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Price fixing ; Living in industrial buildings ; Peter Arnett on the Middle East, the media, and exercising military power (11 Nov 2011)


Hong Kong likes to say it’s a free market. But how free is a market where no law enforces fair competition? Economies of scale mean that chain stores and supermarkets can sell things cheaper than smaller organisations. And yet, when they don’t want to sell cheaply, in circumstances where they dominate the market place, they have the clout to force smaller competitors to raise their prices. And here we were thinking that free markets guaranteed better deals for consumers. Hong Kong doesn’t have squatter villages on the hillsides any more but more than 10,000 people are now living in dismal cubicle homes in industrial buildings. Why? Well, there isn’t enough public housing, and rents in these buildings are 20% to 30% lower than in residential buildings. There are close to 1,500 old industrial buildings scattered around industrial areas in places like Tai Kok Tsui, Kwun Tong, San Po Kong, Cheung Sha Wan and Tsuen Wan. In the past few years, many of Hong Kong’s needy have had to resort to living in the cheapest accommodation they can find: cubicles, lacking basic facilities, in these industrial buildings. According to President Barack Obama the war in Iraq is over, and if all goes well United States troops in the country will be back home for the holidays. There were concerns that the US had no clear exit strategy in Iraq, and despite the removal of President Saddam Hussein there are ongoing debates about whether the US achieved anything worth achieving in Iraq. With us in the studio is a veteran journalist who spent many years reporting on the region, Peter Arnett.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Friday, November 11, 2011
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