The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability". Worldwide, Gini coefficients for income range from approximately 0.23 (Sweden) to 0.70 (Namibia) although not every country has been assessed.
Meanwhile the holdouts against a minimum wage salvation are still preaching the skill upgrade gospel. MP Liang Eng Hwa repeats the official mantra, "Rather than cash handouts, training and increasing their productivity may help them break out of the low wage cycle."
The cleaners at a friend's condominium are issued with a plastic bucket and a mop to wash the common corridors and lift lobbies. At their advanced age, each is already worried that the onset of rheumatism could threaten their means of livelihood. Maybe Mr Liang can advise what skill upgrade program is available for such employees to improve their lot? Surely the management committee of the building complex is not about to invest in robotic cleaning devices and train them to operate the new gizmos? Don't laugh, PM Lee actually lauded Lim Swee Say for a similar recommendation for mechanical road cleaners. The hard truth is that there are many physically and mentally disadvantaged who, through no fault of their own, have fallen into the cracks of a cold hearted society hell bent on economic advancement. Since there is no welfare income to speak off, these unemployed derelicts don't even make it into the computation database of the Gini coefficient.
MM Lee once told NUS undergrads at a forum to ignore the UNDP readings, "Never mind your Gini coefficient. If you don't have a job you get zero against those with jobs." A social class divide appearing in Singapore, he claimed, was unavoidable in a maturing society. Citing the example of China, he said the country started as a classless society but has gradually evolved to favour those who have the right connections. But does that mean Singapore is marching in the right direction?