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How to reduce the wealth gap in HK

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  1. #1

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    How to reduce the wealth gap in HK

    People seem to feel the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class are getting squeezed in the middle.

    For those whose grandparents didn't buy a property or invest in the right stocks & shares what can be done to reduce the wealth gap?

    Does the current education system give ALL the equal chance to succeed or is background more important to get into the right school and then university, job etc.



    Please list the top 3 things you would do to reduce the wealth gap

    1) Give Everyone $6000
    2) Give poor people a few dollars travel allowance
    3) Give 40% of the population subsidised but tiny accommodation


  2. #2

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    Today, I have seen an ad for a job in a wet market paying HK$ 30 per hour, interesting.


  3. #3

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    Well it is probably the fear of being shot down will whooly liberal ideas of transferring money from the hard-working successful to the underserving poor. Unfortunately to narrow the gap more opertunities must be given to the less advantaged.

    how about

    1) Build more large flats
    2) Capital gains tax
    3) Free private tutors (say 3 hours per week) to all


  4. #4

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    With HK the government needs to do the following

    Scrap this $6000 nonsense to Permenant residents earning over say $30k a month, They don't need it
    Give more to those on minimum wage.

    More affordable public housing, In this day and age we should not be allowing people to live in cages.

    Limit the influx of Mainlanders buying property and raising property prices. Capital gains on property speculators.

    bookblogger likes this.

  5. #5

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    Well, it all depends on what you really want to achieve. Is reducing the gini score really a valid goal in and of itself? Maybe not. After all, the chart itself shows how high HK is on the HDI. Wealth transfer schemes tend to be counterproductive. On the other hand, too much accumulated capital in the hands of a few is certainly bad for a society, I would argue.

    If what you want is a reduction in poverty, then I would suggest i.) a gradual increase in the minimum wage, ii.) continued intervention in the housing market to provide decent accommodation for the working poor, and iii.) a reasonable dole for the truly poverty stricken.

    The trick is to put in place viable safety-net without ruining HK's competitive advantage as a low-tax, high-employment society. The three suggestions above are more or less already present but can be tweaked.

    Personally I am in favor of a high estate tax (which even some progressive places like Australia don't have) and a capital gains tax, albeit set at a low level. I think the stated social purpose of an estate tax should be to prevent large estates being passed down from generation to generation without being taxed; it is that long term multigenerational accumulation of untaxed capital that in the long run makes society a more unfair place.

    Personally, I don't know that private tutors would add all that much - the kids in HK are already schooled half to death. Maybe another way of putting the same idea is "better school guidance counseling" and having the schools employ ombudsmen who are quasi-independent and are willing to have the best interests of the student, rather than a particular school administraton, as the priority.

    Watercooler likes this.

  6. #6

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    Make envy mandatory.


  7. #7

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    I've mentioned before that I think the income gap is a bit misleading because while it is true that there's a huge gap between rich and poor in this country, it's also true that you can enjoy a reasonable standard of life on what is considered a low income in HK. the main downside is you can expect to live somewhere tiny in comparison to many other countries but the same applies for the rich.

    If you limit things like imported food and products, drinking alcohol in bars, eating in expensive restaurants etc. HK can be an amazingly cheap place to live. Minimum wage is much higher in the UK for example but after tax and considering the cost of living, and the expensive culture people expect to be involved in there (especially drinking heavily at weekends!) I think a monthly salary of minimum wage goes much further here. (or at least people on minimum wage are a lot more responsible than their UK counterparts)

    So rather than addressing any rich poor gap I think the issue is to somehow address affordability of housing (maybe some of the empty land could be built on for a start). Of course, I doubt the govt. would want to do this as it would lose them a lot of money.

    Freetrader likes this.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by justjoe86:
    I've mentioned before that I think the income gap is a bit misleading because while it is true that there's a huge gap between rich and poor in this country, .
    City, not country.

  9. #9

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    When I look at how the UK was at the turn of the century, I see parallels to HK now. The poor had no welfare, did not like to rely on charity, having a job or an education was something to be proud of and to strive for, but not everyone had equal chances. A few rose up, most stayed in the gutter scratching a meagre living.
    The good people of the day looked at this and tried to reduce the wealth gap. They introduced free education for all. They gave subsidised university places. They introduced government housing, free healthcare, the dole for the unemployed, childcare allowances. They taxed the rich to fund all these social improvements.

    And now we have riots in the streets from people coming from 3rd generation of welfare recipients, who play truant from school and have no respect for teachers; who have never worked and don't want a job and who believe the state owes them a living.

    (Yes - not everyone is like that and I'm making a point).

    The point being - be careful what you wish for. People who are struggling but see a goal of improvement, which they may or may not obtain, and have the stick of a bad life for themselves or their kids if they fail, are often better people than the over-fed youths of some of the "western" countries that give too much to those who do too little.


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    When I look at how the UK was at the turn of the century, I see parallels to HK now. The poor had no welfare, did not like to rely on charity, having a job or an education was something to be proud of and to strive for, but not everyone had equal chances. A few rose up, most stayed in the gutter scratching a meagre living.
    The good people of the day looked at this and tried to reduce the wealth gap. They introduced free education for all. They gave subsidised university places. They introduced government housing, free healthcare, the dole for the unemployed, childcare allowances. They taxed the rich to fund all these social improvements.

    And now we have riots in the streets from people coming from 3rd generation of welfare recipients, who play truant from school and have no respect for teachers; who have never worked and don't want a job and who believe the state owes them a living.

    (Yes - not everyone is like that and I'm making a point).

    The point being - be careful what you wish for. People who are struggling but see a goal of improvement, which they may or may not obtain, and have the stick of a bad life for themselves or their kids if they fail, are often better people than the over-fed youths of some of the "western" countries that give too much to those who do too little.
    But we don't have kids starving in the street, people dying because they couldn't afford a doctor (like my grandfather), etc. I would accept riots anyday instead of that. [and I am not saying HK is like that, that was the UK prior to the welfare state].
    dear giant likes this.

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