One of the globe's smallest countries is also one of its richest cities
Yes, it's a "miracle."
Singapore, which in the middle of the 20th century was jerked around like a rag-dog between the occupying British, the invading Japanese, and a violent independence movement, emerged decades later as one of the world's busiest ports and friendliest destinations for international business.
But like any seemingly sudden transformation, this revolution was centuries in the making. When
the British envoy Sir Stamford Raffles founded a trading station there 1819, the island was not much more than a swamp, The Economist observes, concluding that "a century-and-a-half serving the trading interests of [the British Empire] turned that swamp into a thriving port." International business is sewn into the city's DNA.
Today Singapore is a model for both developmental economists focused on executing quick turnarounds in Africa and Asia and for U.S. wonks who marvel at the small nation's pro-market policies, affordable health care, world-leading education scores, and exceptional wealth and growth. The following charts, gleaned from the Milken Institute's Global Conference drill down into the sources of American envy. It is, by various counts, the easiest place in the world to do business, the best port of access for the vibrant Asian market, the world's leader in high-tech exports, and the globe's most impressive assortment of human capital.