Making sense of statistics

Today paper reported that the 60% sandwiched class had a reprieve for price increases in the first 6 months of the year. The increase in CPI for this group of people is 0.7%. The ST highlighted that the poorest or lowest 20% was the worst hit as the CPI rose 1.6% for this group. Both used the same set of statistics from the Dept of Statistics to report a different thing. So one group should be celebrating and another group, the poorest, should be crying. But these are just statistics. Look at the shopping centres, foodcourts, the property launches, and the mercedes benzes in 2 or 3 rm flat car parks, then you may wonder whether the people are really suffering. You don't see the overt and abject poverty around the public housing estates. Yes there were the occasional soft drink can collectors and a few lonely souls browsing the rubbish bins instead of the internet. They are the exceptions. Prosperity is in the air. I just recall the happy faces at the NDP and the hundreds of thousands of merrymakers out for a good time at the Esplanade, the Marina Bay and the Padang area. So where are the poor or the poorest? If our poor and poorest are still able to have a good time in the worst economic crisis we are faceing, and with the CPI running away, than things cannot be so bad. Time for celebration again. For the top 20% they can open that $500 or $5000 bottle of champagne, the middle 60% can open the cheap red from ShengSiong or FairPrice. And the lowest 20% can either go for some cheap beer or toddy. Celebrate within your own means. This is paradise, the modern day Eden. (Jaunty going to scold me now.)


Anonymous said...

I think the Government sees prosperity everywhere because of the crowds at food courts, computer fairs, travel fairs, property launches etc.

Therefore, even if we tell them there is poverty, well, if you and me don't believe what we see, how could the Government believe that there is poverty with all these splashing of wealth?

Anonymous said...

Hi Redbean, here in Singapore we do not have poverty. The price of property in Singapore will testify to that. Our govt tells us that evrything is OK and there is nothing to worry. The FTs coming here will keep the property market very high. We must thank them for that. Our govt is also doing a good job keeping the cost of living high. Good job. well done.

Anonymous said...

Got to agree.

Well done indeed !

We can look forward to better

years after every year.


Wally Buffet said...

"If our poor and poorest are still able to have a good time in the worst economic crisis we are faceing"

Er Uncle, we are no longer "facing".It's over. Just strap on your seat belt for a rocket ride up, up and UP. From your postings, looks like you didn't bet on anything. So sorry for ya. Watch for the next cycle in 2014.

redbean said...

hi wally, i am happy that you are making a lot of money in the market. good for you.

i didn't make much. just sitting on 200 lots of genting. and i am not going to sell until 2 years after it is open, at least. maybe not selling them at all.

IMAGOD said...

Govt stats are usually skewed to make the govt look good. Even if the stats are bad, the govt will spin the facts such that they, the govt, look good -- or "less bad".

The problem with macro indicators like CPI, GDP etc is that there are lots of ways to gather the data and interpret the findings. Errors in computation and reasoning can creep in, so macro economic indicators should always be treated with healthy skepticism.

Macro econs was "invented" by Keynes who always proposed that these calculations were necessary so that the central planner (govt) could "plan" the economy.

Keynes was also one of those guys who hated the middle-class and was always of the opinion that the govt should actively add to and remove their spending power so as to achieve certain ARBITRARY outcomes like price stability or full employment.

The only reason most govts like wealth creators is so that those govts can tax the creators and producers — taking away the "stuff" from those who have it and re-distribute it to those who have political clout (like the state's favourite corporations) or can be used as some form of political "leverage" (like some form of "disadvantaged" group).