Globalization, Neo-Liberalism, and New Social Movements in Singapore

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Majeerah B. Sinarimbo
September 26, 2012
Political Science 160

SINGA-PURA (SINGAPORE)

The world becomes more and more complex. Things have never been the same. Changes became rapid and impulsive that at some point, we are confused as to how to address these changes. Conflicts of the early times are not the same with what we're facing today. Solutions of the past are not exactly effective in the present. We, humans, we're never stable. The complexity of our behavior is a great manifestation of the unending evolution of our world. The world today might not be the world of tomorrow. All of these, are results of changes. Yes, I am going to talk about changes. Not in a simple way but in a more specific way. We all know that we can not just stand here and let changes dominate us. Though in an optimist's view, changes might also result to good events, we still have to keep up so that it will not overpower us and leave us in a state of ambiguity and confusion. In order for us to understand changes, we have to ask what causes these changes? There are many actually but we are going to talk about three examples here: Globalization, Neo-Liberalism and the rise of New Social Movements. Very profound terms, I know. That is why I am going to define each of them briefly. Globalization, as common as it sounds, is not actually understood by most of us. Globalization promotes a global community among all countries in the world. It aims to bring a global culture that is obviously shared by everyone. A global community, a global culture, an interrelated economy, that is what globalization is all about. Second is Neo-Liberalism. Neo-Liberalism emerged from Liberalism, which is actually based on the ideas of liberty and equality. What made Neo-Liberalism different from Liberalism is that Neo-Liberalism is more focused on the economy of the state. It supports free trades and open markets. Last is the rise of New Social Movements. In the Classical Social Movements, it concentrates more about social struggle particularly the struggle between the bourgeois and the proletarian. In New Social Movements, it's not about the class struggle anymore, these movements are concerned with the masses' interests particularly in environmental problems, etc. Now that we have define each of the three examples that brought changes to our society, we can now discuss it in the context of a particular country – Singapore. What made me choose Singapore is that it is a very interesting country to study. Its status as the most non-corrupt country trigggered my curiousity to know more about this tiny state. I am very amazed at how this country managed to gain this title since I grew up almost believing that corruption is a part of the government in every state. It is also very inspiring that this state can compete against the biggest countries in the world such as US, Japan and China where in fact, there are bigger states that should also be dominating the global economic community. I asked myself, how did all of this became possible? What does the country Singapore have that our country lacks? Singapore is actually a city-state which means that its capital is also Singapore. It is the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Its national symbol is lion or merlion for it represents the Singapore's reputation as a Lion City. Despite its size, it is a very urbanized country and has undergone processes of land reclamation to sustain growth and development especially in building MNCs and other infrastructures. Let us look at Singapore in two different aspects: political and economical aspects. Politically, Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. Its political system is a representative democracy which is actually an element of both presidential and parliamentary republic. This means that the executive power is managed by a chief or a head of the state and the legislative is managed by the members of the...
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