Small government countries around the world

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Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:58 pm

Here are the countries where the government spends the least as a percentage of GDP. This is a graphic illustration of the effectiveness of small government.

121. Guatemala
122. G.-Bissau
123. Indonesia
124. Sri Lanka
125. Uganda
126. C.A. Republic
127. Vietnam
128. Bangladesh
129. Sudan
130. DR Congo
131. Somalia
132. Cambodia
133. Chad
134. Haiti

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by eric84 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:28 pm

Some of those countries barely have functioning states. But yes, libertarian paradises.

We need a formula that measures economic wealth versus government expenditure.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:34 pm

Where did you get the stats?

Indonesia, Vietnam just did the equivalent of the 19th century US progress in 10 years. South East Asia and India are the next boom regions. How they will develop will be fascinating as they will jump to being digital-first economies - new digital banking will evolve here.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:40 pm

Rich_D wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:34 pm
Where did you get the stats?

Indonesia, Vietnam just did the equivalent of the 19th century US progress in 10 years. South East Asia and India are the next boom regions. How they will develop will be fascinating as they will jump to being digital-first economies - new digital banking will evolve here.
The stats are pretty easily available.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by simon_in_exile » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:33 pm

Lies, damned lies and statistics. From what I’ve read, over the past 20 years or so, Indonesia underwent a period of massive devolution, so local bureaucracies make most of the decisions. It’s apparently very inefficient, very unwieldy, and perhaps these local units are excluded from these “government” spending stats?
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Iolar » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:54 pm

And not too far above Guatemala are Switzerland and Ireland - two of the richest countries in Europe with high living standards. And the top three countries are Malawi, Djibouti, and Zimbabwe. What are you trying to prove, OP? That this statistic is meaningless?
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:00 pm

Iolar wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:54 pm
And not too far above Guatemala are Switzerland and Ireland - two of the richest countries in Europe with high living standards. And the top three countries are Malawi, Djibouti, and Zimbabwe. What are you trying to prove, OP? That this statistic is meaningless?
I'd say spending 26% of GDP is a big difference to spending 11%. These stats are meaningless. You'll find most successful countries fall well inbetween the socialism-libertarian continuum.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:02 pm

simon_in_exile wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:33 pm
Lies, damned lies and statistics. From what I’ve read, over the past 20 years or so, Indonesia underwent a period of massive devolution, so local bureaucracies make most of the decisions. It’s apparently very inefficient, very unwieldy, and perhaps these local units are excluded from these “government” spending stats?
The devolution was from spending all federal tax from Jakarta and distributing them to the provinces to spend as they fit. What happen was that it decentralized corruption, which is worse than centralized corruption.

Have you been amazed at the public health services and overall infrastructure of the country?

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by simon_in_exile » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:07 pm

Which is why Indonesia being placed at 123 on the OP list might be due to inadequate data capture rather than reality.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by eric84 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:08 pm

Mike Hunt wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:00 pm
Iolar wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:54 pm
And not too far above Guatemala are Switzerland and Ireland - two of the richest countries in Europe with high living standards. And the top three countries are Malawi, Djibouti, and Zimbabwe. What are you trying to prove, OP? That this statistic is meaningless?
I'd say spending 26% of GDP is a big difference to spending 11%. These stats are meaningless. You'll find most successful countries fall well inbetween the socialism-libertarian continuum.
There can be meaningful differences in government spending for successful countries in achieving quality of life. That's where it's interesting.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:12 pm

simon_in_exile wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:07 pm
Which is why Indonesia being placed at 123 on the OP list might be due to inadequate data capture rather than reality.
As the federal government still dishes it out, I don't know how it would be difficult to capture.

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Small government countries around the world

Post by cuchulainn » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:26 am

I’ve been less than amazed by Indonesian infrastructure.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by jedgarandclyde » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:52 am

Er..........................Is Indonesia being seen here as a 'Small Government' country?
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by mad hatter » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:41 am

Which of those countries were subjugated by Western powers relatively recently?
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Argonheart_Po » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:54 am

Mike Hunt wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:58 pm
Here are the countries where the government spends the least as a percentage of GDP. This is a graphic illustration of the effectiveness of small government.

121. Guatemala
122. G.-Bissau
123. Indonesia
124. Sri Lanka
125. Uganda
126. C.A. Republic
127. Vietnam
128. Bangladesh
129. Sudan
130. DR Congo
131. Somalia
132. Cambodia
133. Chad
134. Haiti
You’re an idiot.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by simon_in_exile » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:28 pm

jedgarandclyde wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:52 am
Er..........................Is Indonesia being seen here as a 'Small Government' country?
If you believe the OP data, yes.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:15 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:26 am
I’ve been less than amazed by Indonesian infrastructure.
When were you there? Indonesia's boom has only started.

On infrastructure spending from the Economist recently:
After years of relative neglect, the amount Indonesia spends on roads, railways, energy plants and the like has surged. Jokowi’s predecessors promised much but delivered little. But after he took office in 2014, Jokowi took advantage of a fall in the oil price to put a cap on an expensive fuel subsidy provided by the government. This gave him more fiscal leeway to splurge on infrastructure projects. In that year 178trn Indonesian rupiah ($15bn) were allocated to infrastructure in the state budget. By 2017 the amount earmarked was more than double that. Jokowi’s government has plans for 222 “national strategic projects” involving roads, railways, bridges, power stations and much else. Of these, 127 are under construction and over 20 have been completed. This year’s budget calls for 856km of new roads to be built across the archipelago.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by cuchulainn » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:16 pm

I was there last in 2016.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by harry_flashman » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:17 pm

Are there any other factors which might account for these statistics?
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:34 pm

cuchulainn wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:16 pm
I was there last in 2016.
Me too. Jakarta reminds one why urban planning is an important thing.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:44 pm

I’d imagine poor countries generally fall into two categories. Those who spend very little on government services and, a small few communist countries, who spend nearly all of GDP on the military and some farce of government services.

I also reckon that as countries develop their expectation of government provision of services goes from nil to expectation. In fact, it’s tough to imagine getting beyond a certain level of development without them. That’s why high-income countries tend to spend a higher percentage of their GDP on government.

A lot of poor countries farm out their government services to the “international community” in the form of aid. For a prime example of this, see Cambodia.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Iolar » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm

I was in Indonesia in 2012 and again in 2017. I didn't notice much improvement in infrastructure, but I wasn't looking for water treatment facilities or power plants. The roads were not particularly good and the airports were horrible.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm

The challenge all these countries face is nothing to do with small government or spending as a percentage of GDP: they can only spend what they make in revenue (or borrow to make up for it...the US borrows 5% of GDP)... The Asian ones on the list: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia are all countries that will benefit from China's Belt and Road plan: the Chinese Marshall Plan to develop the rest of Asia. As they become digital-first economies, the unbanked will be able to use mobile payments, commerce will be done online (private consumption is 56% of Indonesia's GDP but most is untaxed as it is part of the informal economy) and will be taxed so tax receipts as a % of GDP will rise and so will spending... This is how countries develop...a low tax base as most of the economy is informal, economic growth leads to institutions and infrastructure, tax collection rises, the government has money to spend. So sniggering about low-income countries being libertarian paradises because of their low government spending is just economic ignorance.

Interesting you stopped at 121 though, Hong Kong was next on the list...

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:49 pm

Rich_D wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm
Interesting you stopped at 121 though, Hong Kong was next on the list...
Yeah, Hong Kong and Singapore are the exceptions. If we could all be export-oriented island states...

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:50 pm

Infrastructure takes time...but it is not just road that is important, the digital infrastructure is equally important.

From a recent Google/Temasek report:
The Indonesian “digital archipelago” is firing on all cylinders. Supported by the largest internet user base in the
region (150 million users in 2018), Indonesia has the largest ($27 billion in 2018) and fastest growing (49% CAGR
2015-2018) internet economy in the region. With huge headroom across all sectors, it is poised to grow to $100
billion by 2025, accounting for $4 of every $10 spent in the region.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:52 pm

Rich_D wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm
China's Belt and Road plan
Looks China never really did get rid of those Maoist five-year plan.

And what if Asian nations revolt against Chinese suzerainty?

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:08 pm

Belt and Road is poorly named but it is not a Maoist 5-year plan. If you don't know much about, I would recommend reading up on it; it is a massive, ambitious plan. It is the modern Marshall Plan.

"And what if Asian nations revolt against Chinese suzerainty?" - they don't get investment. But alongside the government investment is business investment. Alibaba is investing heavily in Asia, as is Tencent, JD and others. Alibaba controls Lazada, the largest SEA e-commerce business (one of the Alibaba founders is now CEO), they are heavily invested/investing in Indian e-commerce. They recently acquired the largest e-commerce platform in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka (Daraz).

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by harry_flashman » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:30 pm

Is soviet era Russia a good example of how big government is a good thing?
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:34 pm

harry_flashman wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:30 pm
Is soviet era Russia a good example of how big government is a good thing?
Read what I wrote above and get back to me.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:36 pm

The rise of China probably explains the back slide or stagnation of most of Southeast Asia on political and civil rights.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by VinnyD » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:49 pm

Rich_D wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:15 pm
cuchulainn wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:26 am
I’ve been less than amazed by Indonesian infrastructure.
When were you there? Indonesia's boom has only started.

On infrastructure spending from the Economist recently:
After years of relative neglect, the amount Indonesia spends on roads, railways, energy plants and the like has surged. Jokowi’s predecessors promised much but delivered little. But after he took office in 2014, Jokowi took advantage of a fall in the oil price to put a cap on an expensive fuel subsidy provided by the government. This gave him more fiscal leeway to splurge on infrastructure projects. In that year 178trn Indonesian rupiah ($15bn) were allocated to infrastructure in the state budget. By 2017 the amount earmarked was more than double that. Jokowi’s government has plans for 222 “national strategic projects” involving roads, railways, bridges, power stations and much else. Of these, 127 are under construction and over 20 have been completed. This year’s budget calls for 856km of new roads to be built across the archipelago.


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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:51 pm

Mike Hunt wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:36 pm
The rise of China probably explains the back slide or stagnation of most of Southeast Asia on political and civil rights.
For example?

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:59 pm

Backslide: Indonesia, Thailand
Stagnation: The rest of Southeast Asia except for Burma

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:15 pm

Please elaborate on how Indonesia is backsliding on political and civil rights?

Although I am not really interested in the discussion, I am more interested in economic development, the development of rule of law and the development of institutions and infrastructure. All of which I see improvement in most of the region - the Philippines being the exception.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:20 pm

Rich_D wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:15 pm
Please elaborate on how Indonesia is backsliding on political and civil rights?

Although I am not really interested in the discussion, I am more interested in economic development, the development of rule of law and the development of institutions and infrastructure. All of which I see improvement in most of the region - the Philippines being the exception.
Have a look at Freedom House, and compare their ratings over the years.

Of course, a western living in Asia isn't going to be all that concerned about the civil and political rights of the lowly local plebes. It can't be easily monetized.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:39 pm

In my extensive experience, the lowly local plebes are far more interested in economic progress than getting a vote. As would I.

I have little interest in what Freedom House has to say.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:44 pm

Political prisoners, those murdered for using drugs in the PI, and the Uighurs in "re-education" camps may disagree with you.

But I suppose they are all just rocks on the road to capitalism.
Rich_D wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:39 pm
I have little interest in what Freedom House has to say.
Of course.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:09 pm

I disagree with the Chinese treatment of the Uighurs. I believe that its evolving role into a regional hegemon that is looking to build its power largely through soft power is what will change this kind of behavior. As China becomes more adept at managing international relationships, develops a less insular global outlook, it will evolve. Not to a liberal democracy but it will evolve.

I despise Duterte as much as I despise Trump.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:54 pm

You're infected by the James Fallows brand of China gee-whizzery that obscures the country's dark side of rights abuses thousands of political prisoners. Certainly, China should be commended for bringing so many people out of poverty. But that hardly means we need to ignore the eggs they regularly break using economic expansion as the justification.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Moethebartender » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:28 am

Rich wrote:The Asian ones on the list: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia are all countries that will benefit from China's Belt and Road plan: the Chinese Marshall Plan to develop the rest of Asia.
You're a ridiculously delusional China apologist. In Cambodia, at least, the influence of China is not in any way benevolent or beneficial to anyone who wasn't already part of the elite.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by cuchulainn » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:57 am

Thailand is talking about legalizing medical cannabis.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:38 am

Moethebartender wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:28 am
Rich wrote:The Asian ones on the list: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia are all countries that will benefit from China's Belt and Road plan: the Chinese Marshall Plan to develop the rest of Asia.
You're a ridiculously delusional China apologist. In Cambodia, at least, the influence of China is not in any way benevolent or beneficial to anyone who wasn't already part of the elite.
I think this is a good and fair article: Guardian on Chinese investment in Sihanoukville

It is easy to read that as Chinese investment is bad for the locals. I see messy initial investments that will transform Cambodia over the next decade, regulation will catch up with the investment; the port, the casinos will become more integrated into the local economy, most boats will rise. There will always be losers though. Pouring billions into a place like Sihanoukville is going to upend the existing order, create chaos but lead to longterm wealth and growth. Fast economic growth is messy.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Godjira » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:38 am

Rich_D wrote:In my extensive experience, the lowly local plebes are far more interested in economic progress than getting a vote. As would I.

I have little interest in what Freedom House has to say.
You’d care about freedom if you were in the crosshairs.

Ask German Jews what prosperity and the rule of law meant without freedom and equality.
That's the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in Albuquerque!

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:43 am

Of course, I would: I am not saying these things are unimportant. There is no easy path from low income to high income, it will be messy, there will be corruption. Keeping order as you grow is important and this will come with abuses. The west focuses too much on the problems.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Moethebartender » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:38 pm

Rich_D wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:38 am
Moethebartender wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:28 am
Rich wrote:The Asian ones on the list: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia are all countries that will benefit from China's Belt and Road plan: the Chinese Marshall Plan to develop the rest of Asia.
You're a ridiculously delusional China apologist. In Cambodia, at least, the influence of China is not in any way benevolent or beneficial to anyone who wasn't already part of the elite.
I think this is a good and fair article: Guardian on Chinese investment in Sihanoukville

It is easy to read that as Chinese investment is bad for the locals. I see messy initial investments that will transform Cambodia over the next decade, regulation will catch up with the investment; the port, the casinos will become more integrated into the local economy, most boats will rise. There will always be losers though. Pouring billions into a place like Sihanoukville is going to upend the existing order, create chaos but lead to longterm wealth and growth. Fast economic growth is messy.
You're being ludicrous. There is nothing even in the article that you cite that could be spun as any sort of a positive for Cambodia. Sure, it's great for China. For Cambodia and Cambodians? Not so much. The "local economy" will be entirely Chinese, in your vision of the future. Meanwhile, that doddering old dictator for life is lining his pockets with Chinese money and prepping Hun Manet to inherit what remains of the kingdom. Any Cambodian character or culture will be wiped off the map. I guess this is a great thing in your opinion.
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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:52 pm

My Burmese friends think Burma is opening up largely because it's sick of being China's little teddy bear.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:53 pm

People will be tortured, prevented from emigrating, jailed for their views, have their property taken by the government. All just rocks on the path to the Glorious Future.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Mike Hunt » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:56 pm

Meanwhile, the west steps in and administers and pays for the social programs that are the job of the Cambodian government.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:35 pm

he "local economy" will be entirely Chinese, in your vision of the future.
The local economy will be Cambodian with a large Chinese influence and a large western influence. Like the rest of Asia. People will use Facebook, Tantan instead of Tinder, TikTok, Instagram. E-commerce will be a battle between a late-entering Amazon and Alibaba. They will play games from Tencent. Their phones will be Oppo or Vivo rather than Samsung or Apple. Their TVs will be Hisense, Skyworth or LG. People will be richer, more consumer-focused. A local logistics player will emerge as most people will buy their stuff online or possibly Singapore Post becomes the dominant SEA logistics player (now partially owned by Alibaba). Alipay, probably operating under a local brand name, will be the dominant payments business. Go-Jek or Grab from Indonesia and Singapore will be the ride-hailing business of choice.

Cambodia will look nothing like it does today in 10 years but it won't be Chinese. It will be modern in Cambodia's way.

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Re: Small government countries around the world

Post by Rich_D » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:45 pm

Meanwhile, the west steps in and administers and pays for the social programs that are the job of the Cambodian government."

And they should stop. And let Cambodia work out how it wants to be. Let Cambodians take responsibility. Development aid is a waste. Fund western business investment in the countries. Wealth does trickle down.

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