Few have HAD kind words for former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (
But economic growth does not necessarily entail the creation of new jobs. When economic growth fails to relieve unemployment, it is known as jobless growth. This has been the case in the Taiwan. Even though the nation's overall economic growth has been reasonably good, unemployment has not declined significantly and income disparity has increased.
To a certain extent, jobless growth and income disparity have been caused by policies encouraging capital and technology-intensive industries to develop.
Data shows that in 1986, GDP growth was directly related to the creation of new jobs. For each percentage point of GDP growth, the rate of employment increased by 0.38 percent. In the 1990s, the corresponding employment increase fell to just 0.19 percent. Now, it would seem to be even lower.
In his new book Community: Taiwan Under the Sign of the World, Lin examines economic issues in the context of globalization and the US-China-Taiwan IT supply chain. This approach leads him to see jobless growth as being inevitable.
While Lin's approach is interesting, Taiwan's options are not limited to jobless growth.
In 1998, a Chinese Academy Of Science task force made a number of policy recommendations in a study entitled "Employment and Development: The Chinese Unemployment Question and Employment Strategies."
These recommendations included making lower unemployment rates an economic policy objective at every level of government.
Lin -- and the entire DPP administration for that matter -- should think carefully about the academy's recommendation to make low unemployment a top priority.
But the government has never really made employment its top economic priority. The technocrats who oversaw the economy under the KMT believed that growth solved all problems, and the DPP thinks the same way now. The reality though is that income disparities are widening unacceptably for any democratic government. The DPP began its rise to power as a champion of the poor and cannot continue to allow the rich-poor gap to widen.
The overseers of a nation's economy should balance economic growth and market efficiency with equitable distribution.
The DPP leadership must not fall into the trap of "economic development first" -- the credo of the KMT's economic planners. Instead, they should take the issue of economic justice seriously.
In 2001, US President George W. Bush was received by late pope John Paul II, who asked Bush to narrow the world's enormous rich-poor gap.
At the end of that same year, a group of US religious leaders of different faiths delivered a joint statement to the US government demanding global economic justice and proclaiming five major principles. These included demanding that international trade and investment systems not violate the dignity of the human person, protecting the most vulnerable and opening negotiations and decision-making to to those most affected by them.
The statement also called for world trade that respects civil society and the right of local communities to pursue sustainable development of their resources.
Greed is the essence of capitalism. If Lin had thought about this more seriously, his vision of the nation would have been a more equitable one.
Lin Kuo-hua is a pseudonym for a National Taiwan University academic who wishes to remain anonymous.
TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL FAHEY
Chinese strongman Xi Jinping (習近平) hasn’t had a very good spring, either economically or politically. Not that long ago, he seemed to be riding high. The PRC economy had been on a long winning streak of more than six percent annual growth, catapulting the world’s most populous nation into the second-largest power, behind only the United States. Hundreds of millions had been brought out of poverty. Beijing’s military too had emerged as the most powerful in Asia, lagging only behind the US, the long-time leader on the global stage. One can attribute much of the recent downturn to the international economic
On Sept. 27, 2002, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) joined the UN to become its 191st member. Since then, two other nations have joined, Montenegro on June 28, 2006, and South Sudan on July 14, 2011. The combined total of the populations of these three nations is just more than half that of Taiwan’s 23.7 million people. East Timor has 1.3 million, Montenegro has slightly more than half a million and South Sudan has 10.9 million. They all are members of the UN, yet much more populous Taiwan is denied membership. Of the three, East Timor, as a Southeast Asian
Taiwan has for decades singlehandedly borne the brunt of a revanchist, ultra-nationalist China — until now. Ever since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had the temerity to call for a transparent, international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has been turning the screws on Canberra. This has included unleashing aggressive “wolf warrior” diplomats to intimidate Australian policymakers, enacting punitive tariffs on its exports, and threatening an embargo on Chinese tourists and students to the nation. A tense situation became more serious on June 19 after Morrison revealed that a “sophisticated state-based actor” — read: China — had launched a