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Right about the big things

Chris Patten is right about the universal superiority of liberal market democracy, but is wrong about the causes of the Asian crisis

By Martin Wolf   October 1998

Chris Patten did not expect to become Hong Kong’s last governor. He rather hoped to become foreign secretary, but the voters of Bath intervened. In Hong Kong Patten became, if not an angry old man, an impassioned middle aged one. This book, with its rousing defence of the universal relevance of liberal democracy, is one of the results.

Patten brought Britain’s imperial history to a close. To his credit, he made a belated effort to do so as honourably as was possible in unhappy circumstances. Hong Kong was to be handed over to the corrupt despotism from which its inhabitants-or…

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