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Lion without teeth

Below is an excerpt of an article published in The Nation on the book "The Singapore Miracle - Myth and Reality" by Rodney King.

You can read the rest of the article here

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"The Singapore Miracle - Myth and Reality" casts doubt on the city-state's claims of cutting-edge efficiency, global competitiveness, economic freedom and transparency. Most Singaporeans are not as affluent as their government makes out, King says in his extensively documented, 500-page tome.

"Books about Singapore usually praise its achievements or criticise its authoritarian rule," he writes. "But few ever probe its widely publicised claims that it is a brilliant success that other countries should follow."

King argues that Singapore's workforce productivity is often mediocre and well below that of the West and Asian economies such as Hong Kong.

"The country also displays endemic inefficiencies at both macro and micro-economic levels. The performance of the construction, financial and service sectors is second-rate, while Singapore Airlines does not deserve the top rankings it receives."

Singapore, he says, has "a dependent and underdeveloped economy". Multinational companies and state enterprises predominate, and the economy has "low entrepreneurial and innovative capacities and an under-educated workforce".

The city-state's supposed affluence is also largely a myth.

"About 30 per cent of the population still lives in poverty by Western living standards," he says. And Singapore's Housing Development Board, Central Provident Fund and state-run health schemes have severe shortcomings.

What Singapore has been good at, he says, is marketing itself.

The book is available at Amazon

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