Regardless of which party holds power, Taiwan’s economic development is facing a tough challenge.
Last year, the economy grew by 1.26 percent, and investment stood at 16 percent, the lowest since 1980.
Although the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) is forecasting economic growth of 3.59 percent for this year, the investment rate will remain at 16.2 percent, the second-lowest ever. This shows that the private sector is lacking in vitality and a willingness to invest, and this puts a damper on any optimism for Taiwan’s economy.
Many of the problems facing the nation’s development are structural, including the bureaucracy’s lack of vitality, the rigidity of the economic system and the relatively closed service industry.
How to change the constitutional system and improve the bureaucracy, and to initiate economic liberalization and deregulation are structural issues that require cooperation between the government and the opposition.
If that cannot be done, the DPP will continue to face the same problems if it returns to power, in addition to interference by the KMT in the legislature that will make government operations and policy implementation increasingly difficult.
The DPP should not place its hopes for winning the 2016 presidential election in public dissatisfaction with the Ma administration. Not only does the DPP need to establish stable and developing cross-strait relations, it must also propose a blueprint for developing Taiwan’s economy and propose ways to prevent international isolation.
Ignoring these issues will make it impossible for the party to translate public dissatisfaction with the KMT into support for the DPP.
Tung Chen-yuan is a professor in National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Development Studies.
Translated by Perry Svensson