Could Greece simply adopt the laws and policies of Singapore?

Whatever Greece has been doing economically hasn’t worked out that well, apparently. It seems irrational to say that “What we organized in the past few decades led to insolvency, but we’re much smarter and wiser and would never do that again.”

Maybe Ecuador is the model for Greece. They noted their failures in managing their own currency (the sucre) and voluntarily gave up this government function in 2000, adopting the U.S. dollar as the official currency.

Analogously, the Greeks could recognize that they aren’t capable of drafting and passing laws that lead to a sustainable economy and import another country’s laws and regulations in a big package that nobody can open or tweak. Which country’s laws should they pick?

The CIA Factbook shows that the world’s most successful country, aside from oil-rich Qatar or a few tiny financial services havens, is Singapore. Singapore has a per-capita GDP that is 50 percent higher than the U.S.

Singapore is similarly situated to Greece in many ways. The population is within a factor of 2. Both countries are small relative to neighbors and trading partners. Both countries have military challenges in dealing with much larger potential foes (Turkey for Greece; Malaysia and Indonesia for Singapore; Singapore currently spends a larger percentage of GDP on military than does Greece (World Bank)).

Greeks could strip their politicians of law-making power and say that their courts and police were responsible for applying the laws and regulations of Singapore, however those laws and regulations evolve.


  • Heritage foundation on Singapore (#2 in the world for “economic freedom,” after Hong Kong)
  • Heritage foundation on Greece (#130 in the world, in between Suriname and Bangladesh) — this raises the question “Why does the world have to stop and pay attention to the economic challenges faced by the Greeks? Are there not similar challenges faced by people in their economic environment neighborhood? Why do we care about Greeks this week but not people in Suriname or Bangladesh?)

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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