From Rags To Riches: The Singapore Story.

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( Singapore, a modest fishing village mere years ago, has built itself up to a population consisting of 226,000 members from the world’s elite 1%. That’s pretty impressive and, if we’re honest, it sets a blueprint that most other countries could benefit from following. 

Of course, no nation-state likes to admit that another destination is performing better but, let’s face it; a turnaround of such epic proportions is impossible to ignore. If every other country achieved the same astounding goals, would not they be able to kiss goodbye to poverty, inequality, and other issues? 

Okay, so perhaps the turnaround wouldn’t be quite so drastic. Still, as Singapore continues to rise in the ranks, it’s well worth considering what exactly they’re doing right in an age when the majority of political institutions are struggling to reach the same goals. 

# 1 – Affordable housing

The Housing Development Board, established way back in 1960, is a leading contributor towards low Singaporean poverty rates, despite entering the market when around 300,000 residents lived in squatter settlements. Now, 78.7% of Singapore residents live in HDB housing and, as can be seen from most HDB listings, these properties are affordable for even low-income families. The HDB is so successful, in fact, that one could argue it’s the most shining example of successful citizen-led housing projects in the world today. And, given the surging wealth in the country, it’s plain to see that this focus has paid off.

# 2 – Tackle tax brackets

Any politician ignores unfair tax brackets at their peril and that of their citizens. Yet, with Americans, in particular, falling foul of tax cuts for the wealthy, this seems an issue that’s forever out of reach. Until, of course, you consider Singapore’s tax approach. Their progressive tax system means that Singaporeans in the bottom 20% earning bracket pay just 10% taxes compared with the wealthiest 20%, who pay more than half the taxes. Admittedly, a shift like this would be a scandalous American turn up at the least, but there is a lesson to learn in the fact that this system has made wealth accumulation across the population more achievable than ever. 

# 3 – Keep schooling equal

Schooling is another surprisingly transgressive Singapore benefit that, again, holds plenty of lessons for other world leaders. Namely, the schooling system focuses on equal education for all, again eliminating poverty by ensuring every citizen is provided with the same opportunities. This has led to PISA success that’s seen Singapore’s education board overtaking even that of Finland and, paired with a focus on employing the best possible quality teachers in every educational facility; it’s an approach that’s clearly doing its part for Singaporean economics.   

Singapore might not get everything right. What country can? But, as is evidenced by their flourishing economy, they’re paving the way in at least some key areas. So, perhaps taking a leaf out of Singapore’s book wouldn’t be such a bad thing for bringing other countries onto an even keel, as well.

Staff Writer; Rick Parker