Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Bayley Novakovic – When the referee becomes a player | Week 6

Bayley Novakovic

13 February 2017

What is the importance of the rule of law in supporting economic freedom? Lawyer and long-time Hong Kong resident Stephen Crosswell gave a speech on this question at a dinner event last night.

He covered interesting aspects of law from common themes of independent judiciary to less common thoughts such as the actual source of law. Should it come from legislators or be developed in the courts?

Even though not trained in law myself it was an interesting and accessible address.

Stephen Crosswell presents his speech

Meeting and socialising with other attendees at the LRI event was most enjoyable. With every person I met came a unique and interesting conversation, being surrounded by people of such caliber is truly inspirational!

I was lucky enough to sit next to an individual very knowledgeable on the topic of expanding compliance requirements in the financial sector. His colourful firsthand accounts of the consequences of this regulatory expansion have re-affirmed the value of my research on this topic.

Dinner with outstanding company at the LRI rule of law event

This week I also visited the Science Park, one of the government’s multi-billion dollar efforts to make Hong Kong a center of tech and innovation.

Tax payer’s money is funneled into free accommodation and services for supposedly “innovative” private ventures; I was underwhelmed during my visit. Absent was the genuine hustle to be found in a real marketplace such as the central area in Hong Kong.

Chasing some legitimate innovation I attended a Bitcoin (alternative currency) meet-up and had a look at one of Asia’s early Bitcoin ATMs. Ironically neither was in the designated center of innovation, the Science Park.

Bitcoin ATM - innovation outside of "the plan"?

Another stark contrast of the government becoming a player in the market as opposed to being the referee; my discovery of the art scene on Hong Kong Island’s south side over the weekend.

I visited a number of commercial art galleries including a very edgy contemporary exhibition by Chinese artists. The exhibition “attempts to reveal the complex political tension between ideological control and the expression of individual will” through the medium of dance and physical expression.

The engaging works on display ranged from pleasantly thought provoking to chilling and disturbing, fitting, considering the theme of the exhibition.

These private commercial Art galleries should serve as a lesson to back home where any cuts to arts funding sparks outrage. After also visiting one of the relatively uninspiring government designated art and design centers, I can personally say I prefer the government to abstain from being a player in my own art experience!

Commercial galleries make use of old industrial areas

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