Inequality

A view of inequality through the lenses of Singapore.

What I took away most from this read was the the hidden presence of inequality all around us. Despite the majority of us being suddenly propelled into a relatively massively wealthy state compared to our fore-fathers, not all of us has benefited from this income-class migration.

It also highlights the softer, but definitely not less important aspect of the lower-income, which is the challenges they face in maintaining dignity both to the world, and closer to home, their family and children. One of conundrums they have when bringing up children, is the Do-As-I-Say-But-Not-As-I-Do trap. To try to teach a child not to be like them can be contradictory thing.

A common misconception is poor choices lead them to this state, and while that might be true in some cases, a majority of which are poor systems them keep there. The challenges to get aid, the affront to dignity when they have to “prove that they are poor enough” to receive aid. The ever damning statement of “why don’t you just find a job”, when things are not as straightforward as it seems. While the government is doing a lot, and no doubt has aid some of the lower-income family, the blanket policies do not adequately benefit everyone, which is an unfortunate nature of its very being.

And I think a lot of it comes down to being lucky, which is not something most of us properly acknowledge. Just being in the right sector that is appreciated globally at this point of time in this world can set you up for success, or even generational success with the amount of disproportionate wealth funneled there. As we shift from manual labor, to the service industry, to the knowledge industry (and now even within the knowledge industry, its becoming more fragmented to basic knowledge vs hyper-specialized knowledge like AI/ML), there will inevitably be people who would be left behind. And I believe, it is the duty of those who benefited from this asymmetric appreciation, to extend a helping hand to those who have not, not just financially, but also more humane things like acknowledgement and dignity.

The more money you have, the more money you can make, and wealth generates wealth. This obviously drives the income inequality gap wider and wider, further fueled by globalization of wealthy people settling here. Although I’m no expert in economics, what I would think is right is the implementation of UBI, and a progressive tax rate that is even more tailor-made for those towards the extremities (the 1%).

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