Hong Kong is famous for having the freest market in the world. Indeed, that is one major reason why I moved here, and the reason for everything good in Hong Kong. Despite everything, the government here still cares about its ranking on the Fraser Institute and Heritage Foundation indexes of economic freedom.
But actually (perhaps obviously), Hong Kong is not a perfectly free market. While it is indeed freer than the rest of the world, there are exceptions to this freedom that I will argue are not minor, and are even a significant cause of Hong Kong’s instability right now. (I believe the economist Richard Wong argues along the same lines, although probably much more rigorously than I will).
As we enter 2015 and my fourth year of living in this special city, I have made a resolution to post a series of articles that show where and how Hong Kong diverges from the philosophy of the free market (or “non-interventionism” in Hong Kong policy jargon) and how in every case this is a mistake that harms ordinary people at the expense of not only their freedom of action, but directly impacts their wealth and their livelihood. These seemingly obscure interstices in the free market are actually the direct and exclusive causes of all the cronyism and much of the authoritarianism that Hong Kong is suffering from. (I think the dysfunctional and undemocratic governance structure is to blame for the rest, but that problem already has enough focus!)
With too many ordinary (disenfranchised) people openly blaming the free market for their economic problems (along with the dysfunctional and undemocratic governance structure), I must forcefully disagree and try to persuade everyone that it’s the deviations from the free market that are to blame.
I will try to argue in good faith, so if you still disagree with me please point out any mistakes you think I have made in my logic or assumptions and I will do my best to correct them!
Lastly, please do tell me now what you consider to be the most egregious violations of the freedom of Hong Kong residents, to make sure I don’t miss any out.