- Category: Frontpage Articles
- Last Updated: Monday, 01 May 2017 09:00
- Published: Wednesday, 21 December 2011 01:12
- Written by Michael Adorjan
- Hits: 10916
Christmas 2011 is almost upon us, with the ethos of capitalism under fire the world over. Let us remind ourselves why this is so, and why so many now want a much more socially responsible form of economy, by paying a visit to an iconic capitalist city... In Hong Kong today some people still live in cages. They are not prisoners. They are simply persons rendered invisible in a world city where belonging and citizenship are instilled through financial capital and personal connections. In this article I describe this social problem within the context of rising levels of inequality in Hong Kong. I also present the Hong Kong government’s response to the problem and underscore the inadequacy of this response.
The social fact remains: in contemporary world cities, those with social capital (not only money but the right connections and associated knowledge) are valued much more than those without. Those outside don’t count; they are the outcasts and “human waste” of modernity and globalization (Bauman, 2004). What ‘everybody knows’ is that there is an ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. Hong Kong is no exception. Though Hong Kong is known to be a fast-paced international city that values luck, entrepreneurialism and wealth, its transition into a global city during the 1990s was accompanied by occupational polarisation and widening income inequality (Chiu and Lui, 2004). Those at the bottom of the social class ladder experience great challenges in simply getting by on a daily basis.