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Carter, Connie (1999) Law and Economic Development in Singapore 1959-1999. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Singapore is a successful example of a growth-oriented, interventionist, capitalist state. For four decades the government resolutely promoted economic development by fostering key elements which it considered conducive to growth. Economists, sociologists and political scientists have analysed the contribution that these and other elements have made to Singapore's economic development. However no one seems to have contemplated the role that law might have played. This study seeks to fill that gap. It draws on theory from the 1960s' law and development movement, which purportedly died in the 1970s but was revived as the law and economics movement in the 1980s by agencies like the World Bank and the IMF. After the collapse of Soviet communism, revival of the movement accelerated as many sought to assert ascendancy of the market over the state using the rule of law as a catalyst. My thesis is that Singapore's experience contradicts crucial predictions of law and development theory, whether in its old or its reincarnated guise. Many Singapore laws have diverged from their English roots to form an autochthonous body of rules which is more situational, opportunistic, regulatory, holistic and communitarian than the rights-based, individualistic model of the West. Their nature is 'westemistic' and syncretistic, but Singapore laws are not converging with those of the West as a result of economic development, as the theory predicted. Finally, the study speculates on whether Singapore's experience has more relevance for late-industrialising countries than the experience of European and American democracies whose industrialisation spanned centuries rather than decades.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:20

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