Talk about a country being small but powerful and you’re most likely referring to Singapore, a country that moved from being a little fishing village to having one of the best GDP in the world. It is one of the most affluent places that you could choose to live, but is Singapore a third-world country?
Singapore is not a third-world county since it has joined the ranks of first-world countries. However, Singapore, up to 2021, was still viewed as a developing nation.
That’s despite its ranking as the world’s third most impactful economy and a US$56,000 per capita GDP. That status is only behind Hong Kong and the United States.
Regardless, Singapore remains among the top governed states, attributable to its minimal crime figures and practically non-existent state corruption.
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Singapore’s contributions to urban development have gained worldwide notice. Essentially, it’s a real-world experiment.
It is no surprise that the island nation has pioneered the development of a wide range of contemporary urban amenities.
It is one of the most densely inhabited countries in the world, with 5.5 million people living in just 697 square kilometers. As a result, the 21st century may not be ruled by the United States or China, but rather by Singapore.
Singapore, also described as “a little red dot,” is unquestionably a driving force behind this transformation. Analysts say that this is largely because of the confluence of the passage of time, technological advancements, and an increasing global population.
In the beginning, these areas were just two of several British possessions. In 1963, Singapore joined with Malaysia to establish the Federation of Malaysia, which became a sovereign state.
However, Malaysia’s mainly Malay population did not wish to embrace Singapore’s majority Chinese. There was an increase in street disturbances and violence was common.
Father of the Nation Lee Kuan Yew did not agree with that regime, so the Malaysian parliament expelled Singapore after just two years.
Singapore had to devise a strategy immediately because the bulk of the populace had lost their jobs as a result of the breakup.
Trading in Southeast Asia was difficult due to territorial disputes; thus, traders imported their goods from other countries. That marked a new beginning for the city-state of Singapore after World War II.
To encourage investment, Singapore needed to provide a secure, corruption-free, and low-tax atmosphere. Singapore opted to construct an autocratic rule to compromise the freedom of the people for the survival of the country.
International investors were drawn to the country because of its strict but business-friendly legislation. In 1972, one-fourth of Singapore’s industrial companies were foreign-owned or strategic partnership corporations.
The United States and Japan played key roles as major investors in the country’s manufacturing sector. In just seven years, the country’s GDP grew at an annual rate of double digits.
As a result of the influx of foreign investment, Singapore began to invest in its human capital as well as its physical infrastructure. Unskilled employees were trained in computer technology, petroleum products, and electronics by paying foreign corporations to train them.
Tourism and transportation opportunities were opened up for those who didn’t get industrial positions. Singapore’s decision to hire international experts to teach its workforce was clearly a wise one.
Singapore’s principal exports in the 1970s were textiles, clothing, and basic electronic equipment. A wide range of industries was served during the 1990s, from semiconductor wafer processing and logistics to biotech research to pharmaceutical development to integrated circuit design to aerospace engineering.
Hardly anyone imagined that a resource-starved Singapore would its independence from both Great Britain in 1964 and Malaysia in 1965.
An independent Singapore was viewed as an economic, political, and geopolitical absurdity – as Lee Kuan Yew expressed during an interview in March of 1965.
Many factors have been attributed to the country’s quick growth, especially Lee Kuan Yew’s savvy leadership which steered the country. He was dubbed a “master builder” by Samuel Huntington in the twentieth century.
Through the leadership of Mr. Lee and those who followed him, Singapore was able to maintain a small but effective government.
The US-led Asia Pacific order also contributed to a reasonably stable regional environment. With the help of ASEAN, the region of Southeast Asia is now more stable and integrated than ever before.
Second only to Shanghai in terms of container traffic, Singapore sits at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, which is used by nearly 40% of all worldwide trade. Regional and international air travel are both served by this airport.
Because of its strategic position, Singapore became the Asian base for a large number of major multinational corporations (MNCs).
Since its founding in 1965, Singapore has adhered to the ideals of meritocracy, which guarantees that the finest and brightest can develop to their utmost potential regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status.
To attract multinational corporations, the country’s education system must create high-quality English-speaking graduates. In addition, Singapore has been well-positioned to reap the benefits of China’s rise because the majority of its citizens are Mandarin-speaking ethnic Chinese.
Because Singapore is a multiethnic country, the educational and employment systems there provide a fair chance for all citizens, and the rules are tightly enforced to prevent religious or racial tensions in the community.
There are elements of neoliberalism and socialism in Singapore’s economic model. It is home to some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions.
GICs (Government-linked companies) including Temasek Holdings and Singapore Airlines, as well as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Housing Development Board (HBD), the Central Provident Fund Board, and the Economic Development Board all contribute to Singapore’s economic success.
Singaporeans are required by the CPF Board to save a significant portion of their salary, making the country one of the world’s top savers. The HDB has greatly contributed to the island nation’s lack of slums and homelessness.
What makes Singapore such an expensive place to live?
Singapore is a victim of its success. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, it is among the costliest cities to live in.
There are more millionaires in Singapore than anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, the country’s level of income disparity is extremely high.
There has been an increase in the number of immigrants due to an older population and a decrease in fertility rates.
More than half of Singapore’s 5.5 million people were born outside the city-state. As the country has gotten increasingly populous, this has sparked a political blowback.
The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Singapore is the best place to live in Asia, coming in second overall in the globe, and the most hospitable country in Asia for expats.
In Singapore, you and your loved ones can be certain that your safety is in good hands.
One of the world’s safest countries, Singapore has continuously low crime rates, a straightforward legal system, and a police force that is embraced by citizens who take responsibility for their safety.
Healthcare in Singapore is among the best in the world.
Public, private, and community hospitals, as well as national specialist centers, are readily available for all citizens.
Singapore ranks number one in the world for education overall and second in reading, math, and science.
Clearly, education is extremely important in Singapore.
Singapore has a world-class elementary and secondary education system with a well-deserved reputation for academic achievement in the fields of mathematics and science. Additionally, their local universities and higher institutions are among the best in the world.
If you’re looking for a pre-school to college education, there is a wide range of public and private institutions to choose from.
Many Singaporeans point the finger of blame to the country’s high cost of living.
Many Singaporeans also blame international labor and minimal laborers for their poor earnings, which has contributed to the country’s economic decline. The rising generation is finding it increasingly difficult to afford to house.
The politics of the island are being impacted by all of these challenges. The country’s longtime ruling party, the People’s Action Party, suffered a major defeat in the most recent general election.
There is a good chance that investments that have paid dividends in the past will continue to do so in the future. Thought leaders in the country’s political and economic arenas are building up scenarios based on both internal and external factors to try to predict the country’s future.
The rising manufacturing and service industries are critical to Singapore’s economic growth. To put it another way, growth will be dependent on increased productivity.
However, its worker productivity has been declining for the last few years.
Firms must produce more with fewer employees as part of the most recent economic reform that started in 2010. It has created high-tech parks to entice start-ups and venture capitalists.
Future growth in Singapore will come from high-tech manufacturing, aviation and logistics, integrated health sciences, smart city solutions, and financial services. In the years to come, China and the ASEAN region will be even more crucial for growth.
Due to massive Chinese investments in ports and other marine infrastructure (aimed at connecting its coastal towns and underdeveloped provinces with Europe, Central Asia, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the overland Silk Road), the city state’s traditional geographic advantage is under threat.
As much as 1200 kilometers might be saved by building a canal that would connect the Andaman Sea with the Gulf of Thailand via the Kra Isthmus. If this is built, the Strait of Malacca, as well as Singapore, will lose their significance.