Hong Kong: Economic Freedom No More

Ever since Maragaret Thatcher handed Hong Kong back to China in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong has been going downhill.

 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Hong Kong, alternatively known by its initials H.K., is a city-state and is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea.

After 1997, it seemed like the handover wasn’t such a bad idea to the eyes of many.  A good number of Hong Kongers who emigrated to Canada, Australia, the UK and even America moved back to Hong Kong to take advantage of the emerging Chinese market and the improvements in the city since they left.

Even John Stossel used the post-97 Hong Kong as an example of the wonders of “Economic Freedom” in his now-infamous “Is America Number One?” special. The late Milton Friedman claimed that he was wrong about Hong Kong going into decline in his revised introduction to his popular “Freedom and Capitalism” book.  If only Milton Friedman knew what happened to Hong Kong since his passing.

Hong Kong at this time is slipping from being an international city in Asia to becoming just another Tier 2 mainland Chinese city.  The economic freedom that is frequently cited by right-wing economists, libertarians, and traditional liberals is becoming obsolete. In 2013, the start-up HKTV was denied a television broadcast licence on the grounds that the company was not a division of a major corporation.

On the other hand, cable operators with friends in government were able to easily security television licences bringing the number of free-to-air networks to being run by now 4 corporations.  Later attempts by HKTV to air as an online service were also blocked by the Hong Kong government.  I am not sure if this is economic freedom but it sounds like a form of corporatism or socialism for the wealthy to me.

The reality is economic freedom is no longer real in Hong Kong unless you’re the head of a major HK corporation or in bed with the government.  Any attempts to dream big or become massive will only be crushed by the establishment due to their need to preserve their own status quo.  As far as they’re concerned, people can still continue to exist as small or medium-sized business owners but never at a corporate level.

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