Sunday, April 25, 2010

Raise a Glass to John's Memory


"In the long run, the aggregate of decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgment in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralised decisions of a government, and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster."

Today is the birthday of John Cowperthwaite, the former Financial Secretary for Hong Kong and a great Conservative – or Liberal in the good, Victorian sense rather than the left-wing PC mockery of Gladstone we have today.

His record? A 50 per cent rise in real wages, and a two-thirds fall in the number of households in acute poverty. Exports rose by 14 per cent a year, as Hong Kong evolved from a trading post to a major regional hub

His role in bringing about the Hong Kong economic miracle?

"I did very little. All I did was to try to prevent some of the things that might undo it."

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