Tue, Feb 01, 2011 - Page 8 News List

A tale of greed and bad governance

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Large purchases of Taiwanese electronics by Chinese delegations in the past two years, added to rising export figures to China and the region, have failed to be accompanied by wage improvements in the middle and lower classes. The benefits of rapid economic growth in the wake of the global crisis have not trickled down and have largely remained in the hands of the wealthy few, a phenomenon not unlike that observed in Hong Kong and which could become even more pronounced as a result of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between Taiwan and China in June. The Boston Consulting Group report also showed that the number of millionaire households in Taiwan in 2009 rose 22.1 percent from the previous year, at the height of the global financial crisis, a trend that is expected to accelerate following the entry into force of the ECFA.

No outsider should be responsible for mitigating the effects of an increasingly inequitable society, as wealth distribution, especially in a rich country like Taiwan, is solely the remit of the government.

In the end, Taiwanese have every right to interpret Chen’s largesse with skepticism, if not rancor, especially if it is part of a political scheme. However, even more aggravating is that in allowing this individual to embark on his “thanksgiving” tour, the Ma administration doesn’t seem to realize that such benevolence should not be necessary in the first place. Why hundreds of destitute families in Taiwan have to rely on a Chinese tycoon is a question Ma and his entourage should seriously ponder.

J. Michael Cole is deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top