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Singapore From Social Democracy to Communitarianism

  • Beng Huat Chua
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer Reference Geisteswissenschaften book series (SPREFGEIST)

Abstract

Singapore has been ruled by a single party, the People’s Action Party, since its political independence in 1965. The history of the party’s rise to monopolistic parliamentary power was strewn with political repressions of radical left, throughout the entire Cold War period. It was without doubt a history of authoritarianism. At the same time, it had achieved spectacular national economic success within global capitalism, spawned an expansive middle class and improved the material life of Singaporeans across the board. In defiance of the current hegemonic liberal democratic capitalism, the ruling Singapore government has very explicitly rejected American liberalism as the necessary end point of Singapore’s political ideological development. Instead, drawing on its root as a social democratic party, it has reworked and reinscribed the idea of the ‘social’ and weaved it into a ‘communitarianism’, with supposedly Asian characters distilled from its multiracial citizenry. The concept of the social/collective/communitarian in practice is institutionalized in the universal provision of public housing through a national housing program, the redistribution of gains generated by state capitalism through the subvention of the annual national budget and the governing of race through the insistence on racial harmony as a public good. Arguably, it is the concrete benefits delivered by these institutions which have the collective well-being as the core value that explains the longevity of the People’s Action Party in parliamentary power rather than its diminishing authoritarianism in these post-Cold War days.

Keywords

Singapore Social democracy State capitalism Multiracialism Anti-liberalism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of Singapore and HeadSingaporeSingapore

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