UBS survey shows Singapore slipping in standard of living

Singapore ranks high when it comes to prices, both against cities worldwide and Asian cities, but we don’t score so well when it comes to wages. Purchasing power here is thus weak. Full essay.

6 Responses to “UBS survey shows Singapore slipping in standard of living”

  1. 1 Jason 29 September 2009 at 21:48

    Nice writeup.

    But before you conclude that Singapore is increasingly becoming more unequal, you may wish to look at how Singapore does in all these respects in the 2006 survey, and compare that with the 2009 survey. You’ve done it for the global ranking but it would be much more informative to do it for price levels and wage levels separately.

    My sense is that things have become more unequal, but people may be surprised how unequal things were. Singapore is well known as one of the few countries in the world where wages comprise less than half of national income, and has been so for many decades. Great place to earn profits, not so good to be a worker.

  2. 2 Jem 30 September 2009 at 10:08

    Does wages net of tax account for CPF? While some people can argue it’s not a tax (I disagree), it definitely affects take-home pay.

  3. 3 Anonymous 30 September 2009 at 10:45

    Thank you for your statistics.
    Without your statistics, I’ve already known that the middle-income,especially the lower middle-income, are not being helped by the Govt.

    I am considered a middle-class Singaporean because of the landed house I lived in. I had bought the house more than 20 years ago. But now my house and myself (financially) have seen better days.

    I’m not qualified to receive any Govt economic package(workfare,CPR lIfe etc) because of the house I lived in. This old house was valued at slightly more than the $11,00- to qualify for govt economic package.

    When my mother was in a community hospital, she did not receive any subsidy because my brother earns more than the required amount to claim subsidy, eventhough I earned less than $1,500 a month. The govt must expect that my brother shoulder the major burden of this bill. But do you think in reality this will work well? How would my brother’s family feel? His wife doesn’t work.They will have to think of old age too and save their money.So I paid my fair share, and my sisters (not working) have kindly helped to contribute my share of the bill as well.Means testing places the greatest burden on the one who earns the most if other siblings are not working or are earning pittance.

    It’s time to change this govt and get a new set of people who may come up with better solutions.

  4. 4 Jun Z.P 1 October 2009 at 12:08

    Very good, very good. It’s a pity you don’t stand for NMP and get paid for all these work done!!! Maybe I can write a book entitled the writings of Alex Au…

  5. 5 Singapore Democrats 1 October 2009 at 14:37

    Thank you for the insightful blogpost. The Singapore Democrats have featured your post in our blogs of the week section –

  6. 6 Dee 5 October 2009 at 02:33

    Thanks! You really laid out the facts I could sense but was unable to fully articulate. Some of my relatives, who’d been considerably more “well-off” than my family were forced to cut back drastically in their expenses due to medical issues, job layoffs, poor business and the recent financial crisis. Now, what did the government do to help them? Little to nothing, I’m afraid.

    I also have relatives who’re even worse off than my family and whose fortunes have worsened by the years. Again, what help?

    And now, with rising expenses and lowered incomes, things couldn’t be worse. A note: all of my older relatives are in their 40s to 80s and thus, feel very bitter because of their treatment by the government as they must have toiled really hard over the last decades. To be told to “suck it up” must have been a real slap in the faces.

    Surely, for all the money that’s being squeezed from everyone, the government could at least bother to give a little back to the eroding middle class. Bah, but why bother getting my hopes up when it’s never going to happen? Even though it’s not like we’re short of money in the reserves! We have over USD$100 billion sitting around, even a boost of USD$20 to USD$50 million would help.

    I guess all these signs explain why some have taken to purchasing many items online: for the pricing can be much lower even after factoring in shipping. This includes books, vitamins/health products, shoes, apparels, electronics(even at the cost of a warranty), etc. Bad for businesses here? It must really be.

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