13 Jun 2005

Winner [continues to] Take all in Singapore

Singapore's millionaires increase
at fastest pace in world

June 10, 2005

THE number of millionaires in Singapore rose at the fastest pace in the world in 2004, according to a report by Cap Gemini & Merrill Lynch & Co.
Singapore millionaires rose 22.4 percent to 48,500, the report said. In the US the number increased 10 percent to 2.5 million and in Hong Kong they rose by 18.8 percent to 67,500. Asia had 2.3 million millionaires last year, up 8.2 percent, the research showed.

Link to Singapore Windows.

Winner [continues to] Takes all in Singapore

The issue is one that is not merely located in Singapore and was recently discussed by a BBC show called Panorama, which airs on the BBC World in Singapore. However you can get links to it at the following site.

I have also provided a link to statistics published in June 2002, which shows that the gap between rich and poor is increasing as Singapore rapidly becomes a "Winner Takes All Society". The gap has continued to widen after the economic crisis.

published article below is from sg-review.
10 Nov 2004
Leong Sze Hian

Rich-poor divide is widening

I REFER to the report, "Poor getting poorer in Hong Kong" (Streats, Nov 4), and former permanent secretary Ngiam Tong Dow's recent remarks in the media about the greatest danger being elitism and complacency.

Lawmakers are said to be urging the Government to do more to close a widening wealth gap.

Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and poor in Singapore seems to be widening.

The number of people in Singapore considered affluent has jumped by a quarter from five years ago, despite recession and job losses, according to a study by London-based business intelligence and consultancy firm Datamonitor.

According to the latest Ministry of Manpower labour market report, the percentage of workers still looking for a job six months after being laid off was 66.7 per cent for those with secondary education and below, and only 10 per cent for those with post-secondary education.

According to a study by Mr Mukhopadhaya Pundarik at the National University of Singapore, income inequality increased in Singapore during the Asian economic crisis.

The average household income of the bottom decile decreased by 48.4 per cent, while the overall decrease was only 2.7 per cent.

The unemployment rate for this bottom 10 per cent increased from 28.2 per cent in 1998 to 44 per cent in 1999 - an increase of about 56 per cent compared to 42 per cent for the total labour force.

The latest inflation data for Singapore shows that the rise in consumer prices for the lowest 20 per cent income group was more than seven times that of the top 20 per cent income group.

Regarding tax incentives, I understand that more than a third of the working population does not earn enough to pay income tax. A tax policy that progressively gives more rewards to the richest and hits the poorest may lead to even greater income inequality.

Eighty-three countries are ranked above Singapore in the United Nations Human Development Index Report's Income Inequality measure.

According to the Singapore Census of Population 2000, the ratio of average income for the top 20 per cent to the lowest 20 per cent increased from 11.4 in 1990 to 20.9 in 2000.

Perhaps we need to give more emphasis to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.

- Leong Sze Hian

Super Tax for Super Rich?
Those of you who dis-like criticism without a solution can now argue against the following possible solution.

Before you read I have decided to prempt a few possible counter arguments.

Calling for a demand to super tax the super rich, 'Envy', seems to be built on a very individualistic, rational choice argument. That human beings are only motivated by instrumental rationality, or greed and self-promotion. A society that refuses to acknowledge action based on 'social' values seems to encourage the interpretation of human action by rational choice motivation. Claiming that we are all motivated by 'greed' seems to de-humanise, or remove our other emotional motivations and render them ineffectual.

The other counter argument is that the wealth will trickle down from the top. An arguement that Margaret Thatcher used in the 1980's. The 1980's, a decade of giving, loving and caring for our fellow human beings.

The bigger issue is how do you get those with the super wealth to agree to a super tax? After all they have a very strong influence on the political situation and in Singapore's case, the politicians are the super rich. [Oops!]

The entire post is available here.

Related Articles:
Winner Takes all in Singapore
Super Tax for Super Rich?
Singapore elderly told to toil longer for less

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fastest growth in number of millionaires? ...We are also talking about the fastest growth in the number of people who drop below the poverty line. The PAP garmen slashed taxes for the rich and increase GST to 5%. This help the rich to get richer.

There are more beggers today than in 1985. Singapore is getting worse by the day.