Foreign investment, industrial restructuring and dependent development in Singapore
Journal of Contemporary Asia
Singapore's industrial development and restructuring are very much dependent on foreign investment. Despite the apparent benefits of foreign investment and Singapore's success in export-oriented manufacturing, there are worrisome aspects arising from the large and growing dependency on such investment in the manufacturing sector as Singapore moves toward a developed country status. This article explores some of the consequences of such dependency. In terms of industrial pattern, foreign investment has created and maintained a dualistic industrial structure in manufacturing. Foreign firms and government industrial policies have suppressed and marginalized local entrepreneurship. Export-oriented industrialization has opened the employment doors for women in manufacturing. However, women are predominantly found in low pay, dead end jobs in the assembly line of Singapore's new industrial order. With the implementation of a new wave of industrial restructuring strategies, new capital and technological intensive foreign investments are welcomed and solicited. However, the local labour supply is unable to meet the increased demands. Foreign labour has been called in to fill the gaps. This inevitably distorts labour market outcomes and heightens the income inequality index.
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