atans1

S’pore is parasite

In Economy, S'pore Inc on 15/03/2019 at 1:39 pm

Ong Hai Chuen posted on FB

Why is SINGAPORE the RICHEST country in ASIA? – VisualPolitik EN

Sonny Liew, yes he of The Art of Charlie Chan gave this totful response (Somewhat related post: “Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation” )

This analysis suffers from a common problem of failing to recognise Singapore as essentially a metropolitan area – as evinced by the presenter’s own constant switching from descriptions and comparisons using both the terms “city” and “country”.

The economic writer Joe Studwell in his intro to “How Asia Works: Success and Failure In the World’s Most Dynamic Region ” writes that his book “restricts itself to the developmental challenges facing what I would call ‘proper countries'”.

He goes on to say that he “ignores east Asia’s two main offshore financial centres – Hong Kong and Singapore”, along with the ” “micro oil state of Brunei” and “east Asia’s traditional gambling centre, Macau”, before describing comparisons of development between places like Singapore and Indonesia as a “pointless and deeply misleading debate”, since “Offshore centres are not normal states. Around the world, they compete by specialising in trade and financial services while enjoying lower structural overheads than other countries, which have larger, more dispersed populations, and agricultural sectors that drag on productivity… ”

“Offshore centre’s lower overheads mean that they also have a built-in fiscal advantage. Yet they can never exist in isolation – they are in a strict sense parasitic, because they have to have their host or hosts to feed on.”

It would make more sense to look at Singapore in City or Metropolitan Area terms when evaluating it’s policies and successes – so places like Hartford and San Jose would be in a similar league. These cities have small population sizes and may have comparable types of economies – Hartford’s economy is “strong in finance, especially insurance and benefits and is an important government center, as the capital of Connecticut”, while San Jose “is home to the larger part of the world’s leading technology center, suburban Silicon Valley.”

While good governance is still key to its success, failure to at least view Singapore partly through metropilitan area lenses may end up presenting a muddled picture…

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