Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

Benign Dictatorships - Does power always corrupt?

Singapore

Half a century ago, Singapore and Zambia had several commonalities: they had recently transitioned into peaceful independence from Britain; they were led by strong men who would hold power for more than two decades and they were dirt poor, with annual GDP per capita around $500 in today’s money. Today, Singapore is the third richest country in the world1, more than 30 times richer than Zambia, its gleaming skyscrapers and efficient infrastructure a stark contrast to the pot holes and dirt roads we experienced in Zambia. Many credit this progress to the late Lee Kuan Yew (or ‘LKY’), Singapore’s Prime Minster until 1990 but well involved in the running of the country until his death last year. His model of ‘benign dictatorship’ certainly worked - perhaps it shouldn’t be ruled out as fast as it in the humanities classrooms in the West… 

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