3. High returns on human capital Singapore’s only capital is human capital.
free of crime. They have had obvious
supply from Malaysia, Singapore has
success; Singapore enjoys low crime,
to develop cutting-edge solutions to
safe streets, and almost no drug issues.
maximize available supplies. Singapore has led innovations in water recycling
produce a labor force that is highly educated,
5. Chinese collaboration
and desalination of sea water to the point
English speaking. Wharton, Yale, MIT,
Singapore and China have had a close
where domestic companies like Hyﬂux
Chicago Booth, Duke and INSEAD have
relationship since the 1980s, when Deng
export their expertise as far as water
all established major partnerships or
Xiao Ping observed “Singapore enjoys
treatment plants in Chinese cities and
campuses within Singapore. Singapore
good social order and is well managed.
the world’s largest desalination plant in
has come so far ahead in math skills
We should tap on their experience, and
learn how to manage better than them.”
In adapting to the times, Singapore’s
actually being exported to American
Initiatives for economic collaboration
government has relaxed its historically
schools, including the Sidwell Friends
between Singapore and China, such as
the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial
casinos for years due their social costs,
children attend. This commitment has
Park built in 1994, are mutually beneﬁcial.
the government has done an about face
for newly-founded casinos Marina Bay
#1 worldwide by BERI’s Labor Force
Evaluation Measure for 30 years running.
developing “a socially harmonious, en-
Sands, operated by Las Vegas Sands, and Resorts World Sentosa.
This is in line with a larger vision of
4. Strong legal system: effective legislation, regulation and enforcement
conserving city in China”. This builds
transforming Singapore into a leading
on Singapore’s successful track records
lifestyle destination. It has transformed
Singapore implemented a rigorous
in urban development and sustainable
itself from a staid commercial hub in the
1990s to a world-class cosmopolitan city
Formula 1 Night Race, the Night Safari,
legal system where laws are enforced
today. Attractions include the world’s ﬁrst
effectively. Tough rules are set to prevent economic disruptions; strikes, disruptive to daily business activity, are illegal.
Singapore is still a young country,
and a Universal Studios theme park.
Worker grievances are addressed by
and it is constantly adapting to changing
Singapore’s rank as #1 in Asia and #11 in the
the National Trades Union Congress.
world for “work and play” (Mercer 2010),
ranked the easiest place in the world to
along with its rank by foreign expatriates
many countries, is heavily discouraged
do business in 2009 by the World Bank,
as #1 in Asia and #2 worldwide as a place
in Singapore, which has the 4th lowest
dethroning the United States after 16
to stay (IMD World Competitiveness
corruption level and highest level of
years, it can never rest easy.
Report 2009), reﬂects the success that
transparency in the world (IMD World also
Singapore boasts what is arguably the
this liberalization has had.
most advanced military in Southeast Asia.
What does this mean overall? A
A two year military conscription exists for
sterling testimonial by prominent US
Competitiveness report 2009). Singapore
all able bodied men. Military hardware,
investor Jim Rogers, co-founder of the
like German Leopard 2 tanks, F-15s, and
Quantum Fund, says it best.
need protection for their research and
Swedish attack submarines, is imported
“Singapore is a special city, it has
from around the world and modiﬁed for
great infrastructure, terriﬁ c education,
Many believe that Singapore’s laws
local needs. Singapore’s own thriving
unparalleled healthcare, nature with
are overly authoritarian. The penalties
defense industry has produced guns that
lots of green spaces… it’s one of the
for crimes like drug trafficking are
even the US Special Forces has considered.
great cities of the world… Singapore is
extremely business friendly and they
These laws are essential, however,
constant. Because it lacks a sufficient
will do anything to make sure your
because they allow the country to
business works.” iBR
enjoy a stable business environment
dependent on a politically contentious
among the strictest in the world.
FA L L 2 0 1 0
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I N T E R N AT I O N A L B U S I N E S S R E V I E W
11/27/2010 3:13:24 PM
Fall edition of the IBR magazine at the Wharton School.