These are just plain opinions; they can be rejected, refuted, argued against or accepted. These words are not meant to impose my ideals upon anybody , and they are not going against the law of the diversity of thoughts~~

Sunday, 7 December 2014

When economists in cosy seats plan for the poor

Among the job of an economist is to gather economic data of the population in the past and present such as income, capital and population growth, and explain the conditions of the people.

He explains whether the income distribution is equal, whether the prices have risen or fallen in real terms, and so on.

A timeline analysis would show in gross terms whether the quality of life has increased or not, as he makes comparison between the living conditions of the present and the past.

My grandfather was a poor man with 8 children, and he worked as a trishaw peddler. My uncles who wanted a bicycle to go to school used to scavenge dumpsites to search for bike parts, and construct a working bicycle from scraps.

Meanwhile, his grandchildren is currently studying overseas using loads of taxpayer’s money and wasting every penny. Relatively, I would infer that living standards have clearly risen to unthinkable levels.

But it is not enough, and it is not fair for economists to compare living standards simply by such narrow and simplified examples; there are many other questions to be asked.

For example, is the increase in living standards the same across the region? What about Sabah and Sarawak? Have they been able to enjoy the same prosperity? While we amuse ourselves with skyscrapers in the capital, and scatter railways all over the west coast, there are still villages without electricity and water, not to mention internet or the obligatory bridges present in every by-election.

Is the living standard the same among the races, and between the states? Have the children of other families receive the same opportunities that I have gratefully received, and were 
they subjected with the same judgement over their merits and achievements?

It is true that economists and policymakers in the capital, in the cosy Prime Minister’s Office and Bank Negara, do their jobs real good, that they can be textbook examples.

According to the textbook, of course, oil subsidy is something irrational. It is not something a homo economicus would choose in an economy. Rather than waste taxpayer’s money, with the subsidy which pays even the rich, it is better to give people direct cash handouts, or so they said.

Of course, it’s true, because in the economics textbook it clearly shows in the graphs that subsidies cost much more than cash handouts, although both ultimately bring the same effect.

But surely, surely these economists should have realised the effect of oil prices on the prices of pretty much everything else- or are they living in a different world?

It is inevitable that GST is a better system than the SST, because nobody ever will be able 
to avoid paying tax. Previously, only the rich paid the tax, and now, as a sign of equality, even the poor in slums have to pay too. We supporters of equality must submit to  the system.

It is not enough an explanation when you tax people, that GST is a better system simply because hundreds other nations use this system. It is also not an acceptable reason to say that GST is a system that makes it easier for the government to collect tax.

Who gives a damn about that? The government is adding to the burden of the people, and we should accept it, because GST makes it easier to make people suffer more?

These policies are made by rich economists, the urban rich, the bourgeoisie, industrial capitalists for their brethren, and other rich capitalists.

Sprawled in the backseats of luxury cars, in black suits and leather shoes, in this suffocating hot tropical country, they are truly living in another dimension. They are unable to see how different are the living standards, even between urban citizens, not to mention the ones across the Titiwangsa mountains.

It is unconceivable that these policies would be agreed upon if policymakers truly live among the masses and understand the  struggles people made to make ends meet.

Have they been representatives who are more than VIPs in public ceremonies and random faces on Eid banners, I wonder what kind of country would we be now.

If only they could see how the economy treats people as commodity, and when the capitalists deem labour as useless, they are thrown away to starve. 

When these rejected people who can’t afford houses due the high rent, they seek the streets and under the bridges as their beds, but even then, in the lowest of honour, they are caught and put in jail.

Because they are poor, because they are homeless, and because it is an eyesore for the urban rich to see people sleeping under the bridges.

It should not be a surprise when some people think it appropriate to slap the PM’s picture with a slipper, when his minister showed up in the news asking people to bring packed lunch to work.

Thanks Mr Minister for the tip, but when you showed up in your expensive suit, shiny glasses and immaculately trimmed hair, it is a mockery, a humiliation to the burdened massed, especially at a time when your rich brethren are asking for a pay raise.

Remember that when Mary Antoinette told the starving masses who were asking for bread in France “Let them eat cake”, they cut off her head.

Of course  we are not keen to cut anybody’s head, not yet currently, because Malaysians forgive and forget all the time, and we tolerate almost everything.  But remember, our patience has its limit. – 16 October, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/when-economists-in-cosy-seats-plan-for-the-poor-ahmad-ibrahim-zakaria#sthash.R3hfF5ie.h5YDJf2q.dpuf

No comments:

Post a Comment