The Political Economy of Singapore


The Political Economy of Social Control in Singapore
Christopher Tremewan


Singapore has been widely seen as an economic miracle, a veritable and contentment.’

The Singapore state is the exclusive or major provider of infrastructure (utilities, communications, media, industrial estates, port and airport services) and of social services (housing, health and education). It is the country’s largest employer, it sets wage levels, regulates labour supply and controls all unions. It is the main actor in the domestic capital market, runs giant state enterprises, a trading company and joint ventures with foreign capital. It also directs the apparatus of state coercion: the police and the internal security organizations, the courts and the prisons and a large military force.’

‘..many people are constantly aware of the political limits on personal behaviour imposed by the state.’

‘..the singular characteristic of social control in Singapore is its success in producing political loyalty and cooperation among the majority of the population.’

‘The wealthiest ten per cent of Singapore households take approximately 30 per cent of total income, while the poorest 10 per cent are left with 2 or 3 per cent of total income.’

‘Neither the inequality nor the comprehensive system of social control in Singapore are obvious to the casual observer.’

‘The increased consumption of the services and consumer goods has had the ideological effect of Singaporeans believing that they have more control over their lives rather than less.’

‘the main political effect of the housing policy was the production of a working class dependent on wage labour to pay for it. The former was achieved through the physical destruction of all other forms of cheap housing and through forced settlement.’


Though Singapore has achieved great growth rates, I wonder if there is ‘freedom’ in that country. Or are high growth rates alone sufficient’ Read this book to know more.

Further Reading

1) Singapore Diary-Part 3 By E Pradeep

2)On Singapore-Binu Ninan