Verweij Pelizzo Singapore Does Authoritarianism Pay 2009

Verweij Pelizzo Singapore Does Authoritarianism Pay 2009 -...

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singapore: Does authoritarianism pay? Marco Verweij and Riccardo Pelizzo Marco Verweij is professor of political science at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, and coeditor of Clumsy Solutions for a Complex World: Governance, Politics and Plural Perceptions (2006). Riccardo Pelizzo is Research Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and coeditor of The Role of Parliaments in Curbing Corruption (2006). Both authors previously taught at the Singapore Management University. D espite its tiny land area of fewer than fifty square miles, Singapore has figured prominently in the debates over when, whether, and how countries should democratize. Singapore acquired this significance by confounding theorists of liberal democracy and serving as the poster-nation for those who believe that economic development and the establishment of a strong state committed to the rule of law should precede any risky democratic ventures. Underlying the various debates is the rock-solid conviction that the policies of the Singaporean government—led for three decades by Lee Kuan Yew, and now by his son Lee Hsien Loong—are primar- ily responsible for the economy’s rapid elevation from “Third World to First World.” We believe that matters are more complex than this widely shared belief would indicate. While many of the government’s policies have enabled or contributed to the remarkable increase in Singapore’s per capita national income over the last forty years, these very policies have also led to the gradual emergence of some serious economic challenges. As a result of these economic vulnerabilities, many Singaporeans are less prosperous than the island’s rapid increase in per capita income would suggest. At various points in Singapore’s history, opposition forces have advocated economic and social policies different from those of the government. Arguably, if the government had included rather than suppressed these divergent groups and opinions, the country and its citizens might now find themselves in a better economic position. Journal of Democracy Volume 20, Number 2 April 2009 © 2009 National Endowment for Democracy and The Johns Hopkins University Press
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19 Marco Verweij and Riccardo Pelizzo Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has been governed by a single political party, the People’s Action Party (PAP). Although general elections have been held every four or five years, the PAP has continuously occupied nearly every parliamentary seat. Those who run or vote for parties other than the PAP are discouraged, disadvantaged, and punished in a variety of ways: the jailing and bankrupting of op- position leaders; the engineered sacking of critical commentators; the withholding of state funds from opposition wards and the redrawing of their boundaries (as well as other, more creative forms of gerrymander- ing); the manipulation of election schedules to deprive the opposition of time to campaign; the restriction of political debate to officially
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This note was uploaded on 09/03/2010 for the course POS 85322 taught by Professor Iheduru during the Fall '09 term at ASU.

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Verweij Pelizzo Singapore Does Authoritarianism Pay 2009 -...

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