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Poverty and the Unequal Society in Hong Kong

Gary Lai
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Hong Kong is a dynamic city. But the contrast between the well-off and the poor is stark. In the 1980s and 1990s, and to a lesser extent in this century, Luxury brand bag-toting women can often be seen walking past beggars on the sidewalks of busy streets. Poverty has always existed in the city. Where else can we find it there and is it getting worse? Does it matter?
Inequality has been steadily increasing from 1976. Poverty makes people more vulnerable and corruptible, whether to choosing bad leaders or undertaking terrorist activities. The motivation of this book is to ascertain the extent of poverty in Hong Kong in the context of the experiences in other parts of the world. The meditations in this book are not meant to be encyclopaedic. They are a sample of the unique challenges that exist in different parts of the world. This book does not take a stand on the current political protests against the diminishing freedom and autonomy imposed by Beijing in Hong Kong, although it proffers underlying causes for the demonstrations. Inequality is a recurring theme, so are the social chasms that the wealth, education, and digital gaps created. And only by grasping the facts of Hong Kong’s destitute can one help them.

Published: May/2021

ISBN: 9789814914048

Length: 192 Pages

Poverty and the Unequal Society in Hong Kong

Gary Lai

Hong Kong is a dynamic city. But the contrast between the well-off and the poor is stark. In the 1980s and 1990s, and to a lesser extent in this century, Luxury brand bag-toting women can often be seen walking past beggars on the sidewalks of busy streets. Poverty has always existed in the city. Where else can we find it there and is it getting worse? Does it matter?
Inequality has been steadily increasing from 1976. Poverty makes people more vulnerable and corruptible, whether to choosing bad leaders or undertaking terrorist activities. The motivation of this book is to ascertain the extent of poverty in Hong Kong in the context of the experiences in other parts of the world. The meditations in this book are not meant to be encyclopaedic. They are a sample of the unique challenges that exist in different parts of the world. This book does not take a stand on the current political protests against the diminishing freedom and autonomy imposed by Beijing in Hong Kong, although it proffers underlying causes for the demonstrations. Inequality is a recurring theme, so are the social chasms that the wealth, education, and digital gaps created. And only by grasping the facts of Hong Kong’s destitute can one help them.

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Gary Lai

Gary Lai is an economist whose writing has appeared in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), the Daily Caller (USA), the Toronto Star, and the Daily Monitor (Uganda), among other publications, on topics ranging from Aboriginal employment in British Columbia to girls' education in Hong Kong. Gary's interest in poverty issues led him to found the anti-poverty campaign TKO Poverty at Columbia University in 2005. Gary received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Southern California and a Master of Economics from the University of Hong Kong. He also attended the University of British Columbia Allard School of Law and Columbia University. Lai was shortlisted for a Chevening Scholarship and was nominated for a JCI Hong Kong Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in 2016.”