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Government is the problem, not the solution

(Next Magazine, 2016/10/6, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Political debate in Hong Kong is almost invariably trapped in the “nirvana fallacy”, which according to economist Harold Demsetz, “implicitly presents the relevant choice as between an ideal norm and an existing imperfect institutional arrangement.” This leads to bad decision-making and bad arguments,Continue reading>

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Assaulting our competitive edge

(Next Magazine, 2016/7/21, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Assaulting our competitive edge Pride comes before the fall according the Book of Proverbs. One Hong Kong achievement worth being proud of was our world beating Octopus card. Whilst cities around the world from London and New York to Melbourne were struggling withContinue reading>

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Targeting Link

(Next Magazine, 2016/6/23, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Targeting Link A powerful US political aspirant does not like reports about him in the Washington Post. He threatens its proprietor’s separately listed company, Amazon Inc., with antitrust action and official scrutiny. Many will think Donald Trump to be out of line, butContinue reading>

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The war against work

(Next Magazine, 2016/6/2, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) The war against work When I first arrived in Hong Kong in 1989, I had the impression of an incredibly dynamic work environment. Unemployment was negligible and workers of all kinds were in demand. Employers constantly complained that they could not keep staffContinue reading>

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Not enough capitalism!

(Next Magazine, 2016/5/5, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Not enough capitalism! Hong Kong has many contentious public issues, but the underlying source of our discontent is fifteen years of stagnant real wages. For many in Hong Kong we are simply not progressing and the upward mobility from a dynamic economy seemsContinue reading>

Intervention begets inequality

(Next Magazine, 2016/4/7, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Intervention begets inequality Our Chief Executive’s Policy Address trumpeted the news that our poverty rate has plummeted to 14.3%, the lowest since 2009, and credited this to his government’s success in closing the inequality gap. This gap is as vivid as our spectacularContinue reading>

The dark side of localism

(Next Magazine, 2016/3/10, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) The dark side of localism Localism is on the rise. Edward Leung Tin-kei, a localist candidate, did not win a Legco seat in the New Territories East by-election. However, the more than 66,000 votes he garnered suggest that the sentiment to distance, orContinue reading>

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Safeguard our freedom

(Next Magazine, 2016/2/11, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Safeguard our freedom The Heritage Foundation just named Hong Kong, for the 22nd consecutive year, the freest economy in the world. Some people are mystified by this singular recognition. They see instead creeping government intervention, rising vested interests and half the population inContinue reading>

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Universal pension, universal failure

(Next Magazine, 2016/1/14, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Universal pension, universal failure Hong Kong became the prosperous success that it is today, precisely because we avoided the depredations of the welfare state established across the western world in the post war period. Without commitments from government to provide universally for theContinue reading>