John James Cowperthwaite
|The Honourable Sir
John James Cowperthwaite
|Financial Secretary of Hong Kong|
17 April 1961 – 30 June 1971
|Governor||Sir Robert Black
Sir David Trench
|Preceded by||Arthur Grenfell Clarke|
|Succeeded by||Charles Philip Haddon-Cave|
25 April 1915|
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
|Died||21 January 2006
Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
|Spouse(s)||Sheila Mary Thomson|
|Children||John James Hamish Cowperthwaite|
|Alma mater||Merchiston Castle School
St Andrews University
Sir John James Cowperthwaite (25 April 1915 – 21 January 2006; Chinese: 郭伯偉爵士), KBE, CMG, was a British civil servant and the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1961 to 1971. His introduction of free market economic policies are widely credited with turning postwar Hong Kong into a thriving global financial centre.
Cowperthwaite attended Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Scotland, and later studied classics at St Andrews University and Christ's College, Cambridge. He joined the British Colonial Administrative Service in Hong Kong in 1941, but left briefly during World War II to a posting in Sierra Leone.
He returned to Hong Kong in 1945 and continued to rise through the ranks. He was asked to find ways in which the government could boost post-war economic outlook, but he found the economy was recovering swiftly without any government intervention. He took the lesson to heart, and positive non-interventionism became the focus of his economic policy as Financial Secretary. He refused to collect economic statistics for fear it would encourage officials to meddle in the economy.
In 1960, Cowperthwaite was appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and, in 1964, a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG). Cowperthwaite later became a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1968. He was highly praised by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman just before his death.
Post–civil service career
After leaving his retirement, Cowperthwaite was international adviser to Jardine Fleming, the Hong Kong-based investment bank until 1981. He retired and left Hong Kong for St Andrews, Scotland and became a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
Cowperthwaite married Sheila Thomson in 1941, they had one son. He died in Scotland on 21 January 2006, aged 90; his son predeceased him.
- The Hong Kong Experiment | Hoover Institution
- The London Gazette: . 29 December 1959.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 1963.
- The London Gazette: . 31 May 1968.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: John James Cowperthwaite|
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- Hong Kong's Nightwatchman by Tim Worstall
- The Hong Kong Experiment by Milton Friedman
Arthur Grenfell Clarke
|Financial Secretary of Hong Kong
Sir Charles Philip Haddon-Cave