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 Saturday, November 25 2017 7:02pm Hongkong Time

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Knowledge: Realizing the alternatives – The catalyst of attitude change

Now that we have (hopefully) set up a partial relationship between the performance of the economy (or inflation, to be specific [6]) and the people's attitude toward the extent of corruption they perceive. This is, however, not enough because making the crime "low gain" will not prevent people from doing it, especially for "those who do not have any other alternatives." The most crucial point in changing the attitude of the people is by giving them an easily accessible alternative to corruption. Let us consider the following figure (Figure 3).

Restructuring of the Economy in Hong Kong, Persons engaged in selected industries and services, HKSARG
Figure 3. Restructuring of the Economy in Hong Kong. (Source: "Persons engaged in selected industries and services," Quarterly Report of Employment, Vacancies and Payroll Statistics, Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR Government.)

The above figure (Figure 3) shows the number of persons engaged in three selected [7] industries, namely, (a) the wig industry, representing the traditional Chinese social business networks built around family and ethnic ties (Redding, 1995) which had subsequently faded in the late 1970s, (b) the plastic industry, one of the many industries [8] that boomed during the industrialization of Hong Kong during the 1970-80s, and (c) the real estate services industry that took off in the 1980s. Of the three chosen industries, the figure revealed how the economy in Hong Kong has transformed from "pure laboring" to "commission-based servicing" – a natural yet subconscious way of providing an alternative to improving the income of the people (by changing the economy structure) – hence further securing the attitude change that corruption is "a low gain crime" for there is always a legal and very viable alternative to corruption. A sad justification of this observation is, however, the findings from a previous study (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTD], 1996) which compared Hong Kong with three neighboring cities on their (physical) export patterns over the three decades from 1963 to 1990. The study found that Hong Kong, while constantly making progress with its per capita GDP, was actually losing almost half of its market share in the highly dynamic (manufactured) products market in which it had earlier built a strong presence (Chiu & Wong, 2000).

We now have the "people's attitude toward corruption" explained (if you are still buying what I am trying to explain) as a mixed function of the knowledge of (a) "how they manage to perceive their surrounding economy" and (b) "how they manage to find their own benefits secured (e.g. future)." Next we shall continue to look at this "attitude" from the "collective behavior" point of view.

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Note 6: In fact, in the course of analysis, we have not used the actual inflation figure but rather the change of the implicit deflators as a key to reveal the fluctuation of inflation.

Note 7: There is part of a wider debate on the role of business networks in East Asian development. Some scholars argue that networks rather than firms or business fields should be the focus for analysis: for details see Hamilton (1996), Orru, Biggart, & Hamilton (1997), Fruin (1998), and Whitley (1998).

Note 8: Also see Lui & Chiu (1994).




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COUNT ON THE STATISTICS  100% Towels (c) Daniel Chittka
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This new section contains some interesting statistics in bribe and corruption, please check back for more as we pile up our numbers!

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Professor Sidney Gluck (c) Sandi BachomI am honored to have obtained Professor Sidney Gluck's (right) permission to allow me to repost here some of his work and interview related to China and socialism. Professor Gluck is professor emertius at the New School University in New York. A classical Marxist, Gluck has been studying China for 60 years in history and modern development. He has lectured all over the U.S. and still welcomes engagement at the age of 94 – photo © Sandi Bachom

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