There seems to be no market for "value orientation" in Hong Kong, because for a long time, "value discussion" has either been monopolized by the pan-democratic camp, or considered unrealistic by vested interest groups; "Social value", however, is the premise for the administration of the new Chief Executive-elect, Li Jiachao, that cannot be avoided.
Because the SAR government has always been poor in governance, and even the accumulation of deep-seated contradictions is inseparable from the fact that those who govern Hong Kong have never taken social governance as the fundamental goal to advocate the overall social value that reflects the essential requirements of the social structure, so they have not properly established "serving the people". "The nature of public office, let alone a systematic discussion of "fairness and justice" as the value support of "capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics" - when the government lacks correct values, there will inevitably be deviations in its understanding of the problem, and the measures it implements will become "The Walking Dead" cannot fundamentally reform its structure.
Judging from the election platform "A New Chapter for Hong Kong" announced by Li Jiachao the day before, there is no obvious difference from the current Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
(Photo by Zheng Zifeng)
The key transformation of society is in urgent need of a strongman chief executive
Without warning, the former Chief Secretary for Administration, Li Jiachao, became the next chief executive candidate "the only one supported by the central government", and in the 2022 Chief Executive Election held on May 8, 1,416 out of 1,428 valid votes were obtained. With a record-breaking 97.74% turnout and 99.16% approval rate, he became the chief executive-elect.
The outside world generally waits and sees. After the toss of the anti-amendment bill in 2019, coupled with the central government's determination to implement the principle of "patriots ruling Hong Kong", can Li Jiachao "open high and walk high"?
In particular, Hong Kong is not currently in a "peaceful world", but is in a very critical period of "double social transformation" - one is ideological transformation, which urgently needs to be liberated from the "neo-liberal" myth dominated by Europe and the United States, and promote the "double transformation of society". The renewal and progress of "capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics", replacing "democracy" with "governance" as the mainstream political understanding; the second is the transformation of the economic structure, which urgently needs to break free from a single service-oriented economy and move towards a diversified knowledge-based economy, and Redefine the competitive and cooperative relationship with surrounding regions and fully assist the country to participate in global changes - so a "strongman chief executive" is urgently needed.
To promote "social transformation" is to "reshape society", which requires a strong leader to lead comprehensive social reforms, with "SAR government governance" as the starting point for reforms - to promote and supervise the effective operation, planning and support of the market The vigorous development of the industry, the establishment of a fair and reasonable distribution mechanism, and the provision of accurate and high-quality public services can open up a new situation of "from chaos to governance, from governance to prosperity", and reactivate the infinite "one country, two systems, Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong". vitality.
From the ideas and commitments Li Jiachao has announced since his candidacy, it can be seen that he is indeed full of enthusiasm and responsibility for "serving the society"; and from his repeated emphasis on "developing the spirit of change" and "strengthening governance capabilities", it also reflects that he Has the consciousness and vision of "Renewal and Strong".
However, as of now, in terms of his campaign platform, no matter how much he hopes to solve problems for society, he has not systematically sorted out the nature of the problem, nor has he boldly faced the core of the problem.
We can't help worrying, whether his imagination of "change" and "governance" is just a slogan, just talk?
When he said that he wanted to "play the spirit of change", but he did not touch on the renewal of the "capitalist society with Hong Kong characteristics", then what exactly would he want to change and reform?
When he said that he wanted to "strengthen the ability to govern", but he did not take "fairness and justice" that reshapes social values as the basic premise, then why did he govern and for whom?
There is no doubt that Hong Kong should implement capitalism both historically and realistically, but the capitalist development model has both its advantages and its structural flaws.
Talk about change, what to change, what to change?
If Li Jiachao really has the will to "play the spirit of change", then he cannot avoid the drawbacks of capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics, but he is afraid that he, like most traditional elites, regards "capitalism" as sacred and unchangeable.
In terms of the history of social development, the capitalist system has indeed led Hong Kong into a modern society, and it is also the most suitable development model for Hong Kong so far.
Therefore, during the Sino-British negotiations in the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping, the then top leader of the Communist Party of China, proposed "one country, two systems", allowing Hong Kong to retain the original capitalist system and way of life within the framework of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, which will remain unchanged for 50 years.
However, Deng Xiaoping's political philosophy goes far beyond that.
Based on the criticism of capitalism by Marxist political economy, he noticed that the capitalist system also has quite fatal structural defects, especially the rise of neoliberalism, which advocates laissez-faire market, free trade, and capital dominance, which may promote the original kinetic energy to move towards Biasing makes social relations lose their “human-to-human attributes”, and alienates them into a purely interest-based “object-to-things attribute”, thus distorting the nature of economic development to create a better life for the people, resulting in social conflicts based on competing interests becoming the norm.
Therefore, he has long emphasized that Hong Kong's capitalist system is not perfect and needs to be constantly changed to lead it to a healthier and more progressive direction.
More importantly, Deng Xiaoping was able to use "dynamic thinking" to see the vitality and creativity inspired by the transition from "one country, two systems" to "one country, N systems".
If under a sovereign order, the one system of capitalism in Hong Kong can maintain a positive interaction with the one system of socialism in the mainland, and actively seek a way of integration based on national consensus, national interests, and national rejuvenation; then under the "one country", the mainland , Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and other places can also jointly own and practice socialism with Chinese characteristics and capitalism with SAR characteristics to varying degrees, and make revisions and updates in a realistic manner, which can better reflect "one country" in "two systems" Or the inclusive, pioneering, and dialectical nature of the constitutional order and governance meaning of the "N-system".
However, from the general public to the governing elite, they do not really understand the grand connotation and far-reaching significance of "One Country, Two Systems", nor can they see the compatibility of "seeking common ground while reserving differences, mutual benefit and win-win", "not sticking to one pattern, dare to try and dare to break through" ” creativity, the advanced nature of “unity of opposites, and dialectical materialism”; instead, they will be driven by arrogance and form a passive, passive, and differentiated concept of “two systems opposing”, which is superficially and rigidly understood as “social The capitalist system and the capitalist system do not run into the water of the well,” and simplified the “practice of “one country, two systems in Hong Kong” as “capitalism remains unchanged in Hong Kong”; it is even extremely superior to being able to belong to the capitalist system, and it is natural to complete the modernization of Hong Kong. Thanks to capitalism, Hong Kong must continue to rely on the mainstream Western forces such as the United Kingdom and the United States and its universal values in order to continue the glory of capitalism.
Over time, "50 years of one country, two systems" has been narrowed down to "nothing changes in capitalism." It is believed that as long as the laissez-faire economic logic and a single solidified economic structure are dogmatically continued, without any improvement, it will be possible. To maintain the glory of Hong Kong, the result has ushered in the distortion of the political and economic form.
However, no matter which camp the elites who govern Hong Kong are, they are not at all concerned about the deep-seated contradictions formed by this, especially the senior officials of the SAR who are entrusted with the supreme governance mission. They completely ignore the defects of this economic system and involve Hong Kong in ideological conflicts. The torrent eventually fell into the predicament of turning from prosperity to decline.
On the whole, these elites have three kinds of cognitive errors about capitalism. First, they have a wrong understanding of the development law of capitalism, and they know almost nothing about the industrial policies and distribution tools that can manage social transformation, so they cannot realistically propose today. The administrative measures required for Hong Kong's economic development; second, the role and role of the SAR government in market development is wrongly defined, and the "unity of industrial structure" and "distribution of distribution structure" are always condoned on the grounds of "active non-intervention" and "free market". "distorted" and cannot protect the interests of most people at all; third, misunderstanding Hong Kong's role and relationship in the process of regional and global economic development, continuing to indulge in the past glory, and completely ignoring the need for its value chain to communicate with neighboring economies from upstream to downstream. The reality of continued prosperity and development can only be formed by the organic combination of the body, so it has not been able to actively restructure the Hong Kong-Shenzhen competition qualification bureau, and continue to work behind closed doors, narrow the vision, and wait for the crisis.
When social development lacks new impetus, upward mobility has been stagnant for a long time, and the gap between the rich and the poor has become increasingly severe, the general public has long been anxious, but the Hong Kong rulers are still reluctant to review the shortcomings of capitalism, and even blame economic unfreedom for political unfreedom; even if After the financial turmoil in 1997 and the financial tsunami in 2008, even though Hong Kong's economy has deteriorated significantly, asset bubbles have become increasingly prominent, quality of life has declined rapidly, resource conflicts have become increasingly tense, public grievances have continued to accumulate, and political issues have continued to erupt, but they still ignore the crisis. , continue to believe in the "trickle-down effect" and strive to consolidate fundamentalist capitalism.
What is even more tragic is that in recent years, the society has been struggling because it has failed to form a consensus on the Hong Kong issue. The elites governing Hong Kong are also unable to get rid of their ideological cognitive barriers, and it is difficult to analyze the problem realistically. Instead, they continue to focus on some highly politicized fake issues. Idle, for example, liberals will blame Hong Kong's failure to achieve "one-person, one-vote democratic universal suffrage", while conservatives believe that with the "Hong Kong National Security Law" everything will be fine, but no one dares to touch on capitalist reforms.
The Hong Kong government should shoulder its responsibilities, not be afraid to deal with the problems of vested interests, create a win-win situation, and actively solve the housing problem.
(Photo by Liang Pengwei)
Misreading capitalism leads to land problems
The persistent land problem is precisely the tragedy of the SAR government's misunderstanding of "capitalism".
Western economics generally despise the role of land as an endowment of production factors, but in Hong Kong, land is definitely an important issue and even a key factor in social development.
However, the SAR government cannot clearly see the public nature of land resources, so it cannot make good use of land as an "equalizer" when wealth distribution fails, allowing everyone to share the value results fairly; nor can it understand the effectiveness of land resources. The application will have a leverage effect on social and economic policies, so it cannot improve the actual effect of SAR governance and gradually resolve deep-seated contradictions.
On the contrary, the authorities have simplified land into a tool for making money for a long time, and amplify the land income through the price distortion caused by the imbalance between supply and demand, which inevitably leads to a relationship with developers who use high prices to acquire land to be dragged and restricted, and the result is to surrender the land. The dominance of development, and the decision-making power of land supply and demand, use, planning and supervision, etc., is handed over to real estate developers, which has caused Hong Kong to fall into a vicious circle of unfair resource allocation.
For example, the government itself does not have a so-called "high land price policy", but there is clearly a "high land price result", because the government still relies heavily on land price income, which accounts for about 20% of the government's revenue on average every year; however, this huge income does not help poverty, education , "recurrent expenditures" such as medical care and social welfare, because the British Hong Kong government allocated income such as land sales and land premiums into the "Capital Works Reserve Fund", which was limited to infrastructure construction and land acquisition, as early as the 1980s. The public funds that can be used to give back to the society cannot be directly and fairly shared with the people. They can only be used to level land and road infrastructure. After the undeveloped "raw land" is turned into "prepared land", it can be sold to developers at high prices, and so on. , looping continuously.
Developers are not "philanthropists", and polarized interests are inherently natural, so every time they bid for land at high prices, they will use up the floor area to build more residential units, and then sell them at even higher prices, thus accumulating capital.
The situation is just as the German philosopher Engels, one of the founders of Marxism, pointed out in "On the Housing Problem", under the production mode with extremely unequal power structure, the capitalists will use real estate to extract the highest interests.
As a result, petty citizens often have to exchange funds that are higher than their actual value in exchange for a deteriorating living environment - the narrower the area, the poorer the conditions, the less space available, the more inconvenient community facilities, and the worse the quality of life; however, the SAR government is not only indifferent. , and even drastically reduce the construction of public housing, leaving the housing policy to be dominated by the "private market", believing that "freedom" can solve the problem.
Just as the "public nature" and "leverage effect" of land have been ignored for a long time and used as a "tool for generating wealth", the SAR government also does not have a thorough understanding of the attributes and meaning of "housing", so it is unable to distinguish between "living" and "property". The functions and ideas, not to mention the rational allocation of housing resources to reconcile income inequality, lead the society to blindly pursue the myth of "buying a home is equal to getting rich", which makes many people no longer pay attention to the "living value" of houses, and no longer pay attention to the life style. Some are "comfortable quality", but treat it as a commodity and generally emphasize "exchange value", which leads to speculation.
The excessive rise in property prices has changed the normal relationship between "people" and "houses", causing many people to regard "houses" as an investment tool like "stocks".
However, there is an essential difference between "housing" and "stocks". People do not need to live on stocks, but they need houses to live; and if the housing market and the stock market begin to be similar, it will inevitably lead to the continuous concentration of social resources in the ability to "enter the market"—— That is, in the hands of the property-owning middle class and the developers who own the most properties, increasing the disparity between the rich and the poor.
Unfortunately, the government has no intention of significantly correcting this distortion, but instead allows real estate developers to continuously exploit petty citizens through the property market.
This "alienation" of nature and attributes is the most fatal structural flaw of the capitalist system.
What is even sadder is that because the whole society is indulging in the economic high brought about by the prosperity of the real estate market, the real estate developers who dominate the lifeline of the real estate have even silently seized the vast majority of them with the advantage of rent. Land resources for other economic activities have led to the gradual simplification of industrial development.
For example, the authorities have threatened to "develop diversified industries" more than a decade ago, but they have neither actively allocated a large amount of industrial land, nor actively formulated regulations that can regulate technology, labor, product markets and capital markets, such as tariffs, subsidies, taxes, etc. Orderly, coherent and comprehensive industrial policies such as concessions, R&D subsidies, government procurement, establishment of industrial parks, and franchise rights.
As a result, emerging industries cannot develop, while traditional industries such as finance and real estate can continue to occupy the central business districts on both sides of Victoria Harbour. This not only continues to hollow out the real economy, but also is not conducive to urban layout, and even leads to serious separation of jobs and commuting. heavy burden, etc.
But it is a pity that when Li Jiachao was asked how to deal with the problem of high property prices earlier, he avoided the proposal to re-introduce the vacancy tax, and expressed his hope that the property prices will remain stable, so that the Hong Kong economy can continue to develop and the income of citizens can increase. , that is, the ability to buy a home.
It can be seen that, like the traditional elites governing Hong Kong, he regards the property market as an unshakable "spinner of the sea". It is almost foreseeable that he will not and will not touch the vested interest structure in the future; It is true that they have not dared to regain the dominance of land development from the consortium, and I am afraid that they will not be able to maximize public interests through measures such as power guidance, institutional construction, and market regulation, so they can only speed up the construction process like embroidered legs.
Since Xi Jinping proposed to "promote the modernization of the country's governance system and governance capacity" at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2013 as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, "Chinese-style governance" has been sublimated into a foundation set up to solve fundamental problems. sexual agenda.
(Xinhua News Agency)
Talk about governance, why governance, for whom?
If Li Jiachao really has the intention to "strengthen governance capabilities", then he should learn from the country's experience in deepening governance modernization and start with reforming capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics, but I am afraid that he is just like most of the traditional establishment elites, just ceremonially. Transcribe the "main theme" without really understanding what governance is, why and for whom to govern, and how to govern.
When it comes to "governance", in the discussions dominated by the Western world in the 1990s, it was defined as the government's use of power to guide, control and regulate various activities, thereby promoting the maximization of public interests and maintaining social order and stability; Moreover, they generally emphasize that "effective governance" can only be achieved through "democratic elections".
However, for China, which pursues truth from facts, upholds integrity and innovation, it pays more attention to the process and effect of governance, and regards it as a political behavior that focuses on instrumentalities, a political means that can achieve "good governance", and must be based on the interests of the whole people. for reliance.
Until Xi Jinping took the position of General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2013, based on Marxist political economy and historical materialism, by summarizing China's governance practices and learning from Western social governance experience, he refined "promoting national governance". The modernization of the system and governance capacity” is discussed with the theory of “upholding and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics”, and “Chinese-style governance” has been sublimated into a “fundamental agenda” for solving “fundamental problems”.
Among them, "modernizing the national governance system" refers to injecting scientific norms and improving operational efficiency into the national governance system, including economy, politics, culture, society, ecological civilization, party building, etc., through a series of institutional arrangements and top-level design. The process of improving the relevant systems is mainly aimed at the design ability of the system; while the "modernization of governance capabilities" is the process of transforming the governance system into governance efficiency and gradually strengthening it, and pays attention to the implementation ability of the practical system.
Why always emphasize "Chinese characteristics"?
Xi Jinping has repeatedly reiterated that what kind of national system and governance system a country chooses is determined by the country's history, culture, ideological pursuit, social nature, and development level, so the development path must have its own characteristics.
To put it simply, Chinese characteristics are not only insisting on not forgetting the origin, absorbing foreign countries, and facing the future, but also reflecting China's position, Chinese wisdom, and Chinese values, and more importantly, reflecting the theme of the times, practical requirements, and its own characteristics.
What is the "fundamental problem"?
As explained by Xi Jinping, the "socialist system with Chinese characteristics" and "modernization of national governance" that China has chosen are not a rigid application of Western definitions, logic and models, but through revolution, construction, long-term practice, continuous reform, and endogenous evolution. The root of the formation lies in the continuous adherence, development and improvement of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and the continuous better transformation of the advantages of the state system into the efficiency of state governance.
In the new era, the main social contradiction has been transformed into the contradiction that the people's need for a better life is growing and the development is unbalanced and insufficient. Therefore, a governance goal and governance measures that can more objectively solve social contradictions are needed.
And when the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and the modernization of national governance complement each other, it is possible to effectively restrain the drawbacks brought about by the operation of the socialist market economy, adjust the unfairness and irrationality of personal income distribution, and protect the people's living conditions, potential development, and economic rights and interests. , and all the positive factors that liberate productive forces, can we truly walk out of the path of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.
If Li Jiachao relies too much on traditional Hong Kong-governing elites to advise him, then he may also fall into the "groupthink" dominated by extremely conservative forces, and it may be even more difficult to understand what "Hong Kong 01" advocates - "reform Hong Kong's characteristic capital". What is the important relationship between "ism" and "enhancing the effectiveness of SAR governance"?
Get out of group myth and reshape social value
Xi Jinping further emphasized that promoting the modernization of national governance is inseparable from the adherence to the socialist core value system, that is, people-centered as the essential attribute, fairness and justice as the value orientation, and then to safeguard the country's political stability, economic development, cultural Prosperity, national unity, national unity as intrinsic functions.
In addition, the key is to strictly abide by and implement the system. It is necessary to strengthen the governance awareness and responsibility awareness of officials at all levels, and to establish a comprehensive legal supervision mechanism.
But looking at Li Jiachao, when he draws on what Xi Jinping said to "strengthen the capacity of government governance," what are the theoretical foundations, development laws, and value support behind it?
Does he take the reform of capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics to continue the infinite vitality of "One Country, Two Systems" as the foundation and foundation for modernizing the governance of the SAR government?
Can fairness, justice and serving the people be used as the driving force for the governance of the SAR?
Is it possible to replace "democracy" with "governance" to dominate political discourse through reform?
However, so far, we cannot see that Li Jiachao's governance discourse can answer the above questions.
We are even more worried that if the Li family relies too much on traditional Hong Kong elites to advise him, then he may fall into the "groupthink" dominated by extremely conservative forces, and I am afraid it will be even more difficult to understand what "Hong Kong 01" advocates - " What is the important connection between reforming capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics" and "enhancing the effectiveness of SAR governance"?
First of all, the reason why we emphasize "capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics" is to proceed from the dynamic governance of "not forgetting the origin, absorbing the outside world, and facing the future", fully considering Hong Kong's historical tradition, cultural heritage, development history, institutional advantages and social People's sentiments, actively thinking about the unique value of Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China to practice the "one country, two systems" initiative, and hope that Hong Kong will emancipate its mind and reform itself, and develop a progressive capitalism that better responds to the demands of the times, better suits its own characteristics, and can resolve deep-seated contradictions. system, continue to optimize the industrial planning that can release production potential, continuously improve the distribution structure that is more in line with fairness and justice, and continue to consolidate public service resources to reduce the burden of life and improve the quality of life.
Secondly, when "One Country, Two Systems" reaches the ideal state, that is, "socialism with Chinese characteristics" can be flexibly integrated into Hong Kong, it will be a kind of "capitalism with Hong Kong characteristics" that will be upgraded, and it will be more able to help the country to modernize its national governance.
First, the theoretical misunderstanding of "one country, two systems" focuses on the essential cognition of socialism and capitalism, while the national governance theory that emphasizes instrumental rationality is conducive to guiding correct concepts, recognizing the contradictions, and alleviating related disputes; second, when Correcting the misunderstanding of the two systems will more effectively promote the organic combination of "the central government's overall governance" and the "high degree of autonomy of the SAR", and establish a more "unity of opposites" institutional arrangements, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of governance in different fields.
As Xi Jinping pointed out when he visited Hong Kong in 2017: "We must build both the mainland with a socialist system and Hong Kong with a capitalist system." We also have reasons to believe that "one country, two systems" can truly be implemented in Hong Kong The successful practice requires a comprehensive reform of the capitalist system, and also depends on the high consensus and action consciousness of the people who govern Hong Kong.
Of course, from a positive point of view, Li Jiachao can respond to Hong Kong issues from the perspective of "Hong Kong as a part of the national governance system", and has more or less governance commitments - I hope this is the beginning of change and the beginning of Hong Kong's nirvana rebirth.