Hong Kong's economy could do a lot better with a little less laissez-faire

Hong Kong's economy could do a lot better with a little less laissez-faire

Avant-garde, coup d’etat, laissez-faire, fromage baguette … what do all these darned French phrases even mean? One of them has been the topic of much discussion recently – and no, it’s not the one which translates to “over-priced pastry”.

Our divine omni-benevolent leader Leung Chun-ying recently called for the city to abandon its – you guessed it – laissez-faire, or “hands-off,” economic policy in favour of tighter interventionist policies (though a cheese baguette policy does sound rather appealing). This would likely lead to lower prices of goods and property, improving the general welfare of the people.

Some were quick to brand it as a move by the Central Government to “communise” Hong Kong. Others believed that stricter control would immediately turn the city into a planned economy. As anyone with as little as a GCSE in economics would tell you, this would certainly not be the case.

All nations, save for North Korea, are mixed economies; economies which have “some resources allocated through the price mechanism and some by the state”, as the lovely Edexcel mark-scheme would say. In layman’s terms, it means that private businesses are allowed to function independently, but the government provides the public goods and has some interference in the market. Hong Kong, being the world’s freest economy, is a far-right, conservative economy, one with very little government intervention. Introducing regulation would only shift it to the left a wee bit.

Shirley Yuen, CEO of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC), says businesses “[do] not need bureaucratic interference,” and that they “need a government that articulates a vision of who we are and what we strive to be.” In plain English, it means that they need a government that will give in to their demands.

The HKGCC is comprised of multi-billion dollar corporations such as Jardine Matheson, Caltex Oil, and Standard Chartered. It’s no surprise that big businesses are incredibly vocal about Leung’s new ideas as they would have adverse effects on the companies’ bottom line if they ever materialised.

Although it is definitely true that our free economy has brought our city a lot of prosperity, it is high time we give the working class a bit of help, too.

Raising the minimum wage is one method we could use, but some are afraid that doing so would directly cause cost-push inflation. However, it has been shown that the main driver of inflation in recent years is rent and property costs, rather than labour.

George Cautherley, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation, says that there is evidence to suggest that a raise to HK$36 per hour would be affordable; as Hong Kong’s GDP is expected to increase at around five per cent year-on-year; the increase would only amount to a 2.6 per cent increase in wage bills for small businesses. Therefore, the old “oh-my-god-the-inflation” fallacy is invalid.

Despite the recently introduced “cool-down” measures, property prices are still floating at a high level. Direct intervention, such as limiting the number of flats a single person can own, would be a great help here.

There are many other methods, such as increasing profits tax, that would help alleviate the long-running issue of income inequality, but they may be even riskier for the government to attempt. Whether or not Leung’s words are true, it is important that the government starts catering to the needs of the people, rather than the needs of the businesses. In a perfect world, business operations should be mutually beneficial for both the businesses and the people, and that’s not what’s happening right now.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Our economy could use a little 'hands-on' help

Comments

To post comments please
register or

17 Comments

Marita

17:33pm

When I originally commented I appear to have clicked <br><br>
the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment <br><br>
is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.<br><br>
<br><br>
Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service?<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
Thank you!<br><br>
<br><br>
my weblog :: discount hoodies: http://msshirts.com<br><br>
<br><br>
Feel free to surf to my web-site - christ t shirts - http://msshirts.com

Sharyn

19:28pm

whoah this weblog is wonderful i like studying your <br><br>
articles. Keep up the good work! You understand, lots of persons are looking around for <br><br>
this information, you could aid them greatly.<br><br>
<br><br>
Here is my web page - how to detangle matted hair to scalp <br><br>
professional hair detangler salon take down remover detangler how to detangle <br><br>
matted hair to scalp tangled hair techs USA - http://****professionalhairdetangler.com

Lenora

20:20pm

An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a <br><br>
little research on this. And he actually bought me breakfast due to the <br><br>
fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me <br><br>
to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the <br><br>
time to talk about this matter here on your blog.<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
Here is my website ... tłumaczenia - http://late-nite-gamers.com/LNG-Forum/profile.php?id=2666

Geraldine

04:20am

Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident <br><br>
(stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!<br><br>
<br><br>
my web blog: descargar messenger - http://****espiarwhatsappgratis.info/2015/07/como-espiar-un-whatsapp.html

Finlay

05:44am

Link exchange is nothing else except it is only placing the other person's webpage link on your page at proper place <br><br>
and other person will also do same for you.<br><br>
<br><br>
Check out my web-site; Quickbooks customer support number - http://****quickbooksonlinesupport.tk/

Madeleine

11:16am

naturally like your web site but you need <br><br>
to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts.<br><br>
<br><br>
A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find <br><br>
it very bothersome to tell the reality however I will definitely come again again.<br><br>
<br><br>
My page; Walk in bath tubs - http://jakeknight.com/?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=256323

Lorie

15:27pm

Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?<br><br>
My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up.<br><br>
Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
https://gondolseo.wordpress.com Cara Daftar Dan Membuat Akun Facebook baru dan Gratis <br><br>
mencari teman bisa dengan mudah di dapat lewat facebook, lalu bagaimana caranya kalau sobat ingin <br><br>
daftar facebook bahasa indonesia - ”https://gondolseo.wordpress.com” ..?<br><br>
caranya sangat mudah dan saya yakin dalam hitungan menit saja <br><br>
sobat sudah punya akun facebook. sebagai pembuka ada baiknya sobat ketahui tentang facebook, facebook <br><br>
merupakan jejaring sosial nomer satu di dunia<br><br>
<br><br>
My web blog - membuat alamat email - https://gondolseo.wordpress.com

Lila

21:50pm

І got this web page fгom mmy buddy whο informed mе rеgarding this site and now this tіme I <br><br>
amm visiting tɦis site and rading very informative posts at thiѕ place.<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
Visit mƴ pagе :: luxury - http://****luxury.gr.com

Velma

12:00pm

Wonderful items from you, man. I have take into account your stuff prior to and you <br><br>
are just extremely wonderful. I actually like what you've obtained here, really like what you are stating and the way in which wherein you asssert it.<br><br>
You are making it entertaining and you continue to take care <br><br>
of to stay it smart. I can'twait to read far <br><br>
more from you. This is actually a great website.<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
Also visit my web page :: ****argyletryit.com ( Lindsay - http://****argyletryit.com/2015/06/google-keyword-tracker-free.html )

Rena

12:32pm

At this time it appears like Drupal is the preferred blogging platform available right now.<br><br>
(from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?<br><br>
<br><br>
<br><br>
Check out my web blog; Call of duty balck ops 3 <br><br>
download - https://****youtube.com/watch?v=Huv16ftHWgk