Privatize Our SOEs

Next Magazine (2015.01.01, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) As we seek to heal the wounds of the political divide and show that “one country two systems” might have meaning, we could do worse than focus on removing more activities from the political realm. This is no more important than in theContinue reading>

Vanguards in Our Streets

Next Magazine (2014.10.23, A003, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Hong Kong is a miracle. A rite of passage for young western bankers in Hong Kong is the junk trip to Lama with the top management from head office. Two decades ago my CEO, an accomplished head of the then biggest bank inContinue reading>

False Compassion

Next Magazine (2014.08.28, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) It is the gift of a great economist to be able to make complex issues simple. Art Laffer reached public greatness with his insight that there is a level of tax rates that is so high that even with higher rates, revenue wouldContinue reading>

Undermining The Rule of Law

Next Magazine (2014.07.31, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Mark Twain penned the maxim that “no man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” It has always seemed a wise precaution to keep a close eye on what the legislature is doing. Therefore it has been possibleContinue reading>

Turn West Kowloon Into A Market

Next Magazine (2014.07.10, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Eleven years after closing, there remains controversy about plans to preserve and redevelop the Central Market. At least we now have some rather bold plans, but apparently some people still object to the number of commercial outlets in the plans. So the siteContinue reading>

Government Waste Galore

Next Magazine (2014.05.22, A004, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) In it last Annual Report, the Audit Commission notes that there “has been a significant rise in government spending (from $233 billion in 2005-06 to $381 billion in 2012-13 (an increase of 64%)” and describe the “significant increase in scope, complexity and coverageContinue reading>

Healthy budget healthy people

Next Magazine (2014.04.17, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Criticisms of Financial Secretary John Tsang’s Working Group on Long Term Fiscal Planning in the month since it was released have been rather odd. On the one hand there are those, particularly in the English language media, who criticized the working group asContinue reading>

Dark days in Hong Kong

Next Magazine (2014.04.03, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Amidst festivities for the Rugby 7’s and a flash storm on Saturday that brought night to the city in the middle of the day, it would have been easy to miss the international “Earth Hour” at 8:30pm that night. At that hour inContinue reading>

End Business Welfare

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.10.03) Hong Kong risks being transformed. With the 2013-14 budget, total government spending has become entrenched at over 21% of GDP. Forward estimates from the government have spending peaking in 2015-16 at 21.6% when a special provision is made for health care reform. However, withContinue reading>