January 31, 2005

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The costs of being the world's free-est economy

Hong Kong consistently wins the label of "World's Free-est Economy." It is richly undeserved. Hong Kong's economy is free in the sense that business has few rules. But freedom does not mean a competitive economy. This excellent article summarises some of the main problems in Hong Kong: a lack of a competition law or authority; the lack of a level playing field; anti-competitive cartels; and collusion between firms and between business and government. The best analogy is from Baptist University Professor Tsang Shu-ki: "It's like playing football. Even if the players are civilised, does that mean we don't need a referee? Of course not." If judged from a corporate point of view, Hong Kong is the world's free-est economy. If judged from an economic welfare or a consumer point of view, it is far from it.

Update: Hell, even capitalist China is beating Honkers on this one.

posted by Simon on 01.31.05 at 09:51 AM in the


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Excerpt: The following is a digest of highlights from the past month's Asia by Blog series over at simonworld.mu.nu. The round-up has four key areas of focus: China, Taiwan & Hong Kong (Politics, Economy & lifestyle, History sport & culture, Information), Korea...
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