March 30, 2015

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew Showed Good Governance Is Good Business

Alexander Salter

Assistant Professor of Economics, Texas Tech University
Summary

As the world looks back on Lee's legacy, we should pay special attention to his contributions on responsible and effective governance over a three-decade reign as the city-state's prime minister.

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A “true giant of history who will be remembered for generations to come” has passed away. This portrayal of Singapore's founding father by President Barack Obama came shortly after Lee Kuan Yew died last week at the age of 91. As the world looks back on Lee's legacy, we should pay special attention to his contributions on responsible and effective governance over a three-decade reign as the city-state's prime minister.

In the post-financial crisis world, when many in the West are dissatisfied with their governments – a Pew Research Center poll conducted in February 2014 shows 75 percent of Americans mistrust the government at least some of the time, for example – Lee’s bold political experimentation in aligning governors’ incentives with the welfare of the governed deserves recognition.

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