How Singapore's Economy Has Changed in the Past Years


Singapore is being considered as one of the richest countries in the world today. Its economy, which is continuously booming, has been leading its endeavors to gain the respect of other nations and their people.

Moreover, it has served as the number one reason why expats, who come from all corners of the globe, are seeking job opportunities in Singapore. Just look at its room for rent industry and see how it flourishes from the earnings it managed to collect from these individuals.

However, it is important to remark that this island city-state did not have the best beginnings. In fact, it started as a nation filled with poverty. But much like any other rags to riches story, it managed to rise up from the bottom.

Singapore’s humble beginnings

Back in the 1920s, Singapore did not have a very good prospect of thriving as a first world country. The British HousingCommittee Report has even called it as “a disgrace to a civilized community” because of the state of the public housing at that time.

Generally, the country is filled with slums. The British colonial government, who was ruling back then, established a Singapore ImprovementTrust that really did little for the living conditions of Singaporeans.

All of this did not help Singapore’s chances of surviving, considering it is a small island that is very much underdeveloped with zero natural resources that it can boast about.

The introduction of industrialization

The industrial revolution came into Singapore when it finally separated itself from foreign forces (like England and Malaysia). The year was 1965 and Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s very first prime minister, took over.

Initially, this period is rough for the island city-state as it was still trying to grasp how to run a separate country from Malaysia. It was highly dependent to the other nations, as well, relying on them to provide them with water, food, and energy.

But everything began to change when it made two significant decisions: shift from import-substitution to export-led industrialization and achieve industrial growth by attracting multinational corporations.

Modern services and liberalization

In 1985, the entire global economy was growing, but Singapore’s economy went into recession. This later exposed all the structural strains in its society. Also, the previous cost advantage that Singaporeans had enjoyed was beginning to narrow.

When the year 1990 came, the government placed structural reforms to change their fate. These would include the liberalization of numerous services (e.g. utilities, telecommunications, and finance). They also heralded entrepreneurship, enterprise, and innovation in the country, which later proves to be the right call to make.

Economic restructuring and demographic slowdown

By the year 2010, Singapore has been stripped off its third world status. They have been named as a first world country during this time. Admittedly, however, its annual growth has started to steadily fall.

Currently, the nation is dealing with economic restructuring and demographic slowdown. It is back to dealing with overcoming the resource constraints, which it has regularly faced in the past.



As you can see, Singapore hardly has the best economy in the world. However, if there’s one thing you can take away from its rags to riches story – it’s to never give up even if the odds do not look good for you!
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