Ease of living is the top of the mind reminiscence about a jurisdiction where one would have spent some time. It is the holistic impression one carries about a place, drawn from diverse longitudinal isolated experiences. These impressions are an amalgam of facts and perceptions; considered subjective, not measurable on a conventional scale; lacking a theoretical base and logical reasoning and non-replicable; everything that makes it not scientific from a researchers’ perspective.
Despite shortcomings of being seen as unscientific, perceptions drive individual actions and influence others’ decisions. It is akin to a brand image, which is simply what is carried in the mind of the consumer that can influence his/her buying decision; about anything that has a distinct character; though failing the test of scientific inquiry and visible logic. It is an intangible to be perceived and shared; less about numbers, exhibits and visuals.
Perceptions; though not amenable to be reduced to a logical formula for ease of transmission, prediction and replication; are powerful in shaping ones’ thinking and action. Perceptions cannot be ignored in our endeavour to enhance our sphere of influence, market, acceptability, value, image and reputation.
Ease of Living is not a fashionable, nice to have luxury or accolade but a need to have necessity in today’s connected and competitive world.
Ease of Living is a product of multiple elements: the hard physical and technology infrastructure; the soft institutional and social infrastructure, and social context.
By infrastructure what is meant is not their mere existence, but their adequacy, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, quality, maintenance, access and availability on demand.
Concepts like Smart Cities largely address the setting up of the physical and the associated technology infrastructure, but tend to be less sensitive to the institutional and social aspects which in conjunction with the former, alone will help deliver the expected citizen experience, in terms of the Quality of Life that also drives Ease of Living.
In our treatise on Ease of Living, the focus is on the institutions that are meant to deliver citizen services, legal systems that govern citizen expectations and conduct embedded in the institutional set up, the social infrastructure that encompasses the social services such as education, healthcare, safety and security et al as well as the human behavioural element that plays a major role in one’s perception on the desirability of a jurisdiction as a destination one would look forward to live.
In a shrinking, connected and open world, it is not unusual for enterprising and resourceful citizens to shop for locations considered inviting, to live. Inviting locations are jurisdictions considered favourable to realise stated and implied expectations of a hassle free, easy, safe and rewarding living experience. A more operational term for inviting locations would be locations with favourable Ease of Living rating.
Scouting for places with high Ease of Living rating is akin to businesses indulging in treaty shopping to benefit from bilateral investment and tax treaties, to optimise on tax efficiency and returns.
Ease of living index – measure of livability, competitiveness, attracticeness to talent / migrants, investment destination
Improved Ease of Living help attract immigrants of the desired kind, cross border businesses, capital, labour and other drivers of economic activity, as well as retain valuable home grown talent, resources, citizens and businesses.
It is simply to meet the human urge for a holistic rewarding life experience and rewards for efforts put in.