Hong Kong v China – Less Government Is So Obviously Better

Published October 4, 2014

Perhaps lost in the incessant, rolling bad news shuffle that is the Barack Obama Administration are the ongoing Hong Kong protests of rising Chinese domestic interference.

This is exactly the sort of thing we freedom lovers and free marketeers feared when in 1984 the British agreed to in 1997hand over control of the island to the mainland Communists.

To alleviate the concern, the Chinese Communists pledged non-interventionism.

(T)he Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”

But we knew the Chinese Communist Party couldn’t forever resist assaulting the golden goose.

(S)tudent groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy….

Crackdown on Protests by Hong Kong Police Draws More to the Streets

Downtown Hong Kong turned into a battlefield of tear gas and seething crowds on Sunday after the police moved against a student democracy protest, inciting public fury that brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of a city long known as a stable financial center.

Sound familiar?

Chaos In Hong Kong Rivals Tiananmen Square Crackdown 25 Years Ago

And there is no question Hong Kong is a golden goose.  Left to its autonomous, less-government ways Hong Kong has become a free speech-free market Xanadu.

As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, Hong Kong’s service-oriented economy is characterized by low taxation, near free port trade and well established international financial market….

According to Index of Economic Freedom since the inception of the index in 1995, Hong Kong has remained the world’s freest economy. 

The economy is governed under positive non-interventionism, and is highly dependent on international trade and finance….

Hong Kong’s gross domestic product, between 1961 and 1997, has grown 180 times. Also, the GDP rose by 87 times per capita….

This policy has often been cited by economists such as Milton Friedman and the Cato Institute as an example of the benefits of laissez-faire capitalism.

Is the golden goose threatened?  The entire flock is.

Hong Kong Unrest May Shake World Economy

The Chinese Communists should understand this.  They have over the last couple of decades loosened ever so slightly their internal economic restrictions.  Which has allowed for some selective, amazing growth – Alibaba, anyone? – of which those under the authoritarians could previously only dream.

So here we have perfect, evolutionary compares-and-contrasts.

Decades of on-all-fours, Huge Government China – resulting in horrendous human condition, tens of millions of deaths and abject destitution.

Slightly loosened Chinese government shackles – resulting in limited economic explosion.

And walking upright – sprinting forward, actually?  Minimalist regulation Hong Kong – whose free markets and free trade have resulted in the freest and best economy on Earth.

Which would you choose?

We here have the opportunity to learn these lessons – and make the right choices.  In sectors throughout our economy.

A horrendous example of de-evolutionary, destructive, China-esque domestic policy?

Over those seventy or so years, our anti-free-market farm policy warped the emerging global farm market.  The world’s growers saw our bad moves – and matched them.  Subsidy-for-subsidy, tax-for-tax, protectionism-for-protectionism.

Seven decades later, we have a worldwide Crony Socialist nightmare mess.

All of which can be simply fixed.

The world’s crop-producing nations need to sit down together, each with a copy of everyone else’s lists of protectionist policies. And start horse trading.

“Brazil – how about if you get rid of this subsidy, we’ll each get rid of one.”

“Mexico – if you get rid of this tariff, we’ll each get rid of one.”

Let the subsequent discussions ensue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And then we do the same with iPhone parts.  And cars.  And tires.  And….

China has slowly, selectively learned these lessons – and has begun crawling towards the triumphant Hong Kong free market model.  Even as they now look to rein in the visual aide.

We have spent the last decades too often assuming the Chinese-model fetal positions.

There’s an old joke:

Patient: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

Doctor: “Don’t do that.”

It hurts when China does it.  It hurts when China does it to Hong Kong.

Why are we doing it to ourselves?  And thus the rest of the world?

[Originally published at PJ Tatler]