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Why capitalism as we know it is dead

Inequality is on the rise in America, fueled by a new form of capitalism that, instead of encouraging competitive free markets, has seen monopolies and oligopolies dominate, according to the co-author of a new book.

Author Denise Hearn discussed the myth of capitalism at the FCC on February 27. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC Author Denise Hearn discussed the myth of capitalism at the FCC on February 27. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

The capitalism that lifted millions out of poverty no longer exists, rather it has become the antithesis of competitive marketplaces, said Denise Hearn.

Although it appears US consumers have endless choice when it comes to products and healthcare, this is an illusion: many of the smaller companies they purchase from are owned by much bigger conglomerates.

The figures are astounding: five banks – Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America – own more than 50 per cent of the nation’s banking assets. Four airlines – American, Delta, United, and Southwest –  control around 80 per cent of American domestic airspace. Almost every industry is dominated by “robber barons”, she said.

Waves of mergers and acquisitions are contributing to the death of competition which ultimately will result in higher prices for the consumer as it allows big business to set market prices, thus squeezing smaller businesses out of the market.

Hearn, co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, told the February 27 club lunch: “Inequality is the symptom, it’s not the disease.”

Her book explores how the US arrived at the point where so much of the economy is dominated by the few.

Hearn also revealed some astonishing little-known facts about some of America’s big companies. Amazon, for example, doesn’t only provide an e-commerce platform but it also manufactures products that are available on its website. Hearn explained that the tech firm collects data from sellers, such as the type of customer buying from them, and then uses that data to enhance its own products – and undercut the competition.

Perhaps the most shocking story of all though involved a mortuary and supermarket chain Costco. But you’ll have to watch the video below to hear it.

Book charts history of the seas to our south

Who owns the seas to our south?

Author, journalist, and former FCC President Philip Bowring’s new book, Empire of the Winds The Global Role of Asia’s Great Archipelago, delves into the history of the world’s largest archipelago to examine the now 400 million non-Chinese people who occupy most of the coasts of the South China, Java, and Sulu seas. The former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review appeared at the club on February 21 to share insights from the book.

Watch the talk below.

FCC appalled at arrest of Philippine journalist Maria Ressa

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, is appalled at the Philippine government’s efforts to silence Rappler’s CEO, Maria Ressa.

Maria Ressa, Rappler Maria Ressa, Rappler

On Wednesday, Ressa was arrested on a cyber libel complaint filed by a businessman for an article published in 2012. She has denied wrongdoing in the case, calling it “baseless”.

The move came several months after a warrant was issued for her arrest on five charges of tax fraud — a case she called “politically motivated.”

“We are not intimidated,” Ressa told reporters.

“No amount of legal cases, black propaganda and lies can silence Filipino journalists who continue to hold the line,” she said. “These legal acrobatics show how far the government will go to silence journalists, including the pettiness of forcing me to spend the night in jail.”

Rappler has repeatedly pushed to hold the government accountable despite repeated attacks from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. It has exposed corruption within the police force, which has led the deadly crackdown against drugs, as well as in government ranks.

Duterte has repeatedly gone after his critics, and even said in 2016 that some reporters could be legitimately killed. “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch,” he said at the time.

Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years and has won multiple awards for her work, including the 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. She has repeatedly sought to shine a light on misdeeds in a region where the powerful have increasingly sought to silence any media outlets that expose wrongdoing.

The FCC has previously honoured outstanding journalism conducted by Maria Ressa and her website Rappler, and expresses its staunchest support to her and her team to face this new challenge. It also calls on authorities to respect due process in the cases against Ressa, and uphold the right of Rappler and other media outlets to operate freely and safely.

FCC Journalism Conference 2019 – Line-Up and Booking Form

We warmly invite you to join us at the FCC’s annual journalism conference on March 23 for a day of discussion, learning and networking with some of the region’s most talented journalists. As the media faces unprecedented attacks worldwide, the theme for this year’s conference is Enemy of the People? The Dangers of Being a Journalist in 2019.

For the day’s full line-up, scroll down or click here. Highlights include sessions on:

War reporting: Hear from opening keynote speaker, Nicole Tung, a Hong Kong-born, Turkey-based photographer and winner of the James Foley Award for conflict reporting. Tung, who has covered conflict zones in Libya, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the refugee crisis in Europe, will talk about the on-the-ground dangers journalists face.

Investigative reporting:  Join Emily Steel, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the New York Times in a fireside chat. Ms. Steel’s reporting at The Times uncovered a series of settlements totaling $45 million related to sexual harassment allegations against Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News host. The reporting laid the foundation for an international reckoning over issues of sexual misconduct.

Freedom of the press:  Kevin Lau Chun-to from the Ming Pao Group will shed light on the challenges Hong Kong journalists face in a panel discussion that also includes speakers Chris Young from Citizen News and the chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, plus freelance journalist Mary Hui.

Cyberbullying: CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout, Frontier Myanmar’s Sonny Swe, and others will speak on a panel dedicated to the new threats emerging in the digital space that journalists face today.

Other panels and workshops will cover issues ranging from how not to get sued to tips for online security. The conference will host speakers from The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, Bloomberg, TVB, CNN and more. Additional specialists in areas such as data security, legal and negotiation experts and more will share their insight in relevant areas.

Breakfast, lunch and closing drinks will be provided at the conference.

Tickets cost HK$495 for members and HK$595 for guests. To sign up, please complete this booking form.

Alternatively, please contact the FCC concierge desk at 2521 1511 or email [email protected]. Once confirmed, you will be contacted to indicate which workshops you wish to attend.

Members of the media and students wishing to attend the conference should email [email protected].

 

 

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