Godspeed to a great classical liberal

This past Saturday the world said farewell to Sir John Cowperthwaite. Although his name is not widely known, his impact has been considerable. Once termed 'the finance director of the world's most successful enterprise,' he was the man behind the economic miracle known as Hong Kong. Appointed to its administration in 1941, he served as Hong Kong's financial secretary from 1961 to 1971. During his tenure, Hong Kong grew from a small port to a major financial hub.

Most telling is the way in which Sir John affected this spectacular transformation. As an obituary in the British weekly paper The Business reports, he insisted that 'tariffs were zero, regulation minimal, company and personal taxes kept low and business requests for subsidies declined.' An odd one in the in the bureaucratic circles, he sought to restrict his own powers while keeping his budgets under control.

Grateful he did not have to serve politicians bent on delivering 'free goods' to their voters, he pushed hard for policies of free market and limited government interference. When asked about the low quality of some of Hong Kong's housing in the midst of prosperity, he is said to have replied 'It is supplied by the government.'

A life—long follower of Adam Smith who always kept The Wealth of Nations by his bedside, his work is a striking demonstration of the prosperity generating potency of classical liberalism.

Sir John Cowperthwaite, a classical liberal par excellance, was 90 years old.

R.I.P.

Vasko Kohlmayer   1 30 06

This past Saturday the world said farewell to Sir John Cowperthwaite. Although his name is not widely known, his impact has been considerable. Once termed 'the finance director of the world's most successful enterprise,' he was the man behind the economic miracle known as Hong Kong. Appointed to its administration in 1941, he served as Hong Kong's financial secretary from 1961 to 1971. During his tenure, Hong Kong grew from a small port to a major financial hub.

Most telling is the way in which Sir John affected this spectacular transformation. As an obituary in the British weekly paper The Business reports, he insisted that 'tariffs were zero, regulation minimal, company and personal taxes kept low and business requests for subsidies declined.' An odd one in the in the bureaucratic circles, he sought to restrict his own powers while keeping his budgets under control.

Grateful he did not have to serve politicians bent on delivering 'free goods' to their voters, he pushed hard for policies of free market and limited government interference. When asked about the low quality of some of Hong Kong's housing in the midst of prosperity, he is said to have replied 'It is supplied by the government.'

A life—long follower of Adam Smith who always kept The Wealth of Nations by his bedside, his work is a striking demonstration of the prosperity generating potency of classical liberalism.

Sir John Cowperthwaite, a classical liberal par excellance, was 90 years old.

R.I.P.

Vasko Kohlmayer   1 30 06