© 2009 Steven Wong

Hong Kong chop-socky wackiness, Part 3

So here’s my third and final post about some of the wacky stuff I saw in Hong Kong. This last one will not be a surprise to anyone who has lived in or visited the former British colony before, but this little thing never ceases to amaze me.

I think Hong Kong can be viewed as one massive experiment on free market economy. There’s no sales tax, low income taxes, little government intervention… In fact, the government does so little, it’s not even in the money-printing business. This, from what I have seen in my travels, is the lone exception to all the state-issued (and controlled) currency around the world. I mean, even the US government controls the printing of their dollars, and they are (supposedly) the bastion of capitalism and free trade.

Instead of a central bank and a mint, the task of creating paper money has been delegated to 3 banks: HSBC, Bank of China and Standard Chartered. Thankfully, there is an agreement or some kind of oversight regarding the size and colours of each denomination, but the design of each bill is up to the banks.

I find it rather amusing that 3 banks have this responsibility, especially for a population of maybe 6 or 7 million people. Maybe it’s a checks and balances kind of thing. After all, it would kinda suck if you only had one bank doing it and it went bankrupt.

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