Singapore clearly has one of the most efficient governments and most competitive advanced economies in the world. But can this unique city-state of only 5.5 million residents serve as a model both for advanced economies and also for the developing world? Respected East Asia expert Kent Calder argues that it can do both, in this new, groundbreaking book. He shows how Singapore’s government has harnessed information technology, data, and techniques for innovative, adaptive governance to become a smart city that teaches discerning nations as well.
Singapore is of global relevance as a policy laboratory, Calder argues, because it offers a provocative yet promising testing ground—for big ideas addressing central global challenges: the crisis of the welfare state in the G-7 industrial nations, and dilemmas of sustainable growth in an ever more urban developing world. The key, in case after case, is a holistic approach that considers problems in interdisciplinary fashion, brings the best expertise worldwide to bear, and solves problems in unsentimental, non-ideological fashion.
Singapore shows, for example, how government can provide a safety net for citizens at affordable cost to the public, through a focus on efficiently constructed, broadly available housing. It also shows how a livable environment and sustainable growth can both be achieved by astute urban planning and transportation policies.
Kent Calder is Director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Prior to assuming this position in 2003, he taught for twenty years at Princeton University, where he is currently an emeritus faculty member. Calder has also served as Special Adviser to the US Ambassador to Japan; Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as a faculty member at Harvard University, Seoul National University, and the University of Yangon. He is the author or coauthor of ten previous books on East Asian political economy, and was recently honored as the 2016 S. Rajaratnam Professor of Strategic Studies at Nanyang University in Singapore.
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