How I feel about Singapore ranking in Democracy Indexes

When people find out I’m from Singapore, they will sometimes ask how it feels to live in an authoritarian state. And I’ll reply that I think they are confusing me with an American.

I’m comfortable with our democracy ranking (for what little value such rankings hold) and that we are steadily moving up year by year.
Questions around democracy in Singapore often make reference to the index published by Country analysis EIU also on Wikipedia - Democracy Index.

Singapore is ranked in the 60s of those indexes which puts it in the upper 1/3 of the list. It seems to be worst hit by how EIU calculates Electorial process and pluralism. Given that Singapore has a dominate single-party that likely doesn’t sit well with the EIU evaluators.

The rankings don’t seem especially logical to me as they seem to give a lot of credence to “traditional” views of a pure democracy like a Norway or Sweden. China does much worse than I feel it should.

I also wonder how people determine that Singapore is ‘worst among developed countries’ when they make this reference. There are other countries which I would consider developed after Singapore in the rankings.
Strictly speaking Singapore is still categorised as a developing country (since we are already splitting hairs with the rankings in this report) and it seems to be the best / close to the top of that segment.

In conclusion, I will quote from this article on how I feel about being ranked in the 60s of this list:
“The index is based on a rigid, ideological position that ignores the fact that democratic governments around the world take different forms, depending on their particular history and national conditions. Singapore is a fully democratic state that pragmatically pursues policies to maximise the social and economic outcomes for our citizens.”
Singapore improves marginally in EIU’s Democracy Index

This is a partial rewrite of my answer posted on Quora — 15 July, 2017 and part of my efforts to migrate my mess of online content into one place.

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