In addition, 85 percent of Taiwan’s total water resources are allocated to agricultural use. This is extremely high and sets Taiwan apart from advanced countries. In addition, the management, allocation and operation of almost 90 percent of Taiwan’s water resources have been handed over to third-level government agencies under the council, completely overlooking the realities of social and economic change.
Taiwan is now at the stage where it must break away from being an economy based on high-tech manufacturing and make further moves toward becoming an economy primarily based on using wealth to spur innovation with a service sector characterized by a high value-added knowledge base. This will help Taiwan join the international community and become an active player in the global market. Therefore, the timely transformation and adjustment of Taiwan’s economic functions and social structure are now both inevitable and necessary.
Today’s leaders are instead becoming afraid of increasing populism and are obsessed with the vain pursuit of votes. To date, not one person has had the courage to stand up and proclaim that Taiwan no longer relies on agriculture for further development and that it is instead a nation whose development is closely linked to technology and innovation.
As long as the government cannot get over its preoccupation with the idea that Taiwan’s economic development is dependent on agriculture while ignoring the importance of knowledge, Taiwan’s economy, national strength and vitality will never improve.
Bert Lim is president of the World Economics Society.
Translated by Drew Cameron