The following few paras are extracted from "The Case for Income Equality in Singapore"[Link].
Not so according to the Equality Trust, a London-based organisation which promotes the concept of equality. Based on research findings and academic papers, it argues that the detrimental effects of such inequality spills over to other areas and impact on the health and well-being of society in general.
On physical health for example,
“… The most consistent interpretation of all the evidence is that the main route hinges on the way inequality makes life more stressful. Chronic stress is known to affect the cardiovascular and immune systems and to lead to more rapid aging. Inequality makes social relations more stressful (see section on Trust and Community Life), by increasing status differences and status competition…”
Concurrently, on trust and community life,
“… Inequality divides people by increasing the social distances between us and widening differences in living standards and lifestyles. By increasing residential segregation of rich and poor, it also increases physical distances…”
Interestingly, on the same organisation’s website, Singapore which has a high ranking of income inequality also has the lowest level of trust amongst people (see chart below).
‘… we have found strong links between imprisonment and income inequality…’
Again, Singapore has one of the highest per capita imprisonment rate (see chart below)
Crime, stress and distrust in addition to the economic effects. With high income inequality, GDP growth does not benefit a large segment of the population. For the lowest 20-30%, their income has remained stagnant for more than a decade and GDP growth usually results in higher cost of living and falling inflation adjusted wages.
It is no longer enough for the PAP govt to tell us the have progammes in place address this because they told us that 10 years ago....a token sum here and there is not going to solve it as long as the PAP continues to pursue its lopsided policies focussing primarily on GDP growth. The PAP has to break out its ideological thinking that pushing for higher GDP growth will translate to a better quality of life for ordinary Singapore - it is not true and Singaporeans know this. If the PAP govt is not serious about closing the income gap, they will soon discover they have a serious problem at the next general elections.