free, but not free

posted in: hong kong 0

If Mr Friedman had a favourite economy, it was Hong Kong. Its astonishing economic success convinced him that although economic freedom was necessary for political freedom, the converse was not true: political liberty, though desirable, was not needed for economies to be free. Why, he asked, had Hong Kong thrived when Britain, which controlled it until 1997, was so statist by comparison? He greatly admired Sir John Cowperthwaite, the colony’s financial secretary in the 1960s, “a Scotsman…a disciple of Adam Smith, his ancient countryman”. And how much more, Mr Friedman wondered, might America have thrived had it kept its government as small, relative to its economy, as the island entrepot had done?

–from the obituary of Friedman in the Economist, “A heavyweight champ, at five foot two”. (Subscribers only, but you could probably find the text if you google it.)

…peripherally related, so of course will be cited in my paper (on the minimum wage legislation for foreign domestic workers in hong kong). =)