The Hong Kong government informs taxpayers that the billions of their dollars it is donating to the needy and worthy fount of culture known as Disney will be ‘real’…
Citizens no doubt wonder how the government, which claims to be too impoverished to increase funding for things like health care or elderly services, can find this genuine, authentic cash. Since the money will be used to expand the theme park, they will also wonder how officials managed to find the land, when these same officials agonize over the impossibility of finding space for affordable housing.
The most obvious and profound question, however, is: ‘Huh?’ And the answer is: To cram more tourists into Hong Kong, of course. Because, as we all know, Hong Kong desperately needs more tourists.
In an attempt to justify the hand-out, Commerce Secretary Greg So said the 58 million people who have felt compelled to visit Hong Kong to see the trashy non-attraction added a whole 0.38% to the city’s GDP…
In other words (even assuming tourist spending equals a net increase to GDP), in exchange for a barely noticeable reduction in wealth, we could have avoided being burdened by 58 million extra humans cluttering up our streets and stores. (And we could have used that space in northern Lantau for housing. Of course, So is omitting the government’s previous gargantuan funding for Disneyland, plus the value of the land, from his calculation. Factor those in, and what you get is a massive transfer of Hong Kong people’s wealth to the Mouse-malignance. ‘Real’ money, as he would say, down the toilet.)
Presumably having taken a range of hallucinatory substances earlier in the day, So then asks us to believe that the greater the number of visitors coming into Hong Kong, the more efficient our economy becomes…
Yes: the longer citizens have to wait to get onto the MTR, the more they are delayed by Korean hordes with selfie sticks on the Mid-Levels Escalator, the slower the traffic in streets full of tour buses, the higher the rents for shops, and the farther you need to go to find stores serving your needs because they were displaced by some Overpriced-Junk-for-Tourist-Idiots merchant – the more productive our economy. Yes, Greg.
Anyone who wants to further worsen their blood pressure through even greater anger at wasteful and corrupt crony-government in Hong Kong (or any investigative journo types out there) could check out this titbit, and a little icing on the cake here.
Have they considered building an underground train system that funnels tourists from China directly to Disneyland and back, without letting them into the city? All of the GDP boost and none of the hordes!
Rather than nominating Greg SO for the Nobel Prize for Economics, he should be nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature (Fiction Category), based on his Disney story.
Spot on! One of your best. Why doesn’t the Economics Department of one of our universities analyse the real cost of tourism and publish the findings? (Answer: probably because they are funded by the government, which won’t like their conclusions.)
Jake van der Kamp has produced many figures proving tourism is a net loss to the economy – all in various SCMP articles over the years.
Also, I seem to remember that the market value of the land given to Disney (even way back then) was $300 billion…. plus we paid for the road, railway and everything else…
Don’t forget the government granted Disney a 100-year lease for nothing. One of Mike Rowse’s proudest deals no doubt.
The Chicago Booth largesse does not stop at funding the building, JC is also going to provide scholarships for 15 years.
To put it into perspective the loss to local charities for the construction alone, US$30m, is the equivalent to 10 times what will be collected via the combined efforts of Operation Santa Claus. OSC will fund 20 small community projects, so do the math. Hundreds of ordinary folk could have benefitted if the cash were distributed in an equitable manner.
Every dollar to Booth is one less for grassroots local organizations.
No mention is made of how much Yuen has donated to get the naming rights.
The root cause of the alarming level of nepotism in Hong Kong is the prevalence of quangos with deep pockets that are in essence piggy banks that can be raided for political and other expediencies.
Deep pockets ? You mean like the chinese permanent cemeteries Committee paying $30M for CY’s child army?