Don’t Follow Argentina

Next Magazine (2014.11.27, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) A popular explanation for discontent manifested in protests for democracy is that it results from a wealth gap and rising inequality in Hong Kong. It is argued that bad policy is dictated by plutocrats that have extra votes and the government in theirContinue reading>

A make work scheme for foreign lawyers

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.12.19)   Hong Kong’s competition law came into effect on 18 January 2013. Commissioners were appointed from 1 May 2013 and heads of the judicial Competition Tribunal from 1 August. As these appointments take place, it is increasingly clear what the competition law is allContinue reading>

Heed HSBC’s Lessons

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.09.05) Hong Kong is blessed with venerable institutions that date back to its early days as a colony, but have survived and prospered in the modern world by adapting to changes. These changes and adaptations sometimes happen consciously with a deliberate plan, but they areContinue reading>

The cornerstone of our rights

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.07.25) Property rights are a cornerstone of our free market system. Although we have an unusual system of leasehold, rather than freehold property, for most of our history leaseholders have had substantive rights over the land and improved space above land that they have occupied.Continue reading>

Give us gridlock

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.06.13)   It is now apparent that we have constitutional arrangements in Hong Kong that make it extremely difficult to legislate. The electoral system biases towards small parties, making working parliamentary majorities impossible to form. In the battle for a quota, locking in firm votesContinue reading>

A low return on purported greed

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.05.16)   Landlords are greedy. Owners of retail shops are especially so. They put up rents driving small businesses to close. They especially have it in for our favorite local restaurants that make dumplings, congee, noodles and other delights the way that no-one else does.Continue reading>

Staying number one

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.04.11)   Hong Kong has placed first in global rankings of economic freedom from the Fraser Institute since the first publication in 1996 and has earned a similar ranking from the Heritage Foundation. Does this ranking matter? More importantly, does economic freedom matter? Free marketContinue reading>

Finding free markets

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.03.14)   Even people who favor free markets will often describe Hong Kong as a city with a business landscape dominated by property developers and their associated conglomerate monopolies. Countless articles seek to “de-bunk” the purported myth that Hong Kong is the freest economy inContinue reading>

Dangerous Complacency

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.01.17)   Overseas experiences can sometimes help us better understand our challenges. Australia’s mining industry is an apt example. Late last year BHP Biliton’s CEO Marius Kloppers showed how China-driven massive growth in demand had come after a lean period for the mining industry andContinue reading>

Compounding MPF mistakes

Next Magazine (Second opinion A006, 2012.12.13)   Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) schemes have used compulsion to require funds now worth $412 billion to be taken from the wages of employees and invested with approved providers. Over the 12-year life of the scheme, the aggregate returns have been 3.4% after feesContinue reading>