Apr 23, 2014

The four myths of inequality in Singapore – the kent ridge common

The four myths of inequality in Singapore – the kent ridge common:

This is an interesting chapter from this book: 
Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus
by Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, Donald Low, Linda Lim, Ping Tjin Thum
  • Myth #1: Inequality is a necessary counterpart of economic dynamism and competitiveness
  • Myth #2: The best way to help the poor is to help the rich
  • Myth#3: Inequality is not really a problem as long as there isn’t extreme poverty and incomes are rising across-the-board
  • Myth #4: Since pay is tied to ability, rising inequality is simply the result of increasing differences in people’s ability
The book chapter, at the above link, gives good evidence against these.

Singapore has so many myths. A popular myth is that Singapore has no natural resources. On the contrary, Singapore is extremely rich in natural resources. The myth about lack of natural resources complements the myths about inequality.

The inequality myths show up in statements and policies about inequality and the poor:
1. It is always that way. It can't be helped.
2. Focus on the rich. Some crumbs should drop to the poor.
3. Singapore is the best place in the world for the poor.
4. The poor deserve it.
And the resource myth supports the lack of action by the government:
5. The government has no money. 

If citizens learn that these are really just myths, they will find a very enriching reality. For example, there is enough investment return from common wealth to distribute a citizen dividend of thousands of dollars a year to every citizen.

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