Take that, Samson Corwell!

I was once accused of holding Singapore up as a model. Well, I don't, but this guy sure does. (I simply do not know enough about the place to have a strong opinion.)

10 comments:

  1. I admit, I had misunderstood you. But, I did not say that you held it up as a model. Anyway, it's complicated. As for the author of the article, well, I can only bang my head on my desk. He calls it free market when 80% of the population live in public housing!

    On a side note, I wonder if nationalization is necessarily socialist, since the author referred to Britain as socialist at one point in its history.

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    1. Well, he says "free market" is the "default": he never claims Singapore is the mythical "trufree market."

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    2. Oh, don't worry. I'm not one of those "trufree market" types. In general, I actually try to avoid using the term. It's actually getting hard to know what the word even means anymore.

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  2. If Singapore was a disaster area, it would be considered socialist by US conservatives and libertarians.

    "The economy of Singapore is dominated by government-linked corporations that produce as much as 60% of the country's GDP.[22] These government-linked companies are owned by a government holding agency, Temasek Holdings."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government-owned_corporation#Singapore
    Government owns the commanding heights of the economy (or something like it).

    By the 1980s, someone asked Lee why his Minister of Justice was paid the unheard-of sum of US $350,000 a year. Highly paid government bureacracy.

    "high-rise apartment-house populations each replicate the city-state’s ethnic demographics... they grow up knowing members of every group. Thus stereotyping and bigotry are diminished."
    Forced ethnic and religious integration in public housing.

    "Similarly, aspects of free speech are curtailed selectively: in 2007 three violently racist bloggers were convicted of sedition.
    Sedition. Let that sink in for a minute. In Singapore, you can't be a racist and a patriot.

    ...requires all male Singaporean citizens and non-first-generation permanent residents who have reached the age of 18 to enroll for national service. They serve a 22- or 24-month period ...either in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF), or the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
    When a conscript completes his full-time service, he is considered to be "operationally ready", and is thereafter ...the equivalent of other countries' reservists.

    Universal peacetime conscription.

    Lee Kuan Yew...is peering ahead again into this city-state's future, this time with plans to seal it off with dikes against the rising tides of global warming. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/world/asia/29iht-lee.1.7301669.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
    He believes in global warming, but doesn't think the free market will fix it.

    I think the author might be right about Lee Kuan Yew being the greatest conservative statesman of the 20th century; he may be the best example in history of a benevolent dictator. But on the US political spectrum, he'd fall somewhere to the left of Vermin Supreme.

    You hear a lot of conservatives and libertarians praise Yew and Singapore but there's some kind of cognitive dissonance that prevents them from considering these deviations from laissez faire seriously.

    Off topic:
    Gene, can you send a draft of your 'Urban Rationalism' paper to me at argosyjones@hotmail.com? I'd like to read it.

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  3. But on the US political spectrum, he'd fall somewhere to the left of Vermin Supreme.

    I'm not sure he's necessarily "left-wing". Singapore doesn't give me the "vibe" I associate with the word "socialist". It might be more accurate to say that Singapore is run like a business. In fact, I feel it might be accurate to call it a corporatocracy.

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    1. "In fact, I feel it might be accurate to call it a corporatocracy."

      That sounds accurate.

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    2. I like to use alternative labels since I hate the terms "socialist" and "free market". Some others I got:
      •North Korea is a quasi-feudal monarchical stratocracy.
      •Russia is a mafia state.
      •China is a Confucian mercantilist technocracy.

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  4. If Singapore was a disaster area, it would be considered socialist by US conservatives and libertarians.

    Also, if it doesn't revolve around workers, then it isn't socialist.

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    1. The point was that many of the things done by his government in 40+ years of being near or at the top of the ruling party would be called socialism by american conservatives and libertarians, many of whom seem to admire him and Singapore.

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    2. It gets worse:
      •Read this.
      •"If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one." — Lee Kuan Yew

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