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The Morose Class; Our National Pride

The film “Parasite” that debuted in Korea a few years back; depicted a world where a chasm divides the rich, who live in airy minimalist splendor, and the poor, who exist — to a degree that becomes increasingly macabre. I think “Parasite” is a cruel mirror of the current social problems. It shows the “path” that a lot of people follow, frustrated by the difficulties to go ahead with dignity in their own lives.

The reason so many people are reluctant to describe themselves as anything other than middle class because we’re trained to think of the poor as “those people.” *We* can’t possibly be poor, because *we* work and earn money (however little it is). Poor people don’t work; they spend all their time gaming the system. The thing is, it works the same way on the other end: we’re trained to think of the rich that way, too. *We* can’t possibly be rich, because *we* have to go to work to earn our money (however much it might be). Rich people don’t work; they laze around their private pools all day and have servants catering to their every whim.

As the so-called ‘middle class’ expands, a lot of us find ourselves adults in different classes than we were raised, and deeply uncomfortable with suddenly being one of what we’ve always thought of as “them.” We may even refuse to admit, even to ourselves, that we are.

Here’s a definition of class most social scientists can live with:

  • Upper Class= Rentiers, i.e. people who can choose to work, but don’t have to.
  • Middle Class= People who have to work, define themselves through their profession (I’m a doctor, a lawyer, a businessman etc.), and live comfortably and in relative economic security.
  • Working Class= Wage workers, who don’t necessarily define themselves through their profession, and don’t have the means and security of the middle-class.
  • Lower Class= Very low income workers, who weave in and out of poverty, and who are almost exclusively concerned with making ends meet.

The move toward inequality seems to be found in all societies, once the top people (Upper class, rentiers, etc), start exercising their power and acquiring more of it. For example, in Han Dynasty China (BCE 206 – 220 CE), the nobility and large landowners began acquiring tax exempt status for their estates. In other words, they increasingly shoved the costs of maintaining the state onto the shoulders of poorer people, especially independent small landowners. Tax revenues declined and the Han government found itself without sufficient funds to defend the empire from the Hsiung Nu (or Hun) nomads, whose devastation of northern China was apparently far worse during the third century CE than it was 1,000 years later, with the Mongol conquest. A similar thing happened in late Heian Japan, around the eleventh and twelfth centuries CE. Huge landholdings owned by Buddhist monasteries were not taxed. The historical lesson seems to be that elites, no matter what their culture, values or economic base, will become more powerful and exclusive over time – and society will pay for their increasingly “free ride.”

Middle class native-born Singaporeans are getting squeezed out of their own city (but there are no suburbs to go to) — HDB homes, selling between $500,000-$1,000,000), housing rents have apparently DOUBLED in the past year (you can apply for public housing but the waiting list is very long and you could wind up anywhere on the island), and they can’t compete with cheap imported labor for jobs. The foreign born population is 40-50% and increasing rapidly, explicitly due to government policy–higher population growth means higher GDP growth and that’s what the markets want. Many of the new entrants are South Asians or Mainland Chinese, who clash culturally with locals, and only speak mandarin (many native Singaporeans do not speak mandarin). Billionaires and foreign talents are welcomed in Singapore, even if the source of their funds/credentials is questionable. It’s true that Singaporean students have high grades, this is exactly what they achieved… high grades, but no education.

Our society has become based on unsustainable consumption, and become so obsessed with “social networks”, and being connected at all times that in reality we have become disconnected. Too many of today’s younger people – and I mean pretty much anyone under 50 – have no respect for and place little value on manual labor and traditional blue collar jobs, and have become so obsessed with “social networks”; being connected at all times that in reality we have become disconnected.

There’s no reason to believe that Singapore will be an exception. Immigration is our strength, not our weakness. Extractive policies (tax in particular, $80,000-$114,000 to buy a car), that favor existing wealth (established elites) over wealth creation (innovators and actual job creators) are the prime impediment to upward mobility. This kind of policy has plenty of historical precedent and is the primary cause for the decline of great civilizations. The book “Why Nations Fail” should be required reading for all voters and politicians.

The real sad state of our economy is measured more by how truly miserable life is in the bottom fourth and fifth, not by how easy it is to slip in and out of it. With more economic equality we would have more mobility because the steps between the bottom and other quintiles would be smaller. I realize that this is a chicken and egg question, but it seems much more reasonable that our poor mobility is an artifact of our economic inequality than vice versa. While we pretend that our political system has no part in the growing inequality, the upwardly mobile Singaporeans is becoming a statistical oddity. It may be a very pleasant house, anything but ‘home sweet home’.

 

Sjorne Shen

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

12 Responses to “The Morose Class; Our National Pride”

  • Harder Truths:

    It Seems the Covid “vaccine” Is a Population Reduction Policy as It Impairs Fertility

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/covid-jabs-impact-both-male-and-female-fertility_4619827.html?utm_source=Morningbrief&utm_campaign=mb-2022-07-26&utm_medium=email&est=%2B%2BaVTDI9A8KDphpHGfsDHO0lP1TCNSE8G9ARK3dDAnBBLe4vduU72A%3D%3D


    Doctors warn that there is credible evidence that the COVID shots cross-react with syncytin and reproductive genes in sperm, ova and placenta in ways that impair reproductive outcomes. ‘We could be sterilizing an entire generation.’

    The first COVID shots rolled out in December 2020, and it didn’t take long before doctors and scientists started warning of possible reproductive effects, as the jab may cross-react with syncytin and reproductive genes in sperm, ova and placenta in ways that might impair reproduction

    According to one recent investigation, 42% of women with regular menstrual cycles said they bled more heavily than usual after vaccination; 39% of those on gender-affirming hormone treatments reported breakthrough bleeding, as did 71% of women on long-acting contraceptives and 66% of postmenopausal women

    Other recent research has found the Pfizer COVID jab impairs semen concentration and motile count in men for about three months

    Miscarriages, fetal deaths and stillbirths have also risen after the rollout of the COVID shots. In November 2021, Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), delivered 13 stillborn babies in a 24-hour period, and all of the mothers had received the COVID jab

    Many countries are now reporting sudden declines in live birth rates, including Germany, the U.K., Taiwan, Hungary and Sweden. In the five countries with the highest COVID jab uptake, fertility has dropped by an average of 15.2%, whereas the five countries with the lowest COVID jab uptake have seen an average decline of just 4.66%

    Sonow that all male $inkies doing ‘National Disservice’ are jabbed, it might be a good idea for $inkie women to marry unvaxxed foreigners to have a chance at healthy children. Although I doubt how many unvaxxed FT will want to marry jabbed women for the opposite reason.

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  • Insightful:

    Insightful.
    More new poor now…

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    The 2 classes below are Casting PEARLS before Swines above

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  • xoxo:

    Seriously,the NATIONAL PRIDE of sgs has deteriorated so much,it has become the NATIONAL PLIGHT,can honest sgs deny?

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  • BK:

    Well said !!

    Just to add, and this pertains to low productivity across the board. And how it affects lower wage workers. US has since 1970s seen lower labor productivity, China hit its peak about 2006.

    1. If we categorize the ages into Industrial revolutions, we dont have a sine qua non invention such as electricity that drove the so called 2nd industrial revolution.

    “On the contrary, today’s technological innovations are potentially much less far-reaching – or so the argument goes. Moreover, Robert Gordon points to the overall declining trend of educational attainment – which is not only happening in the US – as an additional explanation for relatively weak productivity growth.”

    2. And secondly, it is about easy monetary policy. And this misallocated resources to real estate that makes no contribution to labor productivity. US had one big abyss in 2007/08 GFC that was due to plunging real estate. And it seems now, China is riped to be shakened by real estate as well.

    Now, innovation, invention and productivity are parts of tributaries to globalization. Inventions liked WWW have opened innovations for communications, apps etc …increased productivity by cutting costs, and allowing for multi- tasking.

    This globalization is about division of labor, lose monetary policy, relatively good relations between big powers.

    Now, all these have flipped. Anti-globalization, tightened monetary policy, and heightened tensions between big powers.

    The macro picture has totally changed. Lets see how, in a world less benign to international capital, will capital now focus more on domestic improvements, where its wealth is now tied more closely to workers health.

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  • TheElite:

    Basically a debt burden society even the rich with much lives with the burden of their excessiveness and even if they “give back” what they had taken so generously from society, it would only be a paltry of their consumption
    The burden to pursue and maintain prosperity grows heavier each generation till they collapse under its debt/demands.

    This is the result of the cumulation of man’s glory/vanity and wisdom.

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  • SS:

    Thanks. I agree with one thing you said that fits neatly within your time interval. Certainly, in terms of archetypal departures from past practices, the period 1880-1930 might seem truly momentous, and our era, imitative. After all they invented the telephone, we merely re-invented it as cellphones; they invented the electric light (incandescent bulb), we are merely re-inventing it as LEDs, they invented the movies, we are merely re-inventing it as HD-video.

    This kind of restless, unstoppable innovation is unique to capitalism and derives from very specific aspects of how capitalism structures labour and makes human beings relate to technology.

    The Gini coefficient shifted towards equality during the Great Depression. Since then it has been shifting towards inequality. Maybe the world economy will have to take a big hit in order to shift it back.

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  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    TheElite: The burden to pursue and maintain prosperity grows heavier each generation till they collapse under its debt/demands.

    So what do you propose we teach the next generation ?

    1. Don’t pursue prosperity and be a poor church mouse ?
    1a. Even Pastor Kong and Venerable Ming Yi are pursuing prosperity.

    1b. Why no MP vote to demand the Royal family to return the stolen Jewel back to India ?

    A. India Wants the Crown Jewel Back From the Queen of England
    https://bit.ly/3S84q7q

    1c. Why no Americunt demand that Biden administration return Afghan money ?

    B. The United States is stealing Afghanistan’s money
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/02/14/united-states-is-stealing-afghanistans-money/

    2. Abandon prosperity and pursue the truth like this good professor Dennis Peng?

    He was persecuted for telling the truth: President degree is fake.
    因論文門迫害人權…蔡英文紅了!
    https://bit.ly/3oJPYEQ

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  • 1.5 phd:

    This Taiwan show is ridiculous. So long term and so much effort over a non-issue. There has to be an ulterior motive behind this show.

    Are these people, perhaps in cahoots with english veg, trying to distract Taiwanese from other issues?

    Or are they really trying to drum up public attention on eng veg? Bad publicity (with zero bad consequence) is really good publicity for her. May even get some sympathy votes.

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  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    1.5 phd:
    This Taiwan show is ridiculous. So long term and so much effort over a non-issue. There has to be an ulterior motive behind this show.

    Are these people, perhaps in cahoots with english veg, trying to distract Taiwanese from other issues?

    Or are they really trying to drum up public attention on eng veg? Bad publicity (with zero bad consequence) is really good publicity for her. May even get some sympathy votes.

    First we got Chinacunt Communist Cheating Party IB 50 cents, next we have
    YOU, ROC Taiwan Demoncratic Progressive Party Internet brigade 1450.

    Don’t try to play down this show which tell the truth: Your president is naked.. that’s right. She has not degree and there is no such thing as 1.5 degree… hahahahahahaha hilarious…

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  • 1.5 phd:

    If you are serious, you are gullible. Totally gullible.
    If you are not, that’s your usual comments here.

    Singaporean R Free Rider: First we got Chinacunt Communist Cheating Party IB 50 cents, next we have
    YOU, ROC Taiwan Demoncratic Progressive Party Internet brigade 1450.

    Don’t try to play down this show which tell the truth: Your president is naked.. that’s right. She has not degree and there is no such thing as 1.5 degree… hahahahahahaha hilarious…

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    1.5 phd:
    If you are serious, you are gullible. Totally gullible.
    If you are not, that’s your usual comments here.

    Hahahahaha…gullible?

    From the way you wrote, you are from the ROC Taiwan security force ?

    How is your chief security 陳明通 who is also embroiled in fake degree scandal?

    蔡英文陳明通論文門犯眾怒
    https://bit.ly/3vrIXws

    https://richardsonreports.wordpress.com/

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