Slower pace of life need not come with trade-off

I refer to the 13 Jul 2013 Straits Times report of what Mr Shanmugam said at an NUS forum [1].

Mr Shanmugam said that if Singaporeans want a slower pace of life, they must accept a trade-off in living standards. The following table shows many OECD countries with a slower pace of life and a higher standard of living supported by higher wages adjusted for purchasing power parity (consumption) [2]. These OECD countries demonstrate it’s possible to both enjoy a slower pace of life and a higher standard of living.

Country Average annual hours worked per worker (2000-2011) PPP (consumption) adjusted average annual wage 2000-2011 (2011 USD) PPP (consumption) adjusted average annual wage per hour worked 2000-2011 (2011 USD)
Luxembourg 1,619 $51,512 $32
Netherlands 1,398 $44,473 $32
Switzerland 1,644 $50,048 $30
United States 1,799 $52,212 $29
Norway 1,422 $40,340 $28
Belgium 1,563 $44,296 $28
Ireland 1,635 $45,910 $28
Germany 1,428 $39,388 $28
Denmark 1,572 $42,274 $27
United Kingdom 1,670 $43,529 $26
Australia 1,720 $43,822 $25
France 1,489 $36,225 $24
Austria 1,765 $42,062 $24
Canada 1,738 $40,558 $23
Sweden 1,613 $35,009 $22
Finland 1,708 $34,492 $20
Spain 1,694 $32,367 $19
Japan 1,775 $33,139 $19
Italy 1,813 $32,911 $18
Israel 1,948 $30,593 $16
Korea 2,337 $32,984 $14
Singapore 2,406 $32,361 $13
Greece 2,065 $27,741 $13
Portugal 1,768 $22,911 $13

Mr Shanmugam also said that Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and China succeeded post World War 2 because of good leadership and political stability. The following table shows that Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and China have widely varying scores for political stability and government effectiveness (proxy for good leadership) [3]. Political stability scores ranged from 72.2% for Singapore to 40.4% for China. Government effectiveness scores ranged from 92.8% for Singapore to 50.4% for China. The fact that all succeeded despite such wide ranging scores suggests something else other than good leadership and political stability had been more critical to their collective success and development.

Country/Territory Average political stability score (1996 – 2011) Average government effectiveness score (1996 – 2011)
SINGAPORE 72.2% 92.8%
HONG KONG SAR, CHINA 68.4% 82.2%
TAIWAN, CHINA 63.2% 70.2%
MACAO SAR, CHINA 63.4% 69.6%
KOREA, REP. 56.0% 69.0%
CHINA 40.4% 50.4%

[1] Straits Times, Slower pace of life comes with trade-off, says Shanmugam, 13 Jul 2013

[2]

• Only non-ex-communist OECD countries compared
• Annual wage of OECD countries in local currency obtained from OECD data
• Annual hours worked per worker for OECD countries obtained from OECD data
• Monthly wage of Singapore obtained from Singstats and International Labour Organisation, then multiplied by 12 to obtain annual wage
• Weekly hours worked for Singapore obtained from Ministry of Manpower data, then multiplied by 52 to obtain annual hours worked
• Purchasing power parity (consumption) adjustment factor obtained from World Bank for both OECD countries and Singapore

[3] The Worldwide Governance Indicators, 2012
Original scores range from -2.5 to 2.5 but converted to %

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One Response to “Slower pace of life need not come with trade-off”

  1. JG Says:

    Well-said!!
    There’s only one small problem – in so thoroughly and matter-of-factly refuting the Minister’s assertions, you are “undermining confidence in public institutions”. According to the MSM, this is a grave sin.

    When the emperor is not wearing clothes, you’re supposed to cheer, not tell it as it is.

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