Neoliberal Hong Kong?

Jamie Peck, University of British Columbia

The paper reflects on the changing and at times confounding position of Hong Kong in the worlds imagined—and made—by neoliberalism, understood here as an historically constituted process of regulatory restructuring. An idealized image of “free market” Hong Kong has occupied a privileged place in the imaginations of libertarians and small-state conservatives since at least the 1970s, albeit in a manner only casually related to the actually existing circumstances of the one-time colony. The construction of elaborately circular indices of “economic freedom,” born as a project of the Mont Pelerin Society in the mid-1980s but increasingly mainstreamed since the 1990s, repeatedly affirmed this ideological intuition, stabilizing this stylized fact of neoliberal policy prescription for more than two decades after the resumption of Chinese sovereignty. That is, until the Spring of 2021, when the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was summarily removed from the Heritage Foundation’s index altogether on the basis that its economic policies are now “ultimately controlled from Beijing.” The paper will explore what to make of this, for Hong Kong, for China, and for theoretical understandings of neoliberalism.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 44. The Neoliberal Moment in East Asia