Hannan extols Hong Kong and Cowperthwaite

In today’s Sunday Telegraph, Daniel Hannan MEP praises Hong Kong and the role played by Sir John Cowperthwaite. He notes that “nowhere else on Earth so perfectly embodies the power of free trade” and rhetorically asks “Who made it happen? An unassuming Scottish civil servant called John Cowperthwaite.”

See the full article “For an example of the power of open markets, look no further than Hong Kong” at www.telegraph.co.uk

EconTalk with Russ Roberts

Neil Monnery, author of Architect of Prosperity, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book–a biography of John Cowperthwaite, the man often credited with the economic success of Hong Kong. Monnery describes the policies that Cowperthwaite championed and the role they played in the evolution of Hong Kong’s economy. How much those policies mattered is the focus of the conversation. Other topics include the relationship between Hong Kong and China and the irony of the challenges Hong Kong faced from U.S. and British protectionism.


David Warsh of Economics Principals

David Warsh considers John Cowperthwaite and Architect of Prosperity in his online column of Economic Principals.

He notes that Cowperthwaite’s economic policies are relevant today:

But Hong Kong is just an island, right?  No real country could succeed the way it had, could it? In fact the People’s Republic of China pursued a highly similar strategy as it entered global markets after 1978, encouraging foreign investment; entering light and medium industries first, rather than capital-intensive ones; turning agriculture back to its farmers; and, piling up enormous reserves as a precautionary measure.

He is concerned at how the United States may have lost its way in terms of economic policy. And he argues that Adam Smith is as relevant today as he was 250 years ago:

In fact, it hasn’t changed much since Adam Smith wrote an admirably terse prescription for it 250 years ago: “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

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Len Shackleton questions the value of the government’s industrial strategy

In Prospect Magazine, Len Shackleton comments on the government’s recent announcement about industrial strategy:

“while the White Paper paints a rosy picture of a future in which Britain will aim to be “the most innovative country in the world,” there is the little matter of getting there.”

He concludes:

“I’m just reading Neil Monnery’s fascinating book on John Cowperthwaite’s role in promoting Hong Kong’s meteoric economic development—which involved little regulation and minimal government. It has been called “positive non-interventionism.” After ploughing through this White Paper, it seems a bit of Cowperthwaite’s scepticism is very much in order.”