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What Evidence is there that Hong Kong is Unequal?
Transcript of What Evidence is there that Hong Kong is Unequal?
Inequality is a difference in magnitude (size, amount etc.) or a lack of equality. In social terms: when a certain group of people is not given the same rights and privileges as others.
What can we use to measure inequality?
Several surveys have been conducted by the government, various charities and the United Nations to measure inequality. The most common measurement in the Gini coefficient. A country's Gini coefficint of inequality will fall somewhere on a scale of 0-1, 1 being complete inequality and 0 being complete equality. The world bank organization gives one example of inequality; one person in a society receiving all the income.
There are in fact societies like the one described. Several communities referred to as Pygmy tribes, living along the Congo river, are structured in a similar way. The people of the villages act as slaves to the chief. All belongs to him. (Ewan McGregor: Cold chain mission)
This graph shows the Gini coefficient of 16 countries in the last year available for each
Who are the 'Winners' in Hong Kong?
Who are the 'Losers' in Hong Kong?
Most of those who have high positions in big companies could be considered the 'winners'. Just over 6% of the households in Hong Kong recieve over HK$80,000 monthly. This allows them to take advantage of all the glamerous leisure activities, hotels and modern housing that is being built at such a rapid pace.
The World Bank Group, "Measuring Inequality", Poverty Reduction and Equity, The World Bank, 2011, Web, 29 Oct 2013
Ewan McGregor: Cold Chain Mission, Narr. Ewan McGregor, British Broadcasting Network, 29 Apr 2012, Television
Image citation: http://intellibriefs.blogspot.hk/2007/08/asias-rich-and-poor-for-whosoever-hath.html
Although gender inequality is not a massive issue in Hong Kong, there are still noticeable differences when looking at the average salaries for each gender. Therefore, it could be said that that many males are 'winners' in Hong Kong.
Younger people might also be thought of as 'winners' as researchs shows that there is more equality amongst Hong Kong's younger population. The gini coefficient for those 65+ years is high, meaning that only a few of the elder population recieve most of the income. Those few could be thought of as 'winners' as well.
There are several people who could be considers 'losers' in Hong Kong. These people are often in more service based jobs like street cleaning and bus driving. The average street cleaner's salary is only around HK$7,641 a month while domestic helpers are payed even less. (Grundy) Because of only 20% of students in the local system are able to attend university, several have to take on jobs like these.
Grundy, Tom, "POLITICS – Average Salaries of Those Who Serve Us", Hong Wrong, May 2013, Web, 31 Oct 2013
Is there inequality in Hong Kong
There are several causes of inequality in Hong Kong.
English tutor Kelly Mok says "It definitley helps if you are young and attractive...". She is referring to her profession alone in this comment, however, this could probably be said for most professions. (Sharma) Research says that you make a judgement of people within the first ten seconds of meeting them. (Clayton) This means that many will be treated with perhaps more respect if they are "young and attractive", even if people have only just met them. This is a terrible thought but sadly a fault of human nature.
Those who have jobs in the service area (mentioned earlier) are often treated with less respect as well as receiving a lower salary. This may be because most of these people will have had very little education. People who have been able to attend universities (or even just secondary school) may believe these people to be below them and that because these people are not necessarily qualified for another job, that they might deserve less respect and less money. This is a very wrong assumption. However, the gini coefficient within each group (no education- university education) are very different. There is more equality amongst those with less education than those with more. (Lap) This might be because all those with a university eduction would be working up the ranks in their company while it is unlikley that a street cleaner will get a pay rise.
Sharma, Yojana, Meet the 'tutor kings and queens', BBC, Nov 2012, Web, 31 Oct 2013
Clayton, Ian, Lecture, 30 Oct 2013
Lap, Chui, Et. al, Income Inequality In Hong Kong, 2006, Web, 31 Oct 2013.
How does this compare to the rest of Asia and the world?
Image citation: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/72/World_Map_WSF.svg.png
A lot of countries in Europe have a gini coefficient under 0.3, reasonably close to the 0 of total equality.
Denmark and Sweden have gini ceofficients under 0.25
Hong Kong's gini ceoffecient is approximately 5.3, having increased gradually over the past few decades. (Lap)
Australia's gini ceoffecient: approximatley 0.3
Korea and Japan's gini coefficients: approximatley 0.3
USA's gini coefficient is closer to Hong Kong's: Just under 0.4
(However, the rest of the data on this map is from a graph showing data from 2001 at which time Hong Kong's gini coefficient was around 0.45 (Grundy)
How does my situation compare to the 'winners' and 'losers' in Hong Kong?
I believe myself to be very fortunate in this society. I feel like I could be considered a 'winner' in Hong Kong. Although my family is not overly wealthy and I know several people at school are more so than I, I do not experience very much inequality. I am treated fairly by my peers and not discriminated against. I feel very fortunate as I understand several are not.
Please note that any facts not cited are from prior knowledge!