Although it was evident before 1984 that the course of the ‘Second Industrial Revolution’ was failing to match official expectations, Singapore’s policy-makers were not overly concerned. This view changed, however, with the advent of a dramatic economic downturn in 1985. The fact that this downturn followed on the heels of a sizeable electoral swing against the PAP in the December 1984 general election was probably a contributing factor in the suddenness of the policy response. The potential that adverse economic conditions created for further opposition gains was not lost on the PAP. The comprehensiveness of the review also indicated that the downturn was not regarded as a temporary phenomenon but as part of longterm structural change. As a result the major assumptions underlying the ‘Second Industrial Revolution’ strategy, and indeed Singapore’s future as a NIC, were subjected to scrutiny. In what transpired, the role of industrialisation in Singapore’s future development strategy and the means by which industrialisation would be promoted were re-assessed. Though at the time of writing this re-assessment has only just taken concrete policy shape, the overriding theme to the government’s measures is clear: the manufacturing sector is no longer expected to fulfil the role originally envisaged under the ‘Second Industrial Revolution’.


Direct Foreign Investment Manufacturing Sector Industrial Revolution International Capital Eastern Economic Review 
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    Economic Committee, Ministry of Trade and Industry, The Singapore Economy: New Directions (Singapore National Printers, 1986) p. 61.Google Scholar
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    See Public Sector Divestment Committee, Ministry of Finance, Report of the Public Sector Divestment Committee (Singapore National Printers, 1987).Google Scholar
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    Whereas a Southeast Asian worker can wire up to 120 integrated circuits to their frames in an hour, one of the 34 automated machines in Portland can wire 640 circuits per hour. With one person able to monitor eight of the new machines, the output per person is therefore 5120 circuits per person. See Stephen Galante, ‘Chip Automation is Hitting Jobs in Asia’, AWSJ, 20 August 1986.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Garry Rodan 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garry Rodan
    • 1
  1. 1.Murdoch UniversityAustralia

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