From James Bartholomew comparing Singapore to Britain:
Its GDP per capita has overtaken that of Britain according to the World Bank, the IMF and the CIA World Factbook, each of which has a different way of measuring. Yet still it grows. Last year it was up another 5 per cent. Meanwhile Britain desperately tries to avoid a double-dip recession. The contrast is stark.
And here is a newspaper headline that you won’t see in Britain any time soon. Every country is suffering from dreadful economic conditions, right? Here’s the headline: ‘Jobless rate falls to 14-year low’. It was in the Straits Times earlier this month. The latest fall in unemployment brings the proportion out of a job down to 2 per cent. Meanwhile the average salary of Singaporeans has risen by 6 per cent in the past year.
Keynesians — in the corrupted sense of ‘those who believe in yet more deficit financing whenever there is an economic problem’ — may well assume that the government has splurged to achieve this remarkable result. Not at all. Here is another headline from the Straits Times: ‘Government surplus “to exceed forecast”.’
The entire interesting article from which this quotation comes is here.
Singapore’s economic performance and level of economic freedom are laudable – and as the article notes, something from which we could certainly learn a thing or ten. However, Singapore raises two big questions for classical liberals:
1. Could the Singapore model work outside of the city-state context?
2. Will the Singapore model in terms of economic freedom survive liberalization in terms of individual and civil rights? Perhaps a good test case would be to expand individual rights outside of the economic realm before expanding civil rights. This probably sounds bass-ackwards to most in the West today.