Singapore’s typically robust economy and stable hegemonic-party polity today face arguably their most serious challenges in half a century. The hyper-global affluent nation-state is more vulnerable than most to de-globalization trends accelerated by the global pandemic and climate change, increased disallowance of international competition based on tax avoidance by and state subsidies for multinationals, and pressures to unwind global supply-chains given the growing prioritization of resilience over efficiency, and rising geopolitical tensions, particularly in US-China relations. These external developments coincide and interact with domestic social pressures over intertwined race, immigration and inequality concerns that arguably give an edge to the previously weak political opposition. The PAP government’s responses to date include both promises of more “liberal” welfare policies and enactment of more “authoritarian” restrictions on freedom of expression and association.
is a Singaporean economist who is professor emerita of corporate strategy and international business at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where she formerly served as director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. She has studied and published extensively on the Singapore economy, edited the SG50 (50th anniversary) volume Singapore's Economic Development: Retrospection and Reflections
(2016), and reprinted select articles in the collection, Business, Government and Labor: Essays on Economic Development in Singapore and Southeast Asia
(2018), which includes her work on women workers, and on Overseas Chinese business in Southeast Asia. Linda served from 1998-2016 on the boards of two U.S. public companies with tech manufacturing operations in China, including the sale of one to a Chinese company, and from 2015-2018 directed and taught in custom executive education programs for senior executives of Chinese financial SOEs, on international business, industrial policy and technology development. In 2019 she co-founded AcademiaSG
, a website which champions academic freedom and publishes commentaries by and organizes webinars featuring scholars of Singapore on salient social issues such as race, inequality, international relations and the environment. Her latest article on "The American Economy and Business" appears in Tommy Koh and Daljit Singh, eds., America: A Singapore Perspective