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Social mobility the key to addressing Hong Kong discontent

Protests reflect youth desperation caused by lack of opportunity

| Hong Kong, Macao
Limited land and one of the densest populations mean property demand outstrips supply in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

A controversial extradition bill that would have eased the transfer of criminal suspects to mainland China sparked Hong Kong's recent protests. But underlying that complaint lurks a social and economic problem: desperation among the city's youth about their future.

The basic issue facing Hong Kong is a lack of upward mobility. Its class rigidity is manifested in unaffordable housing and stunted entrepreneurialism.

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