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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