Singapore: Does Authoritarianism Pay?

Issue Date April 2009
Volume 20
Issue 2
Page Numbers 18-32
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All sides in the debates about how and when to democratize appear to agree on one thing: The Singaporean government has been responsible for the economic progress of this illiberal democracy. Many of the government's policies have indeed enabled a remarkable growth of per capita national income in the country during the last four decades. Yet Singapore's present economic problems, and the government's responsibility for the emergence of these, have been underreported. If Singapore had been a liberal democracy, the government would not have been able to muffle the political voices that could have mitigated some of the country's current economic woes.