Monday, July 20, 2015
The rich are always with us -But we don’t like them that much
MEASURED BY ITS Gini coefficient, Singapore is among the world’s most unequal countries. The comparison is unfair: Singapore is also a city, and Hong Kong, New York and London all have higher Gini coefficients than it does. But Singapore measures its coefficient rather differently, excluding shorter-term foreign workers and non-working families. And, understandably, it includes employers’ CPF contributions as income. Since these are capped for higher-paid workers, that narrows the income gap.
Egalitarians are troubled by Singapore’s reliance on several hundred thousand low-paid foreigners. They are ubiquitous on building sites. Many live in crowded dormitories or worse. The frustrations some suffer were exposed by a riot in December 2013 after an Indian construction worker, on his Sunday off, was run over and killed by a bus. But such events are highly unusual.