Mark Hampton
Search for other papers by Mark Hampton in
Current site
Google Scholar
The discourse of unbridled capitalism in postwar Hong Kong
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

During the post-war period, as a broad consensus was thought to have formed in the UK around the welfare state, Hong Kong was widely heralded as an arena in which pre-1945 British capitalist and entrepreneurial ideals continued to flourish. To its defenders, Hong Kong’s laissez-faire practices, or “positive non-interventionism”, made Hong Kong more British than Britain itself. Detractors of colonial Hong Kong, who emphasized sweatshops and squatter huts, confirmed the sharp difference between metropolitan and colonial practice. To Hong Kong’s champions, whose views were broadly hegemonic, Britain’s “benign neglect” was largely responsible for Hong Kong’s transformation from a “barren rock” into one of the world’s great cities. Not only did such views appear in political debates and journalistic accounts, but they also came out in fictional accounts, above all in the novels of James Clavell. At the same time, Hong Kong’s advocates insisted that greater regulation was not only self-defeating but futile; according to prevailing discourse, Chinese people “liked to overwork”. During the 1960s and 1970s, critics of Britain’s welfare state consensus, including Sir Keith Joseph, often used Hong Kong as a foil for critiquing Britain’s own supposed failed economic policies and economic decline.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.



All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 330 67 13
Full Text Views 109 22 0
PDF Downloads 107 39 0