Hopeless Inequality is the Real Issue in Hong Kong and the World

Xi Jinping is going completely to the Chairman Mao playbook. However, China is misunderstanding the Hong Kong issues. The police in Hong Kong and soon the Chinese Army are over-reacting. This article will review the over-reaction and how it goes back to crude responses to perceived threats to stability. The developed countries of the world need to provide a better voice to those who are poor and feel like they and their descendants will remain poor. Their needs to be policies that provide some reasonable level of financial support and provide affordable education and means for people to uplift themselves.

The Ham-handed and Stupid Response

Earlier in August in prior incidents, police admitted using a wide variety of tactics, including officers wearing black clothes to mingle among demonstrators, the objective being to carry out arrests more easily.

In July, 45 triad gangsters were used to attack protesters using batons at other subway stations.

Triad gangsters used in attacks on protestors

Previous incidents of widespread use of tear gas.

This is from David Leans’s Movie Doctor Zhivago. Where the Cossack attacked peaceful protestors

Evolving Protest Issues

In recent days, China’s leadership has stated that Hong Kong’s situation is a national level stability issue.

Better Communication Process and Some Reforms Need Not be Seen as Weakness

Hong Kong has an elite. There are billionaires who became rich in Hong Kong but then make almost all new investments outside of Hong Kong.

Singapore has been trying to give voice to complaints of the poor and middle class with the 2012 Our Singapore Conversation.

In 1994, Singaporean novelist Catherine Lim coined the term ‘Great Affective Divide’ to encapsulate Singaporeans’ growing sense of alienation from the PAP Government’s “uncompromising commitment to economic imperative”. Furthermore, many Singaporeans had expressed unhappiness over government policies in the early 2000s that they felt were misaligned with public sentiment, particularly regarding
issues such as congestion in public transport, Singapore’s heavy reliance on foreign workers and rising home prices.

They attempt to regain Singaporeans’ trust through encouraging civic participation and by building social capital. In the process of conducting public engagement exercises that were different from previous ones, OSC and SGfuture organizers had to negotiate numerous policy dilemmas, the process of which had bearing on bridging the ‘Great Affective Divide’.

The Hong Kong government and the elite need to fund reforms.

Hong Kong’s government can meet all of the first four demands and begin the process of addressing the crushing hopelessness of those who were left behind during British rule and still are getting no hope today.

Hong Kong’s civil unrest is motivated less by democratic dreams than by crushing hopelessness from continuing and growing inequality.

Property continues to be unaffordable and this is getting worse. There is lack of social mobility as well. Professionals from mainland China are jumping into many of the better jobs or getting better access to Hong Kong property. Many in Hongkong feel there is no way out.

There was a short period during British rule where there was relative equality.

These are not just Hong Kong issues. These are global issues in the USA, Europe and other developed nations with high inequality and falling social mobility.

There is the need to find social solutions to the threat of rising inequality from automation and other economic, technological and social forces.

Deng Xiaoping who unleashed China’s growth in wealth.>

To get rich is glorious!
Let some people get rich first.
Now others must get less poor.

China has an advantage in making major progress on these issues.

China can construct massives amounts of housing and then subsidize ownership.

Hong Kong can also relieve a lot of its housing issues.

Existing public housing estates have a lower development intensity and plot ratio than their private sector counterparts. In view of the current average waiting time for general applicants of 5.3 years, the Hong Kong government can raise the development density of new public housing estates, together with related supporting facilities.

There are thousands of hectares that can be developed in the Northern New Territories.

New Territories North – covering the North district and the northern part of Yuen Long district – has ample land for development. Moreover, over 2,400 hectares of the former frontier closed area has been released in the past decade.

The Hong Kong 2030 Plus Plan report released a year ago identified around 1,000 hectares of land for development, along with a technical assessment and implementation strategy for the full 5,300 hectares. Only part of the released land from the former closed frontier area was included in the government study. The plans can be much more aggressive. New Territories North already has good transport infrastructure and facilities, making it score well in any cost-benefit analysis.

China could assist to massively speed up Hong Kong’s development of the new Territories. This would leverage China’s strength in development and construction.

This will be something that all of the developed countries will need to address. The adjustments will need to made to enable the poor and middle class to make progress despite any automation or technology. Houses, education, healthcare, jobs and hope need to be provided. It can be done in an intelligent and sustainable way that makes economic sense and technology can leveraged to make it more affordable.

Online education and healthcare and new sensors can make healthcare and education affordable.

Corruption and regulation that keep prices high for education, medicine and education expensive need to be changed.

SOURCES- South China Morning Post, Wikipedia, Doctor Zhivago
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

53 thoughts on “Hopeless Inequality is the Real Issue in Hong Kong and the World”

  1. For the sake of consistency, I will post these here. The consequences have arrived, and that happened long in advance of any Chinese action in HK in October. Behold the deep HK recession already in economic data, one that can easily become a depression if the much hated Chinese government does not rush to the rescue, which they don’t have a reason for now.

  2. Certain levels of inequality are normal, and healthy. Just like drinking a certain amount of water is good and healthy.

    Right now inequality in most countries is the equivalent of trying to drink a swimming pool in a day.

  3. I personally know a lot of people from Hong Kong. Hong Kong people are not political at all. They are all about making money. They warship money and people with money. I think the mainlanders came in. many behaved badly. There was always a huge superiority complex against the mainlanders anyways. The underlying reason that drove people to the streets is the ever rising rent prices couple with very slow economic progress. The real culprit was the tycoons who control all the land and control the supply of homes for their own benefit. The larger land class also was part of the power that wanted the status quo for their own selfish ends. The lost of status that Hong Kongners were special did not help. However, the tycoons are skillfully redirecting all this anger toward the Chinese government, who shares part of the blame, mainly for not stepping in more aggressively to reform the system. They also only care about keeping the status quo.

    There are three powers here, the mainland government wanted to keep Hong Kong as a financial center and transport hub. The tycoons wanted to wrestle more power from the mainland government so they can keep the status quo. The outside power such as the U.S. wanted to stir the pot and use it as a bargaining chip. The Hong Kong kids are just angry and are mere pawns.

  4. I agree, propaganda has a large role, but people really only go ape shit crazy when you take away food and health. Starvation and disease are powerful motivators. Propaganda feeds into it. The most unstable times in human history are when starvation takes hold. WWII while it had plenty of political stuff going on, it also happened at a time of food uncertainty. The market crashes, bread riots, and much other malaise in the world at the time that had to do with the dust bowl and drought of Eastern Europe, at the time the bread basket of Europe so to speak. Look at the history and prehistory of Africa, it is a testament to the power of food uncertainty.

    The crash doesn’t have to happen all over, it just has to happen somewhere where it can cascade.

    Food is the means to keep people content and happy, that is what control of a population is about.

    The drug store is the metaphor for power over health and the drugs to keep you happy and in check. Life and happiness rolled into one.

    The gas chamber is the power of authority, ever present and ultimate, life.

    The game is the distraction.

    Vonnegut understood that and realized that complacency and the “I have mine” attitude is what allows anything to happen, good or bad, it’s no longer under your control. You gave it up when you took the bait. After that when the shit hits the fan, its the will of the mob.

  5. So control goes with the TV stations, nothing to do with drug stores.

    It just isn’t a good metaphor. Though it might appeal to some particularly sickly person who doesn’t realise how unrepresentative they are.

  6. What he is saying is that once you control someones life, liberty, happiness, and provide them with some distraction. You can do whatever you want.

  7. “the most trusted legal system on earth, enjoys 90% home ownership, 0.7% child poverty* and a GINI coefficient half of Hong Kong’s.” – paradise on earth, ahahahah…

  8. Given that Socrates argued against democracy on the grounds that most people were idiots he probably wouldn’t be surprised.

  9. I can understand there are some petty grievances, but they are petty at the scale of the consequences of rioters’ actions. This is not the first such case (or place) where people riot without understanding of just how much they have to lose. This is also not the first case or place where realpolitik is done, and in reality HK is China’s SAR, not a souvereign state. There is no way HK can change its fate that was defined by UK and China – HK was a UK colony, now it is Chinese shopfront. That is actually a huge step up, as China sees HK as part of China, not a throw-away colony to be traded for this or that in the grand game of geopolitics. I can see how HK youth may have trouble comprehending this, deluded by the historical fortune that HK inherited. But they will comprehend the consequences of losing that fortune, if China is forced to put down riots the hard way, as the act of last resort. No one will win then: not China, not even USA, and HK will lose everything. China will survive without HK, HK will disappear without China. This planet already has one Singapore, one Dubai, one Zurich, one London – there is no demand for another. HK is not Singapore, it is a portal to and from the largest economic power of our time. That automatically benefits anyone affiliated, one way or another. Losing that would be tragically idiotic.
    As for OBOR, why would HK care? It is irrelevant to HK riots. It is another facet of geopolitics and realpolitik – no one can change that.

  10. Some of us (cough) aren’t much better at articulating ourselves.. Then again some of us know better than to antagonize and insult the same people we pretend to dialog with. /tongue in cheek

    Nevermind the passive aggressive reminders that he/she/* is Anonymous …
    …I wonder how much or little patience Socrates would have. What an interesting thought experiment that’d be, to see magically realized.

    I really wonder what he’d make of it all.

  11. Drug stores? Really?

    The people who actually run the society function on caffeine and maybe some alcohol to relax.

    Suppressing drug stores, even including headache tablets and cold and flu medicines, will take only a few % off the top of the real economy, politics and social functioning. And that’s only until alternative supplies are arranged.

  12. My ancestors worked as groundskeepers and opened a fruit stand in New York City. I believe they owned the shirts on their backs when they arrived 130 years ago. One played the mandolin, another was the headliner for a minor league opera company in Buffalo. Anything before that was not worth recording.

  13. Oh. Urgh!

    That’s actively painful to try to read.

    Some sort of dystopian fictional poetry is my best hope, but I didn’t read enough to be sure he isn’t serious.

  14. He isn’t wrong Darth, the article is poorly lain out for Hong Kongers’ motivations to protest. It isn’t about inequality, it is about the CCP not adhering to their promise to give Hong Kong their autonomy until 2047. Now everything is off the rails for the CCP and the people of Hong Kong want complete severing from the CCP.
    As with China’s One Belt One Road, it is a debt trap. They loan poor countries these huge infrastructure projects that they know they can’t pay, that is why in Sri Lanka the CCP has seized the port for 100 years as part of relinquishing debt. The CCP are feeling pushback on the project from Africa (where the governments allow the Chinese but the people resent them), in Pakistan and India (where they realize they can do the projects cheaper and employ their own workers for cheaper instead of the Chinese, and ASEAN (where the huge projects are being scrapped for substantially smaller ones). And no, we don’t hate China, we hate the CCP, the actions of a Party obviously doesn’t represent 1.3 billion people. The people of the world aren’t against China, they are against being under the tyrannical rule of the CCP so don’t try and play the victim card.

  15. I chose to respond to your comment, as it is the least bad of the lot. Commendable, really. Now, let’s touch on your sensitivities, shall we. You write sentences phrased as questions, but you don’t want answers — a question mark is therefore misplaced in such cases. Now you know. Right, now to the HK drama. I would not know what CN gov did or did not do about their agreements, and I don’t really care. I do care about HK for certain reasons, primarily business, so that is what I know and elucidate. HK was, is and should be the jewel in the crown, no matter who wears it. Now that is CN gov, and they are not dumb to pluck that jewel out and throw it into dirt. For business, HK was and still is a sweet spot on the map, even though the chaos scared a lot of people to the point of avoiding HK. BTW, congratulations to the rioters – that is entirely their achievement, and they cannot blame that on any one else, not even on Russia. On the matter of rights, what rights do you refer to? Taxes are low – compare that to other (“free”) countries. How about donating 50%+ of your income to the beloved gov? 60%? What else? Work and such: good business conditions create business, and business creates jobs. Chaos poisons the metaphorical air, scares business away – jobs gone, congratulations. What else, let me read.. ah, you hate China for everything. Well, if that bothers or motivates you so much, you can fight China in those distant places, but it is a pinnacle of idiocy to do it in HK.

  16. They’re just voting as well as they’re allowed? They’re pretty well behaved compared to how I’d be acting – I’d be garroting unelected government members in their sleep

    Although my direct ancestor literally gave up his riches in continental Europe to proselytize religious freedom in England and was tortured to death by Sir Thomas Moore because he wouldn’t recant. And his direct descendant was a roundhead regicide who signed the death warrant of Charles I. The other side of the family was executed by King James I for rebellion* in Scotland under the flag of a parley.

    I guess it is in my blood.

    *to be fair that also included a lot of cattle theft and raping

  17. Guess you missed the point of the quote. It’s satire. It’s about how it is the sociopath/tyrant who inevitably rules. Even a Republic is not immune. Look at the opioid/fetanyl crisis. Read some Vonnegut, brilliant writing. He is a sage.

  18. “The hand that stocks the drug stores rules the world. Let us start our Republic, with a chain of drug stores, a chain of grocery stores, a chain of gas chambers, and a national game. After that we can write our Constitution.”

    -Kurt Vonnegut

  19. If there is not enough, it is because there is either a large influx of people, a disaster or because there are special interests that profit from the shortage. California is that way. Lots of laws passed to reduce the rate homes are built. Real estate brokerages routinely give money to get the things they want. The more turnover and higher prices the better for them. Environmentalists would be happiest if everyone walked into the ocean and drowned. Everyone likes to see their property value go up, pointless though as you don’t sell…and your children have to move out of State. So the politicians always make sure it is very hard to build…and just their friends get to build housing projects. Permits are sky high. And it takes friends to get things zoned.
    Also, who wants to sell, if they loose their Prop 13 locked in property tax? So people stay in their larger homes even when the kids move away and it becomes a burden to maintain. But, without it, government just keeps cranking up the taxes. Government unions are never happy until everyone else is bankrupt.
    To avoid run up on price. You have to limit how many homes someone can own. You have to prevent REITs from owning homes…just business buildings. You must block people from buying a home there who has no intention of living there unless they already live in the city. And you have to build! That is the main thing. These other measures can help prevent speculating, but the laws of supply and demand will be felt.

  20. There’s what looks to me like a very good possibility that Xi and the CPC are actively provoking violence in order to justify full takeover of Hong Kong. Whether that’s true or not, full takeover and an imposed police state seem the likely outcome.

  21. This predicament China finds itself in is what is known as a, “Catch-22”

    In this case, entirely of their own creation.

  22. Oh god here we go again.

    SO tell me your saying the the Chinese government hasn’t broken all their agreements on the two state one nation system?

    That it hasn’t been slowly taking away the rights of the people of Hong Kong?

    That it hasn’t been moving in colonist to water down the culture of the people of Hong Kong-you know like it literally has done for thousands of years when it takes a new nation or people…like say Tibet? Maybe ask the millions of Muslims in Reeducation camps?

    Or we can look at what China is doing in Africa or all those convenient trade deals in sri lanka and other places around the world where Chinese companies are being used to provide loans which they know the countries will default on and thus the Chinese companies-meaning The Chinese government now have deep water ports all over the world they basically own.

    So can we please stop the BS cold war crap where we act like there is a innocent person in the room.

    The great powers are playing the same games they have played sense before Alexander planted his butt on his first horse.

  23. Billionaire class response – Nope

    The stockholme syndrome psychophants will defend this inequality until their dying day, claiming it’s “healthy and good”. Yeah, super “healthy”. /eyeroll

  24. The revolution will not be televised
    WILL not be televised, WILL NOT BE TELEVISED
    The revolution will be no re-run brothers
    The revolution will be live

  25. Those youngsters seem to have no future, no hope for forming their own family without affordable housing. As most of their paycheck goes to the rent or installment, with very little left for daily expenses, which make them hard to keep a good saving for the future.

    It must be those rich in Hong Kong had laid a time bomb and now explored. Both HK and the Central government did not realise the problem for so many years, and it comes to this mess. The situation might crash the Hong Kong property market under the expenses of the Hong Kong economy and future, which might not able to come back the past glory again.

    The China national day is coming on the 1st October and follow by the golden week holiday from the 1st to 7th October. Beijing must very want to save its face by to silent all protests and riots before the grand celebration of the 70th anniversary. Many had guessed that the PLA will take action with the HK police before the 1st October’s celebration, which I am afraid that tragic life loss might happen before all protests and riots to be subsided by force.

  26. Chinese government over reacting? LOL. They love their power and money like insects and will do whatever it takes to hold on to it. Another Tianamen. No. they have learned so now they will send in secret police for mass arrests or disappearance. Like the 10s of thousands of Tianamen square prisoners and send them off to a secret remot place no one can find.

  27. The Hong Kong people have been peacefully demonstrated for some time. The Communist dictators are trying to string them up on leashes. This will not stand. Just as the Solidarity! movement heralded the beginning of the downfall of the USSR, Hong Kong is likely heralding the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party, fraudulently called the People’s “Republic” of China. Death to dictators!

  28. Hong Kong (CNN) 2019 aug. Jimmy Lai has been a public target for decades.
    It all started after the Hong Kong business tycoon — a refugee from China — reinvented himself in the mid-1990s as the founder of the city’s provocative, anti-Beijing tabloid (my notes:not tabloid, once a biggest newspaper in HK), Apple Daily.

  29. “freedom and democracy” . Freedoem,I can speak anything in Hong Kong and dont need VPN to access internet, we have a local “great” anti-china newpaper Apple Daily. Democracy, just quote BBC youtube: British govt did not give HK people any election right. Now HK people have election of lawmakers….

  30. Hong Kong has British democracy, a British leader (she and her entire family hold British citizenship), British judges, British police officers, its official language is English and its economic outcomes are British: a stagnant economy, 23% child poverty, unaffordable housing, and the highest inequality on earth.

    Hong Kong has rejected repeated offers of help from the mainland which, in addition to the most trusted legal system on earth, enjoys 90% home ownership, 0.7% child poverty* and a GINI coefficient half of Hong Kong’s.

    *Thousands of homeless British children are living in makeshift accommodation, including shipping containers and cramped former office blocks, putting their health at serious risk, according to a new report. Research published on Wednesday by Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, reveals that 210,000 young people in homeless families are having to live in temporary housing.

  31. i live in HK for decades. hong kong people are busy, unemployment rate is low. Many working-class people told me that do not have enough time to sleep. Of course no time to use brain to digest information from news media. They just use their ears. The main points are: 1/ young people cannot imagine to buy a house in their life. 2/ young people scare to live under the china mainland systems after 2047. 3/opposition parties want to make a politic breakthrough with taiwanese aggressive (sunflower) politic strategy. Hopeless Inequality? Stupid point. Just compare hong kong and taiwan, you can understand my points above.

  32. I am not sure why people in Hong Kong are rioting, I just know what I read. If the government and the elites are smart, they will provide a path for talented people to rise. Otherwise, you get a situation where peasants with pitchforks overthrow the government ( the founding of Communism as an example) and executing the leaders, burning down rich peoples mansions and shooting everyone running out.

    In the US, the best way I know of would be simple, kind of a conservative answer to Social Security. Allow us to invest $1000-2000 a year into a Roth IRA for our children newborn to 18 yrs old. Allow us to place that Roth IRA into a legal trust to protect it from government, creditors, the children, divorces etc. Then we could allow 70 years of compound interest to do the rest. Generational, inheritable for pennies on the dollar wealth created. Problem solved.

  33. Apparently, it rains a lot inside HK subway trains. Also, apprently HK subway trains double as ambulances, as surprised passengers dropped not only umbrellas, but also white helmets with red cross marks. Apparently, HK is a place of wonders, therefore those aggressive guys in black with sticks are simply Sith Lords.

    Believing one’s own propaganda is a textbook error of anyone trying to use lies as weapons. Nazis believed in their own wonder weapons, while being pounded into defeat by trivial infantry, tanks, artillery and bombers. HK protesters tried to pull a little riot, it did not work, or it actually did, but they did not plan to stop. Now they apparently believe they are martyrs for some cause, and HK police are Sith Lords doing their thing. The truth is the rioters have been used, and the HK gov has been manipulated – no one won, no one can win this. Not China, not HK.

    Look at Libya, look at Ukraine, look at protesters in Russia – it is a template operation, with template tactics, template photo ops, template.. oh, right.. here is a part of the template that may actually be stopping China from using force. In a template op like this, at some point the two sides are warmed up and too close. Suddenly, out of nowhere, snipers start shooting at both sides. Both sides think it’s the other side that did it. After that, it is a template scenario of quick descent into civil war. Used in Russia in 1993 (did not work), used in Ukraine in 2014 (worked), some other places too.

  34. Its not inequality at all. Inequality is normal & healthy . Its the current means by which the inequality came about. Which in many cases is fraud & drug dealing in modern western cities. There are so many dishonest & criminals.

  35. That is not a law of physics. There is no guarantee that in a robotic/AI future the vast majority will be able to earn a living wage. Governments may be able to facilitate a living wage, but that will depend on policy. There is no guarantee.

  36. Erosion of the fantasy of democracy that never was.

    Too bad universal suffrage was never granted by the British to the locals before the Handover in 1997, perhaps there might have been an ingrained history of democracy by then.

    China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong is full and complete, just like under the British.

  37. Are you advocating communism would perhaps succeed where free markets have failed the people of Hong Kong(Chinese special administrative region)?

  38. Honk Kong biggest threat is loss of independence and erosion of democracy. People do go to the street because of that. This is what has triggered the Hong Kong riots. Only a nationalist who wants to see HK taken over by his motherland China will not acknowledge that.

Comments are closed.