For 24 years in a row, Singapore managed to consolidate and maintain its position as the 2nd freest economy in the world. At the moment, Hong Kong has the 1st position and it is not about to let it go. In fact, the competition between these two countries may get even worse because instead of getting closer to Hong Kong by reducing the existent gap, Singapore is getting further away, as the gap is widening. According to the Index of Economic Freedom released for the year 2008, Singapore got a score of 88.8, while its rival Hong Kong obtained 90.2. Although it may not seem much, the 1.2 difference is rather consistent, considering that it was only 0.8 last year.
But, even so, it doesn’t mean that Singapore did not evolve since last year. On the contrary, many sectors of Singapore’s economy are doing better, as the integrity of the local government, the freedom of labor, and property rights, they all helped the country record a 0.2 growth in comparison with the score obtained in 2017. Plus the report made some encouraging comments about the economic success of Singapore, mentioning that all of this is happening due to a business environment that is free of corruption and highly open to possibilities and opportunities. Of course, the legal framework that is transparent and visible to everyone and carefully selected policies when it comes to the fiscal and monetary domains also helped a lot in achieving such results.
The government of Singapore was always careful when it came to the implementation of new industrial policies, making sure that the change it will adopt will help the country develop an even better economy and stimulate its diversity. The fiscal incentives that were very well targeted and numerous investments in the public domain were other factors that helped Singapore maintain its position for so long. The government and local authorities also made sure to provide exceptional security to property rights, a factor that helped productivity and entrepreneurship grow effectively over time. Also, an attitude of zero tolerance toward corruption, both from the society and authorities, fostered a healthy economic growth as well.
As mentioned earlier, Hong Kong is doing well too, maybe even better, with significant improvements in sectors like freedom of business, the integrity of the country’s government, and monetary freedom. On the list, China occupied the 110th place, while the United States descended on the 18th place, from its previous 17th place, in spite of achieving a 0.6 growth due to the country’s improved financial freedom. On the top five, we can find Australia, Switzerland, and New Zealand, while the bottom of the list contains North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba.
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