International capital, Singapore's state companies, and security
Since the Asian economic crisis in 1997-98, the Singapore government has embraced neoliberal globalization to a degree not matched elsewhere in East or Southeast Asia. Yet the consolidation and expansion of Singapore's state companies are also integral to this strategy. These companies are increasingly the objects of critical attention from elements of international capital that are seeking to make inroads into various sectors of the Singapore economy. This includes pressures to reform governance systems from which state companies derive competitive advantages. This article examines the nature and political strength of these challenges, the responses to them by the Singapore government, and the implications of this for the future of the authoritarian regime. The article also analyzes the changing geopolitical context within which such disputes are being played out. Security concerns by the U.S. government in particular, it is argued, are mediating conflict over state companies and presenting new opportunities for the authoritarian regime to consolidate.
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