The government’s 2018 budget address has generally been positively received. Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary, glows in an almost embarrassment of riches.
Last year the economy grew by 3.7 per cent, whilst inflation fell to 1.7 per cent. Government revenues continue to grow, and a record surplus of HK$138 billion was recorded for the last financial year.
Hong Kong now has HK$1.1 trillion in reserves, and another HK$3.6 trillion in the Exchange Fund. For any city in the world — indeed for most sovereign states — these would be outstanding figures.
Whilst the releasing this week of the Paradise Papers has lead to much debate on the legal and ethical issues concerning the operation of offshore financial entities, Evan notes little is written or said about the wider context of the relationship between ethics, law, taxation, sovereignty and the social contract. This, he argues, is what many people find so disconcerting: that the industry exposes an internal contradiction within the foundation of what we have come to accept as a modern and just society.
編按： 本週流出的「天堂文件」引發了諸多爭論，當中主要圍繞離岸金融實體運作的法律和倫理問題。 Evan 指出，關於倫理、法律、稅收、主權和社會契約之間更廣泛的關係，並未有太多的討論。他認為，這些關係是許多人覺得如此令人不安：這個行業暴露出的矛盾，卻是遠超我們所接受的現代公正社會基礎之外。