What is good bureaucracy?

I have been following up the Singapore example for many weeks, and it has been an illuminating experience to understand their approach towards bureaucracy and making it work. Their corruption index is low, and while economic progress has manifested into remarkable indices, social “freedoms” are “restricted”. Conversely, for other regions, there are numerous political and sociological roadblocks.

Here’s something to read:

Why Singapore works: five secrets of Singapore’s success | Emerald Insight

The World Bank defines “government effectiveness” as “the quality of public service provision, the quality of the bureaucracy, the competence of civil servants, the independence of the civil service from political pressures, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to policies” (Kaufmann et al., 2004, p. 3). Table III shows that Singapore has performed well consistently on the World Bank’s governance indicator of government effectiveness as its score ranges from 1.85 in 2002 to 2.43 in 2008. It has attained 100 percentile ranking for these ten years: 1996, 1998, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

I am broadly looking at the bureaucracy, because the policy frameworks make this deliverable; unlike the politically correct “western model” that screams “diversity” in every breath. The cost of healthcare is on the upward swing, and the ongoing pandemic has exposed several fault lines. While there is a specific rule-based order in most societies, it has been at the point of breakdown (and anarchy) on several occasions. Bureaucracy is critical to usher in accountability and keep administrative levers functioning to deliver essential services. Singapore’s model of bureaucracy (and healthcare) is worthy of emulation in some respects. I don’t personally don’t care about the indices, but it is also important to understand about innovation, and that’s where Singapore falters. That’s the only Achilles’ heel.

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