Globalization and Policy-Making in Greater China


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Globalization and Policy-Making in Greater China

  1. 1. CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG VALUES AND CHOICES IN PUBLIC AND SOCIAL POLICY Dr. Ian Scott FIRST ASSIGNMENT: CONCEPTUAL ESSAY, Globalization and Policy-Making LUJAN ANAYA, Raul Alejandro Student No. 52915639 Semester A/ 2012-2013 October 2012
  2. 2. Globalization and Policy Making: How does Globalization affect the domestic policies of States? How does it apply to Hong Kong (HKSAR/ SAR)? [Word Count. Main body: 1900 subtotal, approx.; Notes, references and bibliography: 780 subtotal.] In this paper, I’m planning to analyze the impact and extent on which the socio-political phenomenon of Globalization affects the act and process of policy-making in States, specifically applied to the case of HKSAR, considering and comparing the view of Michael Howlett, as he addresses the first question in his book Designing Public Policies: Principles and Instruments (2011). On a first instance, it’s necessary to define the concept of Globalization: in a socio- political context, it can be understood, as Howlett defines using the words of Held et al. (1999), as (a phenomenon or process of integration which implies) “the extensification and intensification… of cross-border interactions. While much of this process comprises trade and economic interactions, it also includes cultural, political, military and ideational relations among others” [1]. Under this broad definition, it can be considered that such relations can be given among individuals and/or moral persons (private corporations or public entities); however for matters of this essay, the scope of this definition is applicable only to States (such as USA, Mexico, the People’s Republic, PR, of China… or in this case, the HKSAR [2], etc.), and at more limited extent, to other entities that enjoy international representation (ie. the United Nations, the European Union, the Vatican ‘State’, etc.). I consider it’s somehow obvious, or at least belongs to conventional knowledge among scholars who study and possess expertise about public policy, the fact that this integration process, as described above, affects the domestic policies of States, in one way or another… It’s evident in the sense that right now we are living in a world of socio-political networks that can connect people across remote points on the planet and tend to get tighter, thanks to the development of massive media, postmodern
  3. 3. communications, and real-time technology that let us know what on Earth is happening right now: from Alaska to New Zealand, passing through Berlin, Cairo, Delhi, and of course, Hong Kong; a world in which, as Howlett refers from ideas of Hood and Margetts (2007): “the development of modern information and communications technologies have had a serious impact in which individuals and organizations interact and organize themselves” [3] but also States, in the words of Lynn (1980) and Vogel (2001), “be they national or sub-national, do not just react to changes in their international environments but also are very much still involved in the design and implementation of policies expected to achieve their ends” [4]. In this tenure, I think the question to be addressed shall be: At what extent, does really this phenomenon affect policy-making of States in our time? It has been long debated how much does Globalization determine domestic policy making within States. In this debate, the view of Howlett is that “the actual impact of globalization on domestic state policy design is much less than often alleged… international constraints on policy designs typically cited by proponents of globalization thesis have largely been confined to cross-border economic exchanges and do not cover much of what governments do and how they do it” [5]. Even though Howlett provides more or less strong arguments to support his own conception [6], it’s a conservative one which I don’t share: I do think that Globalization, in fact, has tended to exert every time stronger influence on policy designing and making within States, and even though we can also understand this concept in socio-economic terms as a “neo-liberal agreement among States”, derived from the ‘Washington Consensus’, as Williamson (1989) described it as a set of economic-policy prescriptions that constituted a ‘standard’ reform package promoted for developing countries by Supranational Institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury Department in matters of economic stabilization [7], for matters of this paper, I’d rather see it as a concept that was being foreseen and devised within this last two centuries (20-21st ) with the accelerated development of newer trade patterns, transportation and communications, such as TV and radio, and more recently, Internet and social networks… This corollary becomes more evident for the case of Hong Kong, when we consider the fact that this City-State has come to be within the last 30 years, a city of global perspective and world-class ambitions; one of the most important financial and trade ports on the planet, a major (multi)cultural capital; and one gravity center of “technocratic” governance (understood as the rule and policy running of technician-
  4. 4. managers under the principles of ‘small government’ and ‘efficient management’, officers and civil servants which have been more or less “encouraged to be entrepreneurial and to cut through the red tape” [8] and even when it has tended recently to become more responsive, this latter value “remains as subsidiary to that of efficiency”[9]) in Asia; thus deserving to be placed among the top 20 world-cities on Earth: New York, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris, Frankfurt and Mexico, among others [10]. Why have I decided to adopt this view? Because the long hand of Globalization has reached matters far from mere economic-political aspects, such as: domestic and cross-border security (ie. the “war against terrorism” started since 9/11, or the “war against drugs” taking place across the American Continent); the promotion of human rights and conflict of laws (with the creation of multilateral bodies like the Council of Europe, or the Hague Conference on International Law, which the PR of China is part of); cultural cooperation and social development (ie. the ASEAN league, or the Commonwealth of Nations), just to provide some examples. For the case of Hong Kong, I consider Globalization has affected policy-making in matters such as human rights; both economic policy and political economy, like the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998 which eventually led to some 1998-2000 public sector and revenue reforms in the SAR [11]; and has even caused impact in the field of its political transition towards democracy (in specific, the implementation of universal suffrage in 2017)… Regarding matters of human rights and the legitimacy question, a case which draws my attention and I think is of great historical significance, is how both 1966 Kowloon and 1967 Hong Kong riots, drove the colonial regime to reassess its policy on management of social crises and leading to changes which sought to build a more solid and closer relationship between the government and its subjects, policies that tended to be more considerate towards human rights, such as the delivery of better quality public services, consider the points of view of vulnerable stakeholders in society, and the concern for improving the way of life of Hongkongers (which eventually led to the economic bonanza of the SAR in the last 30 years, along with its exponential growth of income per capita). Of course I don’t think it was casual or a mere coincidence the fact that such social uprisings happened at a time when other revolts of this kind were taking place in America, Asia and Europe: there you had in New York and Singapore, 1964; London, 1965; Paris and Mexico, 1968 [12]. Something
  5. 5. which I think can be explained in its most, thanks to modern media and the promotion of new social values: at that time, many societies were awakening from their innocence (as it was reflected in the birth of revolutionary ideas in that time like the Hippie subculture, the International Non-Alignment Movement or the Theology of Liberation doctrine within the Catholic Church, as reactions that surged against the growing ideological and military polarization worldwide that was taking place during the Cold War) as many young citizens were decided to question the values that determined policy-making and the way of exercising politics at that time, thus challenging the status quo with a clear message: “we will not concede any more social conformism and intolerance [13], we demand a concrete and measurable commitment by our governments, to safeguard our basic freedoms and our birthright to self-determination in society, we want to think by ourselves about what is right and wrong in our community, not ‘Daddy Government’ anymore”… After a long path of changes that occurred within the last 40 years, history is now repeating itself in this 2000’s era, but this time it’s been happening in the HKSAR with the dilemma of implementing “National Security” legislation (2003), which sought to “deal with subversion, treason, sedition, and the theft of state secrets under Article 23 of the Basic Law (of HKSAR)” [14] and the issue of “National and Moral Education” (2008, 2012) both efforts that have been persistently blocked by the people of Hong Kong, in a struggle of pressure groups and common people confronting both the Hong Kong government (which has been hardly hit on its most vulnerable point: its lack of legitimacy) and the Central Government of China (which has been alleged to be acting as a ‘puppet-master’ in this conflict of interests and values), a struggle which, in the first case, ultimately led the implementation of “National Security” legislation to be undefinitely postponed; and in the latter, forced the implementation of National Education within the primary and secondary schools of the SAR to be postponed “until 2015” [15]. On the other hand, we can consider the fact that this time the context has changed, since now we are living in the middle of another major war happening throughout the planet, a war that’s not being fought with sword, but with mind and spirit: a war in which common people with revolutionary ideas willing to challenge the status quo once again, are struggling against educational censorship, the restriction and manipulation of contents in mass media, and the surveillance of real-time communications, a struggle which gets reflected in the birth of even newer ideas like
  6. 6. the Wikileaks project by the Australian journalist Julian Assange; the creation of the Neo-Democratic movement within the politics of Hong Kong; and in a more radical fashion, the Anonymous activist group, which was recently looking to make its presence known in Asia and, by the way, is a tough critic of the government apparatus in the PR of China [16]: a fight in which, we common citizens that have educated ourselves, worked in benefit of our Nations and exercised responsibly our rights and duties, seek to exercise our birthright to self-determination again: this time we decided that we have the right to choose how to educate ourselves and our families, to know the truth on what’s happening with our governments, what on Earth are they doing with the money we entrust them as taxes, and hold civil servants accountable as well for their performance, since they are our employees; on top of that, not only we are stakeholders, but also “shareholders” of the State: if it can be understood (as it works in private corporations) like we shall act as proprietors which possess an interest, and a right to obtain a benefit return that is proportional to the efforts we have contributed for common wellbeing… So I need not to explain further my conclusion, I just dare say that all of us citizens of the planet have the choice of actively taking part of this integration process, in the same way that policy mechanisms and actors in Hong Kong are and will remain closely involved in it, make no mistake about that. Thank you for your Attention!
  7. 7. Notes and References: [1] Howlett, Michael. Designing Public Policies: Principles and Instruments. Routledge. New York (2011), p. 149; [2] Even if under the scope of Public International Law, HKSAR can’t be considered as a sovereign State, since it’s an inalienable part of the PR of China under the “One Country, Two Systems” regime, as the Basic Law stipulates so, I think it can be considered as a State anyways, at least for didactical purposes of this paper, considering that Article 151 of its Basic Law, prescribes that “HKSAR may on its own, using the name ‘Hong Kong, China’, maintain and develop relations and conclude agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organizations in the appropriate fields, including the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields”, a situation which in fact grants HKSAR international recognition, thus allowing it to legally interact vis-à-vis, with other States, even if that international recognition is limited to very specific matters and purposes only; [3] Howlett, Michael. Designing Public Policies: Principles and Instruments. Routledge. New York (2011), p. 8; [4] Ibid., p. 6; [5] Ibid., p.7; [6] In this tenure, Howlett states that “the direct international constraints on policy designs typically cited by proponents of the globalization thesis have largely been confined to cross-border economic exchanges and do not cover much of what governments do and how they do it” (Ibid., p. 7), even though in his same book, Howlett recognizes that not only economic, but also diplomatic, military and aid-related relations among nations do influence in choices of policy tools and mechanisms (Ibid. p. 6); a position which I think its contradictory in itself, since diplomacy, military affairs and social aid (among other matters, such as the procurement of human rights and basic freedoms) are some of fundamental and strategic tasks to be carried out by the State and that should be generally considered by the government in its policy-making and in its sacred duty of procuring the general wellbeing of its subjects; [7] “Washington Consensus”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: [8] Scott, Ian. The Public Sector in Hong Kong: Policy, Government, People. Hong Kong University Press (2008), p. 58, [9] Ibid., p. 255; [10] “Global City”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:
  8. 8. [11] On October 9, 2012, I had a guided visit and lecture at the Efficiency Unit of the HKSAR government (EUHKG), together with the other full-time and part-time students of MAPPM course of CityU, which was organized by our dear professor, Dr. Mark Hayllar, in which the Head of EUHKG, Mr. Kim Salkeld, referred us in that lecture, among other things, that the Asian financial meltdown caused impact in Hong Kong’s economy, and made patent a need for reforms in matter of public service and revenue system, which were eventually carried out between the years of 1998-2000, and reflected on measures like cuts of wages and personnel, outsourcing in the provision of services, the grant of budgetary discresion to the Principal Officials, and the merge of diverse bureaux with departments; however, a set of measures which intended the reduction of the great civil service machinery within the SAR; [12] “List of Riots (1960’s)”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: [13] “Campus Revolts in the 1960’s”; Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society: [14] Scott, Ian. The Public Sector in Hong Kong: Policy, Government, People. Hong Kong University Press (2008), pp. 38-39; [15] “Moral and National Education”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: [16] “Anonymous Message to Chinese Government”; Youtube, Broadcast Yourself: Bibliography, Support Material and Additional References: • Howlett, Michael. Designing Public Policies: Principles and Instruments. Routledge. New York (2011); • Scott, Ian. The Public Sector in Hong Kong: Policy, Government, People. Hong Kong University Press (2008); • Basic Law of Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People`s Republic of China: • Personal experience regarding public affairs, considering that I entered pro-bono social work for year and a half, as counselor of legal and political maters in “Fundacion Innovacion Social”, A.C., a non-governmental organization based in Mexico City, where I had the opportunity of working for socially vulnerable sectors of my country, in projects like the provision of legal services and basic goods (food and clothing), as well as promoting the values of social responsibility between communities; [Website:]
  9. 9. • “One Country, Two Systems”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:,_two_systems • “Diplomacy”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: • “Globalization”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: • “Campus Revolts in the 1960’s”; Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society: • “Anonymous (Group)”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: • “Anonymous Message to Hong Kong”; Youtube, Broadcast Yourself: • “Neo Democrats”; Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia: • “Shareholders”; Investopedia, Educating the World about Finance: