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Singapore's Economic Success | The Economist

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When it started life as an independent, separate country in 1965, Singapore’s prospects did not look good. Tiny and underdeveloped, it had no natural resources and a population of relatively recent immigrants with little shared history. The country’s first prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming it. He called one volume of his memoirs, “From Third World to First”. Why did Singapore become an economic success? First, its strategic location and natural harbour helped. It is at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, through which perhaps 40% of world maritime trade passes. It was an important trading post in the 14th century, and again from the 19th, when British diplomat Sir Stamford Raffles founded the modern city. Now it is at the heart of one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Under Mr Lee, Singapore made the most of these advantages. Second, under Mr Lee, Singapore welcomed foreign trade and investment. Multinationals found Singapore a natural hub and were encouraged to expand and prosper. Third, the government was kept small, efficient and honest—qualities absent in most of Singapore’s neighbours. It regularly tops surveys for the ease of doing business. But the island city is not ideal. Although clean and orderly, it has harsh judicial punishments, a tame press and illiberal social policies. Homosexual acts, for example, remain illegal. Protest demonstrations are rarely permitted. Mr Lee saw his authoritarian style of government as an essential ingredient in Singapore’s success, emphasizing the island’s vulnerability in a potentially hostile neighbourhood. But younger people now question whether Singapore really is that fragile, and resent the restrictions on their freedom.
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Text Comments (347)
Bow Lampar (6 days ago)
This country is too fragile, any misstep by government will collapse the whole nation rapidly. Complex social mix of culture, tradition, language,custom, ethnic and religion, void of natural resources, limited land , being ignored from development by former owners, having all the 'disadvantages ' a newly independence nation never wish for in order to move forward.
wibas2008 (13 days ago)
African countries, Indian subcontinent countries need probably tens of Lee Kaun Yew each
wave runner (24 days ago)
Too bad they are socially regressive. Marijuana possession is a capital crime.
Nick (27 days ago)
Capitalism is the only way
Ang Hock Seng (1 month ago)
Spore sucess Because our neighbour are Not cunning enough
Sidney-Duane Goldsmith (1 month ago)
Africa take the same approach as Singapore, South korea and Taiwan. The continent will get off of poverty.
ruzzell907 (1 month ago)
Thank you The Economist for bringing up the persecution on homosexuals in Singapore, as I was unaware of that fact.
DJ FX (2 months ago)
Typical Western attitude..great country but not so great cause they don't embrace our free immoral ways
Taichientaoyin (4 months ago)
I can't help but being a cuban communist. Singapore i snot to be trust lol
Ancient Tamils contributed more to Singapore than any other Indian origins. Singapore still has Tamil ethnic groups. Singapuram was the word meaning land of lioness
Sreeprasad shetty (7 months ago)
Singapore youth need to salute Mr. Lee and his team, without them Singapore would have been another marsh land, they owe it to Mr. Lee to keep up the standards.
Ric Shawn (8 months ago)
only because they sit on the right spot
Mohd. Agazi amr (9 months ago)
singapore tu mayority cina
Slirun _ (11 months ago)
40 stupid morons hate singapore.
Paul Gibson (11 months ago)
Was there an "economics" report somewhere in here or just another wink for the LGBT movement...?
DJ FX (2 months ago)
Paul Gibson they always have to throw that crap in anything
Hanim (1 year ago)
Why did they say 'protest demonstrations are rarely permitted' like it's a bad thing???????? So you want Singapore to be like the US and have riots every month?!
pings007 (1 year ago)
What has "restrictions" got to do with economy and its success, only economist can explain!!
riderr3 (1 year ago)
They making money from air because of maritime trade passes.
aggin swaggin (1 year ago)
The reason why Singapore is so successful, is because it is a beneficial dictatorship. It's run like a huge corporation.
Jaret Jose Ulanday (5 days ago)
I'm not sure about success in Hong Kong.
houchi69 (1 year ago)
It is not run by a capitalist, but a socialist. Simple as that.
Shane W (1 year ago)
Singapore is prosperous because it is a nation with a hard-working Chinese majority without a socialist government.
fadly A. Rahman (1 year ago)
Singapore is an example where contradictions somehow work well together. They are capitalistic to the core, and yet socialist as well. They are democracy and yet they are also authoritarian. For some reason, Singapore manage to make the two work together with a stunning result.
DJ FX (2 months ago)
fadly A. Rahman it can work if west doesn't interfere
Toai Guong Jin (2 months ago)
fadly A. Rahman all eastern asians work, not just Singapore like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong etc.... due lot asians, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, communist, oriental people, duh, of course west brainwash others due influenced by western capitalism shit countries n superpower, England, France etc... how about Philippines, Panama, Brazil, Haiti, Puerto Rico, India, Africa, latin, Mexico, Indonesia etc... but as poor as hell, picking up trash for lunch. Asians fall for their propaganda medias n schemes. Dumb as hell. Nobody read n research anything but just repeat what Whiteman say on TV n movies.
Tengri Ego (1 year ago)
maybe the lee clan of singapore should get whiplashed first, know how it feels, then impose such a style of authority
Tengri Ego (1 year ago)
hitler also strengthened germany within a short period of time. Lee kwan eeeeewwwwwhhhhhhh is another sick despot. riches are empty without freedom
Hanim (1 year ago)
Tengri Ego what whip torture are you referring to? whip tortured as in the saudi way? That's totally different and unrelated to singapore, and singapore will NEVER implement such rules. Whip tortured as caning in Singapore jails? You only get canned when you get caught doing stupid shit, so the faults on you.
Tengri Ego (1 year ago)
H. S get whip tortured, then see how how your opinion changes!
Hanim (1 year ago)
Tengri Ego what type of freedom are you referring to? The one that the western world always gloats about while having protests in their own backyard every month? Hmm no thanks
SWFI (1 year ago)
Singapore is a model for many countries. Singapore has a large sovereign wealth fund called GIC Private Limited.
jxsilicon9 (1 year ago)
tax haven like Switzerland
dave choy (3 months ago)
jxsilicon9 Ahead of
Mr Morocco (1 year ago)
No way you can even list the issues in a 2 minute video. Singaporean development is complex. You need a strong understanding of history, geogrophy, politics, religion, drugs and the opium trade, colonialism in East and Southeast Asia, ethnic groups, British India, Imperial China, colonial era China, Communism, Japanese war crimes in Malaya and Singapura, ethnic groups within china, Sino-Japanese issues and history, economics millitary issues, israle-Palestine conflict, Indonesian issues and specific tribes (e.g. Bugis), how the west tries and control Singapore and other African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, shipping, international trade, media, race riots, Malaya/Malaysia history, opening of Suis canal, British and Dutch relations and the straits settlements...
Mayank Agrawal (1 year ago)
instead of why you skould show how...
welcometovault 101 (1 year ago)
😰
Sonny Liew (1 year ago)
"The Government was kept small..." ??? This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how Singapore works - the State owns almost 90% of land, 85% of housing is government owned and 22%of GDP is produced by State-owned enterprises. Anyone trying to use Singapore as an example of how the "Small Government" is more efficient is either being disingenious or deluded...
moist faucet (1 year ago)
IT surround by corrupt neighbor and all rich people don't want to pay taxes and hide their money in Singapore. If the entire East Asian countries become free port. you can kiss good bye this lion city. neighboring country's Protectionism help Singapore economy.
Otto (1 year ago)
李家牛逼,同样是”顺位“,你再看看朝鲜...
Kingdom南Wu江 (1 year ago)
why China is becoming an economic success ?
I don't really fancy capitalism that much but Lee Kuan Yew did a really great job with it (except for the part when he disregarded socialist views cuz I quite lean toward being a socialist especially for my country and I think a little bit of protectionism wouldn't have jeopardized their economic prosperity)
Because if the books that you read are different from what I read, then we'll probably keep on establishing incompatible thoughts.
"The government's job is to plan and develop everything for the good of the society, even at the expense of individuals where and when necessary." - I'm sorry again but there are many types of democracy which can be utterly similar to each other so yeah you might be right that it is indeed social democracy but there is also a possibility that it can also be pseudo-democracy. It's pretty argumentative but in order for our ideas to meet halfway, I'll just say that it can actually be both in some ways.
Umm..I don't mean to be rude but when I said Socialist, I actually meant the type of economic policies in contrast to the Capitalist one. In other words, Socialism and Capitalism are two purely economic terms (in the context of my comment). Right after the division of Singapore from Malaya, the PAP tried to establish Capitalist policies (like attracting more foreign investors, being more open to international trade, etc) for the betterment of Singapore's economy then later on adopted Socialist policies (like giving more opportunities for the local industries) because of an economic crisis in the west which, as I mentioned, was a great move. And indeed they just wanted to work on the betterment of the society. That's definitely a known fact. I wasn't making a negative point on that. And, well, I wasn't even making a negative point at all. And also I was just referring to LKY's regime and nothing else.
Jeremy WCK (1 year ago)
Youngjae is Daehyun's Princess You obviously do not know much about Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore. Your comments are utterly incorrect. The founding fathers not just Lee Kuan Yew, but the whole team built the country with a social-democratic foundation - society must takes precedence over the individual. The government's job is to plan and develop everything for the good of the society, even at the expense of individuals where and when necessary. Banning sale of chewing gum is a good example.
Yes his administration opted to adapt some Socialist policies during the later part of his regime which was a really good way to balance Singapore's economy during that time but I don't think he was all for Social Democracy but instead he reformed Singapore through Pseudo Democracy
John doue Quebec (1 year ago)
I have a question what is the population of singapore when lee was the head?
Patrick Kam (1 year ago)
Shazam black 3m
I got the answer : Free Market
Kingdom南Wu江 (1 year ago)
no ,it is centralised power of government
Rafael Cayenne (1 year ago)
Accurate
MoueDuGame (1 year ago)
coucou J'aime l'anglais, abonnez vous
moist faucet (1 year ago)
Of course Singapore very success, many foreign corrupt official put money there. even china. even off shore account.
KeyboardWarrior (1 year ago)
What the Economist did not say: It's No. 2 most free economy of the world, early and successful suppression of socialism, common law tradition, hard-working Chinese majority, homosexuality ban is not enforced, people are openly gay. Quite typical bias.....
Chow Rajaa (1 year ago)
Singapore is bubble ready to burst anyday. Any idea what is there external debts is? What %age of GDP and per capita debt of it's citizens? Still spends 2 billion dollars more than a much larger country like Pakistan, which constitutes around 3.2% of their GDP spend on defense, while even a country like India spends only 2.4% of it's GDP on defense. Singapore's external debt is around 3 times of a much larger economy like India and also bigger than China. Their external debt is 408% of their GDP, while it is only 6% for India. Their per capita external debt is US$ 226,930 while it is only US$ 46 for India. Their GDP growth rate is figuring below 2% and they are totally dependent on imports even for their basic needs of food items. Their oil reserve is zero. I guess not a very rosy picture anymore. Expected you guys to show the whole picture than only what meet the eyes, as then it becomes perception. All that glitters is not gold.
thesuperproify (1 year ago)
agreed
KeyboardWarrior (1 year ago)
+Marcelo Henrique It mentions the homosexuality ban.
Marcelo Henrique (1 year ago)
Because the video speaks about the economic questions, not social.
John doue Quebec (1 year ago)
i would rather work in singapore,than USA
NJain (2 years ago)
Well Panama is also strategically located on a heavy shipping route. However, it is a poor country.
Alex B. Castillejos (1 year ago)
Unlike Singapore, Panama was destroyed over and over again throughout history. Destroyed by the Spanish, destroyed by the Americans, destroyed by the Americans again, and now there here. At the moment, they are developing really fast and Panama City has a relatively high GDP per capita and HDI.
Libertarian Wolf (1 year ago)
+enjay No by the contrary, the Brits left a trail of "civilization" left in whatever they colonized. In this case, not the infrastructure itself, but the notion of the importance of it. Also, regarding Panama, poor guys can't do anything with countries like the US basically owning their politicians through bribes for the sole purpose of the Canal.
NJain (1 year ago)
Singapore was colonised by the British till the 1960s. There was no infrastructure in Singapore when they left.
Libertarian Wolf (1 year ago)
Panama was heavily explored by colonizing countries, and unlike Singapore's case, no one left them with decent infrastructure. Also, Panama's geographical characteristics don't really make it a desirable place for foreign investment. Also Panama is way bigger than Singapore.
lasa kuh (2 years ago)
curruption pm singapore 1 of 3
lasa kuh (2 years ago)
fucking economic singapore 😡😡😡
RUHappyATM (2 years ago)
One way to earn foreign income. Low corporate tax.
quinn bryant (2 years ago)
How insightful, I'm sure the world's leaders would love to have a meeting with you to share more of your highly innovative ways of attracting foreign direct investment.
Law19157 (2 years ago)
There is no prosperity in Communist & Socialist economies or advancement, China and India are proof of true "Income Equality" Countries that were piss poor and under developed due to their communists economies before they became Capitalists and Prospered, even the Lefts beloved Sweden relies on Capitalism to pay for all their free stuff. Wealth redistribution schemes hinder economies, the only services any government needs are the Fire Department, Police Department, Education, Infrastructure & the Military, everything else is excess and puts economies in unnecessary debt and financial holes.
Chow Rajaa (1 year ago)
Singapore economy is over dependent on performance of Chinese economy and financial institutions. If they slow down, Singapore in turn will be in trouble. Besides the kind of "loan" and "aid" China is meted out to smaller countries and friendly countries, they may go bankrupt and those "loans" and "aids" will become hard to recover, putting pressure on China. That in turn may impact lot of other paradigms.
CΔPITΔL (1 year ago)
Cameron Howard I know right? Clearly socialism fixed those nations perfectly with the example of the Soviet Union...
Cameron Howard (1 year ago)
Yeah because russia and eastern europe were great under free market capatalism...
Jeremy WCK (1 year ago)
Rajaa Chowdhury May I suggest that you look at this: http://themiddleground.sg/2016/09/19/singapores-high-external-debt-nothing-worry/
Chow Rajaa (1 year ago)
Singapore is bubble ready to burst anyday. Any idea what is there external debts is? What %age of GDP and per capita debt of it's citizens? Still spends 2 billion dollars more than a much larger country like Pakistan, which constitutes around 3.2% of their GDP spend on defense, while even a country like India spends only 2.4% of it's GDP on defense. Singapore's external debt is around 3 times of a much larger economy like India and also bigger than China. Their external debt is 408% of their GDP, while it is only 6% for India. Their per capita external debt is US$ 226,930 while it is only US$ 46 for India. Their GDP growth rate is figuring below 2% and they are totally dependent on imports even for their basic needs of food items. Their oil reserve is zero. I guess not a very rosy picture anymore. Expected you guys to show the whole picture than only what meet the eyes, as then it becomes perception. All that glitters is not gold.
syarif Mirza (2 years ago)
i miss singapore :( and malaysia too.(prefer singapore still)
Here comes the myth of a small government in Singapore. As if Temasek Holdings and GIC Private Limited didn't exist and 80% of the population didn't live in public housing. The economy in Singapore is one of the most planned economies in the planet, its economic system is sometimes described a "State Capitalism" (China copied many aspects of Singapore's economic model...).
NoOne NoOneAtAll (5 months ago)
Chow Rajaa GIC and Temasek combined are worth over US$ 500 billion so I guess they have nothing to worry about...
+Gabriel De Luca​ Yeah, that's why China can't attract any foreign capital, right? Singapore has a mixed economy, like any modern economy, but it's by far one of the most planned economies out there. Including the market-side of it.
Chow Rajaa (1 year ago)
Singapore is bubble ready to burst anyday. Any idea what is there external debts is? What %age of GDP and per capita debt of it's citizens? Still spends 2 billion dollars more than a much larger country like Pakistan, which constitutes around 3.2% of their GDP spend on defense, while even a country like India spends only 2.4% of it's GDP on defense. Singapore's external debt is around 3 times of a much larger economy like India and also bigger than China. Their external debt is 408% of their GDP, while it is only 6% for India. Their per capita external debt is US$ 226,930 while it is only US$ 46 for India. Their GDP growth rate is figuring below 2% and they are totally dependent on imports even for their basic needs of food items. Their oil reserve is zero. I guess not a very rosy picture anymore. Expected you guys to show the whole picture than only what meet the eyes, as then it becomes perception. All that glitters is not gold.
Njoki K (1 year ago)
I know right. Anyway, that is expected from The Economist
Clinton (2 years ago)
Singapore is in many ways very liberal but the fact that it's a globalized, developed nation and people have restrictions on there freedom doesn't make a lot of sense. You think the people would have demanded change.
fight me gook yecciiss (2 years ago)
Why is everything about gay sex these days? If they want to ban gay sex why should it be anybody's business?
Ahah (1 year ago)
AniMaTheEarth How does that relate to my point?
AniMaTheEarth (1 year ago)
+Potatoes69 You're man or woman. That's it. Genetic mutation to the rest.
Ahah (1 year ago)
If they want to ban women from schools, why should it be anybody's business?
Jones (1 year ago)
Haha what
Jay steven (2 years ago)
Exactly
Aotearoa Excubitores (1 year ago)
To understand Singapore, Westerners should have been knowing first about the culture, tradition and philosophy of Easterners, not just using Westerners own perspective on everything about Singapore.
DJ FX (2 months ago)
arrogant attitude
David Huang (9 months ago)
Thank god for that
AJ Iggy (11 months ago)
Singapores basic economic and market policies are all based off of western economic principles to a T. Where they differ is socially.
Schrödinger's Cat (1 year ago)
This "conservatism" they are talking about is starkly different from their Bible based conservatism. Chinese, Indian, Malay culture different from Abrahamic iron rule culture.
Chow Cheng En (1 year ago)
moist faucet westerners have nothing interesting only white black and hispanics i guess
aparach (2 years ago)
have you ever wondered why most countries with lots of natural resources are poor? (Africa have diamonds but still poor. Middle east countries have lots of oils but struggling to live a peaceful life) and most of the countries that have no natural resources are rich? this is my question that only war freak wont dare to answer the truth.
hunterinfected6 (1 year ago)
It's not entirely warheads. On a daily basis, it's global trades taking advantage on buying natural resources in third world for cheap so they can then sell it higher in their own to make a profit. Third worlders think they're the ones making the profit, but they're just stuck being leeched on by first world foreign trades that now use more of their own natural resources instead of them independently making use of it for the sake of their native country.
Qibilii (3 years ago)
Thinking of moving to Singapore or Malaysia, hard to believe that MY is a developing country while SG is a developed country.
Qibilii (2 years ago)
I know that.
lnl4Universe (2 years ago)
+Qibilii Singapore is not part of Malaysia, Singapore is an independent country.
Qibilii (2 years ago)
Seeing that Singapore was part of Malaysia, I believe they're stronger relations between the Malays and Singaporeans. Though I do know of the discriminatory quota system for schools and employment. Indian Malays are treated fairly in both SG and MY. 
syarif Mirza (2 years ago)
+Qibilii but i heard the malays are treated the best and non malays are like second class citizens,non muslims are kinda treated unfairly by some muslims or the govt due to disappearing freedom of religion so like,they cant spew s*** about the govt or the religion.(this issue makes me a bit ashamed to be malay)
syarif Mirza (2 years ago)
+Qibilii singapores airport is one of the best ive seen.
Dark_Raven (3 years ago)
The key factor for it's success is that it's owned by Rotschild and it's run by Jesuits.
dave choy (3 months ago)
Dark_Raven Always some people speaking tbrough the wrong end.
gelsport01 (3 years ago)
Everything is always skewed toward support for homosexuality
DJ FX (2 months ago)
SMH it's like becoming the standard to measure civilization.. disgusting
gelsport01 (3 years ago)
+TGdownthestreet I think you're right, I have known gays in my community and workplace long before all of this started and I have never known them to be like this. Even now, they are just getting on with the business of life.
TGdownthestreet (3 years ago)
+gelsport01 I think saying "homosexuals and their supporters will not listen" is a bit general. I doubt most gay people are in favor of people losing their jobs for their beliefs.
gelsport01 (3 years ago)
+TGdownthestreet That's the point we are trying to get across but homosexuals and their supporters will not listen, they have a fixity of purpose and are rolling over everyone.
Bannicus (3 years ago)
Or could it be because Singapore's government is basically a giant corperation and parasites off of Australia's and others' wealth by luring private money through dodgy custom tax schemes?
Minhman Tran (3 years ago)
There are not all people can live peace and prosper in democracy. There are many societies become unrest and instability when the dictators ousted. The way to govern of Singapore government is to create a proper, stability, and orderly country is true to most of the asian and midle-east countries.  Hongkong had a different path to prosper and democracy developing, but the rest of Asia tigers were developing and prosper under some types of dictatorship or authoritarian government, then peacefully transfered to a democracy government. Therefore, the people have to clearly understand that democracy is to be an owner of the country in a contructed way, not to destructed all to have a unrest democracy societies(=rebels?) Until people know how to live in peace, harmony and discipline, and the country economic is prosper then democracy will come naturally. Use force or revolution to spread democracy is obsoleted  in today globalization.
toe39 (3 years ago)
Singapore will need to diversify its economy before Thailand digs up its canal.
dave choy (3 months ago)
toe39 50 year old dream, keep dreaming
Icad Adli (3 years ago)
Back in the 1400s, Parameswara (the founder of the state of Malacca) had already predicted that Singapore has a great chance of being a developed country / nation. Look at Singapore now, exactly like what he said.
Yadisf Haddad (3 years ago)
What about  the shady Fiscal Policy on bank acounts? It's just Asia's Switzerland.
dave choy (3 months ago)
Simply that and economic success? Everyone will doing it tomorrow.
Jakromha (3 years ago)
Except very different.
J Farrow (3 years ago)
There are many countries in Africa that could learn from Singapore's model of economic success and growth.
I_M Ali (1 month ago)
Rawanda seem to be doing it and it's working for them
usespanner1 (2 months ago)
That was my point, IQ doesn't depend on genetics but rather education! (By the way US is more powerful because it is not an aging society with more pensioners than birds and ants, otherwise I agree rural China is far from being a Dreamland.
Toai Guong Jin (2 months ago)
usespanner1 Japanese have lower IQ than Vietnamese due they reformed their writing due they knew still continue using oldfashion, outdated Chinese character writing is suicidal for their country due they face powerful colonists, imperialist of France n superpower bullied, bombed, burned, blasted hell of their country, no choice but reform hurry to have time to fight with western capitalism shit countries n superpower had plundered their country too long, instead wasting too much time n mind to memorize Chinese characters. Japan still use half its writing of Chinese characters, very dumb, wasting lot time n mind. Japan was powerful country back then but still lost to America but poor backward half tiny country still able defeated France n America n their allies. Japan is better than Vietnam due it has advantage of more population, ocean resources all around n beyond far away, independent 150 years, rebuild their country after war 30 years ahead of Vietnam, it was imperialist too, plundered others to enrich themselves at cost others like Vietnam in fact like west, use dollars n English so easy prosper n progress. Korea has reform its writing too, so smarter than Japanese and Chinese people and leaders of course due Chinese still keep using stupid dumb Chinese ancient writing, dumb as hell. Cities of China very nice n modern but just face, front, but rural areas many still very poor, dumb n ignorant, that's why although look better than America in cities due concentrated of smart, wealthy Chinese there, but average Chinese are still very poor n dumb n uneducated like 3rd world country people.
usespanner1 (2 months ago)
80 years ago everybody said white people has higher Iq than Japanese people. 40 years ago Japanese stated they have higher IQ than Vietnamese or Chinese people. Now you say Asian people have higher IQ than black/arab people. Comeeee on!
DJ FX (2 months ago)
the West inteferes to exploit Africa
Lee Kuan Yew a man with the vision and ambitions!? What the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew left behind for Singapore people after his death...?
eLijAH Vs iLLzYaz (2 years ago)
+Louielamson Tran Nguyen *Nepotism!*
MrJonslife (3 years ago)
+Louielamson Tran Nguyen Translation please?
Sprie Spear (3 years ago)
Western media and countries said Chinese ruled country will be third world country, look at Singapore please, Chinese have the first world and wealthy country, gdp per capital smoke so much western country.
Justin Xie (1 year ago)
Japan and Korea are heavily Chinese-influenced, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Singapore are all Chinese societies. They are all developed countries or entities by miraculous growth sustaining a generation. China after embracing capitalism is staging the same economic miracle. Basically successful Asian countries all relate to Chinese or the Chinese culture for some reason.
stylomojo (2 years ago)
The british/international educated chinese or asian now want to be on par with west. Due to small population which make it easier, any idea can be materialised along with monitored progress. Go Asia
Jakromha (3 years ago)
You think Singapore is part of China? It's not.
jojoinhere (3 years ago)
the reason for Singapore success is the same as the next 3 Asian dragon. Chinese + Confucian values. you can't hide the facts
K Z A (10 months ago)
jojoinhere except south Korea. although Korea uses Hanja ie borrowed Chinese words
thesuperproify (1 year ago)
True !
Edward Snowden (3 years ago)
Wow. The Economist has shown that to be economist, not only you have to pretend to be a science, but you can also be *fact free* and pull ideologies out of your ass. The mindset of a neoclassical economist: "If a country is successful, of course it has to be a "Free market", of course it has to be "small government", and if it is not "democratic", then it is successful *despite* the authoritarian rule, not because of". Singapore government, through it's government owned entities, represents almost one fifth of listed companies in Singapore. Most of its laws and regulations are created to promote a singular goal of the government, may it be attracting manufacturing companies in 1970s, and financial companies in 2000s, or high net individuals in 2010s. It may not look like it, but Singapore as a country is run like a giant corporation than a messy democratic government. Government employees are paid extremely well for public servants, with salaries of the leaders about 7-8x of President of United of States (despite having less than 1% of its population). When people in democratic government are complaining on the waste spent on elections, do you wonder why the most powerful president in the world is getting paid $400k, while having to spend billions to get elected, and we are surprised as to why our leaders are hostages to the lobbyist and special interest groups? I think the 3 minutes clip on why a country success and fail is the perfect example of the saying "For every complex question there is a simple, clear and *wrong* answer".
Absalon (20 days ago)
The state owned S$69 billion of assets in Singapore. State owned companies are common place in Singapore. Also, 20% of the population lives in poverty due to lax immigration laws reducing the overall wage due to heavy influx of labor.
Corentin. (6 months ago)
on sen fout
shakka mannaka (8 months ago)
+Edward Snowden First of all, there is a clear causation between having a democratically elected government and a country's level of economic development http://voxeu.org/article/can-i-trust-government-new-evidence-democracies-and-financial-development Secondly, your critique of economics as not being a science is misguided and antiquate. Economists today are basically just mathematicians and statisticians, utilizing economic models to make accurate predictions about the effect on society of different policies, and they have a relatively decent track record. Thirdly, Singapore is not successful because of its SOE's, but in spite of it. They routinely underperform their peers in the private sector and divert resources from more profitable enterprises.
realfinnatic (2 years ago)
What is the worth of democracy? Philippines is a democracy, India is the largest democracy in the world - so what? Millions and tens of millions are living under the poverty line! America is good from far and far from good! Democracy is but an over-vibed and over-hyped buzzword that means nothing to the life a an ordinary man on the street. Yes, Singapore is run like a big corporation - what is wrong with that? Our founding fathers were schooled in the top schools in the world in law and economy and have seen how those societies work. From the outset they decided Singapore to a Social-democracy: society's needs and good take precedence over the individual. That's why, till today, the government plan, coordinate, motivate and control the economy and almost every aspect of the society in Singapore. Ban chewing gum, death penalty for drugs smuggling, etc, etc. So what? The end results speak for itself! Any society, there must be rules, respect n consideration for others.That's democracy!
William Freeman (2 years ago)
+Edward Snowden My point was double. Not only we are able to sharpen our precision with the IT's development, but economic theories will be able for testing in a virtual reality. A lot of today's economists are market fundamentalists. They ignore many principles of a capitalist economic system and believe in the perfection of market which exists nowhere outside their blackboards. That is why they fail to notice the emergence of crises. When a person is studying any matter, he/she needs to look only at facts about it. 
Engr. TornCab (3 years ago)
Thats why Don't bully small Country
Ng JC (3 years ago)
Tiny and underdeveloped? Are we forgetting that Singapore was already 4th richest country in Asia at that time? With fantastic infrastructure at that time compared to its neighbours due to heavy British investment into Singapore as a crown colony?
K Z A (10 months ago)
Ng JC sorry your probably just a poor Malaysian. we became first world in under 30 years. let's see in another 30 years whether Malaysia Thailand phillipines Indonesia can become 1st world. Singapore is in a sad position to be surrounded by poor jealous 3rd world neighbors
Jeremy WCK (1 year ago)
What "heavy British investment into Singapore as a crown colony" are you referring to? All those coastal defense installations with guns pointing in the wrong direction? Or the red Pillar boxes?
sorcereh (1 year ago)
When has Singapore become the 4th richest country in Asia in 1965? Where do you get your data from? LOL Please note the GDPs of other SEA countries in 1965: Philippines were ranked 27 Malaysia ranked 39 FYI Singapore was ranked 62..... http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD LOL and people said Singapore was already "rich" in 1965... If Singapore is considered rich at ranking 62, then Malaysia and Philippines would have been ultra rich But look at the rankings today 2016, see how far Singapore came from 62
Roose Cochran (3 years ago)
+Pat Owen beat me to it...
Pat Owen (3 years ago)
+Ng JC You know. You should be the Prime Minister. It sound so easy coming from you. Just words and hindsight.
adub4ever (3 years ago)
It's worth noting that Singapore is ranked the most unhappy country in the world.
K Z A (10 months ago)
wow apparently starving kids in Syria are happier than us!
Cameron Howard (1 year ago)
sorcereh1 A lot of this use economic development to define how happy a country is but that doesnt work as Bhutan is very happy but very underdeveloped.
sorcereh (1 year ago)
What most unhappy country? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report Singapore is ranked 22nd globally in the happiness report LOL I think the only person that is unhappy is you
Edward Snowden (2 years ago)
+adub4ever “Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.” - Scott Orson Card
MrJonslife (3 years ago)
It is also worth noting that happiness can never be measured in quantity.
Iznikroc (3 years ago)
a limited government and free-market?! and they said libertarianism does not work!
Toai Guong Jin (2 months ago)
Iznikroc it's Chinese people or culture, civilization, influence make Singapore great success just like other east asians, all vary systems but still work, from anti communist like HI guys King n south Korea to very communist like Communist China, duh to Singapore, communist dictatorship, communist Vietnam, etc... all successful, only ingredient common in these countries are oriental people, not western capitalism shit countries n superpower influence nor people nor culture at all, far from it, that's why it work. Of course west not gonna admit that. Same goes asian towns or Chinatowns in west too, they make more money, contributing, sacrifice, care and building America, Canada, Australia but get all blame, badmouth, bash, bullied, bias, bigotry, bombed, hell of them.
Chetan Singh (8 months ago)
If you think Singapore is libertarian you're either special or retarded or both
liang qiao (9 months ago)
Singapore is ruled by family Lee, you retard! liberal my ass, government just a puppet, Lee is the Alpha and Omega of Singapore, try touch the family you are a dead man the next morning! And unfortunately, he made some mistakes and Singapore is over, mark my words, look back to Singapre in 10 years.
Carlos Hernandez (11 months ago)
Iznikroc isn't it better to just drop the label then since there isn't even an agreed upon version of libertarianism that everyone can agree on? Slightly left, it's too socialist, slightly right, it's too authoritarian. Your initial cheap attempt at political points seem ridiculous now.
Carlos Hernandez (11 months ago)
Iznikroc so your initial statement is wrong if you just admitted that it's government is involved in key industries, which does NOT make it libertarian, but rather mixed like everybody else.
RPDBY (3 years ago)
you say  "But the island city is not ideal. Although clean and orderly, it has harsh judicial punishments, a tame press and illiberal social policies. Homosexual acts, for example, remain illegal. Protest demonstrations are rarely permitted." I say illiberal does not mean not ideal. When did leftist views became ideal?
shakka mannaka (8 months ago)
+RPDBY First of all, they are not leftist values, they are liberal values (in the latin definition of the word, not the American). Secondly, they are ideal because they are the policies which maximizes individual liberty and economic opportunity, which in the end, should be the goal of any government governed by utilitarian or deontological principles.
Chetan Singh (8 months ago)
Are you really that dumb or that afraid of the word liberal? Idiot
vdotme (11 months ago)
When did homosexuality become a leftist view?
Steve Gandalf (1 year ago)
Singapore has thrived for over 50 years. Singaporeans often talk about if they don't keep up or keep ahead of other nations, then S'pore will collapse. Whether they truly believe this and and afraid of it happening, or whether or whether it is something they have drilled into to them in school, I don't agree with this point of view. Suppose Singapore stopped developing and growing at the rates it has done in recent decades and some other countries grow much more rapidly in future so that they become significantly richer than Singapore. Will Singapore implode if this happens? No. Will Singaporeans self-destruct if some other developing countries overtake them in future? No. Just like anywhere else in the world, you will adapt, make changes and life will go on. As it does in all the other 200 or so nations on this planet. There is no need to be afraid of the future, just live in the future when it comes.
Bannicus (3 years ago)
+nan luluquis Not sure what you mean about your cousins. I can see what you mean however most rights activists don't support churches etc. being forced to embrace something they don't. I would never force someone to officiate a marriage between me and another man if they don't accept it, however I wouldn't hesitate to call them out on it. If this is in reference to the ongoings in Idaho then I think you'll find it's relating to businesses, not churches. If someone was rejected at say a dry-cleaner's because they're black for example, then that wouldn't be tolerated and would come under discrimination laws. To make a distinction between this and someone's sexuality is legitimising discrimination. If a business owner casually refuses a to serve a person in the knowledge they're gay, the world moves on. But with the reversal of laws in Arizona and Idaho, it works more in the way of say, you can't put a sign out the front of a bar saying 'no fags allowed' and then refuse people as such. Again, this works the same as for what ever other reason, hence why this is called an equal rights movement. If businesses could refuse people based on whatever reason, sexuality included, this would be equal. With the current setup that disallows it for any reason, that is also equal. Without provisions that would allow any and all alternate situations eg. a gay person refusing a Muslim at a business, the situation in those states was targeted discrimination and hence met backlash from people of ALL kinds. As far as I'm aware, churches in the US aren't forced to wed gay couples, and the bills and referenda in Australia that have temporarily passed or been declined have all had provisions to allow churches to refuse gay couples and this has not only been welcomed by activists but assumed from the beginning. As churches are not able to refuse to wed couples based on things like cohabitation, prior pregnancy etc. in Australia which also strongly conflict with their beliefs, allowing refusal of gay couples is effectively tantamount to discrimination however this hasn't been seen as a problem and churches' rights have been respected by the gay community. There's no legal framework instructing businesses to fire people based on what they say about gay people etc. However businesses attempt to maintain a public standing and often fire employees for speaking outside of what's expect of them and damaging the companies' image. This isn't covered by gay rights but could be more of a breach of labour rights etc. and what businesses/employees are/aren't entitled to. I personally wouldn't expect someone to be fired for disagreeing with me if they're anything short of hateful and most gay people see it this way but that is ultimately up to agreements between that individual and their employer. Hopefully from this you can see that LGBT rights movements aren't an aggressive jab at others' rights or special treatment. It's a movement to be seen equally under the law and even accepts compromises. If you're confusing LGBT movements with the more diehard authoritarian feminist movements, please don't. They're not at all the same although with many of these batshit feminists taking part in gay rights activism I can see where people confuse the two. I'm sorry for raging at you. Things don't necessarily come across as intended and when feelings accused of greed when at a disadvantage, it immediately seemed to me as though you were speaking out of contempt. Are you in the US?
jackthejava (3 years ago)
Yaasssss...first

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