The root of all problems

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In an already quite old article published by HKFP Ming Chun Tang tries to expose the “free-market fundamentalism” that enervates Hong Kong’s society and blame all its problems on the full-time Scrooges that infest the city. He starts with two examples of recent upheavals  that reveal Hong Kong’s root problems:

“First, five booksellers have been abducted in Hong Kong and Thailand and taken to China, where they remain detained. And now the same streets of Mong Kok that hosted thousands of occupying protesters in 2014 have seen a night of rioting after police officers moved in to shut down a street food market”.

That is a remarkably ridiculous way to start an article against free-market. First, in a free-market society those five booksellers would be able to write and publish anything they want, with no government restrictions, and they would be protected by law from being kidnapped by China. Likewise, police shutting down street food market is the opposite of free-market: in a free-market society people would be able to sell fish balls on the streets as long as its owners –in this case the customers– allow it. Hong Kong, it seems, ended its “free-market fundamentalism” long time ago.

Mr. Ming continues explaining that “free and fair elections are all that’s needed to rid our territory of its ills, fails to identify the root cause of local grievances: a steady economic decline brought by an ultra-conservative economic agenda that we desperately need to understand and demand changes to”. Indeed, free and fair elections are not enough, and they are the opposite of free-market –yet providing a closer-to-free-market society result than the current situation. And there is indeed a “steady economic decline”, however it is not brought up by conservatists –usually right-wingers– but by left-wing authoritarians who promote a socialist-like agenda with high taxes, corruption, restrictions and state coercion, together with an unaffordable housing made in post-97 Hong Kong.

the root of all problems in Hong Kong is not inequality, but economic ignorance.

The root of all problems is not, as Mr. Ming believes, “inequality and its inevitable crunch on the once untouchable middle classes”. Inequality is good. But it is good as long as we all have the same opportunities, and this is not the same as talking about “equality”. “Equality” is a code word for “gradually removing your property rights in order to equally distribute them among people”. Equal opportunities means that the state won’t interfere in your ability to create, develop and produce. Equality means using coercive means to allow people with a natural set of skills to be leveled to the level of people without those skills. We are all born different, and there is something marvelous about it.

No, the root of all problems in Hong Kong is not inequality, but economic ignorance. The kind of economic ignorance professed by those self-labeled “right-wing” who rightly promote independence and self-determination, yet constrain economic freedom like any leftish dictator.

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