Positioning Singapore in the global economy: a study of political and economic processes.
thesisposted on 12.02.2009, 12:14 by David Shaw
This study seeks to understand the significance of political decision-making and economic processes in the establishment of Singapore as an Asian 'economic miracle'. Throughout the study, illustrative passages drawn from three case studies conducted in different sectors of the economy - the port, banking and the biomedical sciences — are used to throw light on matters such as the contribution of statutory boards and government-linked companies, privatisation, the role of foreign MNCs and direct investment, and the challenges facing local start-up companies. Singapore's linkages with the outside world are put in context through exploration of a theoretical framework comprising globalisation, regionalism and the world city concept. The treatment of these is questioning as well as descriptive, and also includes a substantial literature review. The main body of the thesis investigates five main factors that, in the author's view, influence the nature of Singapore's integration in the global economy. The first, often glossed over, is the enduring vulnerability of the city-state, both in economic and security terms. Second are the various means of state control of and intervention in, the economy. Third is the actual interface of Singapore and the global economy, and the approaches taken to the opportunities and dangers involved. The fourth and fifth factors — the growth of a knowledge-based economy and a refreshed and more urgent programme of regionalisation - represent the latest efforts to re-make the economy in order that Singapore remains competitive in a changing world. Following the conclusions to be drawn from the research project, the final chapter is given over to discussion about the future, highlighting the need for changes of mindset on the part of both government and governed, and closing with a proposal regarding the future direction of world-city research.