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香港 hong kong | 書評 Book Review

Saving Capitalism | Robert Reich <a href='/rbreich' target='_blank'>@rbreich</a>

Robert Reich is one of my favourite scholars who is committed, ambitious and intelligent. He is engaged with social justice and dedicated his career in uplifting the underprivileged or the disadvantaged. He initiated the Inequality Media to raise awareness of wealth inequality and helped the public to understand more about how this happened and what we can do about it. I agree with his vision to promote active participation by informed citizens to restore the balance of power in our Democracy and creates an economy where gains are widely shared. 
The book has 3 main parts - the free market, work and worth and countervailing power. Many times, we deem the market as a system - something beyond our control. Yet, Reich reminds us that markets are made by human beings, just as nations, governments, laws and corporations. The rules of a market we made reflect moral values and judgments about what is good and worthy and what is fair, and they are not static; they do change over time.
So how can we change the perpetuated vicious cycle in which economic dominance feeds political power, and political power further enlarges economic dominance?

Reich proposes that people’s pay should be linked with societal benefits that they generate. The prevailing assumption that individuals are paid what they are ‘worth’ is a tautology that overlooks the legal and political institutions defining the market. And the problem is that people accept that nothing should be done and ignore what we can do to alter what people are paid because the market decreed it. 
I think he sheds light on the positive side of our society that, we, as citizens have the power to improve the current system that is serving the few. He used simple language to describe this complex issue, while giving suggestions, such as reinforcing labour unions, implementing living wage, reshaping the government which is for the public but not the top-income’s interests.
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Saving Capitalism | Robert Reich @rbreich Robert Reich is one of my favourite scholars who is committed, ambitious and intelligent. He is engaged with social justice and dedicated his career in uplifting the underprivileged or the disadvantaged. He initiated the Inequality Media to raise awareness of wealth inequality and helped the public to understand more about how this happened and what we can do about it. I agree with his vision to promote active participation by informed citizens to restore the balance of power in our Democracy and creates an economy where gains are widely shared. The book has 3 main parts - the free market, work and worth and countervailing power. Many times, we deem the market as a system - something beyond our control. Yet, Reich reminds us that markets are made by human beings, just as nations, governments, laws and corporations. The rules of a market we made reflect moral values and judgments about what is good and worthy and what is fair, and they are not static; they do change over time. So how can we change the perpetuated vicious cycle in which economic dominance feeds political power, and political power further enlarges economic dominance? Reich proposes that people’s pay should be linked with societal benefits that they generate. The prevailing assumption that individuals are paid what they are ‘worth’ is a tautology that overlooks the legal and political institutions defining the market. And the problem is that people accept that nothing should be done and ignore what we can do to alter what people are paid because the market decreed it. I think he sheds light on the positive side of our society that, we, as citizens have the power to improve the current system that is serving the few. He used simple language to describe this complex issue, while giving suggestions, such as reinforcing labour unions, implementing living wage, reshaping the government which is for the public but not the top-income’s interests. . #SavingCapitalism #RobertReich #Inequality #bookstagram #books #bookreview #reading #書 #閱讀 #hkig
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    The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism | Max Weber Max Weber proposed the rise of capitalism stems from Protestant religious values and pinpointed the spirit of capitalism is ‘not to waste time’. Influenced by rationalisation and religious history, people started to build up calculable legal system and administration of formal rules, and thus rational organisations and bourgeoisie societies are built. Weber indicated that things without objective are labelled as irrational during pre-capitalist period, and that people try to maximise efficiency because ever-lasting rest is in the next world. This is quite an interesting perspective describing how religion affects the concept of time and efficiency, and gradually forming a capitalist system. After the read, I would think about whether the ‘modern rational capitalism’ at that period is still applicable to nowadays and if religion is still the spirit of capitalism as Weber described. If religion plays less of a role in society, what maintain the spirit of capitalism right now? In the meantime, I am also aware of the rising welfare state policy and populism. Living in this era, what is the spirit behind them - advanced technological development, awaking of the problems of capitalism, inequality, change of the purpose of work or other ideologies? I also wish Weber could have had given his opinion of what sustain the spirit of capitalism in a less religious culture or environment if he were alive today. . . #MaxWeber #Capitalism #Protestant #bookster #bookstagram #books #bookreview #reading #igreads #bookblogger #書 #閱讀

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    Saving Capitalism | Robert Reich @rbreich Robert Reich is one of my favourite scholars who is committed, ambitious and intelligent. He is engaged with social justice and dedicated his career in uplifting the underprivileged or the disadvantaged. He initiated the Inequality Media to raise awareness of wealth inequality and helped the public to understand more about how this happened and what we can do about it. I agree with his vision to promote active participation by informed citizens to restore the balance of power in our Democracy and creates an economy where gains are widely shared. The book has 3 main parts - the free market, work and worth and countervailing power. Many times, we deem the market as a system - something beyond our control. Yet, Reich reminds us that markets are made by human beings, just as nations, governments, laws and corporations. The rules of a market we made reflect moral values and judgments about what is good and worthy and what is fair, and they are not static; they do change over time. So how can we change the perpetuated vicious cycle in which economic dominance feeds political power, and political power further enlarges economic dominance? Reich proposes that people’s pay should be linked with societal benefits that they generate. The prevailing assumption that individuals are paid what they are ‘worth’ is a tautology that overlooks the legal and political institutions defining the market. And the problem is that people accept that nothing should be done and ignore what we can do to alter what people are paid because the market decreed it. I think he sheds light on the positive side of our society that, we, as citizens have the power to improve the current system that is serving the few. He used simple language to describe this complex issue, while giving suggestions, such as reinforcing labour unions, implementing living wage, reshaping the government which is for the public but not the top-income’s interests. . #SavingCapitalism #RobertReich #Inequality #bookstagram #books #bookreview #reading #書 #閱讀 #hkig

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    Reading might help with fighting that battle.

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    The Pearl | John Steinbeck The story starts with a peaceful and contented routine - Juana making the morning cakes, Kino heading to the fire place for breakfast, mum whispering a song to Coyotito. Suddenly, a scorpion fell on Coyotito’s shoulder and stung, red swelling extended farther around. The doctor would not come to see their first baby as they are not able to pay for it, so Kino dived in the sea to search for a pearl that can save their son. Luckily enough, they did get a nearly perfect pearl which can not only pay for the doctor, but also provide education to Coyotito and hold a wedding that they dream of. (spoiler as follows) Yet, what the pearl brought is not they aspired to be. The baby died in the end instead of being rescued due to a series of incidents that the villagers want to chase the pearl. So, what does the pearl actually bring them? Is it an ‘evil’ or a ‘god-given’ object? I think the object itself is actually quite neutral, it is what meanings do we give to it and how we perceive it. For the dealers (/villagers), the pearl is a treasure and they wish to take advantage of the dealings. For Kino and Juana, it is their hope to improve their situation and to save their kid. For Coyotito, it can be nothing except a toy. How we interpret the objects influences our behaviours, and the interactions of different behaviors lead to the outcomes. When I first read the quote on the cover “It is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more”, I started thinking whether it’s always true. And it links to the nature of people, but I think there’s no way that we can generalise everyone’s nature as ‘greedy’ or ‘good’ or ‘self-sacrificing’ or ‘self-disciplined’ or ‘committed’. and well, this story also reminds us to listen to wife’s advice (hahaa) . . #ThePearl #JohnSteinbeck #bookstagram #books #bookreview #reading #書 #閱讀 P.s. Thank you for giving this thing xx

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    The little book of HAPPINESS Have different definitions and experiences of happiness at different stages. what are we pursuing actually? This little book gives us a hint of how different people understand happiness. Switch for some quotes I like : ) [either we do sth to hide or forget about the insecurities or we get through and overcome these insecurities by truly embracing ourselves] . . . #happiness #bookstagram #bookreview #books #reading #enjoythemoment #thanks #love #閱讀 #書 P.s.Thank you my friend for this xoxo

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    Doing Good Better - Effective Altruism and a radical new way to make a difference | William MacAskill Good intentions can also lead to ineffective outcomes or even downright harms. Apparently, it is a book about how to help other more effectively by thinking rationally. MacAskill posted some questions for us to reflect what need to put into considerations when we are trying to make an impact. MacAskill cofounded Effective Altruism, a NGO which encourages people to make good use of their money and time. He posted five key questions of effective altruism - how many people benefit, and by how much? Is it the most effective thing you can do? Is this area neglected? What would have happened otherwise? What are the chances of success, and how good would success be? I personally find the part about which career should you pursue the most interesting. MacAskill indicated that each of us will spend at least 80,000 hours on our career in our lifetime. It is useful to ask ourselves ‘How will I personally fit with this job?’, ‘What will be my impact while I’m working at this job?’, ‘How would this job contribute to my impact later on in life?’. (For further information, please check: https://80000hours.org, they provide free career advice for young people.) While deciding which cause to focus on, MacAskill propose that we can measure the tractability, scale, neglectedness and personal fit. The book Doing Good Better asks many questions to criticise whether what we intend to do are really helping, and to challenge our helping behaviours are not for making us ‘feel good’ but to bring about effective outcomes.

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    香港貧窮問題真相 |葉兆輝 在書局一看到這本有關香港社會問題的書,便非常雀躍,不假思索便買下來。這是一本比較資訊性和涵蓋了數據、調查研究、分析綜合的集成。葉兆輝條例分明地把貧窮問題分成六個章節:包括香港貧窮問題現況、本地平窮的定義與聚集形勢、貧窮數字拆解、個別社會群組的貧窮狀況、貧窮對社會的影響和香港貧窮問題的出路。根據數據,貧窮人口和貧窮率均在政策介入後又下降的趨勢-由131萬(19.6%)下降至102萬人口(15.2%)。這些政策包括:扣除稅項、社會保障金(綜合社會保障援助、高齡津貼、長者生活津貼、傷殘津貼、鼓勵就業交通津貼)、現金教育福利和其他現金社會福利。 作者十分具批判性地解釋現有貧窮線的限制和社會現況,當中印象最深刻的是有關皮海提(Thomas Piketty)指出資本的回報率經常大於經濟成長率,而財富的增加未有轉為工資的增長,因而導致貧富差異擴大。在香港,2001年至2011年的GDP增長約50%,但家庭收入卻只增加了9%,堅尼系數亦增至0.539。同時,葉兆輝質疑低稅率是否吸引投資的唯一或不可動搖的因素以及現在的自由市場是否最有效率的許諾或保護了富有階層的資產自由增長?書中表示歐洲多國稅收高於香港也有大量資金投入,稅收是否他們唯一的考慮,而這付出的代價是否有眾多市民來承受呢?

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    Priceless YOU. Next book review coming soon!! 😄😆 stay tuned.

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    Lord of the Flies | William Golding This is a twentieth-century classic literature depicting how a group of children’s livelihood, attitudes and the form of society evolve when they were left in a island on their own. Frustrated and confused at first, this group of children gradually forms their own structure of a community, for example, regular meet-ups, taking up a conch while speaking, division of labour and keeping up a fire. Setting up a fire was deemed as the utmost important task because it is the way that they can be recognised and be rescued. When time past, Jack started to ignore the rules set by Ralph, the chief voted by the group, and reinvented his own tribe in which Jack became the head of the tribe. To Jack, hunting for meat and forming his own norm of tribe seemed to override the need of the smoke. More and more children joined the tribe, and it had a rising power with armed spears and violence. The rules set by Ralph no longer applied to the tribe, it killed outsiders and fulfilled their immediate pleasure. I wouldn't disclose the ending here but I just want to share my thoughts on the emerged tribe and why a structured society fell apart and became an immoral, ruleless tribe. One of the reasons is that self-interests was over-riding group interest. Apparently (at least to me), escaping from the island is the utmost important goal for the group, yet many of them prioritise their individuals’ desire to a better group outcome; thus they are not working collectively to keep a rescue fire. Furthermore, leadership style takes a prominent role here as well, is there a better way for Ralph to lead to group so that fellows are more eager to follow his demands or DOL? I have more ideas about other reasons, feel free to comment and discuss!! Book Credit <3 Thanks @agnescapist for sharing this good read!

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    We have more similarities than we think we do. Otw to finish Lord of the Flies, a book given by a dear friend, any suggestion of a Chinese book? Hope you all have a nice weekend.

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    We Should All Be Feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Feminism can be an easily misunderstood word that confused, threatened, being ignored by both female and male. The title can even add more criticism of feminism movement - why everyone should be a feminist. By the end, it is all about females, isn't it? Indeed not. As Chimamanda suggested, and that I agree, feminism involves all people, as long as you are influenced by socialisation that stereotypes, in various extent, shapes your thinking. Chimamanda tried to break the stereotype and shared the situations of gender inequality in Africa. She also shared her personal story that she was not able to be a class monitor solely because she is a female. When these incidents repeat themselves, society deems gender inequality as normal; which gradually forming the glass ceiling for limiting equally qualified females to enter leadership positions. This is a book about how gender attributes to different consequences and treatments. I do agree that we shall deem each person as an individual rather than putting them into boxes. It is true that gender can be a sensitive topic to discuss, yet it is necessary. . . . #book #bookstagram #bookreview #WeShouldAllBeFeminists #Chimamnda #書 #書#閱讀 #hk #feminism #reading #hkreading

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    Hiii Pottermore! Hope you managed to take the Hogwarts Express on time at platform nine and three-quarters, with no need to get the flying car! Have a great start of classes, and see you at Hogwarts! There might be more assignments but don't forget to spare some time for a casual read. Meet you at the Great Hall. ;) . . . #bookstagram #books #HP #HarryPotter #Pottermore #JKRowling #dumbledore

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    To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee This book reveals many issues concerning justice, equality, morality and justice. The story is seen from a child’s, Scout, perspective to record what she had encountered in a rural village in America. While her father was a lawyer fighting for justice and helping the disadvantaged people in the court, Scout could learn how to be a moral person from questioning her father’s behaviour. Since I am still articulating all the issues covered in this book, I would like to highlight the problems I could see and quote the relevant sentences from it. Definitely will I read this book again so I can analyse in a deeper perspective. //Education// “Now you tell your father not to teach you any more. It’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind. You tell him ill take over from here and try to undo the damage —“ “We dont write in the first grade, we print. You wont learn to write until you’re in the third grade.” by Scout’s teacher //Poverty// “It was clear enough to the rest of us: Walter Cunningham was sitting there lying his head off. He didn't forget his lunch, he didn't have any. He had none today nor would he have any tomorrow or the next day. He had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time in his life.” //Race and justice// “If you was a nigger like me, you'd be scared, too” “Cry about the hell white people give coloured folks, without even stopping to think that they are people, too.” //Gender inequality// Miss Maudie can't serve on a jury because she’s a woman *My favourite quotes* “Simply we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” “Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong… they are certainly entitled to think that, and they’ve entitled full respect for their opinions, but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” “Mockingbird dont do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people’ s gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” . . TBC...

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    A nice cafe can calm myself down and rethink what I read. Quote of the day: "Reading is dreaming with eyes open." :)

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    Macbeth | William Shakespeare Macbeth was in a victory combating outsider as the Thane of Glamis; thus the Scottish king, Duncan, named him the Thane of Cawdor. Once, Macbeth encountered three witches who told him a prophecy that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland eventually. With the temptation of his wife, Macbeth decided to murder Duncan during the stay at Macbeth’s place. After the king’s sons flee due to the fear of assassination, Macbeth became the King of Scotland, fulfilling the prophecy of the witches. Feeling guilty about the murder, Macbeth’s wife committed suicide. Here’s one of the most famous soliloquy, “Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow” appeared after Macbeth received the news. The prophecy seems to play a key role in this play. However, would the prophecy be achieved without the willingness of the person? Is it the circumstances which shape a person, or the person shapes the circumstances? It reminds me of the Chinese idiom, 時勢造英雄 or 英雄造時勢. Driven by Macbeth’s ambition and the desire of power, he murdered the then king to get the throne; yet he was continuously worried and instructed his subordinates to assassinate all those who might affect his reign. To maintain his status, he was never satisfied with living men who doubt him. This is a story of tragedy, a tragedy made by a man who did not think twice before making decisions, a man whose ambition beated morality. . . #Chingsbookreview #CBR #Macbeth #Bookstagram #Book #hkig #Williamshakespea #Shakespeare #Estonia #booklover #bookreview #reading

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    安妮日記 The Diary of Anne Frank| 安妮 法蘭克 看完這本書會是有很複雜的思緒。 本書一開始是安妮的相簿,為讀者簡單地介紹安妮的家人,朋友和其他在後屋的“躲藏者”。安妮出身於一個商人世家,在十三歲生日時收到一本日記簿,因而開始寫信給名為吉蒂的本子。由於一家是猶太人,他們在希特拉上台後便從德國流亡到荷蘭,開始了居住在後屋的生活。她把日記當成傾訴對象,把心裡的想法、感受、後屋的情況和對自己的批判巨細無遺地表達出來。她了解到身為富有的猶太人有多「幸運」-不用一早被送往集中營,而且還有足夠的食物和衣服;但居住在隱蔽的後屋兩年多且並不能外出的情況讓安妮感到很難熬。安妮一家還有另外四人(總共八人)共居,每天到晚都是跟這一群人幹活,安妮看到的不單是自己的蛻變,還有成人的交流和對年輕人的不理解。她觀察到每個後屋的人的特質、優缺點、思考的漏洞和情緒的變化等,更釐清自己與他們的分別,確定了之後不想跟母親一樣成為家庭主婦,而要以記者作家為職業。 安妮日記可由不同的角度去分析,例如戰爭帶來的遺害、年輕人和成人之間的拉力、愛情的萌芽、人與人之間的信任、對人性保留的樂觀和少女成長的心路歷程等。但在這裡我想提及的是安妮對未來抱有的希望,並且是對自己的反思。面對著對猶太人的排擠和欺壓,安妮要屈居於後屋,不能被人發現,而她寫「是誰讓我們這樣受苦受難?。。。如果我們經受住這一切苦難,還有猶太人留下來,他們將會從受難者一邊而為榜樣。誰知道,也許世界各民族人民從我們的信仰中學會向善。」我在這裡想表現的不是猶太人這個宗教,更絕非要合理化納稅主義的存在;而是安妮在面對苦難的心態。雖然我還是不確定這是否最好的反應,但她可以說是後屋裡最正面的小孩。還有她不斷的掙扎於成為更善良的人,也在日記中不斷提醒自己要向善,這可能是讓世界變得更和平的其中一個方法。 . . #Chingsbookreview #CBR #安妮日記 #AnneFrank #Bookstagram #hkig #閱讀 #書 #文字 #書

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    Hillbilly Elegy - A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis | J.D. Vance I could not resist not to buy it once I saw it on the bookshelf (while I am not the kind of bookworm who always buy books). This is a memoir documenting Vance’s stories living with a family of violence, abuse and poverty. Borned in a rural village in Ohio, Vance experienced the disintegration of his family’s culture and the environment he was around with. When Vance's mother changed partners for many times, he and his sister had to adapt accordingly each time in the midst of confusion about how many siblings they have. Being honest to his background and encountering it with positivity, he graduated from Yale Law School and wrote this book on his feelings towards upward social mobility. I resonated with Vance's story and am amazed by the details and illustrations he wrote on this book. Personal stories are always powerful. But the courage to disclose all the struggles and personal experiences can be difficult in the meantime. Vance explicitly and implicitly presented a story of upward mobility, and visualised the fact that hurdles lie not only on resources but also cultural difference. It is a beautifully written book, and my emotions could not be hidden when reading it. . . #Chingsbookreview #CBR #HillbillyElegy #JDVance #bookstagram

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    Too many books? I think what you mean is not enough bookshelves. Quote of the day: "We read to know we are not alone."

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    牡羊少年的奇幻之旅 保羅科爾賀 O Alquimista | Paulo Coelho @Paulocoelho 這本書是寫給有夢想的人和沒有夢想的人。書中的主角是一個想成為牧羊人的小男孩,他毅然離家,帶著羊群離開他的父親和出生的地方。在他發著同一個夢之前,他一直覺得牧羊人的生活就是他所追求的,而且羊群跟人類差不多,牠們也是很容易受身邊的羊所影響。直至他遇上了解夢的老女人,解釋了他的夢將引領他去尋寶;但牧羊人質疑老女人的動機和自己的能力。一路上,牧羊人遇上了智者、水晶店商人、英國人、擔水的女孩、駱駝佚、長老們、騎士、鍊金術士等人,當中經歷了疑惑和沮喪。究竟那個目標是否真的能實現?究竟那是否他應該追求的東西呢? 書中最令我最深刻的是主角在爭扎天命和現實的情況。他不能確定自己能否實現夢想,卻繼續堅持。從中作者指出害怕失敗比因嘗試而傷害更糟,並且提醒讀者世界上最大的謊言是我們只能聽天由命且對事情無能為力,因為這樣是放棄了自己對生命和社會的控制能力。 「世界上的每一個人都有一個寶藏正在等待著他。」若果這是真的話,希望你也正尋找這個寶藏。 #牧羊少年 #PauloCoelho #Dream #bookstagram #Chingsbookreview #CBR #hkbookslover #hkig