Financial exclusion in the context of the global financial crisis : implications for social work practice in Hong Kong

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Financial exclusion in the context of the global financial crisis : implications for social work practice in Hong Kong

 

Author: Kwok, Chi-ying
Title: Financial exclusion in the context of the global financial crisis : implications for social work practice in Hong Kong
Degree: DSW
Year: 2014
Subject: Financial crises -- Social aspects -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: xiii, 389 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2779992
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7840
Abstract: From the economic and financial development history, it is found that in every global financial crisis, people across all demographic and socio-economic groups suffering from financial distress due to the burst of speculative bubbles and economic recession. Financial distress, in turn, also adversely affects people's psychosocial well-being. Hong Kong has the freest economy, which cannot avoid the risk of financial instability in our modern globalized neo-liberal financial capitalist society. From my frontline working experience, middle-lower class people suffer the most from both financial loss and psychosocial distress during the global financial crisis. As the social work profession is an agent of risk management, providing security and protection in our modern risk society, it has a role to play in addressing the new social problems arising from the repeated global financial crises. To minimize the destructive impact of future financial crises, one of the objectives of this study is to explore the multi-level and multi-dimensional causes which lead to people's financial loss and psychosocial distress in order to make appropriate suggestions for improvement. As financial exclusion is currently of widespread interest in Western countries, this research study therefore also aims at exploring whether financial exclusion in Hong Kong acts as the immediate cause of financial loss and its impact on people's well-being.
In order to achieve a more in-depth understanding of how negative financial events impact on people's financial and social well-being, to capture the complexity and connections between the victim's life history process, the global socio-economic and cultural context, the study adopts a biographical research and life history approach. The research findings show that financial exclusion is identified as the core reason causing financial loss and psychosocial distress as reflected in the life history of eight respondents. Four of them are investment speculation victims while the other four have serious debt problems. It is also found that the existence of financial exclusion also intensifies the risk level faced by middle lower class people as they are excluded from access to the appropriate, low cost, fair and safe financial products and services from mainstream financial service providers. From the findings, participatory exclusion exists where people are not allowed to participate in negotiating with financial institutions on the amount of compensation which reflects the hegemony of financial capitalism. Finally, it is suggested that these identified causes should go beyond the discussion of financial exclusion. A multi-level perspective is constructed to contextualize the understanding of the global and local financial crises, financial exclusion, financial loss and psychosocial distress. To address this new social problem, the role of the social work profession is also examined. A local working approach and practice model is developed with reference to the findings of this research study and frontline working experience.

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