Which British individual has done the most good for the world during the last half century or more since the Second World War? I nominate Sir John Cowperthwaite, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1961 to 1971, who died last Saturday.Cowperthwaite applied laissez faire ideas to Hong Kong, which contributed to its prosperity, which by way of example encouraged Chinese politicians to make pro-market reforms, which are lifting China from misery.
Cowperthwaite was criticised during his time in office for not taxing the people of Hong Kong more, and for ignoring, in particular, education. But has there ever been a more stupendous exercise in business education and everything-else-you-can-think-of education than Hong Kong? Hong Kong has been a University of How To Do It for millions upon millions of Chinese, Chinese who are now struggling to turn China itself from a suicidal and murderous world threat into a creative contributor to the world.The Telegraph has more details.