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28 February 2013 @ 04:00 am
a clueless citizen's income gap problem  

today, i learnt for the first time from cnbc's article on singapore's 2013/2014 budget that our income gap is "one of the largest among developed countries".

perhaps i'm one of those clueless and/or apathetic singaporeans some might consider to be far removed from the realities of day-to-day living in the city-state. perhaps.

i was shocked at the sentence i had just read. that can't be true -- the income inequality is so much more visible in many other developed countries i've been to like hong kong, germany, spain, to name just a few; that's gotta be a terrible mistake cnbc just made, what an unreliable news agency, i thought.

so, to prove the cnbc article wrong, i tried to do my own speedy google research to find evidence otherwise.

here's some of what i found:

1. a the heart truths feb 21 article titled singapore has the highest income inequality compared to the oecd countries ... ... may not be the most objective as the site sounds potentially slanted against most government stances; larger, wider sample size needed, i thought.

2. a yahoo! news feb 1 article titled how government could tackle singapore's income gap problem: panel says "singapore currently faces a severe income gap, with one of the world’s highest gini coefficients -- a figure of 0.45 when adjusted to include government transfers, and excluding the incomes earned by foreign workers here." ... ... this agency is one of the news sources i consider less reliable that most other mainstream media, so OUT! MORE PROOF NEEDED, i thought.

3. a singapore management university article from nov 20 last year titled income inequality: challenges in bridging the gap says "while the income gap in singapore is not as 'dire' as the situation in other developed countries, Halimah stressed that the government must take action to address the problem." ... ... AH HAH, i thought. but halimah (yacob) is a minister of state and therefore pro-gov, while likely so would smu! reliable or not??

4. and then i scrolled up the article a little bit to a link to cia's world factbook on the gini index ... ... no. 29 of 136 countries in order of greatest inequality, losing to south africa, thailand, hong kong, mexico, china, among others, but on top of the likes of malaysia, philippines, the us, cambodia, russia, japan, indian, nz, spain, germany, blah blah blah.


at this point, i had to get back to real work (the one for which i actually get paid). besides, i have neither the ability, time nor diligence to work out the various developed countries' gini coefficients myself, and the data for the calculations would be gleaned from sources i have no way of proving their objectivity and who's to convince me that the gini coefficient is the best way to go about measuring of income inequality anyway ... ... so, there... i was persuaded. easily persuaded. perhaps.

so singapore has a shittily large income gap. why did i feel that it was not as apparent, as visible as i have seen in the other countries i've visited?