The Future is Singapore: An Essay

The Future is Singapore

China's future may be the Developed World's future 30 years
from now; A world where the state represents corporate
interests at the expense of liberal democracy.

By Patrick Nachtigall (January 2009)

In the late 1980's, numerous articles and books were written
suggesting that Japan was on the brink of becoming a new
superpower. With its fast-growing economy, high-tech
society, and expanding global influence, it was argued that
they would soon surpass the United States and become our new
primary military rival. Of course, nothing of the sort
happened. In 1989, Japan went into a decade long recession,
and as the global economy mutated into something different,
Japan's rigid and closed way of doing things suddenly seemed
outdated and inflexible. To paraphrase Mark Twain, “rumors
of America's decline were greatly exaggerated.” Today Japan
remains a key player on the global stage, but it has
certainly not become the new global leviathan. What may be
dying is not America's ability to be the world's dominant
economic and military superpower, but rather the Western
concepts of liberal democracy and the nation-state.

Today, many are assuming that China will continue its
meteoric rise to equal America's global status, wealth, and
military dominance within a few short decades. Astute
China-watchers believe China is on the cusp of greatness but
must navigate through some difficult political, economic,
and environmental challenges. The conventional wisdom
suggests that China is headed toward one of the following
four scenarios: 1) China will become a democracy with
Chinese characteristics—a Chinese version of the more
traditional democratic models, 2) remain a one-party state,
3) revert to a rigid authoritarianism, or 4) disintegrate
into many smaller nation-states as the former Soviet-Union
did. All of these scenarios, however, are viewed through the
classic nation-state paradigm. They try to gauge China's
future as a nation-state in relation to other nation-states.
Will the new China look like the United States, Mexico,
North Korea, or the Russian Federation?

But what if we are trying to analyze China's rise with the
wrong lens? What if the nation-state system itself is being
transformed as rapidly as China, so that in the future these
various models will make no sense because a new order for
states has been created? What kind of new order could
replace the traditional nation-state paradigm? Perhaps an
order that would require the rest of the world to move
toward today's China as much as the PRC is moving toward the
rest of the open world. The truth that China may need to
become more like us in the West may be overlooking the fact
that we may need to become more like China. The city-state
of Singapore may best exemplify the New World Order I
believe is on the way; a world order that would demand that
the most economically successful countries are highly
connected to economic globalization, but highly regulated as
well. City-states in and of themselves do not have good
historical track records of survival, but the make-up of the
Singaporean model of a city-state may merge with the model
of the nation-state to create a brand new entity: the
Corporate State.

The Corporate State

Unlike the nation-state which is rooted
in self-determination and autonomy, the Corporate State will
be highly dependent on the rule-sets created by the global
economy. The corporate state will not be able to afford
extreme nationalism, or wars, or too much chaos within its
borders because it is too dependent on internal and global
stability for its prosperity. In the same way that the
“nation-states” of Europe have ceded much of their autonomy
to faceless bureaucrats in the E.U., nations like China and
the United States will continue to have their
self-determination and autonomy limited in the future. This
may seem surprising since both countries seem unlikely to
submit their national interests and identity to outside
bodies. They will not, entirely. Of course there will still
be 4th of July celebrations and elections in America and
nationalistic propaganda and military build-ups in China,
but true autonomy will be less possible as liberal democracy
becomes increasingly viewed as too unpredictable and
dangerous in an extremely decentralized world.

The Corporate State will be comfortable with both democratic
and authoritarian elements. Nations that want to be
successful today need to be involved in free-market
economics, they must have strong free trade agreements, open
up their borders to foreign companies (and often immigrants
as well which can be risky), attract foreign direct
investment, create a significant upper or middle class, and
be able to respond quickly to the changes being brought on
by the new knowledge-based economy. Extreme corruption,
isolation, and instability can too easily deal a death blow
to the Corporate State so it must be an open society but a
highly regulated society at the highest levels. In the same
way that China allows democracy at the lower levels but
retains enough centralized power to make the most critical
decisions, the Corporate State will allow citizens to have
input on the local level, but corporations will dominate at
the higher level. This will not be the result of some
melodramatic, Orwellian vision of corporate tyranny; rather
it will be the result of an increasingly economically
interdependent world where corporations are the biggest,
most nimble players on the global stage. The Microsofts,
Googles, and Tata's of the world will have more global
connections and flexibility than their host countries
government. Their influence on their nations' economy and
the global economy will mean that their interests will need
to be protected at to a degree we have not seen in the
history of nations and corporations. Already the CEO's of
these companies can command more attention than a
head-of-state when traveling to foreign countries and more
often than not, a lot more is accomplished with less fanfare
and bureaucracy.

Kinder Gentler Tyrants and Oligarchs With the end of the
Cold War, it seemed that Free-Market Economics and Democracy
had won the day. The Thatcher-Reagan Revolution seemed to
usher in a new age in which the most successful economies
would need to promote privatization of state companies, a
larger role for central banks, lower taxation, oppose trade
unions, create export-led development and decrease the
Welfare state. This neo-liberalism has spread to unlikely
places such as China, Kazakhstan, Chile, Malaysia, and many
other places. Today a large majority of the world is
plugged-in to this system of economic globalization. Along
with the push toward neo-liberalism has been the assumption
that democracy can lead to fast-growing economies and vice

For those countries with a history of strong centralized
rule, the argument was that they would slowly transition
from their undemocratic state to emerge as healthy, liberal
democracies. Taiwan, South Korea, and other East Asian
countries supposedly seemed to model the way forward.
Economic liberalism appeared to pave the way for democracy
even if cronyism and oligarchies were deeply imbedded in the
system. The impressive growth rates of East Asia in the
1980's seemed to make the case.

But after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Collapse of
the Soviet Union, many new democracies stumbled quickly out
of the gate. In the Balkans and much of Eastern Europe,
throughout the Central Asian republics, in Africa and in
Russia democracy was not enough. In the case of the former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda, for instance, democracy was the
problem as it empowered destructive parties preaching ethnic
hatred. In nations such as Kazakhstan andAzerbaijan
opportunities for new wealth quickly opened up in the new
free-market world order, but democracy did not. In the
Ukraine, the economy stalled because democracy had quelled
centralized rule and led to governmental gridlock with
reforms difficult to implement. .

The world seems to be learning two important things in
regard to democracy and liberal economics. First, democracy
requires a healthy economy, strong institutions, law and
order and a well-educated population in order to have a good
chance at succeeding. Neither the United States nor Europe
were perfect liberal democracies at their inception as
modern nation-states. They too were corrupt, oligarchic, and
undemocratic but over decades they emerged as models of
liberal democracy as those key elements became present in
their societies. The failure of the United States to usher
in democracy in Iraq has become the exclamation mark on that
first point. Western-style liberal democracy and free-market
economics cannot be introduced in a vacuum oblivious to a
nation-state's cultural, historical, institutional, and
demographical challenges.

The second lesson came from contrasting Russia and China's
modernization which made clear that a centralized government
can transform itself economically better than a
de-centralized one. In the last two decades, the world has
gazed at China admiringly, while turning away in disgust at
Russia. One nation's national morale is sky high while the
other has felt a collective humiliation. Sudan, Rwanda,
Bosnia, and Haiti are also examples, but none looms as large
as the former Soviet Union which for the Chinese provides
the blueprint of how not to modernize. Indeed, Vladimir
Putin seems to be overturning the Yeltsin years and
attempting a more China-style of capitalist authoritarianism
and the disturbing thing for idealistic democrats is that it
is working better than Yeltsin's more democratic Russia.

As for rising India, a recent trip there confirmed my
suspicions that a lack of a strong, centralized government
is hindering that country's development. India's
infrastructure in comparison to China is abysmal, mostly due
to the fact that democratically-elected leaders play to
their constituents desires and prevent development. We my
say that it is admirable that farms are not being seized to
be turned into freeways, but the people of India are
expecting economic miracles—miracles that their multi-ethnic
admirable yet messy democracy may not be able to provide in

Singapore, while infinitely smaller than China, was a
multi-ethnic nation that was born out of post-Colonialism.
Unlike Sri Lanka, Singapore retained enough control at the
top to create a state that valued multi-culturalism, that
was plugged-in to the global economy, and which offered
transparency and security to a much higher degree than its
Asian neighbors. Of course Singapore is small and has its
own issues of corruption, racism, nepotism, but they are
controlled enough to allow them to be a prosperous actor on
the world stage. While the lack of freedom in Singapore may
disturb our Western sensibilities (and many Singaporeans
too), many countries may come to realize that they resemble
Sri Lanka too much and Singapore not enough. What could make
countries desire benevolent, corporate authoritarianism?
Perhaps, the sense that they cannot afford to wait 100 years
for the more natural, democratic development that the United
States and Western Europe has enjoyed.

According to the Economist, we now live in a world where
emerging economies account for more than half of total word
GDP (measured at purchasing-power parity).[1] Their effect
on the economy of the wealthier, developed nations is now
very significant. For this and many other reasons,
interconnectivity requires rule-sets that all obey in
tandem, and countries that can create the right corporate
atmosphere (like Lithuania, China, Chile) will be rewarded.
In many places, global interconnectivity will pave the way
for illiberal democracy as opposed to liberal democracy.

The nations that are Emerging Nations are much more
comfortable with authoritarianism. They will not long for
the idealism of the American dream in quite the same way as
before. Freedom levels will rise enough to satisfy the
emerging middle and upper classes in countries that have
never known that unique, style of American democracy and
openness. Most of the world, in fact, has never really been
predisposed toward American-style Democracy. Our great
economic ally during the Cold War, Japan, always resembled a
Socialist, one-party state aiming for true communism despite
the Democratic rhetoric. Today, most countries resemble the
People's Republic of China in that they are trying to
modernize quickly, they have pockets of poverty as well as
highly-plugged in global regions, and they have governments
that are corrupt. The need to centralize at the highest
levels will be tolerated by the people and supported by the
companies who ultimately will support the economy.
Furthermore, many nations like China have minority groups
whose participation in democracy would probably lead to
disintegration and the creation of new dysfunctional states.
The track record for democracy amongst multi-ethnic states
since the end of the Cold War has not been good. The
invasion of Iraq has only confirmed that strong
institutions, security, rule of law, and a healthy, literate
middle-class are pre-requisites to democracy otherwise chaos

4 Reasons the Corporate State will replace the Nation-State
It may be tempting to believe that Baywatch, Starbucks, and
American Idol will create a demand for democracy in
previously closed-off countries. But perhaps it will not
create a demand for democracy as long as Baywatch,
Starbucks, and American Idol are provided. While
Singaporeans seem dissatisfied with their current system,
there are no revolts or revolutions. A huge gap between rich
and poor is developing (which will be a problem across much
of the world), but the overall quality of life is getting
better in Singapore each decade as it is in most of the rest
of the world. Nevertheless, the question must be asked: Will
the citizens of the world really want their lives dominated
by governments which provide less democracy in an effort to
guarantee prosperity? Are we not creatures made for freedom?

There are 4 developments that will pave the way for a less
democratic order in these Corporate States.

First, The rule-sets created by the global marketplace
demand a high level of openness and security. China would
not be able to be as successful as it is today if it were
not opening its doors to foreign investment and developing
trade relationships with countries throughout the world.
Ideological and nationalistic differences between
nation-states mean less than ever before because the
corporate state needs to have as many economic partners as
possible. The Chinese may bicker occasionally with South
Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, but trade and cultural interaction
remains untouched. Distrust remains between India and the
United States, but the market demands that the channels
remain very open and that tensions be avoided.

Of course previous periods of globalization seemed to be too
inter-dependent to lead to war and they resulted in the War
of Religions cumulating with the Thirty Years War (which
ended with the Peace at Westphalia) and the two World Wars.
Have we really moved beyond the era of international war?

While war between large nations like China cannot be ruled
out, most conflicts are now within nation-states and this
new economic interdependence is solidified by technology. A
nation-state would be cutting themselves off from too many
things if they opt for war with too easily. For
dysfunctional failed-states, this might be an option. For
nations like China that want to go see their economies go
from being Agrarian and Industrial to services-oriented and
high-tech the cost may be too high. The Corporate-State's
global interests trump the nation-states nationalistic
sentiments. This leads to the second development which will
pave the way for the Corporate-State: The nation-state's
biggest threat is assymetrical open-source warfare waged by
intra-state actors or trans-national terrorist organizations.

While terrorism has been around for centuries, today's
terrorism is radically different than in previous eras.
There are five reasons why this is the case. Today's
terrorism is larger in scope than in previous eras when it
was limited to the assassination of a particular army,
ruler, or occupying force. Open borders, cheap and powerful
new methods of communication, well-educated terrorists,
technological innovations, and international financial
networks, have completely changed the face of terrorism
making it far more expansive.

First, today's terrorism is larger in scope and has far
larger goals than in previous eras. Throughout history, the
goals of terrorists have been fairly limited. Terrorism
involved the assassinations of kings and princes, the defeat
of an army in one fixed location, or the terrorizing of
particular populations for limited goals. Even as late as
September 10th, 2001, the terrorist organizations we worried
about had very limited goals. Hijackers in the 1980's
usually demanded the release of prisoners from Israeli jails
or statehood for Palestine. Terrorists in Ireland, Sri Lanka
and Spain were attempting to carve out a piece of land from
an existing nation-state. Great wars and great campaigns
were the stuff of large empires and nations doing battle,
not small, decentralized groups. Prior to our current era,
technology had not enabled a small group of actors to have
such global aspirations.

This is no longer the case. Today, the changes brought by
globalization allow terrorism to be truly trans-national.
Open borders, cheap and powerful new methods of
communication, well-educated terrorists, technological
innovations, and international financial networks, have
completely changed the face of terrorism making it far more
expansive. While groups like the Tamil Tigers and the I.R.A.
began ushering in the age of international networks to raise
funds (and smuggle weapons), their fight was contained to
specific regions. Narco-terrorists in Columbia were able to
buy expensive equipment and even compete with the best that
American drug enforcement officials had to offer.
Nevertheless, their goal was still limited to smuggling
drugs. Today, the most lethal organizations are not so
limited in their scope. In fact, Al Qaeda (which means “the
base”), is not really a particular organization but a loose
affiliation of terrorist groups that have common objectives
and global ambitions.

Second, today's terrorists are able to poison the well on
many different levels. The “War Against Terror” has not
always been prosecuted in the most effective way, but we
must also realize that this war is not just an effort to
stop individual attacks, but rather it is an international
effort to close gaps in our international systems which
allow terrorists to flourish. Terrorism challenges us on
many fronts which are not as visible as the carnage of a
suicide bomb. Illegal financial transactions and weapon
smuggling operations are part of terrorism as well and “a
war” does need to be waged against these criminal activities
because they terrorize and victimize innocent people
throughout the world. While the war against terrorism is
often reduced to a fight between the West (particularly the
United States) and Al-Qaeda, the reality is that this is a
larger battle between the civilized world and the criminal
underworld. Today the global economy is growing at a
phenomenal rate. Disturbingly however, the criminal economy
is growing seven times as fast.

A third major difference is that the weapons terrorists are
pursuing are far more lethal today than ever before. While
smuggling a suitcase nuke, or executing a biological or
chemical attack is not easy, make no mistake about it,
people are trying to do just that as William Langewiesche
has documented in his new book The Atomic Bazaar. It is true
that there is a much higher chance that the person reading
these words will die in a fatal car accident than of dying
in a terrorist attack. Even waves of terrorist attacks would
not be able to hurt the majority of the population. However,
those attacks can be far more lethal, cause more damage and
cover a greater area in less time than ever before. The cost
of protecting the nation-state is increasing exponentially,
while the cost to wage destructive attacks for terrorist
organizations is decreasing at the same rate in the opposite

Armed with box cutters and just a few thousand dollars, the
9/11 hijackers were able to kill 3,000 people and shift the
world geo-politically costing America and the world billions
of dollars. In other words, you get more bang for your buck
than ever before if you are in the terrorist game. It is
because those attacks can be done so easily and effectively
on so many different levels of society, that there will be a
need to be vigilant against terrorism. One of the biggest
lessons of the Iraq was is that it costs the U.S. military
millions of dollars to create hardware that can identify and
defuse terrorists bombs that operate using garage door
openers. Open-source warfare is empowering terrorism with
everyone learning and borrowing from everyone. Destroying
life has never been cheaper, and saving life has never been
more expensive. The real danger is not today's cartoon
version of Al Qaeda which I call Al-Qaeda 1.0. In the
future, globalization's unequal distribution of wealth will
open the door for more sophisticated groups that represent
new ideologies or even corporate or anti-corporate
interests. Think not of Osama Bin Laden representing the 7th
century, rather think of a rogue Gazprom terrorist
organization—part of a corporate militia which are already
becoming more common.

A fourth major difference is that today's terrorists are far
more educated than the terrorists of the past. Great Britain
was shocked to find out in 2007, that doctors in their
health system attempted to carry out terrorist attacks in
Scotland and England. But this increasingly fits the profile
for many Muslim terrorists in particular. Doctors,
engineers, students at prestigious European universities, or
upper and middle class youth are the ones most likely to
choose terrorism—not the poor and disenfranchised. Most of
them have been educated in the secular ideas of the West,
particularly those that are suspicious of capitalism,
imperialism, and the foreign policy of countries such as the
United States and Israel. In this sense, Osama bin Laden and
Ayman Al Zawahiri are not too different than the
Western-educated monsters that represented the worst of the
Marxist revolutions of the 20th century. Many attended
schools in the West. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed
to masterminding the September 11th attacks, the Bali
nightclub bombing and the 1993 World Trace Center bombing
amongst many others attacks, attended a Baptist school in
Murfreesboro, North Carolina before completing a degree in
mechanical engineering at the North Carolina Agriculture and
Technical State University. Mohammed Atta had a degree from
Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. Zacarias Moussaoui
received flight training in Norman, Oklahoma and had a
degree from South Bank University in London.

A fifth difference is that in the case of Islamic Fascists,
negotiations are not an option. Unlike the I.R.A. or even
the Tamil Tigers with their clear objectives, some militant
Islamic organizations hope to usher in the apocalypse or at
least achieve the unachievable such as a peaceful
pan-Islamic world . With these groups negotiations are
pointless. Due to their decentralized and individualistic
natures, there is not even anyone to negotiate with anyway.
In the past, the enemy was another country, kingdom or tribe
and the goals were limited. Even the use of atomic weapons
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States had a goal—to
end the fighting quickly. The Cold War, in which thousands
of nuclear missiles were pointed at places around the world
had a goal as well—to deter the enemy and keep the war from
turning hot. A hotline was even set up between the General
Secretary of the Soviet Union and the President of the
United States in case the tension reached crisis level. Many
of the new terrorist organizations, however, could care less
if the whole world goes down with them. Unlike Presidents,
dictators, or generals of the past, they are not accountable
to anyone if they bring destruction on their own people.
Even Mao Zedong and his indifference toward the suffering of
his people was ultimately reigned in after the disastrous
Cultural Revolution. The war-weary Soviets had many nuclear
weapons but had no desire to use them and still had many
citizens to take care of in one way or another. Today's
Islamic-Fascists can hardly wait to use nuclear weapons and
they will not need to explain to anyone afterward why they
did what they did. The death and destruction is the glorious
goal in and of itself.

The decentralized nature of modern-day terrorism which leads
to rogue, unaccountable, independent cells, combined with
their pursuit of incredibly lethal technology and their
desire to destroy for the sake of destruction (as opposed to
fighting for a particular attainable objective) makes
today's terrorism one of the world's greatest problems. The
Corporate-State will need to be decentralized when it comes
to its business atmosphere but more centralized in its
geo-political positions and policing efforts as it
increasingly deals with non-state, transnational actors.
Global trade will be so important and assymetrical
open-source warfare so dangerous that the citizens of
prosperous and emerging nation-states will accept the
reigned in civil liberties of the nation-state. Winston
Churchill, Alexis De Toquevillle and many others have warned
about how difficult democracy is to sustain and how willing
the comfortable will give up their rights for security and

China's response to power and wealth may not be a resurgence
of imperialism but rather create citizens like the ones in
Hong Kong: unable to have full democracy, but mostly
satisfied and apolitical in exchange for the right to make
money in a secure environment. Thus far, China's people seem
tired and ill equipped for war (as do the peoples of Western
Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and other developed
nations). If China develops bad actors in its minority
population or in the majority Han, the bulk of the nation
would probably be happy to give up its demands for civil
security and more democracy in exchange for peace and

Third, the need to find natural resources and control the
environment will require that all global corporations be
global and globally responsible. Keeping corporations global
and accountable will be too difficult for the nation-state.
But the Corporate-state will always have their nation and
companies interests at heart. In order to avoid resource
wars, and skirmishes across the globe, nations and
corporations will work together to make sure that everyone
profits. Key decisions will be made that will be out of the
sight of the general population, free from democratic
restraints. We now live in a world that has not only added 2
billion to the work force, but which is creating an enormous
class of new consumers. Global corporations and
conglomerates are aiming for all of these consumers, with
their products interconnected to other products. It is not
just us in the First World that are dependent on our
Japanese laptop, partially made in Malaysia, China, and
America—it is the Emerging Nations as well. The process by
which products and natural resources are distributed will
need to be protected. This dependency of global consumers
combined with the need to care for the environment and
prevent war will give more power to Corporations to make
back-room deals that secure the peace. The backward politics
of Saudi Arabia which keeps a country pacified by providing
wealth through backroom deals with U.S. corporations may be
more a model of the future of China and the world, than the
image of Iraq successfully embracing democracy.

The fourth is the emergence of a global elite that has
vested interests across borders and represents the most
influential people in the nation-state. They will be
supporters of the Corporate-state which keeps the world
peaceful allowing their business, investments, and
citizenships to remain valuable. From Mexico to Malaysia,
people are working for companies and investing in economies
that are highly dependent on cross-cultural interaction. It
is creating people that are more cross-cultural. I myself am
from a Latin American country, have citizenship in America,
and residency in Hong Kong. There are more and more of us
who for a variety of reasons see citizenship to the
nation-state meaning less than less. It does not mean the
end of nationalism or loyalty to ones country and people,
but it brings a perspective and reality about the
limitations of particular cultures and nations that was not
so easy to understand in previous eras where travel,
residency and communication where more limited and harder to
come by. This global elite tends to be well-educated, speaks
a lingua franca (English and possibly Mandarin in the
future), and spearheads the most successful class of workers
in this new age which requires high level of education,
cross-cultural skills, and an understanding of Western
corporate sensibilities. The Corporate-State's citizens are
ultimately global citizens in every way. Nationalism will
provide identity, but for the world's global citizens,
nationalism at the expense of global corporate interests
will not be an option. China does not yet have a “global
citizenry,” but China's future leaders will have been
educated in the West, have investments throughout the globe,
and will reward and promote those companies and Chinese
citizens who best fit the global mind-frame. China may call
on nationalistic sentiment from time to time, but the movers
and shakers in China will be those global elites who are
sophisticated enough to have cross-cultural skills that open
the way toward economic dominance. The country bumpkin may
be good for October 1st, but China is banking on the
Stanford-educated entrepreneur to create businesses and
serve as the model for a new globally engaged upper and
middle class.

The world that we are entering into may be too
inter-connected, too environmentally fragile, with far too
many consumers and too threatened by assymetrical
open-source warfare for liberal democracy to flourish. The
situation fragile China now finds itself in may be a
harbinger of the future of the nation-state. We are too
wealthy, use too many of the world's resources, and are too
vulnerable to de-centralized forces to disregard the role
that a strong, state can play. The nation-state with its
promotion of liberal democracy may have only been possible
in the era between the 1648 Peace of Westphalia and the end
of the Cold War1991. The triumph of capitalism has resulted
in a world with far too many consumers. These consumers
interests and economic growth will be perceived as needing
to to be protected at all costs. Democracy will be a luxury
few countries can afford in a world where the masses demand
such a great degree of comfort. The result will be a world
that will trade its freedom for security and comfort. As
globalization creates winners and losers the failed-states
of the world will become greater threats. The desire to live
in a Singapore-like state of peace and prosperity will grow.
Security cameras, which are already very prominent in
Britain, and eye scanners will seem like a small price to
pay for the global worker and consumer who will fly through
safe airports to find bargains on another continent before
returning to work on Monday at their global corporation. And
it will be a small price to pay for the nation-state which
will be happy to provide its citizens with peace free from
the fear of war and pillage. Relations between
nation-states, the dominant global theme of the last four
centuries will take a backseat to the relationship between
the community of Corporate States and subversive, non-state

As a nation China faces enormous challenges and its
successful transition to a world power is anything but
assured. But sadly, China's problems increasingly mirror the
problems of much of the world. Deng Xiaoping's desire to see
China mirror Singapore may be the fate of all liberal
democracies. Oligarchy, not democracy will be the promise of
the new century to a global citizenry of consumers who will
be too busy living in the virtual world to notice.

[1] “The New Titans.” The Economist, September 14, 2006.

[2] For a more detailed discussion see, “The Terrorist
Threat is Different Now” in Chapter 9 of Faith in the
Future: Christianity's Interface with Globalization by
Patrick Nachtigall (Warner Press April 2008).