How important are key individuals in shaping the success or failure of economies? …Neil Monnery’s A Tale of Two Economies is in some sense a polemic against historical determinism, at least insofar as promoting economic reforms is concerned.It stresses the importance of two single individuals, one a great man for many, one an obscure official and political unknown to the most, in shaping the destiny of their respective countries. …Ernesto “Che” Guevara and John Cowperthwaite. …Monnery insists that both of them were “deep and original thinkers.” …The key difference between the two was perhaps that Cowperthwaite had a solid education in economics… Neither the way in which Hong Kong progressed, nor Cuba’s, were thus inevitable.
Monnery points out that Hong Kong’s success happened not because Cowperthwaite and his colleague were trying “to plant an ideological flag,” but because they were “professional pragmatists.” …Then the success of relatively libertarian arrangements in Hong Kong perpetuated itself. …Cowperthwaite tested what he knew about classical economics when he “first arrived in Hong Kong, in 1945” and “was put in charge of price control.… He soon realized the problems with attempting to set prices low enough to meet consumer needs but high enough to encourage supply, and in a dynamic environment.” He opposed subsidies that he saw as “a brazen attempt to feed at the trough of government subsidies.” …Cowperthwaite is a hero to Monnery, who emphasises his competence, and even more, his integrity.
Governor Bradford recorded in his diary that everybody was happy to claim their equal share of production, but production only shrank. Slackers showed up late for work in the fields, and the hard workers resented it. It’s called “human nature.”
If the concept of social justice simply means justice for the individuals who make up society, then it appears the utopian socialist-progressives and the libertarian free-marketeers may have some goals in common.
However, when it comes to the ways & means to achieve those goals, the ideological divide is still wide.
So maybe rhetoric on both side should always start with…
“what is the most effective strategies or economic policies to allow people to optimize opportunity and escape poverty.”
Individual liberty is never fully realized without economic freedom, which includes strong private rights & a climate conducive to self-determination.
Markets over Mandates: A better diversity dogma
Pursuing life, liberty & happiness must be accomplished by individuals, and can’t be granted to us by bureaucrats or gov’t programs.
Milton Friedman understood this and trumpeted this message throughout his life.