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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

It's The Economy...

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. PETER is glued to his phone.

  5. PETER (V.O.): Oh, 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the Potsdam conference.

  6. Reading.

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I wasn't born yet. The 1945 conference determined the post-WWII order.

  8. Thinking.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The CONVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world in a couple of months.

  10. Pausing.

  11. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): In late Jan 2020, I thought China's coronavirus situation would be dire and Hong Kong wouldn't be good.

  12. Thinking.

  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It turns out that the decisive health measures in the Mainland and Hong Kong are reasonably acceptable.

  14. Peter turns his attention to the TV news.

  15. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): US' CONVID-19 statistics break records everyday, impacting on its politics and economics.

  16. On screen, we see and hear its President saying: We're winning the war. It's going to be fine over a period of time.

  17. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Judging from its pandemic measures and politics, US' problem is pretty significant, and there's no sign that US is turning around.

  18. Act 2


  20. Peter continues to follow the TV news.

  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): CONVID-19 has been testing countries' governance, including their capacity to provide for their people eg face masks and ventilators.

  22. Thinking.

  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Some may find that they've been overly-relying on China as the world's factory to produce affordable and quality goods.

  24. Pausing.

  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But if they're to produce the equivalent for themselves, there would be economic inefficiency, contradicting their economic assumptions eg no subsidies.

  26. Thinking.

  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For China, it's the value captured and delivered by its businesses to the world that generate its recurrent economic growth.

  28. Peter reads some statistics on his phone screen.

  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The US federal debt has surged past US$26 trillion as the government ramped up emergency relief spending - the largest in the world.

  30. Reading.

  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Japan owns about US$1.27 trillion of US' public debt - it's US' biggest foreign banker.

  32. Reading.

  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): China owns about US$1.07 trillion of US' public debt - it's US' second largest foreign banker.

  34. Thinking.

  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): How can US pay off its debts?

  36. Pausing.

  37. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Would it cut spending? Raise taxes? Grow its economy? Shift its spending from military to infrastructure and education?

  38. Pausing.

  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): US' debt obligation may be painless when the US economy is expanding.

  40. Pausing.

  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There's a strong relationship between economics and politics, as a country's economic performance is always a key political issue.

  42. Thinking.

  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And that's why US has to open up despite its alarming CONVID-19 statistics so as to salvage the economic performance of the government.

  44. Thinking.

  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The same applies to other countries and territories including Hong Kong, China.

  46. Reflecting.

  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As to the CONVID-19 infection and deaths, they won't directly impact on the economy. And the dead can't impact on politics.

  48. Pausing.

  49. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): So it's the economy, not life that matters.

  50. Peter shakes his head sideways.

  51. Act 3


  53. Peter is in thoughts.

  54. PETER (V.O.): So, in some countries, the government is a government not for all the people, by a few of the people, and for a majority of the people.

  55. Pausing.

  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Economy, and therefore politics, take precedence over morals. Such value preference make life ugly and unworthy.

  57. Pausing.

  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The wars after the Potsdam conference were either cold or trade-related. Such non-armed conflicts save lives already.

  59. Pondering.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): So, should those dying of CONVID-19 be grateful to their governments as they can die in peace time?

  61. Sighing.

  62. THE END

  63. FADE OUT.

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