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A World without Welfare
Mr. Leo F. Goodstadt (Honorary Institute Fellow, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong)
April 10, 2013
Hong Kong is among the world’s most prosperous and stable cities. Yet, the quality of its housing and its spending on social services are well below the other advanced economies. The gap between rich and poor is among the widest in the world and worsening, which officials and business leaders have tried to blame on the poor themselves. In this century, the government has increased the charges paid by the average family for health, education and welfare. Children and adults with disabilities, together with the elderly, suffer extraordinary waiting times for admission to care facilities. Access to modern medication is rationed by price, even for many life-threatening illnesses. This presentation will explain how this deterioration in the community’s wellbeing is the direct outcome of the government’s belief that welfare is a luxury Hong Kong can hardly afford.
Mr. Leo F. Goodstadt is an honorary HKIHSS fellow, where he is currently finalising a book for publication later this year on poverty in Hong Kong. His past research has focused on the relationship between government and business in Hong Kong and on China’s transition from Maoism and the modernisation of its financial system in particular. He was head of the government’s Central Policy Unit from 1989 to 1997 and has had a successful career as a consultant economist. His recent books include Uneasy Partners: The Conflict between Public Interest and Private Profit in Hong Kong and its Chinese edition《官商同謀:香港公義私利的矛盾》; and Reluctant Regulators: How the West Created and China Survived the Global Financial Crisis and its Chinese edition《嚴防金融海嘯重臨:香港監管文他的敵示》.