You're right, it's not fair. A country can be economically free but socially repressed. That's certainly not libertarian. But like I said, there's no way to quantifiably measure social freedom. It's impossible for me to compare unless I've actually experienced what it's like to live in the country.
100% fairness is impossible.
Jimnik you're confusing me. You make this statement and call Singapore libertarian at the same time, but only in terms of the Singapore economy. There seems to be a contradiction here. Maybe it would help if you posted your definition of 'libertarianism'.
For the avoidance of doubt, I'm operating on this one:
Libertarianism has been variously defined by sources. In the strictest sense, it is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view. Libertarianism includes diverse beliefs, all advocating strict limits to government activity and sharing the goal of maximizing individual liberty and political freedom.
(from our trusty Wikipedia)
Singapore definitely fails on the first bolded part. Maximising liberty and political freedom? No chance in hell. From a purely economic perspective, I am willing to concede that our open and trade-friendly economy gives an appearance of libertarianism. But it's probably most accurate to say that Singapore has a free market economy without going into the philosophy underpinning the said free market and attributing libertarianism to a government that probably doesn't use it as its guiding principle. Seriously, it's giving the PAP government too much credit. It has never been a libertarian government and it is currently not one.
Well there's the difference between you and me. If you can't afford to buy a home, you don't deserve to own a home. It's a simple as that. You're gong to think I'm very harsh but I come from West London (highest property prices in Europe next to Monaco). We have tons of billionaire foreigners from Russia and the Middle-East driving up property prices in my neighbourhood. There are apartments two streets away from my home which go for £5million. It sucks I can't afford to own my own home (yet) but I'm not going to blame it on a lack of freedom. It's the reality of the world we live in. An economy is still better off with billionaires driving prices up than no billionaires at all.
I think you missed the crux of what I was saying. My point about escalating property prices was in response to your post about Singapore having a high standard of living. The point that I raised essentially relates to how being ranked #13 (I think it was) on the standard of living list doesn't quite translate to actual reality because cost of living in Singapore has escalated over the past 5 years or so.
I agree with your second sentence insofar as it relates to private property - I don't, and won't, advocate government subsidies for individuals who want to own private property. That said, the problem that many Singaporeans face has to be taken in its context. We are a small country. There is no clear city/suburb demarcation save for a few parts of Singapore. Save for the high-end parts of Singapore, the price of a private condominium (which is getting smaller in size for whatever reason) is pretty much comparable throughout the rest of the country. I live in a part of Singapore that is quite far from the city centre and new developments around my area easily go for S$1.5 million at least. This was unheard of 5, 10 years ago. And this is clearly a problem which even the government recognises, which is why it stepped in recently and introduced price cooling measures.
Second, the government has a responsibility to ensure that public housing is affordable for its citizens. The PAP government, in fact, has a vested interest in ensuring this because of its emphasis on home ownership (not land, by the way - no one really owns land here) as opposed to home rentals. If it wants Singaporeans to have a stake in a country - which it does - then it has to make public housing affordable for Singaporeans
. Before the elections this year, the price of public housing was practically pegged to that of private property. I don't know how it works in other countries but for me, that was absolutely ridiculous. Again, I emphasise that this point relates to Singapore's high standard of living and not not having enough freedom.
Regarding the point about foreigners - what you said works in theory, but in reality the Gini coefficient for Singapore has increased over the past 10 years or so and is one of the highest among developed countries. Clearly, the Singapore economy has benefited from the influx of foreigners, but it has not translated to a proportionate distribution of wealth on the ground. Conversely, guess whose salaries are pegged to GDP growth, among other things? The Cabinet ministers. Would you call this libertarian? I don't know, as a Singaporean I've never felt like the government cared too much about my individual liberty.
Last question: Have you ever lived here?