Saturday 26 January 2008

Government Singapore-style?

Read an interesting piece in the Taipei Times this morning comparing the politics and economies of Singapore and Taiwan. I was struck by how both of these places represent in their own way a possible path for development for other Asian countries, especially mainland China.

Will China develop into a one-party state with all the trappings of democracy - the kind of state that Timothy Garton-Ash described as a 'demokratura' (democracy + Soviet-style nomenklatura)? Or will it follow the Taiwanese path and become a far freer state with a developed economy, but without the political and ethnic unity which Singapore enjoys - at least on the surface.

There is also Hong Kong, political unstable due to broken promises on the part of the central government, but with economic growth and power which is still a striking contrast to anyone who visits from the developed world, let alone from mainland China.

The things which can be found in all of these places are high levels of materialism (Singapore's Five C's being perhaps the most famous example), high levels of growth (at least by western standards) and a yearning (at least within 30% of the population) for strong, even dictatorial, leadership.

Of course, China is large enough to contain all of these models and more in one single (tolerably) unitary state, and probably will do.

1 comment:

MyLaowai said...

There is of course the other option - that Red China will continue on the path it has followed for the last 2300 years. That path, incidentally, bears an uncanny resemblance to the path that Nazi Germany was on in 1936. They got their Olympics, too.