With so many people stuck in the “working poor” bracket, it is hardly surprising that young Taiwanese feel hopeless about their future. The blame for this situation lies with the government, or rather governments — including both the Chen and Ma administrations — which have failed to come up with sufficient complementary policies to shore up Taiwan’s industrial foundations. Instead, they have only listened to the opinions of corporations and they have blindly given manufacturers free rein to move to China, and even encouraged them to do so for the sake of “economic integration.”
The sad thing is that those who wield power and influence, no matter whether they belong to the governing party or opposition parties, still have no intention of telling the public the real reasons for wage stagnation in the country. All they do is dodge the issue by blaming each other and squabbling about things like Ma’s pledge to achieve 5 percent economic growth, while getting unemployment down to 4 percent and seeing wages rise by 3 percent.
Their attitude is the most miserable thing about the working poor’s sorry situation.
Huang Tien-lin is a former presidential adviser.
Translated by Julian Clegg