September 19, 2006

You are on the invidual archive page of By the word. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
By the word

There's been much ado about nothing in the past week in Hong Kong over Donald Tsang's suggestion that "positive non-interventionism" is no longer the guiding force for the government's economic policy. While refreshing to hear the government has an economic policy, the term "positive non-interventionism" is one of those terms only a civil servant could have invented and one only the chattering classes could get worked up about. Today the Don has issued his response to the confusion via his usual outlets: the Hong Kong newspapers. Our fair city's equivalents of Pravda and People's Daily dutifully reprint the Don explaining the policy is now the far less obtuse "big market, small government". This from the government that rigs the property market, makes a habit of white elephants (Cyberport, Disneyland, West Kowloon....hey, what ever happened to West Kowloon anyway?) and protects cartels at the expense of the population. There's plenty of variations on the theme:

Different financial secretaries have used different labels for their economic principles.

When I was financial secretary, I emphasized "maximum support, minimum intervention and fiscal prudence." Antony Leung Kam-chung saw the government's role as "a proactive market enabler." Our current Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen upholds the principle of "market leads, government facilitates."

A special prize to anyone who can spot the difference.

But admist all the fuss, I have a couple of questions. Op-ed pieces get paid between HK$1-2 per word. Does the Don get a cheque from the newspapers every time he allows them to publish his 885 words of wisdom? If so, where does that money go? Or is this what "big market, small government" really means?

posted by Simon on 09.19.06 at 08:30 AM in the Hong Kong economy category.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.


Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?