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One-Dimensional Singapore

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a Marcusean reading of contemporary Singapore. This one-dimensional society analysis serves as a theoretical limit that explores the heuristically-driven logical conclusions of any analysis that takes seriously the remarkable ability of global capitalism to stabilize itself in spite of its inherent contradictions and crisis tendencies. Ambassador to the US and political scientist Chan Heng Chee once described Singapore as an ?administrative state? that had displaced politics with a bureaucratic logic. The political and intellectual élite in Singapore - including the nationalist bourgeoisie that founded the People?s Action Party (PAP) - have been mostly ambivalent about the place of ?Asian? culture and values in a modern society oriented toward technology and commerce. The government?s idea of critical thinking almost certainly does not involve a questioning of the more fundamental and entrenched rules of the capitalist system or the bases of the PAP government?s extensive powers.

Keywords: administrative state; Asian culture; contemporary Singapore; critical thinking; global capitalism; Herbert Marcuse; one-dimensional society; People?s Action Party (PAP)



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