When I was a kid, Charles & Keith was considered a luxury brand. I didn’t set foot in the Charles & Keith store because I didn’t have the money.
Even brands like Zara are considered luxury brands to me. I have found that it offers better protection than other brands. You can get the clothes cheaper.
The concept of luxury is a relative concept. In Taiwan, Rimowa is considered a luxury suitcase for Taiwanese wages, but in Germany it is relatively affordable due to the high German wages.
A friend told me that in Denmark, where her friend lives, people are ditching perfectly good-looking clothes because they earn high wages and can afford to do so.
When I was a kid, McDonald’s and Kentucky Fries were considered expensive, so we didn’t go. I enjoyed going to McDonald’s. When I was in junior high school, when I went out with my friends, I got angry when they wanted to eat McDonald’s. I only buy ice cream.
Since we were poor, we also enjoyed going to the cinema. Even when I started working and my colleague said he wanted to eat at S$30 from his S$20 a meal, I was scared of feeling like I was spending money beyond my means. So I was very unhappy.
Being born in a poor family means that the concept of money is different. Even when you reach a stage where you can earn more comfortably in Singapore, the fear of not having enough money will haunt you for the rest of your life.
This may not be understandable to those who grew up in wealthy backgrounds, but it’s not necessarily your fault.
Inequality in society creates distance between people of different income classes. Rich people may not understand the hardships that poor people have to go through.
And why does it seem to someone from a low-income family that someone from a wealthy family plans their life without having to worry about it?
But not all wealthy people are like this. My boss comes from a wealthy family, but is humble and empathetic, understands that migrant workers are underpaid, and sympathizes with the need to raise incomes due to social and political impact. I have. He has my deepest respect.
Inequality breeds the resentment of the rich that the poor are robbing a better society, or the resentment of the poor that they cannot move up no matter how hard they work.
Such a society will become increasingly polarized and angry as people become more protective of their space, fearful of their livelihoods, and unable to understand others.
But such inequalities need not exist. A more just society, where wealth is more evenly distributed, brings people closer together. More understanding, less resentment, more understanding as people live in rich equality.
A society that is willing to share its wealth will ultimately allow each member to benefit more equally, each member will become richer and the society as a whole will be uplifted. Help the economy and it grow together.
In such a society, once wealth is shared more fairly and everyone enjoys a good standard of living, not just a basic standard of living, the notion of luxury brands becomes less relevant. Luxury disappears as it becomes more affordable.
But until then, people will continue to hold each other with suspicion and anger until societies become as unequal as Singapore, where I grew up, and Taiwan, where I live.
People’s perceptions of luxury differ, and people may ridicule others because of their lack of understanding of how unequal society is and how it creates injustice.
These issues allow wages to rise equitably with the cost of living, and each member of society, business, and workers are willing to share the profits so that workers earn more. can be solved by Workers’ wages could rise, resulting in an increase in domestic consumption and domestic profits.
Like the wheel of life, the economy moves in cycles. From workers donating their wages to help businesses grow, to businesses paying workers fairly to enable their growth.
Beyond the luxury brand debate, there is a larger debate about social inequalities that foster misunderstanding and undermine empathy.
This was first published on Roy Ngerng’s Facebook page and is reproduced with permission.