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Cautionary Words From Singapore’s Departing Prime Minister

Singapore is one of the world’s huge success stories. Only 60 years ago, it was poorer than South Africa or Jordan. Now its Gross National Product per person is a stunning $88,000 (it is $82,000 in the US).

Its economy has doubled in size in real terms in the last 20 years and it is now wealthier than Great Britain, its former colonial power. It is a shining example of the power of free markets and innovative ideas such as the private accounts that fund its retirement program.

This month, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong turned over his office to Lawrence Wong, a 51-year-old economist who studied at the University of Michigan. In an exit interview, Loong had some sobering words of advice for the West we should heed.

“In the West they’ve got a movement called Wokeness where you are super sensitive about other people’s issues… It leads to very extreme attitudes and social norms particularly in some academic institutions, universities,” he said.  “I don’t think we want to go in that direction. It does not make us a more resilient, cohesive society with a strong sense of solidarity. We must be more robust.”

We would do well to follow such advice—sooner rather than later.

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