We live on this earth and we co-exist with this earth. Human beings are land dwellers and depend on land to survive. We cannot live in the air or water. We need all four: land, water, air and heat (the Sun) to live.
Civilisations fought wars to grab lands or annex countries. The more land mass a country has, the more powerful the ruler or government will be.
Singapore is a country state with a small land area when compared with our neighbours. With more people per square mile living on this tiny island drives up land cost. We have to pay more to own a piece of property or to rent them, when compared with countries with huge land masses, e.g. Malaysia, Indonesia. Business costs are driven up by land costs. Land cost forms a major part of operating in Singapore. Products make by businesses will cost more for end-consumers of these products.
Besides scarcity of land, government can extract values from these lands by land pricing policies, by increasing levies on developers of land with cost pass-through to property buyers or by increasing levies directly on buyers of properties. The consequence is that residents have to work to earn wages that are sufficient to pay for property costs (rented or owned) and products and services provided by businesses.
When you compare Singapore with Malaysia, cost of living is higher here because Malaysia has agricultural products produced there.
Residents in Singapore have to live with high property prices and at the same time pay for agricultural goods and other commodities (e.g. oil) imported into Singapore.
There are several factors at play here. Small land mass, increasing population (local residents and foreigners), need to build government reserves (to protect the value of Singapore dollars), need to continue grow the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) to keep up with the accustomed standards of living are such factors that stress the people out.
Can land and people ratio be adjusted in the future to reduce stress placed on land? If nothing is done now to adjust the trajectory, a day may come when emigration of our people becomes a reality because we cannot afford to stay here.
This piece may be provocative but it is a fear nevertheless of living in land-scarced Singapore. Can we be happy if people continue to be stressed in making a living?