9 reasons why Singapore is so pathetic

December 2, 2002
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

This article is take from a website called Hemlock’s Musings

1. Singapores economic growth miracle of the 1960s-90s came mostly from added inputs, not from growth in productivity.

Average growth p.a., 1960-85:
Hong Kong 6% Singapore 6%

Worker productivity increase, 1970-90:
Hong Kong 150% Singapore 100%

Savings rate 1970-90
Hong Kong 20% Singapore 40%

Change in output per unit of capital, 1970-90
Hong Kong 0% Singapore -50%

In other words, Singapore had to invest twice as much as HK to produce the same level of output. To compensate for the poor productivity and diminishing returns of investments directed by the state, its people had to save twice as much as Hongkongers, and consume less. Pathetic.

2. The Singaporean people do not really have the fundamental right to make their own investments. The Singapore government forces people to hand over up to 40% of their net income, and it invests most of it as it sees fit. The government allows people to individually direct only a small part of these forced savings (mainly into non-voting shares in state-owned enterprises). The government tells Singaporeans how lucky they are to be allowed to choose to use their savings for education, home purchase, medical coverage, etc as if the money werent theirs in the first place. Pathetic.

3. This is therefore a planned economy, in which civil servants attempt to pick winners. As well as (mis)managing its peoples savings, Singapores government also arranges subsidies to encourage favoured industries. Needless to say, these subsidies are at the expense of other industries. For example, the rest of the economy has subsidized forex traders and fund managers (the last people who need a subsidy) in order to push Singapore higher up the list of international forex trading and fund management centers. The government sells this to its people as a success. Meanwhile, the government is ordering its state-owned business to expand beyond the little city state. In their desperation to become regional players, they are paying over the odds for assets of doubtful quality. Pathetic.

4. One big mistake made by the controllers of the Singaporean economy was to maintain a large manufacturing sector long after factories would otherwise have been moved to lower-cost sites (as they did in Hong Kong in the 1980s-90s). They have put their peoples wealth into direct investment into local manufacturers, or into tax breaks and other subsidies for inward manufacturing investment. It is therefore left with a large and increasingly unviable manufacturing base in such loser industries as semiconductors. Pathetic.

5. Faced with such mismanagement, most people would complain. Not Singaporeans. Their government effectively controls the media and runs a highly effective PR campaign aimed at convincing the people the government is wonderful. Many sincerely believe it. Those who dont fall for it keep quiet, or wish they had. The few people who dare to speak out suffer reduced career prospects or even legal action. Unlike Hongkongers, Singaporeans have no right, in practice, to walk down the street handing out anti-government leaflets and shouting anti-government slogans. It is a crime to speak in public without a permit. Pathetic.

6. Democracy is impossible without free speech. Singapore is therefore no more a democracy than Hong Kong (where the government is appointed by Beijing). However, Hong Kong at least allows an opposition to exist openly, and to present its views in independent media, without fear of persecution or harassment. In Singapore, opposition politicians who ask awkward questions can be (and have been) sued for libel by ruling politicians and convicted (and bankrupted). Neighbourhoods that vote in low numbers for the ruling party receive lower government funding for public facilities in retaliation for their lack of gratitude in flagrant violation of the basic democratic principle that the government is accountable to all its people, not just its voters. Pathetic.

7. Singapores “father figure” is Lee Kuan Yew. One of his interests is eugenics. He believes that a more-intelligent population can be achieved through selective breeding, and at one stage Singapore encouraged people with high educational levels to marry each other, and it offered financial incentives for them to have children. (After hearing his ideas during a state visit, Britains Princess Anne said, Well, Mr Lee, it doesnt work with horses.) Social engineering continues today, with the government, which used to go to great lengths to encourage people to have fewer babies, begging them to have more if they can afford it. This means unless youre Malay. Singapores schools systematically leave Malays disadvantaged and stuck in low-paying jobs. They have also tried to attract more (Chinese) immigrants from Hong Kong. Dont all rush. Pathetic.

8.

9. Cosmopolitan is banned in Singapore. Pathetic.

(Reason number 8 was edited out for legal reasons).