SINGAPORE (Nov 30): Back in 2002, as the city-state was emerging from its worst recession since 1964, the government was getting impatient over the economy's disproportionate reliance on multinationals and a handful of globally competitive state-backed firms like Singapore Airlines.
A panel on "entrepreneurship and internationalisation" noted that only 5% of Singaporeans ran their own companies, versus 12% in the US. Then-finance minister and future Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong vowed to end red tape and allow new structures like limited partnerships.
Yet a decade and a half later, and after much tinkering with taxes and efforts to wean society off its obsession with good grades, decent (i.e. civil service) jobs, and affordable homes, nothing much has changed.