Financial Times has interesting article on household wealth and distribution of millionaires in general population in various countries.
Singapore has one of the highest density of millionaires in its population. A country of just 5 million people, Singapore has an astounding 1 million millionaires. The results are not that surprising, most countries at the top of the list would qualify as places that are relatively laissez-faire – including Switzerland, Hong Kong, Qatar(my sister lives here), Kuwait etc. More people are getting to share in the general prosperity. I have been to Singapore a couple of times. It is neat place indeed.
This story also reminds me of what I read recently in Paul Krugman’s book The Return of Depression Economics:
Hong Kong has long had a special place in the hearts of free-market enthusiasts. At a time when most Third World countries believed that protectionism and government planning were the way to develop, Hong Kong had free trade and a policy of letting entrepreneurs rip—and showed that such a wide-open economy could grow at rates development theorists had never imagined possible.
Krugman, Paul (2009). The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 (Kindle Locations 1750-1752). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
Professor Krugman did not mention Singapore in that comment because he was talking about the Asian Currency Crisis of the late 90s – Singapore, probably, did not fit his narrative of the crisis as well as HK did. Krugman was not championing unfettered markets in that book, just the opposite. Yet, it goes to show you, one more time, that there is no proven road to general prosperity like markets that are largely left to it’s own devices in allocating resources.
(HT: Scott Sumner – Prof. Sumner’s comments )