that free markets are integral to growth, prosperity and betterment in a modern society:

In fifty years Hong Kong was transformed from one of the poorest places on earth to one of the richest.

Despite having no natural resources, indeed not even enough drinking water to support its population; despite terrible over-crowding; despite the absence of democracy; despite the presence of a powerful communist hostile neighbor (China); despite being half a world away from the European and American markets; without more than a teaspoon of foreign aid; Hong Kong prospered.

Figures for earlier periods are not precise (for reasons I will discuss later), but real GDP growth averaged 6% per year in the final 15 years of British rule (1982-97). During that time it was growing more than twice as fast as the advanced industrialized countries.

As they hauled down the British flag and the last British Governor and Prince Charles sailed out of the harbor on the Royal Yacht Britannia in the middle of the night June 30th, 1997, he was leaving a colony where the per capita income was over 20% higher than in Great Britain itself.

The article is fantastic; well worth a read.