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Crafting the Financial-Subject: A Qualitative Study of Young Workers’ Experiences in Financialised Pension Investment in Hong Kong

  • TAT CHOR AU-YEUNG (a1) and KA KI CHAN (a2)

Abstract

This article applies the concepts of the financial-subject and micro-foundation of financialisation to young workers’ experiences with Hong Kong’s financialised pension regime. The results of our qualitative analysis show that many respondents doubt and belittle their financial investment for retirement. In response to the compulsory investment required by the government and the fact that their aspirations for security in later life seemed unfulfilled, some young workers undertook ‘uninformed’ investment and ‘age-led’ risk taking. The findings also show that employment precarity translates into investment precarity owing to workers’ unstable incomes and contributions; labour inequalities are reflected in financial inequalities. Arguably, the neoliberal crafting of the young financial-subject, including constructions of financial irresponsibility, irrationality, and illiteracy, is fraught with tensions, turning workers into investors and using finance to satisfy socio-economic needs. It contributes to social policy studies by connecting selfhood and institutions, and calls for questions about the future of financialised pensions.

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