Okay so I'm stuck here in Singapore on an eight-hour wait for my connecting flight. An airport display informs you of the following factoids:
Did you know that Singapore makes:
1/3 of all hard disks?
1/3 of all hearing aids?
20% of all photoflash lamps?
Oil and gas equipment?
About 26% of GDP is accounted for by manufacturing, of which nearly 40% is in electronics, 26.4% is in chemicals, 17% in mechanical engineering, and 7.6% in biomedical products.
Of course we all know that Singapore is a global transport hub. One-third of the world's oil passes through Singapore; it has the 3rd largest oil refinery hub; it has 50% of the world market for fast ferries. It is the world's number 1 in shipbuilding repair, cornering 20% of the world market. Changi airport exemplifies this excellence: all cargo is cleared within 13 minutes; the airport has been voted best airport by "Business Traveller" for the last 17 years.
Was this achieved because the government closed off the economy to foreign investment and trade? You gotta be kidding. It's one of the freest economies in the world, next to Hong Kong. One of the beauties of the market is how it identifies export winners in such detailed niches that no planner or economic model could possibly foresee. Well okay, a world transport hub, maybe; but friggin' hearing aids? Photo flash lamps?
Okay lots of people are complaining about the repressive political environment. However what is important is total freedom - economic and political. Some countries have lots of political freedom but place plenty of economic restrictions. Time to realize that these restrictions fall within a continuum of repression. So before we say in the Philippines fault Singapore for this and that, tell me, how long does it take for you to register your real property in the Philippines, grease-free, in the Philippines?