Interesting article over on CNN recently. In Brexiteer fantasy of Singapore-style economy will be hard to achieve, Tara John looks at the aspiration of some Brexit supporters to turn Britain into a libertarian utopia of low taxes, low government spending, and near zero regulation of business, just like Singapore. According to John, that really is the hope of some of the more ardent partisans of Brexit, including “Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Conservative MP Owen Paterson, and entrepreneur James Dyson.”
Only one problem. Britain isn’t Singapore. It isn’t a majority Chinese nation. It hasn’t recently experienced the semi-dictatorial rule of someone like Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. And it isn’t a tiny city-state whose economy and political system can be controlled by “hidden hand” methods while appearing to be a libertarian paradise. (Think Singapore is economically free? Try buying chewing gum there. Or, better yet, see what happens if you spit it on the sidewalk.)
In short, like Brexit itself, and like most of the fairy tales that libertarians tell themselves, the UK-As-Singapore model looks like a dream at best, and a nightmare/disaster at worse.
Michael Jay Tucker is the “sort of volunteer editor” of LR Net. He is also a writer and journalist who has written on topics ranging from the Jazz Age to computers. (Among his small claims to fame is that he interviewed Steven Jobs just after that talented if complicated man got kicked out of Apple, and just before the company’s Board came begging him to come back.)
Tucker’s most recent book is Padre: To The Island, a meditation on life and death based on the passing of his own parents.