Another View of Singapore

Excellent commenter Creaders writes about Singapore, begging to differ that Lee Kuan Yew is some sort of a Marxist.

Hi Robert, I am a Singaporean. I think the world needs to study this Lee Kuan Yew carefully. He is being championed by the capitalists not without good reasons. Singaporean workers are being exploited. Singapore is the only first world country without any forms of social security and government medical insurance.
Our public housing system is not due to any charity from Lee Kuan Yew. The subsidy came from the political enemies of PAP government as well as subsistence farmers. The land was expropriated from those landlords.
After PAP government took all our land, the sold to the highest bidder. The PAP government is extremely rent seeking. It jacks up property prices crazily such that our fertility rate is now about 1.1 kids per woman, the lowest in the whole world. Our property prices are one of the highest in the world now, just 20% behind Hong Kong.
Lee Kuan Yew’s greed knows no bounds. Despite of all these social ills, he has continued till this day to import foreigners massively, further pushing up our property prices and reducing our birthrate.
Lee Kuan Yew succeeded in Singapore not because he is smart but more because Singaporeans, the majority of whom are Chinese, are able to take his abuse and turn bad things into good.
Today, Lee Kuan Yew has run out of ideas. Singapore being the first to industrialize in the third world has seen all our industries hollow out due to high property prices. Lee now pursues the financialization of our economy. Singapore is now a money laundering and tax-evasion haven, that allows the rich all over the world to avoid paying taxes and hoard all their wealth in Singapore.
Tax havens like Singapore, Luxembourg, Switzerland need to be destroyed. The western countries already achieved 100% employment and utopia in 1960s. Their problem now is due to parasitic tax haven states as well as capitalists shipping jobs to India and China.

This is an excellent analysis. My view as a socialist is that we should support pro-worker states. The states that do the greatest good for the greatest number of workers are the best states on Earth. By this argument, North Korea is failing badly because they are not creating a good society for the working people of North Korea.
As a pro-workerist, I really don’t care whether a state is good for business. Who cares! Good for business tends to be in direct opposition to good for workers. The more a state is good for business, the less it is good for workers. Though many pro-worker states try to accommodate business, it is true that they do tend to limit them and hamper them in various ways, which I feel is proper.
As a pro-workerist, why should I care which nations are best for the rich? If a nation is ruled only by the rich and exists and only to benefit the rich (as is true of many nations) why should working people support this? What’s in it for them?
The ideal state is pro-worker, allows the rich to nevertheless keep a lot of their cash and puts reasonable limits on business in terms of regulation and taxation while nevertheless using the market as a tool to create wealth which can then be rationally distributed to society as a whole.
There is nothing whatsoever good about a wealthy state that won’t even provide national health care or Social Security for its people. And as the commenter points out, the state housing was created in a very sleazy way, by stealing the land of the rivals of Lee’s party. In addition, the lands of subsistence farmers were also confiscated.
I had a discussion about Singapore with a friend of mine. The Right likes to claim that the rightwing more or less neoliberal society of Singapore can be repeated elsewhere on a global scale as some sort of a model.
My friend pointed out that Singapore is a very rich country that exists simply due to the very low wages paid to the workers from surrounding lands who commute into Singapore every day to work. It’s based on exploitation of the poor. How can the whole world become “rich” like Singapore? It’s not possible, and it cannot be duplicated.
Presently the housing prices are so insanely high that most Singaporeans cannot even afford a home. This results in children living at home far into their 20’s and 30’s and not marrying and starting families. Because housing and the cost of living is so expensive, most of the young have decided that it makes no sense at all to have kids.
Lee has created a rich people’s paradise in Singapore, a nearly feudal state where the workers are so priced out of the economy that they are refusing to breed and have no roofs over their heads.
Lee has apparently adopted the traditional neoliberal model of continuous importation of cheap labor from abroad to be exploited by rich Singaporeans. Well, that is quite progressive.
Now that the productive economy is hollowing out because property prices are so high that few businesses even want to pay the rent necessary to do business there, Singapore is turning to a financialized and parasitic economy like New York City’s. Singapore will become a giant casino and tax haven for the rich. Some model!

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0 thoughts on “Another View of Singapore”

  1. Hi Robert,
    I think you are one of the most brilliant mind on blogsphere. Your courage is unparalleled in taking on sensitive topics like race in an extremely honest and direct manner.
    I would also like to comment further. The current economic depression in all western countries are artificial creation by the rich. By early 20th centuries, the western intelligentsia has acquire enough knowledge to create utopia. In 1960s, the western countries have basically eradicate all social ills through socialism. Eisenhower imposed a 92 percent marginal income tax rate, basically turning USA into a socialist state–although not to the mark of Europe.
    Today, economist lied that the 100% employment in Europe during 1960s due to “post WW2 rebuilding”. If that is the case, we can just vacate London or New York and nuke it into piles of rubble and start rebuilding. Base of these economics theory, we will get 100% employment and good economy.
    To make things short, the sorry state of Western countries are due to purposeful design by the elites. All your problem can be solved if elites really want it. And remember, when Adolf Hitler came to power, Germany in 1933 was economically in worse state than Obama today. Fours years later in 1939, Germany got close to full employment and everyone are well-fed.
    Hitler’s secret–socialism. Today, liars would like to pain Hitler as a economic fascist. In reality, Hitler is an economics socialist but a ultra-rightwing racist.

    1. The elites in America who argue for right wing economic policies, do you think they a) believe sincerely they are for the best, b) they argue for self-interested policies without really knowing or caring whether their arguments are true, or c) they consciously know their arguments/policies are bad for the majority and for the economy but they push for them anyway.
      Are you sure the elites don’t believe their own lies? I would think that some of them believe their economic arguments, convenient as they are. I think there are many sincere free market ideologues., including among the elites. I think Newt Gingrich is probably one example of a sincere free marketeer.

      1. I think Thatcher is another example of someone who sincerely believed in what she stood for. Was she an elite? I don’t think she had full knowledge of how to create a utopia but chose to ruin the country for the gain of the rich.

  2. If there is one word to describe Singapore. It has the world’s most incorrigible gambler in LKY and his family. Can anyone name me a country who has no hesitation and no consequence in losing hundred of billions in gambling with Singapore’s resource and reserves through bad investment, and messing Singapore’s future with their nonsensical reasons and belief ?
    They are gambling using poor foresight and logical simpleton reasons just because it is not their money to lose, and if win, it is Lee’s to take. So bad is their investment is that this shameful disgusting govt still have the audacity to do creative accounting for decades as discovered by Christoper Baldings. And what did they do after been discovered ? Just change the number , and move on … and continue their way…. Tell me which first world country can actually do that without public protest by the public ? Only uniquely Singapore, the one and only.
    http://www.baldingsworld.com/

  3. Dear Mandy
    I would like to provide a few more insights in why LKY and families gambled away our wealth. First, the world today are on worthless fiat standard, using worthless USD as the reserve currency, in place of gold standard. There is a conspiracy of silence by all intelligentsia, not to inform the public about the significant and consequences of such system. To put it short, the value of USD is going to ZERO, and every elites knew about it.
    It give Singaporean leader a dilemma. First, we short-change US workers so much and accumulate so the highest USD reserve in the whole world other than Gulf oil states. What to do with these imminent worthless notes?
    Next USD is not entirely fungible. The USA elites are clever. You are not allow to purchase things with real values in USA, such as mines, power, communications, and farmland. Most important, Singapore is not allow to buy gold. Accumulating gold is deem as hostile to USA, as it takes down USD as reserve currency. And that left Singapore government with little left to buy. They invested in TBTF banks and got dupe by USA elites. Our labour got wasted.
    What atrocious about all these scenarios are, PAP could have spent all these $$$ on social security and healthcare. We could have work shorter hours. We need not accumulate so much surplus. Our housing could be sold cheaper.
    Right now, its too late. Singapore could crumble in the next financial crisis. When USD got wipe out, there goes our CPF force savings,

  4. Though I have not read this writing in its entirety which I would certainly, but what comes immediately to my mind was, remembering something which someone from Australia, if I am not wrong, wrote about how quite well Singapore marketed herself to the world in relation to what she axtually is and actually does.

  5. Creaders,
    totally agree with you. You are very wise intellectual judging from what you have written. You are right to say that US currency is in fact banana money and worthless going by their gigantic and unrecoverable country debt. Their currency perceived to have value because the country represent innovations, originality (and freedom?) , and as long people believe that they are sustainable. Still the world changes, the US losing in power because of intense competition and media piracy that change the game. our cuckoo govt buy investment at high US currency and suffer from low value now, and how is it that cuckoo like them cannot foreseen them if layman could ?
    As such, the PAP leaders are really stupid due to their greed for money and power. They should have realized that they can never bring their money to their graves and there is so much that Singaporeans can tolerate their nonsense. The best that PAP can do is stop their bullshit and liberate Singapore to chart its own path. But no, they did not stop but continue to milk and exploit the citizens to no end, worrying that if singaporeans have too much freedom and power they will start digging out PAP’s sketelons out of closet, and bring PAP to justice. They should have removed GRC, nepotism, family business , monarchy, LKY, GCT, and MIW who beholden to Lee’s family … but they didn’t. Instead continue their bullshit. That’s say there is nothing that PAP will be remembered for except their propaganda, repression and bullshit… yes, they should have repent by revamping their policies and focus on the citizens, but no, they just do more of the same bullshit and nonsense, and continue to wayang.
    Sincity is no different from “modern” Qing Dynasty. Bootlickers, yes-men and sychrophants continue to run the show. SinCity is made to look good not because it is a vibrant country but it is needed to justify PAP hegemony and repression. And citizens continue to be the gambling chips for the disgusting family to bet on.
    PAP does not want to leave good name for itself, it just want to continue to live in its make-believe world with millions and billions in their banks.

  6. May I know where are we now when Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea have outpaced us in term of culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and global brand ? Look at how vibrant those countries are now compare to here. don’t we look like the sickest tiger among the 4 asian tigers ?

    1. HK suffered similar things like us. They are Hijack by property tycoons such as Li Ka Shing. These elites corrupted their minds deliberately. The only hope for HK people now are mainlanders keep on pumping monies into their properties, blowing up the bubbles. HK people wet-dreamed that few years down the road, they can cash out and retire in Canada.
      S Korea and Taiwan have economics model that “works better”. Nevertheless, their way of doing things will go no where eventually. S Korea and Taiwan sell-out their labours, working hard to produce stuff, and to sell them to USA in-exchange of worthless USD. Nevertheless, S Korea and Taiwan still produces stuff compared to ponzi Singapore and HK economy.
      China is following similar path. And why East Asian follow such economics suicide model? Its too long to explain. To make it short, such model is attractive to elites for exploiting people and benefit the rich.
      Secondly, for China, such model has further profound implication, that USA dismantle their production and ship their factories to China. On the day when China stop accepting USD, they can keep these production for their own consumption. Over night, China will become the most powerful nation.
      Then USA will starve. Walmart will be empty. USA may have revolution that leads to its dismemberment.
      Who is the main culprit if such things happen? No not China. Its the USA elites who bend on exploiting its workers that could eventually undermine their own country,

  7. Watch a documentary called “The Money Changers” as to how World Finance works; As I learnt Americans owning gold is resented by governement and the Rich Bankers; They even confisicated Gold from people and put in Fort KNox. Atleast Indian Women wear some Gold.
    US Federal Reserve is a sham Bank; focused on keeping Americans dependent on them.

  8. Clearly I was mistaken about Singapore. It doesn’t really strike you as the type of society where exploitation is rampant. I have a question about the low birthrate however: Isn’t this advantageous given Singapore’s limited space and resources? What is Singapore’s strategy regarding its birthrate?

    1. Singapore’s low birthrate is entirely government’s creation. We are now the highest density country in the whole world, and yet Lee Kuan Yew government still keep on importing foreigners, jacking up property to make birthrate low.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_density
      Lee Kuan Yew imported around 1 million foreigners over the pass 1.5 decades. Today, the citizen is 3 million but foreigners are 2.3 million. And out of the 3 million citizen, a certain proportion are naturalize citizen.
      Why Lee Kuan Yew want to do such crazy things? Answers are too long. But all his policies bring great harm to citizens and very often are out of no good intentions. And most of all, Lee Kuan Yew wanted to suppress the citizens who are getting more clever. He allied himself with those mostly 3rd world foreigners newly imported.
      Singapore are ultra-capitalist country. Hence, you see few media bad mouth us. Our poverty problem are getting worse and worse.
      Below is from Reuters, one of the most capitalistic mouth piece. It says The bottom 10 percent of Singaporean households had an average monthly income of SGD$1,400 (US$1,130) last year…. (household and if we look at pay per lower income worker, it will be worse)
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/08/us-singapore-elections-idUSTRE7470G720110508
      This monies is definitely miserable if you consider the high cost living of SG. For example, my parent’s 120 sq-meter apartment (i have not move out from parents) cost SGD1 million (US800,000) today in a non- prime area. Such appartment cost SGD3000 (USD 2400) to rent.
      The heartless former minister finally broke down admitted that income is falling for the poor. Today his successor and colleagues are still in denial.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-xQa44CQDI&feature=related

  9. Dear Robert
    I’m perfectly aware that not all is well in Singapore. Still, in 1950, Singapore was one of the poorest countries on earth. By 1990, it had attained prosperity. With more social-democratic policies, the masses could have benefited more from this prosperity, but inequality in a rich country is better than inequality in a poor country. Something was done right in Singapore.
    Having said this, there is something seriously with a country that has a fertility rate of 1.1. In South Korea, it is only 1.2. The long-term future for these countries is not bright.
    Regards. James

    1. Hi James,
      “Still, in 1950, Singapore was one of the poorest countries on earth.”
      I have to disagree with you on that. There is this idea that Singapore was dirt poor which I think is wrong. Singapore was _never_ dirt poor, at least _never_ as dirt poor as India.
      Look at this chart from World Bank data: http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=wb-wdi#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=log&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=country:AUS:SGP:GBR:IND&ifdim=country&hl=en_US&dl=en_US&ind=false
      The chart is in logarithmic scale. You can see clearly that even in the late 50’s and the 60s, Singapore was _already_ in the middle income categories. Singaporean GDP per capita back then was already 1/3 that of UK and Australia. This put it in the middle income category. Any country whose GDP per capita is 1/3 of UK can not be considered _poor_ country.
      Please note that Singapore did not become independent until 1965. So way before independence Singapore was already a _middle-income_ country. Contrast this with India, which was a very poor country before independence (and after independence).
      Now this basically means that independent India started from very low income, whereas independent Singapore started from middle income. It is easier to become rich country when you already started as middle-income country.

  10. To Creaders:
    Most important, Singapore is not allow to buy gold. Accumulating gold is deem as hostile to USA, as it takes down USD as reserve currency.
    Who is stopping Singapore from buying gold…? Many central banks including South Korea (with US troops on their soil..), China, Russia, Mexico, Thailand, and the Philippines among others have been adding to their gold reserves in recent years. Why would Singapore be singled out..?

    1. Central banks buy gold only after long multi-lateral negotiations. People bank of China has not been buying gold on open market, but quietly take up all gold mined from China.
      Other central banks like Korea, holds only 40t of gold, while they hoard much of worthless US FX reserve, USD317.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_reserve
      Although there is no treaty regulating central bank purchase of gold, they must have made agreement among themselves. Call this a conspiracy theory.
      Recently, the agreement broke down somehow. This is in relation to US losing their influence on client states as well as USD is currently losing so much value that other central banks need to protect their wealth.

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