The United States and Russia should accelerate their efforts in this direction before it is too late. Let's put an end to historical or territorial recriminations. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have enough territory to survive and prosper. And without each other, neither country will reach its true potential -- economic or otherwise.
The editor of The Economist argues that "things have to change if you want to serve the poor with a better education, better health care, better welfare. Go to Singapore," he says, "and you will get all those public services with higher quality at a fraction of the cost. Today we know so much more about relative school performance. America has a much worse school rating than Sweden, Poland or Singapore."
Even now, at the height of its success, Singapore doesn't get much love (as opposed to grudging respect) from the legions of foreigners who avail themselves of its First World amenities. It's almost obligatory for Westerners visiting or residing in Singapore to complain about the "sterility" of the place, and joke about the carefully manicured boulevards and the pristine shopping malls, contrasting Singapore unflatteringly to the grittier authenticity and "character" of nearby Cambodia and Vietnam. It's indeed easy to mock Singapore if you haven't lived in a poor country, and it's a form of colonial prejudice to begrudge Singaporeans their lack of Third World "charm." We prefer our tropics to be exotically chaotic, thank you -- not tidier and more efficient than the Swiss. And Singapore's system is highly responsive to its citizenry's needs and desires, without being terribly democratic.