Hong Kong was built on its free market, and business is not a zero-sum game

SCMP/2018-08-09/Nick Sallnow-Smith (Chairman, The Lion Rock Institute)

I was dismayed to read your first leader on Monday this week; not because of the subject matter but by the opening sentence (“Greater Bay Area offers a chance for tourism success”, August 6).

You wrote: “In the world of business, one person’s gain is another’s loss”. This statement betrays a worrying misunderstanding of how free markets work.

Perhaps you are confusing profit and loss with income and expense. It is certainly true that one person’s income is someone else’s expense. But a purchase in a free market is an exchange, not a loss. Each party to that free exchange gains, otherwise they would not enter into the transaction. By promoting this fundamental misunderstanding of markets to your readers, you suggest that business is a zero-sum game, like gambling at Happy Valley.

For over 170 years, Hong Kong people have been creating wealth through free market exchanges. Teaching the next generation that business has no net value is a low point indeed for Hong Kong.

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