Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Most Expensive City

Singapore is the most expensive city in the world in 2014, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The EIU says that its report is meant as a tool for relocation by expats - which means that they look at a standard basket of goods and services are required by an expat family, based upon a lifestyle that is supposed to be typical of New York. So far, so good. There is nothing much to argue about here.Same basket of goods and services - prices in one currency across all major cities. On this basis, the conclusion is that Singapore is the most expensive for an expat family looking at relocation, followed by Paris, Oslo, Zurich, Sydney, Tokyo.

From my economist's perspective, the real wage of an ordinary working person is one shelter, one means of transport, some food, and some form of entertainment. And probably an environment for raising a family. I think this set of real goods and services is almost the same everywhere - except for those who are unemployed, unmarried, handicapped, disadvantaged.

The only major difference is the type, for housing - a flat or a (terrace) house, for transport - a car or public transport, for food - a sandwich or a plate of rice, etc. Every country is different and it is very difficult to say which one is better or not. (The EIU has an easy job because it defines one standard and applies it across the board.)

Much of how we live and enjoy our lives is a product of shared experiences and community support. To have gone through especially tough times together may be an excellent common ground for bonding, even if we probably did not enjoy the toughness at the time. This is why the world is filled with stories and stories about how human beings survived life on earth, and it is these stories that keep us all going even as we struggle in our daily lives right way in our own little ways.

The freedom to express our views and let our views be heard is one of the basic joys that human beings can have. Most of the time, we do not know the truth and hence we engage in gossips and rumours and hearsay. For those who wants a bit of certainty to calm their sanity, they try to indulge in facts - whatever those may be.

Home is a unique place in our own heart, and wherever we may live, we should be able to feel at ease with ourselves. But when we really do not need to dislocate ourselves in search of that pot of gold, we all will inevitably want to return home and die and be buried in our birthplace. This should be the inalienable right of any person who is born anywhere. This is closure.

So, it doesn't matter whether our hometown is the most expensive city in the world or not, or whichever ranking it happens to be in. Our hometown is always priceless. It is only for those mercenaries who have to go out and fight for their livelihood that they want to make sure that they are not being shortchanged for their pains. The peoples of the world in their own homes have all lived in their own ways. And often happily. This is a fact.

1 comment:

Sage Harman said...

Hi. I was wondering if you feature guest postings. Do you have an email address I can contact you on? Thanks and have a great day!