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If This Be Keynesianism…

March 12, 2012

From an interview with Paul Romer in the China Daily:

“It’s possible to do something that’s very different. It’s hard for people to believe that just a little fishing port could grow into a huge successful city like Hong Kong,” Romer said.

Keynesians extol the city’s achievement as an “economic miracle.” In a short span of five decades, Hong Kong has grown from a city with a GDP per capita that was lower than that of its poorest African counterparts into one that is richer than the vast majority of countries across the globe, helped by a combination of factors such as the rule of law, its laissez-faire economic policies and a government that has made doing business and earning a living relatively easy.

Really? If by Keynesianism you mean rule of law and free trade, then, well, okay I guess.

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5 Comments
  1. mike shupp permalink
    March 13, 2012 10:58 am

    In 1950, Hong Kong had 2,200,000 residents. You’re quite sure it was just a fishing port?

    In 1960, there were an estimated 3 million residents. James Clavell wrote one of his major novels, NOBLE HOUSE, which was situated in Hong Kong of 1962. There were fishermen in the book, but that wasn’t exactly the whole of the plot — which basically centered around HK being already “a huge sucessful city” which was growing like gangbusters.

    Where has Paul Romer been for the past 60 years?

    • happyjuggler0 permalink
      March 14, 2012 11:42 pm

      From wikipedia:

      “Under British rule, the population of Hong Kong island had increased from 7,450 Chinese residents, mostly fishermen, in 1841 to over 115,000 Chinese and 8,754 Europeans in Hong Kong (including Kowloon) in 1870”

      Either Romer misspoke and meant 1850’s instead of 1950’s, or the writer of the article (the same one responsible for the baffling Keynesian reference) got it wrong and thought he meant the 1950’s.

      Either way it was definitely merely a fishing village on an unappealing hunk of rock when the British took it over.

  2. Mike Gibson permalink*
    March 13, 2012 5:49 pm

    I’ve never read any Clavell. Looks fun. Thanks for the tip.

  3. mike shupp permalink
    March 14, 2012 8:37 am

    KING RAT, TAI PAN, NOBLE HOUSE, SHOGUN, WHIRLWIND, GAI JIN. Lots of good stuff there, and if it’s not to your taste in the end… you can never have too many doorstops.

    And when you’re through Clavell, for something in a different mode, there are about twenty murder mysteries set in modern (1970’s, 1980’s) Hong Kong by William Marshall, which are also worth a read. Not to mention a few films have been set there.

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