I was having a discussion with my father and his brother the other day about cities, and one asked how Dubai had managed to do so well considering it hardly had any seed money of oil, something quite similiar to Singapore. My uncle said something quite interesting, Dubai's success was thanks to Nehru and Shastri. That got me reading up a bit.
So here's how it worked. Nehru in his often stated brilliance imposed severe restrictions on the trade and price of Gold in India. The sheik of Dubai had free trade in Gold, and was well, a smuggler's paradise. Combine the two and you have possibly the largest movement of illegal gold trade in the 20th century, between India and Dubai. Figures, sadly, aren't exactly freely available for the sheer amount of trade that took place since it was all kind of illegal. But figure it out for yourself. Dubai has about 1/20th the Oil reserves of Abu Dhabi and was pretty much a creek with a palace 30 years back. They started building some serious infrastructure post that, and the city now speaks for itself.
It's kinda ironic when you think about it, though. Everyone curses the brain drain, and how the best talent goes towards developing the states. Even more criminal (quite literally so actually) is that we also seem to have funded the development of a very successful city state buy buying copious quantities of Gold in black money from there.
The world never ceases to amuse me.