One version of noocracy is the epistocracy; a political system which concentrate political power in citizens according to their political knowledge. The term is derived from the Greek words ἐπιστήμη (epistḗmē) which means knowledge and κράτος (krátos) which means power or rule.
Singapore is not a noocracy, but it has certain coocratic tendencies, as the path to government is structured in a way aimed at promoting those with higher skills and knowledge to leadership positions. Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew desired a governmental recruitment system based on effort and merit, rather than on wealth or privilege.
Some of the foundations of the Singaporean system are strict university-entrance exams and a specific political recruitment process that favours knowledge and problem-solving. Selected individuals are then trained in the task of devising the best solutions for the benefit of the entire society.
Research show that there is now a widespread belief in Singapore of their political leaders having a better understanding of the country´s long-term plans than the average citizen. Many Singaporeans support the system as they see positive policy outcomes, and are in favour of how Singapore has been transformed from a third-world to a developed economy.
Singapore has a multicultural population and four official languages (English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil), which could easily have resulted in sectarian divisions and strife, but multiculturalism is enshrined in the constitution and this seems to have had a calming influence through national policies for housing, education, and more.
After being a trading post of the British Empire, Singapore gained self-governance in 1959. In 1963 it became a part of the new federation of Malaysia, alongside Malaya, North Borneo, and Sarawak, but ideological differences led to Singapore’s expulsion two years later. Since then, Singapore has been an independent country, and the People’s Action Party has ruled continuously. Foreign observers characterise the elections as generally free, but have noted that the government exercises significant control over society.
Despite being small and largely lacking natural resources, Singapore developed rapidly after independence and turned into one of the Four Asian Tigers. It now has on of the highest GDP per capita in the world, and is currently ranked #11 on the United Nations Human Development Index (year 2019). Notably, it outranks countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States on the HDI list, and Singapore consistently places high in key social indicators such as health care, education, housing, personal safety, and quality of life. Singaporeans have one of the world´s longest life expectancies, and one of the world´s lowest infant mortality rates. The home-ownership rate exceeds 90%.
Singapore is currently the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies.