Economies of the world (part 5) - Asian tigers

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The chapter name traditionally refers to four countries in Asia - South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong - but I have chosen to include China as well. Perhaps this is a considerable violation of this nomenclature that many outrage. It is difficult - it is my original concept, journalistic - and not strictly scientific. It can be justified by the fact that some stages of the Chinese economy's modernization were based - and still are - based on the models of the four countries mentioned above.

World Economy - China

Many scientists and journalists smarter than me have written entire volumes about China, so I will not pretend that in this chapter I will be able to fully describe the specificity of this great country. China is developing at an alarming pace - it is the second largest economy in the world in terms of GDP, and taking into account its domestic purchasing power, it will take the leader's seat at the end of 2014. But with these forecasts of the World Bank do not agree ... the authorities of the Middle Kingdom itself. The reason is extremely prosaic - such a result means that China will be classified into the category of developed countries, and this is not in favor of the party tops. With a higher status comes greater responsibility, including for environmental protection. China wants to maintain its current gas emission limits at all costs, which is not surprising given that the country's economy is the most energy-intensive in the world. Demand for electricity is huge there, hence the authorities are investing a lot, among others into spectacular hydroelectric power plants, such as the one on the Three Gorges Dam.

Even in the first half of the twentieth century, China was a poor country, with an inefficient economy based on agriculture. China's current GDP may be impressive, that's a fact - but the success of this economy pales in terms of the per capita ratio. And this one is very low, far behind the countries in the first world league. The Middle Kingdom has several elements in common with Japan. Both these countries developed in isolation, far from the centers of the world in the old continent. Both can boast a rich history in which the greats had their time. And both are eager (or have wished for earlier) a return to their former strength. China and Japan are linked by Confucianism, influencing a collectivist and hierarchical culture that values ​​order and obedience.

Singapore - a liberal myth

Singapore is an interesting country due to the multitude of myths that have arisen around its economic success. Supporters of liberalism (and libertarianism) cite it as an example of putting their ideas into practice, making it almost a paradise on Earth. It is not surprising - after all, it is regularly ranked high (this year second) in the ranking of economic freedom prepared by the Heritage Foundation.

Housing construction in Singapore is not the domain of private companies. As many as 82 percent of Singaporeans live in houses built by the state-owned Housing and Development Board agency. Virtually all of them own the property rights to these apartments (in fact, a 99-year lease). Over the years, the authorities have taken care (and continue to do so) to limit the creation of ghettos. Why did the Singaporean state take on this business, which is so profitable for private developers in the rest of the world? It's simple - in the 1960s, before the creation of a government agency, owning a place to live was an incredibly expensive thing. Politicians recognized that housing is everyone's right. That doesn't sound like a slogan from liberal doctrine, does it?

Now let's look at what so much outrages many Poles - compulsory social insurance. Yes - there is an equivalent of the Polish ZUS in Singapore! It's called the Central Provident Fund and takes more than of the salary (34.5%) of every citizen. Or maybe Singapore - as imagined by liberals and libertarians - has only private health care? Not at all. There are Medisave and Medishield medical funds that fund treatment. Private hospitals and clinics compete there with public entities. Well, maybe at least education? Unfortunately, also non-state universities and compulsory schooling. In addition, Singapore has the state-owned Temasek Holdings that manages huge assets. He has shares in, among others in Singapore airlines.

When it comes to liberal economic regulations - Singapore is famous for its great economic freedom, but there are some exceptions. In this small country, there is a ban on advertising nicotine products and smoking in public places. These regulations are strictly adhered to. This clearly runs counter to the libertarian principle that "the willing is not harmed."

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