Hong Kong’s hearts have been gushing with pride as that time of the year comes around again and Chief Executive Donald Tsang proudly gets his pat on the head from the Heritage Foundation for running the world’s freest economy. The important thing is that we all smile and pretend this is a different Heritage Foundation from the American hegemonist one that rants about the Beijing Communists’ evil global designs in ways guaranteed to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.
Part of the annual ritual is a stern reminder from the Foundation that Hong Kong could lose its number-one spot if it doesn’t watch out. In the past the the think-tank has warned that a minimum wage or a competition law might threaten our ideological purity. This year, their spokesman on the radio said on Friday, the danger is Hong Kong’s inclusion in China’s Five Year Plan.
You can see his point. What greater harm could come to a laissez-faire economy than to be subjected to Stalinist-style targets for tractor or wheat production? But that’s not really what it’s about. The Big Lychee is mentioned in the Five Year Plan in order to send us a heavy-handed subliminal message that we are both dependent on and a beneficiary of Beijing’s generosity – which can of course be withdrawn if we don’t shut up and behave.
Still, it is good to see someone call attention to the idiocy of it. Maybe the Heritage Foundation could question some of the things Sir Bow-Tie says on the subject. When Donald says that Hong Kong’s inclusion in the Five Year Plan shows that the city’s role as a financial centre is not threatened by Shanghai, the Foundation could laugh and point out that Shanghai has no free movement of capital, no serious legal, accounting or regulatory systems, no free flow of information, and there are state-owned or –linked corporations as far as you can see, plus corrupt administrators. The only sort of person who could suggest it rivals Hong Kong is either stupid or trying to undermine Hongkongers’ confidence by suggesting otherwise. And what sort of person would do that? Why, the sort of shoe-shiner who knows how to get a pat on the head from Beijing as well.
Comments will be cleared eventually…
Well……… much though I despise these arrogant self-abrogating groups ( ” things” would be a more correct term) like the heritage whatnot, I guess it shows that although we are doing an awful lot of things wrong, we are also doing a lot of things right – at least by comparison with other countries.
I remember at school the intense competition for the position of top of the class between me and 3- 4 others. The winner was usually a spotty-faced nerd with zero social graces and an EQ only sightly higher than room temperature. But fact was – he usually came top of the class because we was – frankly – better at scoring where it counted : maths, science, geography , history, whatever
BTW : Hemmers – what’s this new ” comments will be cleared eventually..” thing ? Was that why there were no comments on line for yesterday?
The comments always make good reading, even if we don’t all agree with you – or each other
HK has no corrupt administrators? So all of this bulldozing of HK heritage, affordable property, air quality, taxpayers money and retail competition under the concrete of the property cartels with their third runways, railways, bridges to nowhere, incinerators, mega-islands and deceitful property claims are carried out on the basis of (even misplaced) altruism? I think not.
Corruption indexes should include collusion and incompetence as key components. At least then HK will more clearly recognized for the real level of corruption threatening its future prosperity & stability.
RTP, I suspect Hemmers be travelling and thus isn’t in front of a computer all day where comments can be, as they usually are, cleared.
This freest economy thing pisses me off. The criteria seem to be written from the point of view of businessmen. Free economy should mean consumer freedom and how much of that do we have in Hong Kong: try choosing your electricity or Internet provider on Hong Kong island for instance. Ultimately, you can’t opt out of financing Li Ka Shing.
I must admit I also can’t stand the Heritage Foundation’s rankings. It would be interesting if they were to make some connection between countries that score highly on their ranking with some sort of social good – economic growth, reported levels of happiness, etc.
Instead they just seem to say that less regulation is always better, because it just is isn’t it? To me it seems as ideologically driven (though on the opposite side) as the kind of stuff you’d get in China in fifties and sixties.
To be fair though, their ranking website is really swanky – I can compare Botswana level of freedom with Finland’s side by side!