It is the end of the year and many resources begin this routine of predicting shit for the next year and procure all kinds of "Top" 5, 10, 25, "events", "economies", "militaries" in the world, lists. This one, however, is from September and it was done by the U.S. News and World Report magazine. I am not 100% sure what criteria have been used but here it is:
And here is where one has to question "tech expertise" of Singapore and Switzerland. While there are many worshipers of Lee Kuan Yew in the West and among candidates for McDonald's (Now, Tasty, Period!) and Burger King employment among graduates of economic departments of Russian universities, one has to question the entry of Singapore in this, let's face it, very prestigious list. While there is very little doubt that Singapore is a very important port and set up policies which are conducive for many companies of note moving some of their manufacturing, such as electronics, to Singapore, I still don't get what is Singapore's Technological Expertise beyond that?
Even United Kingdom has a claim to its place in this list due to its still significant remaining real expertise in many fields such as aerospace, advanced shipbuilding and in producing Mini Coopers, and being electronics producer is by far not enough for placing Singapore in this list. Can Singapore produce a modern cutting edge submarine? Of course not. But Italy, as an example, can. Granted that Todaro-class is a German Type-212 adapted for Italian Navy. But then again, Italy has Fincantieri, which apart from being Europe's largest shipbuilder, also is the main contractor for US Navy's FFGs.
It will take several large volumes just to list the required expertise and all technologies which go into manufacturing modern warships. But then again, does Singapore have aerospace industry? But then again, do you see France in this list. Yes, yes, this funny country with a city of Toulouse, where they produce those Airbuses. You know, the ones Singapore Airlines loves to buy and fly. Yes, like this A-380, designed and built in Toulouse.
And while I by no means try to disparage Singapore's achievements or the expertise, it has to be understood that the country the size of one city with a population of roughly 5.7 million people simply has no size to have technological expertise across the whole spectrum of productive and creative activities which warrant being placed in such a list.
Can Singapore build a nuclear sub, which requires a monstrous volume of technological and engineering expertise? Here is a French one, the Triomphant-class strategic missile submarines which are fully designed and built in France, including their SLBMs M-51 and nuclear reactor.
Not too shabby, right? Do I have to go into the expertise required for nuclear energy in general, and nuclear propulsion in particular?
Well, here is my point--the reason I elaborate on this issue (the list, you know) is because it is getting tiresome to constantly keep everything in the perspective and TO THE SCALE. Singapore simply doesn't have and will never have all required resources to be a truly technological power-house, and it takes an enormous effort to explain to a lay person the economic, scientific and industrial depth the nation has to have in order to be introduced into all kinds of Top-10 or Top-15 lists. It is a completely different game at the top. Can Singapore, or Switzerland build the International Space Station? Can they launch and operate something like GPS or GLONASS--this is as hi-tech as it comes--we know the answer.
It is a tragedy that modern economy and true technological expertise has been trivialized and reduced to merely bean counting of "investment" and stock market, and ignores completely an immense volume of technological expertise which goes into producing space stations, commercial and combat aircraft, ships, automobiles, modern extracting industries and massive machine building complexes. A precise set of expertise which defines those very Top-10s. But, what do I know, right? Meanwhile backward Rooskies started flight tests of another Russian engine, PD-8 and it will get the certificate in 2023 (in Russian).
But this is so non-glamorous, so not iPhonish.