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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Reducing inequality in Singapore: A level playing field is no walk in the park

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Things to note:
-opening BANG using an interesting anecdote/eg to lead into topic

-There are unseen walls in communities, like the one between the children and the playground - and when the neighbours reacted the way they did, they ended up "building the walls even higher"

-Solutions to tackle inequality:
It called for the opening up of more progressive pathways, the raising of pre-school quality, additional support in housing, skills upgrades and employment, as well as special attention to the elderly..."Most importantly, we need to build a strong culture where the better-off devote time, talent and resources to help the less fortunate."
-Certain schools have become "more closed communities" compared to the past, he said.
-Singapore's Gini coefficient has fallen from a peak of 0.482 in 2007 to 0.458 in 2016. Taking into account taxes and transfers, it improved from 0.439 to 0.401.
-Left unchecked, inequality has serious consequences for society. PM Lee's February reply said: "Our politics will turn vicious, our society will fracture and our nation will wither." Before that arrives, however, inequality is likely to make itself felt through poor social mobility and poor integration, say analysts. The three feed off one another.
-"Parents have the means and the motive to pass on their advantages to their offspring. Unequal distribution of assets implies unequal opportunities, which then means that the offspring of the rich stay rich, and the offspring of the poor stay poor," she says, noting the money rich families spend on books, extracurricular activities, tuition and computers.
-Inequality harms integration, too. As incomes diverge, people buy groceries at different shops, eat at different restaurants and go to different social activities.
-When people aren't mixing, they don't get to know one another. Hence, "the rich have decreasing understanding and empathy for the poor, and they increasingly blame the poor for their plight"
Qn: In your society, how far is equality for all a reality? (Cam. 2012)