Gimme Shelter

Reading this piece at the Mainlander on the lack of affordable housing in Hong Kong reminded me of something. There are actual large-scale protests in Hong Kong over the lack of affordable housing, 200,000+ strong.

You see, Hong Kong is rated by the Heritage Foundation as #1 on their annual list of “Economic Freedom”. If one was in a certain mood, one might conclude that even in a place so committed to “entrepreneurial dynamism” the market fails to provide solutions to one of humanity’s most basic needs. That would be shelter. (Shhh…don’t tell the Heritage Foundation that even in this capitalist paradise, 50% of housing is public housing – and the market still fails to provide the rest). It’s almost as if the natural outcome of the Heritage Foundation’s conception of “Economic Freedom” isn’t freedom but, you know, monopolies and what the Hong Kong protest movement dub property hegemonies:

[A] university professor summarized the situation, saying that “public discontent had reached a ‘critical point’” because of the affordability crisis. “Mr. Li used to be an idol of Hong Kong people. But now he becomes a symbol of so-called property hegemony

Also and unrelated, I found this funny:

Although Hong Kong maintains its ranking as the world’s freest economy, policies proposed or implemented since the second half of 2010, particularly the establishment of a minimum wage, have moved the economy modestly in the direction of greater regulation.

Oh noes, tyranny!