Jospeh Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001, attributes the success of Singapore and other East Asian economies to government intervention. In his book, Freefall, he writes:
Government has played an especially large role in the highly successful economies of East Asia. The increases in per capita incomes there during the past three to four decades have been historically unprecedented. In almost all of these countries, government took an active role in promoting development through market mechanisms. China has grown at an average of 9.7 per cent per year for more than thirty years and has succeeded in bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty. Japan's government-led growth spurt was earlier, but Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, and a host of other countries followed and adapted Japan's strategy and saw per capita incomes increase eightfold in a quarter century.
Of course, governments, like markets and humans, are fallible. But in East Asia, and elsewhere, the success far outweighed the failures.