Tactical Globalization: The Metapragmatics of Globalization in Singapore

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Globalization is a geo-politico reality however we define it. While there is a tendency to generate a “grand narrative” and discourse about globalization and its ramifications, I have argued in Chapter 1 that the nuances of globalization preclude essentialism and totalization, but must be situated and embedded in a local terrain. Singapore presents itself as an example par excellence of a contextual space to understand the discourse and the operation of tactical globalization.

In managing its economy, whether in good or bad times, the government leaders in Singapore are always vigilant of the performance of the economy and ready to arrest the first sign of fragility, as was the case of the spiral effect of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 that also impacted Singapore's economy. Likewise, when Singapore's economy was hit by a global economic slowdown during and in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001, a number of belt-tightening fiscal as well as financial measures were implemented to stimulate the local economy. So serious was the sluggish local economy that a high power committee called the Economic Restructuring Review Committee chaired by the then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was set up in 2002 to prevent the economy from spiraling downwards and maintain at least sustainable growth. Despite the cyclic economic slumps that Singapore experiences periodically, what is significant to note is that the government leaders of Singapore have always come up with “an ensemble of quite specific governmental “hows”, embedded with a “range of rationalities and techniques” that would turn the economy around (Perry and Maurer 2003, p. xi). It is therefore no surprise that the overriding concern of the political leaders for Singapore is that of the “metapragmatics of globalization” (Perry and Maurer, 2003).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0351-0050-1_2

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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