Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cost of Living vs Standard of Living

A million-dollar solution from Mr Lim Hng Kiang, our Trade and Industry Minister who is on a million-dollar salary:

“First, the CPI measures average changes in prices across all households. Whether there is an increase in the cost of living for a particular household depends on that household’s spending patterns. Switching to cheaper products can reduce the cost of living despite a rise in the CPI.

I agree with him on the first part that the extent of the increase in the cost of living for a particular household does depend on that household’s spending patterns. There are indeed families or individuals who are spending beyond their means on material items. The increased cost of living would likely hurt their pockets more than ever.

However, the widespread inflation causing an erosion of purchasing power of Singaporeans as a result of the spiraling cost of living affects all people especially the lower-income people in Singapore. Although switching to cheaper products does help to reduce the cost of living, it also reduces the standard of living. How do you expect the lower middle-class and lower-incomed earners who are already on a not-so-high standard of living to lower their standards further?

As our fellow blogger Mr Wang has pointed out, the minister does not seem to understand the difference between the cost of living and the standard of living. In my opinion, he seemed very concerned with the monetary aspect of this whole issue and that keyword in his mind is cost so he does not seem to worry too much about our quality of living in Singapore.

The minister’s statement makes me feel so disillusioned. We have worked hard hoping for a better standard of living but now the government tells us to switch to cheaper alternatives? The 2% GST hike this year, which was uncalled for, has already affected us to some extent. I really do not see the point of sacrificing our living standards further. And is he again going to suggest lowering our standard of living further during the impending economic crisis which might happen in a year or two and a more or less confirmed GST hike after the 2010/2011 elections?

If that were to happen, there are probably many who might have to heed his advice and own smaller flats, buy more house brands thus sacrificing taste for price, do without maids or perhaps eat one less meal per day.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the problems of overpaying our Minister.

They have lost touch with the common peasants basic needs because they don't feel the pain when cost of living shoot up.

James Chia said...

Mr Lim only contested in 1 out of the past 4 elections which they won with 70% vote in West Coast GRC. Now you know why.

Anonymous said...

He should resign for his incompetence. Not even knowing the difference between cost of living and standard of living- sheeesh.
Another Wayang Speech to hook wink the 66.6%. How long more?

bitkit said...

It should be the awakening time for the politicians to draw lessons from the Malaysia GE!!!! Many SIngaporeans are now looking forward to the next Singapore GE..... where voices don't have to be heard, voices will turn into people power to reflect reality.