Oct 16, 2012

Income inequality. Canadians are worried. What do Singaporeans say?

The Gini coefficient is a common method of telling whether we're all better off. A high Gini coefficient means the richer are much better off and the poor are much poorer.

A common interpretation is that a high Gini coefficient says that we are not all better off. Not just the poor. The rich are also not better off.
A basic income or a citizen-ownership income will go a long way to reduce the Gini coefficient for most countries.

According to the BBC, "A Gini-coefficient of 0.4 is generally regarded as the international warning level for dangerous levels of inequality."

Canada's Gini coefficient is only 0.3+, and the Canadians are worried.

Canadians can challenge income inequality: new Broadbent Institute paper October 2012
"The Environics poll conducted earlier this year shows that Canadians are ready to challenge income inequality: 77% believe that income inequality is a major problem for Canada, and a clear majority – including a majority of Conservative voters – are willing to protect our social programs, even if it means paying higher taxes. 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that reducing income inequality should be a priority for the federal government."

Ed Broadbent on ways to bridge Canada’s growing income gap, and why the [top] one per cent should care

"The evidence from countries all over the world shows that widening gaps in income threaten all of the things that make for a good community. In contrast, societies with greater income equality are generally less violent, healthier, have higher levels of voting, greater social mobility and more prosperity.

That’s the kind of Canada we want. And one that Canadians are willing to pay for. Let’s do it."

In an opinion piece,
Ed Broadbent wrote, "We should seriously debate the concept of a Guaranteed Basic Income that ensures a minimum level of economic security for all, just as we now do for seniors through the Guaranteed Income Supplement."

In comparison, Singapore has a much higher Gini coefficient. Singapore's Gini coefficient has been going up over the years, and has reached 0.473 in 2011. According to Lim Chong Yah, "A Gini coefficient of 0.5 is normally considered a danger to breach." According to the BBC report above, 0.4 is the danger level, and Singapore is already way above the danger level.

In contrast to Canadians, Singaporeans are not worried. Lee Hsien Loong says a higher Gini coefficient could be even better, "'Supposing the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, comes to live in Singapore. The Gini coefficient will get worse. But I think Singapore will be better off. Even for the lower-income Singaporeans, it will be better."

Canada already has a basic income for their elderlies.  In sharp contrast, Singapore elderlies have to eke out a living toiling for monthly wages way below Canada's basic income for their elderlies.

No comments:

Post a Comment