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Economic Growth and Development in Singapore

Past and Future

Gavin Peebles and Peter Wilson

In this book Gavin Peebles and Peter Wilson offer an historical overview of the rapid growth and development of the Singapore economy, detailing the institutions and policies which have made this growth possible. They examine the current state of the economy and its future in terms of prospective growth and structural change.
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Gavin Peebles and Peter Wilson


When we started writing this book in early 2001 the government’s official growth forecast was that the economy could grow by as much as 7 per cent in that year. In the previous year growth had been 9.9 per cent and in the year before that 5.9 per cent. It thus seemed that Singapore had recovered well from the Asian financial crisis. By the time we were finishing the book in November 2001 the official growth forecast for 2001 was Ϫ3 per cent and for 2002 it was between Ϫ2 per cent and 2 per cent. This would be the most significant recession in Singapore’s modern history. Forecasts of the number of job losses were revised upwards during the year and are expected to continue well into 2002. In most countries this would not be thought a good time to call a general election, especially if one was not due until August 2002, as was then the case in Singapore. However, in Singapore things are different and in October 2001 the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) called the ‘snappiest of snap elections’ by making 25 October Nomination Day and 3 November Polling Day, thus allowing the legal minimum of nine days for canvassing. As we explain in Appendix B the PAP knew that it could not possibly lose the election and would definitely form the next government. It can be rather tetchy when its share of the votes falls and more opposition candidates enter parliament....

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