Monday, January 08, 2007

Foreword

After 40 years of rapid economic growth, Hong Kong has successfully emerged from an entrepot in the Far East to a first class metropolitan. A unique geographical location, availability of intelligent and diligent people as well as the massive inflow of skill and capital during the establishment of the People's Republic of China explained only partially Hong Kong's success: the above factors alone were simply not enough for Hong Kong to prosper unless there existed the fertile soil. Quoted as "the freest economy in the world" and "the world's model of free economy", free market, together with a trustworthy judiciary system, made up the fertile soil, which must be the most precious asset that we inherited from our precedents.

After the handover, Hong Kong experienced successive setbacks from the Asian financial crisis, burst of the 'Dot Com Bubble' and the devastating SARS. Recession and the high unemployment rate during the period perturbed most Hong Kong people. The public and the government started to think what they could do to 'save the economy'. Government officials seemed to believe they could make a difference. Even the "positive non-intervention policy" was announced to have already been DEAD.

In fact, no one should take economic freedom for granted and it is something everyone needs to fight for and protect. Sir John James Cowperthwaite, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1961 – 1971, was commended by the 1976 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics Milton Friedman as "so famously laissez-faire". On the first anniversary of the death of Sir John Cowperthwaite, The Lion Rock Institute launched The Sir John Cowperthwaite Online Memorial And Study Centre to contribute to the greater understanding of the contribution of this freedom fighter to Hong Kong's economic freedom and prosperity.

*** Please notify us if any discrepancies to facts and omissions on Sir John's important events. Your comments are important to us! The reference materials for this blog can be accessed by the links on the right side, including articles by Milton Friedman and PJ O'Rourke, etc. ***

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