Commentary

Singapore: A Fascinating Alternative to the Welfare State


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Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, died last week at age 91. Almost every obituary has remarked on the radical transition his leadership heralded. As John Fund wrote at National Review:

By embracing free trade, capital formation, vigorous meritocratic education, low taxes, and a reliable judicial system, Lee raised the per capita income of his country from $500 a year to some $52,000 a year today. That’s 50 percent higher than that of Britain, the colonial power that ruled Singapore for 150 years. Its average annual growth rate has averaged 7 percent since the 1970s.

Part of the reason for Singapore’s remarkable climb up the international income ladder is bread and butter capitalism. The Fraser Institute’s Freedom of the World report lists Singapore as the second freest economy in the world — right behind Hong Kong. As Frasier scholars have demonstrated year after year, economic growth and free markets go hand and hand.

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John C. Goodman is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, President of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed Independent books, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and the award-winning, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”


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