2020-02-16     396


Singapore is a tiny country, so tiny you can drive across the island in just an hour. Despite its size and lack of natural resources, Singapore's 5.6 million people enjoy one of the highest average incomes in the world ahead of countries like Germany, France and Japan.


So how did this little island got so rich? Singapore doesn't have resources like coal or oil, but it does have something countries cann't buy, location. The island sits in the middle of an important re route connecting Asia to Europe. That's a key reason why the Britain decided, back in 1819, to set up a colony in Singapore. Location isn't everything though. There are several countries nearby that could have made use of their whereabouts, but they weren't quiet successful. That's because there are other ingredients that go into this crazy rich Singapore recipe. The Raffles Hotel which is one of the most prominent icons of Singapore's colonial history. Unlike some of its neighbors which wanted to separate themselves from their colonial histories, Singapore kept close ties with Britain even after independence in 1965. That decision announced to the rest of the world that Singapore was open for business.That's important because we know now that exports help to grow and expand an economy. But back then, it wasn't conventional wisdom. Singapore, Hong kong, Taiwan and south Korea became known as the four Asian tigers, which has grown rapidly since the 1960s. Their rise was fueled by exports, industrialization and more crucially, big doses of government intervention. That was especially true for Singapore.




Labor strikes were common on the island in the 1960s, even with high employment. On Top of that there was a housing crisis, with Singapore being home to one of the largest slum settlements in the world.So how do you build a more disciplined labor force to attract investment? Well, you give them something to work for, like a house of their own, which is why one of the first Singapore government agencies set up focused on building affordable public housing. While just 9% of the population live in public housing in the 1960s, that figure stands at more than 80% today, add in greater employee rights and strikes became extremely rare. At the same time the government attracted foreign investment through tax incentives, growing the economy and easing unemployment, which fell from an estimated 14% in 1959 to 4.5% in the 1970s. By the 1980s, Singapore was a regional manufacturing hub, and it was the world's biggest producer of hard disk drives. But today, manufacturing makes up only about 20% of singapore's GDP.



Take a look at singapore's growth in GDP. You can see two big surges, one beginning in the late 80s and another at the start of the new millennium. Ironically, Singapore has a downturn to thank for that. You see in 1985 Singapore went into its first post independence resource recession, prompting the government to introduce measures.State-owned companies like telecommunication were privatized to make them more competitive. Then at the turn of the century, service industries like finance and insurance were father liberalized. That openness have to grow the share of services from just 20 percent of GDP in 1985 to more than 70 percent in 2017. Multinational companies began to set up regional headquarters in Singapore. That attract even bigger players, boosting singapore's attractiveness to corporate and in turn its GDP. Now , Singapore is ranked as one of the world's easiest places to do business.



Singapore has been praised for transforming itself from a developing to developed economy. But most singaporeans feel rich? Well, not exactly. Two of the most important reasons? The high cost of living and inequality. For five years in a row Singapore has been named the world's most expensive city, ahead of New York and London. That's largely because of taxes on cars, making Singapore the most expensive place in the world to buy and run an automobile. It's also the third most expensive place on earth to buy clothes. But personal care, household goods and domestic help in Singapore tend to be less expensive than in other major cities. While Singapore is rich in terms of GDP per capita, the median monthly salary is $3,270. That doesn't sound too bad, but about 20% of that goes into a mandatory savings account. You can use that account to pay for a medical bills, housing and education, but it does restrict the purchasing power of the population.


You probably heard of the movie Crazy Rich Asians,which was set here in Singapore. And there was no wonder. Because Singapore has about 184,000 millionaires, making it truly is the land of the crazy rich. That's great news. The Singapore also has a fairly high rate of inequality compared with other developed countries. Let's look at the Gini coefficient, which is a scale used to calculate inequality, With zero being the most equal and one being the least. Singapore's Gini coefficient, after accounting for taxes and transfers was 0.356 in 2017. That was worse than countries like the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea and Germany, although it fared better than some, like the United States. Is that number really that bad? That question had books like this flying off the shelves. A think tank ignited public debate on the divide in social classes, after it found that on average, Singaporeans who live in public housing have fewer than one friend who lives in private housing. The government has caused the issue of inequality a national priority, but it remains to be seen if it is a problem that can be tackled effectively.


很多人都知道电影《亚洲富豪》,它的拍摄地就在新加坡。新加坡的百万富翁大约有18.4万,毫无疑问,它是当之无愧/名副其实的富庶之地。但同时令人感到惊奇的是,在发达国家中新加坡的不平等程度相当高。经过对税务和资金流动进行核算,2017年新加坡的基尼系数(用来表示不平等程度的度量单位,"0"表示最平等,"1"表示完全不平等)达到0.356,这比英国、日本、韩国、德国等国家情况要差,比美国的情况稍好一些。这个数字是不是真有这么糟呢?确实如此,关于新加坡不平等现象的书籍《This is What Looks Like》一上架就销售一空。一个专家小组曾经激发了一场对社会阶层分化的公开讨论,因为他们发现那些居住在公共住房的人比住在私人住宅的人拥有得要少。政府已经将不平等问题作为国家的当务之急,但它是否能有效解决尚未知晓。