Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hong Kong still leads the world

Hong Kong after almost 10 years as part of China still is the most economically free country in the world. Despite no natural resources, Hong Kong has $33,500 per capita income -- 8th in the world. We didn't expect it. The new American magazine:
A decade ago this summer, as Britain transferred its prize colony to Chinese control, the gloom about Hong Kong’s future was thick and pervasive. Robert Burns, a trade consultant with McKeon-Burns international associates, was a typical mourner. “I don’t think the Chinese bureaucracy can resist the impulse to screw it up,” he said at the time. “In a few years you’ll have an isolated Vatican City on the island of Victoria.”
China didn't crack down and put Hong Kong under its heel, which we all expected.
Hong Kong has been immune to major meddling because Chinese officials realize it’s the engine for much of China’s explosive growth. But Hong Kong is also expanding into a world financial center in its own right. In 2006, it was the number-one market for stock offerings worldwide. While enthusiasm for Shanghai—the apple of the Beijing regime’s eye—is high among foreign business leaders, it is still Hong Kong that’s leading China.
... The secret of Hong Kong’s success isn’t hard to find. It’s economic freedom, and everywhere a visitor is struck by how much of it there is. Red tape is almost unknown; registering a company requires only a one-page form. “A businessman can walk off a plane in the morning and start operating a firm in the afternoon,” reports The Economist. As it has every year since the ratings system began, Hong Kong ranks first, by a wide margin, on the 2007 Index of Economic Freedom compiled by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The United States is fourth; Canada, tenth; France, 45th; China, 119th. Since the 1997 handover, Hong Kong’s score has stayed steady. “Hong Kong remains a model of economic freedom,” said the 2006 Index. “It is a free port with no barriers to trade; has simple procedures for starting enterprises, free entry of foreign capital and repatriation of earnings, and transparency; and operates under the rule of law.”
Freedom causes prosperity!

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