Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

A tale of two itty-bitties

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-02-21

Consider two tiny islands both lacking in physical resources, that have very good human development indicators (education and health), but used radically different means to achieve them.

I’m thinking of Cuba and Singapore: the "compare and contrast" exercise might be instructive.

Both have many constraints on activities considered essential to countries like Australia.  Both were led by autocrats (after ditching colonial forms) for decades who were ruthless with political opponents.  Thus both could be considered draconian regimes that yet provided to citizens the core human needs of a "healthy mind in a healthy body".

Between the two, one capitalist, one socialist, their successes at citizens’ long healthy lives and high education suggest that economic paradigms, which should merely be means to an end, are less important to human development outcomes than most suppose.

Aristotle believed that a benevolent competent despotism is the best form of government, although ensuring successors are capable and well-meaning is always problematic.

Worth reflection, isn’t it?


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