Thursday, November 11, 2010

G20 - Hi Seoul, Korea

From today, Korea will again come under the international spotlight. This time, it is not about North Korea sinking another ship or somebody famous committing suicide in South Korea. It is G20. G20 is basically a grouping comprising 20 members from among the highest GDP countries.

Korea is well known for its enthusiatism to showcase itself to the world. I can't say much but this time, I can agree that Korea really put all out to make this summit a success.

I went to Seoul last week and there was lots of events organized by the Korean government. It sucks to see lots of people crowded in one small place. It was even suckier to face the reality of having to pass through so many security checks each time.

Today while I was having my Statistic class (생활속의 통계), I thought of something else (more interesting). I am curious on why buying a fast food set meal in Korea always cost more than the same set meal in Malaysia even when the meals were in the same size.

Well, the prices differ depending on the country's purchasing power. The prices were based on the cost of renting outlets, transportation costs, raw materials, profits, etc and the final sum of the product will be passed on to the buyer, which is you, the customers.

Hence, when a country desires to become a high income country. Everything will go up. Prices, salary, cost of living, etc. Malaysia desires to be a high income country by 2020. The problem is whether the rate of increasing income matches with the poverty level of the country.

For example, if a middle class guy has an annual income of RM 1000 while another poor guy has an income of RM 100. By the time the income increases say 10-percent, the middle class guy will earn RM 1100 but the poor guy will only see an addition of RM 10 to equal up RM 110. RM 100 and RM 10 is a huge difference.

It is of no use to become a high income nation if the poor will continue to struggle. This will only widen the weath gap and ultimately, discontentment will happen. The increase of income does not change the purchasing power of the people.

In Korea, 1000 Won or 1 USD can buy only a small roll of kimbab (rice wrapped with seaweed) while in Malaysia, RM 1 can buy a pack of rice with small amount of protein.

Nobody benefited even when the income increased. The notions "developed country" or "High-income country" are of no praticality. Common sense tells us that if a person is staying in a High-income country, the cost of living will definately be higher so less savings.

Why would some people wish to stay somewhere else more develop? What is the use of it? Why would some countries hope to be called rich nations when even their own people could not afford a decent meal?

Instead, let us educate the people, make them think, make them create something else extraordinary, be it when we are still a poor or developing country. Let us all not be too obsessed in obtaining "High-income status".

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future..."

- Victor Hugo

Happy G 20!

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"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~