Switzerland proposed giving SGD$3,528 to all citizens monthly. Here’s why it won’t work in Singapore and Malaysia

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Before anything, let’s all think for ourselves and not the big picture. Let’s say you’re an aspiring writer and would like to showcase your writings, but you know that being a writer in Singapore or Malaysia wouldn’t put bread on the table. You need to work full-time, and when you work, you’ll have no time to write.

Then, the Government announced this: Since we’re a wealthy country, every citizen will get an unconditional income of $3,600 per month, regardless of whether you work or not. This allows a low-income worker like you to quit your measly $1,800 monthly job and focus merely on your writing. It doesn’t matter whether your writing is good or not; you spend $2,000 per month to self-publish, market and publicize your writing, and the rest to support yourself.

You’re living the life you desire, and finally, you think the Government is doing the right thing: promoting arts by giving us the opportunity to do so without compromising on our necessities.

For the first year, everything was perfect: as you walk on the streets, people recognized you and asked for your autograph. You appeared in TV and radio interviews. But one year later, everything changed.

MNCs like Google, Facebook and eBay changed their HQ for their Asia-Pac operations from Singapore to Hong Kong because they can’t find technicians as most of them have quit for the free income. Thousands of other Singaporeans, who are graduates and used to draw a salary higher than $3,600, lost their jobs. But hey, there’s still the $3,600 per month, right? You wonder why they continue to work when they get free income. As MNCs moved out of Singapore, SMEs started to fold, for they are having difficulty finding people, and sales have dropped drastically due to the lack of support from MNCs that used to be based locally.

As you walk on the street two years later, you realize you’re not the only person who is recognizable; everywhere you go, there seems to be another writer who is as well-known as you. With $3,600 a month, you can’t go any further. You want to try to be better? Are you crazy? You’ve  forgotten how to be competitive, because it’s comfortable just getting $3,600 a month without putting in effort.

Everyone on the street is jobless, is a popular writer and no longer remembers how to be competitive.

In other words, if the free income has destroyed the economy, then the free income has built the complacency in us.

This is a crazy assumption, and a silly example from a person who major in English and literature instead of politics or sociology. But sit back and think again: do we need scholars from Harvard to project the repercussions of free income? We will all cheer if this really occurs, but for how long? A year? Do we all live for just one year? Have we always forgotten to look at the bigger picture—that a little bit of competitiveness and struggle are required for survival, and that utopia is a legend?

For now, I really hope there is no free income.


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