Socio Economic Inequality In Singapore Essay

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Socio-economic inequality is an issue in Singapore. In 2015, the Gini coefficient, a statistic that tracks the distribution of income within a country where 1 represents complete inequality and 0 represents complete equality, ranked Singapore as one of the most unequal countries among first-world countries at 0.412, after taxes and transfers. To compare, the United States and United Kingdom were at 0.345, Australia at 0.336 and Germany at 0.295, after taxes and transfers (Ong, 2015). An uneven distribution of wealth also highlights the severity of socio-economic inequality. A global wealth report released by Credit Suisse in October 2015 stated that Singapore’s mean wealth per adult (aged 20 and above) was $367,944. However, the median wealth per adult was $114,924. This gap…show more content…
Meritocracy is the principle where a person’s ability and effort is the most important determinant for his or her socio-economic advancement, and is independent of one’s family background or other ascribed statuses. However, the socio-economic inequality in Singapore now sits extremely uneasily with meritocracy, because it emphasises one’s family background and other ascribed factors over one’s talents and abilities. For instance, in 2011, more than half of all students in top schools such as Raffles Institution had fathers with university degrees, yet amongst the four neighbourhood secondary schools surveyed, the highest percentage was only 13.1 percent at Chai Chee Secondary. (Ng, 2011) This data hints that admission to a better school hinges quite significantly on one’s parent’s qualifications, and not entirely on a student’s abilities. As a person’s education is a significant factor in determining one’s economic status, it can be seen that one’s family background is also an important factor in determining one’s future economic status, hence showing that meritocracy is no longer a principle that is strictly

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