The Heritage of Hong Kong

I’ve just returned from an intensive week in Hong Kong, with no fewer than sixteen briefing sessions with government departments, members of the Legislative Council (including dissidents and trouble-makers!) and others. I’ll write more about the visit later. At least two government departments in their formal power-point presentations made a point of presenting the Heritage Foundation’s annual “Index of Economic Freedom” study — which Hong Kong has topped for many years.

I thought this would interest my old political comrade-in-arms and former staffer, Sally McNamara, now a Senior Policy Analyst on European Affairs at the Margaret Thatcher Centre, at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. So I texted her:

“In Hong Kong. Government very proud of their Heritage Index of Economic Freedom placing”. (It was only after I’d sent the text that I realised that it was about 3:00 a.m. in Washington!).

She replied: “They are! They and Singapore have ferocious competition every year, I believe, for the two top spots. Remember when Britain used to like to compete?”.

As always, Sally hits the nail on the head. Her comment about the UK would be funny — if it weren’t tragic. I’m hoping a Conservative-led Coalition will pay attention to the issue. But I’m not holding my breath.

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3 Responses to The Heritage of Hong Kong

  1. Interestingly, socialists and liberals like to imply that ferocious competition equates with hostility between people. In reality of course, a competitive economy is fundamental for a healthy economy. Whilst our country remains shackled by numerous EU rules and regulations, it will be almost impossible for the economy to be a world leader in various economic sectors. Indeed, some respected economists have already pointed out – that even London is no longer such a viable financial centre as it once was. The means of helping our economy to become a leading competitor, can be divided into short and long-term categories. A somewhat better education system and much lower immigration levels, are two factors which could help in the long-term. Of course, massive cuts to unnecessary rules, regulations and a more favourable tax structure – might facilitate faster improvements? In addition, I would like to see more action taken against monopolies in our economy. Obviously, that would only apply to specific companies, but this issue remains a problem in some economic sectors (where new businesses are unable to compete on genuinely equal terms).

  2. Mike Spilligan says:

    I note that the UK is rated 16th, and I’m sure we used to be higher than that. What is more notable, I think, is that 7 of the top ten are in the Anglosphere, most being in the Commonwealth. There are only two EU nations in the top ten; Ireland and Denmark; yet the USA, Autralia, New Zealand and Canada all rank there.
    Is that enough evidence that it’s the EU holding us back?
    If not, note that the EU “big three” rank 23rd, Germany; 64th, France; and 87th, Italy. QED, I think.

  3. We must also allow for the relevant cultural influences. China, Hong Kong and Germany all have a very good reputation for hard work and investing in the future. Another key factor, is that of wage costs. In addition to being a contributory factor to the rate of inflation, wage costs reduce a country’s capacity to compete.

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