Poverty in the Midst of Affluence
How Hong Kong Mismanaged Its Prosperity, Revised Edition
ISBN : 978-988-8208-22-7
280 pages, 6″ x 9″
Hong Kong is among the richest cities in the world. Yet over the past 15 years, living conditions for the average family have deteriorated despite a robust economy, ample budget surpluses, and record labour productivity. Successive governments have been reluctant to invest in services for the elderly, the disabled, the long-term sick, and the poor, while education has become more elitist. The political system has helped to entrench a mistaken consensus that social spending is a threat to financial stability and economic prosperity. In this trenchant attack on government mismanagement, Leo Goodstadt traces how officials have created a ‘new poverty’ in Hong Kong and argues that their misguided policies are both a legacy of the colonial era and a deliberate choice by modern governments, and not the result of economic crises. This provocative book will be essential reading for anyone wishing to understand why poverty returned to Hong Kong in this century.
The book has been thoroughly revised and updated for this new, paperback edition.
‘Leo Goodstadt has identified the New Poor as those made vulnerable through diminishing access to essential services and opportunities. The culprits are misguided policies, and the callous and uncaring decisions of those in power. This compelling critique carries weight and demands a response.’ —Christine Fang, Former Chief Executive of The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
‘This is a critical reflection on Hong Kong’s path of social development and a most discerning analysis of the Third World mentality espoused by the government and the business community in the area of social welfare.’ —Lui Tai-lok, Chair Professor of Hong Kong Studies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
‘Welfare spending was like “pouring sand into the sea to reclaim land”, thought one Chief Executive. Governments restrained social spending based on that skewed view. . . . This book is meticulously researched and painfully insightful. It is a masterly chronicle of Hong Kong’s social welfare policy.’ —Anna Wu, Non-Official Member of the Executive Council, HKSAR