The Everyday Applications of Nudge

The Law of Demand posits that the quantity demanded of a good or service has an inverse relationship with the price (i.e. the higher the price, the lower the quantity demanded). On the other hand, the Law of Supply teaches us that the price and quantity supplied share a direct, positive relationship. As Economics students, you might poke a hole in these two statements: I know, ‘ceteris paribus’. (For those who are not familiar with the subject, it is simply the assumption that all other factors are held constant.) Yet, even when so much precision and attention are paid to…

逆境

  有句话说:“人生不如意之事,十有八九。”虽说这个道理我也听过,但真的陷入逆境时还是不免抱怨自己的不顺。刚开始学英文时,二十六个字母都背不全,点灯熬油地写作文,写得身心俱疲。不断地查词典,同时感叹着情况的紧迫与困难。可痛苦的同时,我也明白这不顺利是通向进步的必经之路,不去面对我便永远不会将困难征服。顺遂的情况会令我停滞不前,只有逆境才使我继续迈进。   从古到今,人们都面临了大大小小的逆境。有些人不去正视它,便不得上进;有的人经过了逆境的考验,得以成大器。孟子曾说过:“生于忧患,死于安乐。故天将降大任与斯人也,必先苦其心志,劳其筋骨,饿其体肤,空乏其身,行拂乱其所为,所以动心忍性,曾益其所不能。”如果某人想完成重大的任务,他必要面对逆境,才能振奋他的心志,坚忍他的性情,增加他原本缺少的能力。如果这人一帆风顺不曾陷入逆境,他便因安逸而不得进步。

Income Inequality In Singapore

Income inequality in Singapore has worsened in recent times. The World Economic Report 2018 showed that the income share captured by the top 10% of income earners in Singapore increased from 32.1% in 1980 to 43.8% in 2014. Moreover, Singapore’s Gini coefficient after tax transfers (collection of taxes and redistribution of that wealth to the…

Behaviour Economics: Truth-telling

Reporting private information is common in most economics or non-economics activities, for instance, companies use advertisements to attract customers, a self-employed worker report her income to the tax authorities or doctors state a diagnosis. But there is a question that concerns us: does everyone choose to misreport their private information if this maximises their material…

Managing Water Resources

The management of water sources involves not only the local management of water resources through supply or demand management but also involves the management of transboundary water sources. As such, while the inflexible mindsets and attitudes of people and corporations, the looming threat of climate change and the inherent inequities within the private management of water, pose a significant obstacle towards the equitable and efficient management of water resources, they can largely be resolved. Conflicts surrounding local, transboundary and even global water sources arise primarily from the fact that water is a shared common resource, thus, conflicts are to occur when a pressure point is reached at the convergence of rising demand as supply shrinks and demands for water compete.

‘Developed countries have the responsibility to accept refugees.’ Do you agree?

Angela Merkel’s victory in the recent German elections came as a surprise to many given the rising xenophobic sentiments in the country. There was latent tension due to refugees taking away jobs and weakening the German economy, waiting to turn into an actual conflict. Since the Chancellor’s decision to take in thousands of refugees from Syria, her administration has been criticised for doing so at the expense of her people. This raises the conundrum as to whether economically developed countries like Germany and many others are obligated to accept asylum seekers, given the variation in sizes for developed countries, like geographically limited Singapore, to acres of land in the United States of America. We have to ruminate on whether this responsibility is present and justified. After all, displaced persons are usually the result of civil strife or racist sentiments from their own countries, such as in the case of the Rohingya refugees. When evaluating a country’s responsibility, we have to take into account its sovereignty and by extension, whether it affects or compromises its duty to protect itself. Every sovereign country is autonomous and would not be responsible for the citizens of others if its own citizens would be compromised. However, privileged developed countries may owe a moral responsibility on the premise of capacity and from a humanitarian perspective, preservation of life may transcend other rights to make accepting refugees obligatory.

Combating Fake News in Singapore’s Youth Population: Challenges and Solutions

Fake news is not a new phenomenon. However, the unprecedented speed and volume of its propagation is great cause for concern. The digitisation and subsequent democratisation of the media landscape has allowed actors such as foreign governments and radical fringe ideologues to have a far easier time disseminating information.

For the purposes of this paper, fake news will be characterised as news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false and could mislead readers. This definition is the most reflective of the current phenomenon and is widely agreed upon by academics. This paper will address responses to fake news with regard to young people.

How far can an individual be held responsible for crimes against humanity?

Even though war and conflict have existed since the beginning of time, the 20th century has been characterized by the rapid rise of massive crimes against humanity, providing much food for thought. Crimes against humanity refer toobjectively wrong acts deliberately committed as part of a broader systemic attack on a civilian population including rape, genocide and torture. Many of us analysing the countless atrocities in recent history – that of the Holocaust, the Nanjing Massacre and the more recent Rwandan Genocide – are disgusted by what we consider acts of pure evil. We are convinced that these manifestations of pure evil, actions that have claimed countless innocent lives, represent the worst of human nature. Many therefore automatically assume that individuals should take full responsibility for the consequences of their actions. In many cases, accountability is important, but when viewed in context, crimes like these are committed in sets of highly complicated and nuanced circumstances and conditions that must be considered. While crimes against humanity are indeed morally regrettable, I believe that there are certain factors that can prevent us from holding individuals, at various levels, fully responsible for these acts. I will thus analyse this from three different levels of complicity – leaders of organizations, their followers and officials, and members of communities.

How far is elitism inevitable in your society?

The issue of elitism is one that is prevalent in all societies, and has plagued many governments, with Singapore not being an exception. Elitism, or having a non-inclusive mind-set, with groups of exclusive individuals viewing themselves as superior to the masses, has always been present, and continues to prevail today. It can be observed since medieval times, where royal blood or relation to the royal family would immediate place one in a class above the rest, and even in modern times, when financial status immediately classifies people and society into groups. This is especially prevalent in Singapore, especially in financial terms, given the context of meritocracy, our financial gap, and the cyclical nature of an elite class. However, elitism, while pervasive, is not inevitable, and on higher and structural levels, it can be alleviated or avoided, and the government has made attempts to do.

Expectations of Women in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, set in the early 19th century, is one of Austen’s most striking novels in terms of exploring the significance of being a woman then, as well as the social expectations and restrictive conformities tied to it. As such, the given passage highlights the austerity of society’s lens of scrutiny and extremity when viewing women. Furthermore, the passage accentuates how different hierarchical upbringing and social environments can affect the way women themselves view their own sex and by extension, marriage. However, this scene also acts as a benchmark, foreshadowing Darcy’s change in attitude further in the novel, when he learns to accept that the ideal woman does not exist, but the perfectly imperfect one does.