October 6, 2006

Quote of the Day: Milton Friedman on Hong Kong

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:48 am

From OpinionJournal.com (e-mail registration may be required; bolds are mine):

The ultimate fate of China depends, I believe, on whether it continues to move in Hong Kong’s direction faster than Hong Kong moves in China’s.

(Hong Kong’s current leader, Donald) Tsang insists that he only wants the government to act “when there are obvious imperfections in the operation of the market mechanism.” That ignores the reality that if there are any “obvious imperfections,” the market will eliminate them long before Mr. Tsang gets around to it. Much more important are the “imperfections”–obvious and not so obvious–that will be introduced by overactive government.

A half-century of “positive noninterventionism” has made Hong Kong wealthy enough to absorb much abuse from ill-advised government intervention. Inertia alone should ensure that intervention remains limited. Despite the policy change, Hong Kong is likely to remain wealthy and prosperous for many years to come. But, although the territory may continue to grow, it will no longer be such a shining symbol of economic freedom.

Yet that doesn’t detract from the scale of (1961-1971 British civil servant John) Cowperthwaite’s achievement. Whatever happens to Hong Kong in the future, the experience of this past 50 years will continue to instruct and encourage friends of economic freedom. And it provides a lasting model of good economic policy for others who wish to bring similar prosperity to their people.

Mainlaind China’s cheerleaders are hoping that the Communist country will do something no other Communist country has voluntarily done without government capitulation or overthrow — convert to a dominant ethic of free-market capitalism. Excuse me if I’m skeptical of it happening, especially as the BizzyBlog Internet Wall of Shame members continue to help the mainland’s leaders perfect its police state.

____________________________________

UPDATE: Here’s a BIG reason to be skeptical — execution buses (video here, Dvorak pic and commentary here, Atlas Shrugs post here). Someone ought to ask the people who run Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s what they thinks of these.

Share

1 Comment

  1. [...] Thanks to BizzyBlog for the following: The ultimate fate of China depends, I believe, on whether it continues to move in Hong Kong’s direction faster than Hong Kong moves in China’s. [...]

    Pingback by Quote of the Day - Milton Friedman « Colorado Right — October 6, 2006 @ 4:30 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.