Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 007
2015 May

Is economic development the "hard truth"?

Economic development of Hong Kong is at a loss. This is not just a concern of adults but also the younger generation as well. Since 70-80s Hong Kong was carved as a prosperous city, full of vitality. In order to foster an atmosphere of stability during the handover in 90s, freedom in economic development was the key of the government image both internally and externally; until today, the sole business of Hong Kong people, even its core value is to ensure a dazzling economic development.

Recent hot topics like, the third runway, development in the North East New Territories and conflicts with anti-parallel goods trading, striking high prices of properties are related to economic development one way or the other. Such development affects people’s livelihood, which also interlocks with economic development. We could not help but ask: can economic development bring about improvements of the living condition for people of all walks of life?

Take the basic daily necessities for example, most of the people are living in misery. Shopping centres and streets are flooded with luxurious brands such as cosmetics, pharmacies, and jewelry shops. All these push the rents further up but more unaffordable. Added to that is the pressure on transportation, which creates inconvenience to daily lives. Nevertheless, government officials, tycoons, politicians keep saying that economic development is their prime concern and urge the society to achieve this common goal for the so-called well-being of Hong Kong. While on the other hand, people are living in a place where prices have gone up, salary can never meet inflation, long working hours, lack of places for leisure and aggravating housing problem, it has been impossible to enjoy the benefit of economic development, if any; whereas the government continues to launch mega infrastructure projects under the hard truth of economic development, and that any anti-parallel goods trading is adversely affecting tourism, and some businessmen foretold if the political reform package is voted down, Hong Kong’s economy will tumble. All these came from a single argument that economy development is everything, that could only be disagreed!

It is true that economic development brings about prosperity, however, we are more concern about people’s livelihood and quality of life. Though it is no easy task, there should be a balance between “economy” and “livelihood”. If focus is only put on economic development, it merely brings about damaging effects such as commercialisation of education, intensifying conflicts and all sorts of problems arising from living under great pressure; it has a higher cost to pay.

Being a social service organisation whose mission advocates for a more just, fair, sustainable and balanced society, we would be pleased to see that economic development would bring forth a happy, harmonious and healthy life. We anticipate the government to have more concrete strategies to overcome and balance the conflict between economy and livelihood and work out a people-centered policy.

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