducive environment for both multinational companies and local small and medium-sized enterprises to conduct businesses by providing a relatively low tax rate and financial assistance.
Third, Singapore should also strive to innovate and break new ground. It needs to come up with its own unique and innovative products which can generate more economic growth.