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View Diary: Hong Kong: The not-so-free market darling of conservatives (HK port workers strike, win pay raise) (25 comments)

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  •  The link doesn't explain what this means: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, caul
    Additionally, over 50% of Hong Kongers are provided public housing by the government.
    in fact, reading between the lines it seems more like that they are provided a subsidy for housing, rather than the housing itself.  
    •  some combination (6+ / 0-)

      i believe:

      http://www.housingauthority.gov.hk/

      Mathematically and practically, it makes little difference if the government owns and operates the scheme (and forces poor tenants to pay whatever they can) or if they subsidize whatever a poor tenant can pay to get involved in some private scheme.

      The non-governmental public support also goes through: http://www.hkhs.com/...

      The provision is vast though. The 50% figure doesn't come from a loose interpretation of a tax deduction or something, if that's what you're wondering.

      Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

      by aguadito on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:51:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the link (0+ / 0-)

        From the link you provide, there appears to be several assistance mechanisms available, making this statement not entirely accurate:

        Mathematically and practically, it makes little difference if the government owns and operates the scheme (and forces poor tenants to pay whatever they can) or if they subsidize whatever a poor tenant can pay to get involved in some private scheme.
        Practically, if $$s are given directly to a person to help out with renting housing (owed privately) that could be a rather temporary arrangement, whereas if the same amount of $$s was invested in public housing (i.e., construction of physical buildings, etc) that would tend to be a tad more permanent.

        There's also a link for assistance towards "home ownership" - again, this would be transient, since presumably the person receiving the aid would eventually own their home and no longer need the government largess.    

        In a way, the interest mortgage deduction in the USA fits into the latter category, making statements like "50% of Americans are provided with public housing" roughly as correct as the headline you linked to . .. .  Yes, I realize that that is stretching things a bit, maybe swinging to the opposite extreme as that headline, but still - it * was * unnecessarily misleading.

        •  I think... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NYFM, MrJayTee, Laconic Lib, caul

          you're casting unfair doubt on a figure/statement that comes from the BBC's Katie Hunt (who is based in Hong Kong) in a story that involves harmonized data from Hong Kong experts they interviewed--if there was any doubt to the validity of such a number, there would have certainly been an objection.

          Here's the comparison of the data in the story:

          It is a far higher proportion than in the UK where less than 10% live in subsidised housing, but is beaten by Singapore, another supposed bastion of economic liberty, where about 85% of people live in public housing.
          So, you're making a lot of assumptions and engage in speculation without any actual deeper knowledge of the comparative data presented.

          The 50% figure even came with more data that shined light on it:

          More than half of the population earn less than HK$11,000 ($1,400; £920) a month and household incomes have barely increased over the past 10 years despite a booming economy.
          So it's not difficult to see that as a viable statistic. It's not in any way misleading, it's right there in the story with a comparison to another country (and my statement was merely a quote from the story, I didn't even re-word it to change the meaning at all).

          Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

          by aguadito on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:18:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My "assumptions" are based on the link (0+ / 0-)

            you provided, namely, the Hong Kong public housing website - where there turned out to be all kinds of shades of gray in what is meant by "public housing" - you provide information and then dis me for using it? Strange!!

            Anyways, what else I am supposed to do?  Just blindly accept a black and white scenario as painted in the headline w/o attempting to make sense out of it?

            In any event, that's not a major point because whatever they're doing, they're clearly not doing enough to make much of an impact on income equality.

            In fact from the Wikipedia page giving the GINI index rankings, sorting on the World Bank ratings puts Hong Kong near the bottom of the list of most inequitable societies (getting worse going down):

             
            (many countries omitted)
            Suriname
            Belize  
            Hong Kong
             Zambia  
             Brazil
             Colombia  
             Guatemala  
             Bolivia
             Central African Republic
             Honduras
             Angola  
             Haiti
             Botswana
             South Africa  
             Namibia
             Comoros
             Seychelles

            Really, Brazil is the only other country close to first world status in the neighborhood of where Hong Kong ranks.

            I suspect that this is the type of thing that conservatives value when compiling their "free economy" lists - i.e., the ability for the wealthy to pad their pockets at every else's expense.  

            Hong Kong is still doing very well in that regard, thank you very much.

            •  heh (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, leema, MrJayTee, Laconic Lib, caul

              I wasn't trying to diss you, sorry if it came off that way :)

              I'm not suggesting you "blindly accept" the BBC-mentioned data, part of citing a reputable source is that it makes it not "blind" (and their story is rather well-cited with Hong Kong sources too).  It's fair to question the number of course though, as you wish.

              The inequality is a major issue there. It seems the rich don't mind to be super rich and fund a large public housing scheme for the working class. Which is actually a somewhat progressive compromise to what right-wingers seem to propose, which is imprison the poor and leave them on the streets helpless and without healthcare :P

              Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

              by aguadito on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:59:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In all fairness, that GINI data (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aguadito

                doesn't really reflect HK's recent attempts (e.g., the minimum wage thing you document and the more recent increase in dockworker's pay) that you mention.

                I'll be interested to see a couple years down the road when the data comes in if this has had a measurable effect or not.  I'm skeptical but I suppose it is possible.

            •  I'm wondering if some of your (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              caul

              "shades of gray" about "public housing" stem, not from the data provided, but from culturally specific assumptions about what constitutes "public", based on the very slim and narrow US model?

              Just a thought.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:32:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  It's a full range, running the whole gamut (6+ / 0-)

      Their public housing goes from the old style public housing with shared bathrooms, to nicer self containde units, to I believe 2 classes of below market rate housing which is sold to low income occupants.  It all depends on how needy you are, and how long you've waited in line for the more popular locations and programs.

      •  so it sounds about right to you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder

        that about 50% of the people live in buildings that are out and out owned by the government?  (i.e., the most literal sense of "public housing")

        I suppose it's possible!  I was there about 15 years ago (right after the PRC takeover) and was hosted by a construction guy who showed me around some construction  sites - I actually never thought to ask who he was building them for - but in retrospect since they mostly were rather bland apartment buildings it very well * could * have been for public housing purposes . ..   but in that case, this isn't that new of a phenomenon.

        •  The units which are sold to the occupants (5+ / 0-)

          are owned by the occupants.  
          But you are absolutely right- public housing developments are very visible in Hong Kong. I grew up there and aside from the lowewst tier of public housing, there is not much stigma to living in public housing.  It's completely unlike here in the US where people blanche when they hear that you live in the projects. The upper tier public housing always had a long waiting list because they were pretty desireable.

          •  Or even romanticized on sitcoms & soap operas (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder

            Just like village life is on Chinese TV. ATV and TVB know their audience.

            Most of my friends in HK grew up in the estates and some still do. Vertical villages.

            {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

            by koNko on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:51:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I can explain, it's simple. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aguadito, caul, Roadbed Guy

      Originally the system provided free or low cost housing depending on qualification.

      About 10 years ago (can't remember exactly) a private ownership scheme was enacted allowing residents to buy their homes and this resulted in a fairly high rate of private purchase since it was affordable and below market rates.

      More recently, the current scheme detailed at the linked site was enacted with the aim to be privatization by providing subsidies and taking the Housing Authority out of the estate development business (originally all were government projects).

      {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

      by koNko on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:41:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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