I don’t understand how news editors choose cover stories. There are uncountable stories going on at one time and so many are important! The amount of information available now is too much to think about, but I have discovered a fondness of linking people to what I think is interesting. I’ve been tempted to elaborate on the potential end of the EU as we know it or the anniversary of Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989 or why we might need self defense lesson in Sanlitun, Beijing or worrying trends in Amercia or murder straight from a horror flick. The world is madness, madness I tells ya!
Instead of the above topics, I choose to share a story with you from the South China Morning Post. One reason is the article isn’t available online. Another is that the topic is one I can rant/discuss/gripe/read about for years: finance capitalism. I refrain from venting today and instead, offer a quote from William Pesek’s “Billionaires’ city exposes flaws of finance capitalism”:
“To the true believers, this is market-freedom central. Yet what have Hongkongers got out of their emancipated economy? The highest income-inequality gap in Asia. A widening divide between rich and poor is tolerable if it is tempered with hope that it is bridgeable. But Hong Kong’s government is failing on this front. Politically connected tycoons have enriched themselves from monopolies in power generation, real estate, transportation and telecommunications. The 99 per cent are falling further behind.
Hong Kong’s plan to ride out the global financial storm was twofold: First, encourage visits from 28 million mainland tourists a year to splurge at luxury shops; second, to spur immigration by hyper-wealthy bankers seduced by beggar-thy-neighbour tax policies. It isn’t clear that the opportunities created by this strategy are empowering locals to share in Hong Kong’s growth in the long run.”
Now let’s compare $6,000 per night luxury stays of Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s current leader, with the 100 square feet (or 9.3 square meters) rooms in which at least 100 households live. Growing inequality across the world is well-documented along with its negative economic, political, and social consequences. Did I also mention analysts suspect Hong Kong’s tycoons of propping up property stocks?
How anyone thinks anything close to democracy is possible with the amount required to fund a campaign is beyond me. (Discussions welcome.) Besides paying to have a candidate’s face plastered all over posters, flyers, buttons and the internet, all that money is also spent informing people. Or not. Even dictators need to have a source of funding. Have you looked at IMF Financial Activities lately? If we could look into the hidden info corners of the world’s leading banks or private equity funds, I bet we’d find even more interesting stuff! But if I had the magical powers to do that, I’d probably be arrested for corporate espionage.