Zwischen Staatslenkung und Marktwirtschaft

Das Beispiel Singapur

  • Hans Christoph Rieger (Autor/in)


The paper provides an overview of Singapore's development since independence and focusses on the main decisions that had to be taken regarding the organization of the economy: Should Singapore opt for central planning or rely on market forces to bring about economic development? How should worker employer relations be organized? And how open should Singapore be with regard to the World market? The structure that emerged was one of market economy open to foreign trade and foreign investments in which, however, the government was strongly involved. But in contrast to state-run industries in some other Asian countries, Singapores government-owned enterprises are run as commerical entities that are required to generate profits. Besides the many remarkable positive aspects of Singapore economic success, there are also, however, a number of critical points to be noted, both in the economic sphere and beyond. The high wage policy of the late seventies and early eighties led to Singapore pricing itself out of the World market, while the strong government involvement in the economy gave
rise to rigidities that caused problems during the recent period of recession. The need to control the work force in the interests of economic progress has led to repression and to paternalistic involvement of government in the most intimate private affairs of the population. Of course, Singapore is special case with many peculiarities that cannot be copied at will. The absence of rural hinterland, for instance, permits controlled process of urbanization without the concomitant influx of population from the rural areas. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned from Singapore's success. The economic rationality of Singapore's macro-economic management through periods of worldwide recession and the recognition of the importance of individual economic interests in the design of policy measures are cases in point. And liberal trade policy along with an open-door policy towards foreign direct investment has been instrumental in bringing about dynamic economic development.