Singapore has benefited from the globalization of the world economy and experienced 3 decades of extraordinary economic growth, which has brought prosperity and confidence to the people of this small city-state. Able to withstand economic turmoil such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the surge in world oil prices at the beginning of the 21st century, Singapore has proved that its economy has grown on a sustainable and strong basis. Inflation remains under control and the Singaporean exchange rate is stable. The quality of life has improved steadily and society has benefited from rising prosperity. The government's policies aim to maintain political and social stability by promoting economic growth from capital-and skill-intensive technologies, although it has been criticized for restricting freedom of press and associations, and for its interventionist economic policies.
In the long term, Singapore needs to maintain its international edge against growing competition from neighboring countries. It is also exposed to economic, political, and environmental developments in the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. Continuous political turmoil and social unrest in Indonesia might threaten Singapore by causing an influx of refugees and regional instability. Recent forest fires in the Indonesian part of Borneo brought air pollution to dangerous levels, affecting tourism and the health of the Singapore population.