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Hard Choices
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The Singapore polity is changing – profoundly and probably irrevocably. The consensus that the PAP government constructed and maintained over five decades is fraying. The assumptions that underpin Singaporean exceptionalism are no longer accepted as easily and readily as before. Among these are the ideas that the country is uniquely vulnerable, that this vulnerability limits its policy and political options, that good governance demands a degree of political consensus that ordinary democratic arrangements cannot ensure, and that the country’s success requires a competitive meritocracy accompanied by relatively little income or wealth redistribution. But the policy and political conundrums that Singapore faces today are complex and defy easy answers. Confronted with a more critical and sceptical public and a political landscape that is likely to become more contested, how will politics and policymaking in Singapore evolve? What reforms should the government pursue? This collection of essays suggests that a far-reaching and radical rethinking of the country's policies and institutions is necessary, even if it weakens the very consensus that enabled Singapore to succeed in its first 50 years.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xiii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiv-xv
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. xvi-xviii
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  1. Introduction: Reframing Policy and Political Debates in Singapore
  2. Donald Low and Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh
  3. pp. 1-14
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  1. PART 1 The Limits of Singapore Exceptionalism
  2. pp. 15-16
  1. 1 The Four Myths of Inequality in Singapore
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 17-30
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  1. 2 How Land and People Fit Together in Singapore's Economy
  2. Linda Lim
  3. pp. 31-39
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  1. 3 Economic Myths in the Great Population Debate
  2. Donald Low, Yeoh Lam Keong, Tan Kim Song, and Manu Bhaskaran
  3. pp. 40-47
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  1. 4 Good Meritocracy, Bad Meritocracy
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 48-58
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  1. 5 The End of Identity?
  2. Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh
  3. pp. 59-76
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  1. PART 2 Policy Alternatives for Post-Consensus Singapore
  2. pp. 77-78
  1. 6 What's wrong with Singaporeans?
  2. Linda Lim
  3. pp. 79-96
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  1. 7 Adapting to Our Population Challenges
  2. pp. 97-103
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  1. 8 Rethinking Singapore's Housing Policies
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 104-112
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  1. 9 Beware the Inequality Trap
  2. Donald Low and Yeoh Lam Keong
  3. pp. 113-119
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  1. 10 New Options in Social Security
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 120-136
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  1. PART 3 Governance and Democracy: Past, Present & Future
  2. pp. 137-138
  1. 11 The Old Normal is the New Normal
  2. Thum Ping Tjin
  3. pp. 139-167
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  1. 12 What Went Wrong for the Pap in 2011?
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 168-177
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  1. 13 Governing in the New Normal
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 178-187
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  1. 14 The Future of Democracy in Singapore
  2. Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh
  3. pp. 188-208
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  1. 15 Liberal Ideas in the New Normal
  2. Donald Low
  3. pp. 209-225
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 226-233
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