The Singaporean Way Of Life: Money
Everything in Singapore has a price tag. Perhaps that is the inevitable consequence of adopting free market principles in all areas. Everything is determined to have a value - and so everything ends up with a price.
I have been here so long that I have half forgotten what used to be free in London, when I lived there: healthcare, education, Museums (when I was younger), were just the beginning of it. Many things seemed to be rights for all, and not something to be bought only if you could afford it. In Singapore, nothing is free, not even government services - and don't ever get sick (the hospital bill will make you sicker).
I have got used to it, however. I have also come to see the benefit of putting a price to everything: although everything has a price, one thing is much, much lower: central taxation. Government taxation on income starts at...wait for it...3.75 %. That is not a typo. Tax is THREE POINT SEVEN-FIVE %, at the base rate. This doesn't kick in until 20,000 dollars: below that, tax is zero. It works its way up as income rises, to reach a peak of 21%, for incomes in excess of 320,000 dollars. Then there is indirect taxation: presently a 5 % Goods and Services Tax, soon to rise to 7 %. All in all, however, it is a low tax burden - and many Singaporeans pay no income tax, at all, once thresholds and reliefs are taken into account.
The low tax regime even extends to the "afterlife". This, as a father of three, and a long-term thinker, I find attractive. I want to be able to leave my estate, whatever it might be, intact to my descendants. Anyone who is thinking clearly, and has dependants, would like to be able to do that. In Singapore, the Death Duties are rather different to that in the US (up to 55 %, there, I understand), and other developed nations like the UK (40 %). In Singapore, the first eight million dollars of property in an estate is ZERO-RATED. You pay no death duty at all. After that there is a five per cent duty to be paid. This means that Singaporeans and foreign residents can leave their estates largely intact to the following generations. This is a big draw to long-term thinkers who want to build something for their family - and might be one of the reasons that wealthy foreigners are drawn here.
Company taxes are low, too, at 20%. There are lower tax regimes - the so-called "tax havens", worldwide - but as developed countries go, Singapore's tax structure is quite friendly - with obvious benefits to the nation of inward investment.
So, in Singapore, everything has a price - but you just might have more of your money in your pocket to spend on things. It is not such a bad system, after all. Most people would prefer to have more of their money to spend, as they choose, than taxed away, and spent by others, without any power to decide how it is used. Here, at least, that choice applies, largely speaking.
This post is just an occasional glimpse at Singapore, that I will give, in addition to my usual genius/prodigy/gifted/education posts. Thanks.