Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Becoming a high income nation…..

I suppose every nation can become a high-income nation if a high per capita income and a high salary for workers are all that it takes to be considered as one.symbol of the rich

But certainly it takes more than that. A high per capita only represents a high average if all the gross income of the nation is divided equally among all the  people. But the income pf the nation is never divided equally. Often 90% of the income is shared by 10% of the population - the rich and wealthy- and only 10% is enjoyed by 90% of the population.- the poor and impoverished. In such a situation a very high gross national income does not mean that the country is already developed. Increased productivity can only happen in the modern sector of the economy while the low productivity sector - the poor and traditional sector of the economy, remains impoverished..

High average income among the people also does not mean that all workers are enjoying a good income. Top management executives  in the private sector and the public service  maybe earning a very high income but the common worker earns hardly enough to make ends meet. Even setting a high minimum wage and upgrading all pay scales in the public sector, almost  equivalent to that which prevail in the highly industrialised and modern business sector, does not mean much if the cost of living
keeps rising like the tidal waves.
home of the poor

It is the level of living attained by the bottom 10, 20, 30, or 40 % of the low-icome earners which must be used as a measure of development. The less productive and poor segment of the population usually forms the  main bulk of the population of the developing or less developed countries.
The poor majority gives the country its name and identity - the average citizens of the country. They are the people that you see in the less developed areas of the cities, in the thousands of villages and the underdeveloped rural areas - the inhabitants of the slump and neglected parts of the country. If these people remain poor because of low productivity, low income, and economically unsupportive living environment, the country as a whole remains as an under developed or developing country although you might have many city centres as rich as New York, London, Tokyo etc.
don't discount us

Malaysia is certainly moving forward in terms of gross national productivity and gross national income. But many factors are keeping the standard of living for the average income earner dejectedly low as compared to that enjoyed by the rich Malaysians. Rising cost of essential goods for decent living, huge leakages in disposable income as a result of "kleptocracy" within the government as alleged by the world, and a  fiscal policy that imposes higher charges, taxes and rents, reduces subsidies to help the poor, and distribute development funds and monetary gifts to gain political support, has eaten away into the increased wealth and assets. The fall in the market price of major export commodities such as oil, rubber, oil palm etc has further aggravated the economic wellbeing of the nation.

Current talks on the possibility of a rise in toll charges, charges for electricity and water, another jump for the GST from 6 to 8%, more borrowing from various Funds such as the EPF by the government to supplement its financial needs, make the people - the average wage earner- more jittery. There seem to be little or no control at all on the increase in the price of foodstuff, housing and public services formerly provided by government but now by the private sector. The tender and bidding system for securing development projects in the government seem to have been manipulated to allow for a wide margin of profits to be shared by certain parties. Is this being investigated into so that the development costs of projects can be more realistic and "grease-free"?

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