So I was thinking about cost of living in various countries.
And I wonder. Is cost of living just an illusion?
Let's think about it in RPG terms.
We start the game. We create a character. It's usually random and we start at a town.
And we are newbies. And we spawn out in Woodtown. The main industry here is wood.
So we get down to work, we chop wood. Make gold and play our game.
Prices of food and whatever resource is whatever they are and the game progresses normally.
Another player enters the game.
He spawns out in Metaltown, and you guessed it, it's a mining town. He gets to work and plays the game, mines, earns money, eats, buys equipment. Whatever...
Sounds like a normal game? Yes right?
One day metal player goes to wood town and realizes that everything is half price.
He thus concludes that the cost of living in Metaltown is bloody high.
In Metaltown, he had to pack his own food to work, whereas in Woodtown, he can afford to eat out all the time...
Can you see what I'm getting at?
All countries are different.
Everyone plays their own game according to the 'loopholes' in their own country to try to save money.
So in Perth, maybe it's normal to own a car and pack their own food to lunch and dinner.
In Singapore we can afford to eat out but many people may not want to buy a vehicle.
In Thailand, food is cheap and transport is cheap.
Everyone lives and survives in their own way in their own country. And that is the normal way of life.
If Singapore isn't liveable, then we'd half be dead. Same for many other countries.
Let's not talk about war torn countries or countries in extreme poverty.
You see, it's not fair to take money earned from one country and compare against another country. Cos the earning power of each country is different and laws are different.
In a game you can easily move to the next town and arbitrage. Earn money in Metaltown and spend in Woodtown.
But in real life, that's not so easy.
In Singapore, it's normal for people to take public transport and eat in or out, and live in apartments.
We can't directly take these numbers and compare against Australian car and home prices, we can't just lust after their landed properties.
In each country, the game of Life is different. Each of us does what is deemed "normal" and lives a normal life, and we try to "game" the system as much as we can and try to save more money by doing things which are considered NOT normal.
Everyone struggles in their own country. They just play the game differently. There's no country that has 80% of the population rich. In most countries, the distribution is about the same. Most people are not rich, but are surviving, some are better off, and a small number are rich.
These cost of living and standard of living is mainly useful when a company wants to send a staff overseas and want to give him the same perks as he would have had if he stayed in his home country. So they have to make adjustments so that he can live a similar lifestyle as in his own country.
But it's not fair if I take S$100k and go to Thailand and conclude that the cost of living is so low there. Cos the average Thai person isn't going to have S$100k.
If you say Thailand has a lower cost of living, then does that mean 80% of Thais are rich? No right?
Or Singapore has a higher cost of living doesn't mean everyone in Singapore is poor.
So this leads me to conclude that there's really no such thing as cost of living, and there's no fair way to compare it. As I said, I'm only taking into account reasonably good countries/cities.
Cos you earn Thai baht, and you spend Thai baht, and you do what it takes to make your earnings last as long as possible.
Same as in Aussie or SG.
If you spawn in Woodtown, you have to chop wood and earn money that way and eke out a livelihood in Woodtown. I'm the real world, most people do not migrate to another country or city regardless of earning power or cost of living. And even after they move, they also realize that they earn may earn more, but they also spend more and end up becoming 'normal' in whatever new area they have moved to.
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