Fri, May 12, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Companies and states do not work the same

By Chuang Sheng-rong 莊勝榮

At campaign meetings for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson election, some people have said the KMT should do whatever it takes to convince Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) to run for president in 2020, as if he is the only backup and the KMT would lose without him.

According to a poll by the China Times Weekly, if a presidential election were held now, Gou would receive 35.7 percent of the vote against President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 24.2 percent, winning by a 11.5 point margin.

The question is whether such polls are credible. Can people entrust a businessman with running the nation? Would it be an easy thing for a businessman?

According to the poll, 60 percent of respondents revealed their thoughts, far from enough to represent the whole population. The rest did not express a preference. The reason is simple: The nation is three years away from the next presidential election and polls such as this are akin to fortune telling.

Opinion polls are often manipulated and abused, so, in a play of words, “opinion polls” (民調, mindiao) are sometimes said to “tease” or “play with” (調民, diaomin) people.

Insiders sometimes say “polls are truthful lies” — while the results are correct, the process, the phrasing of questions and the composition of the sample are full of deception.

Take a look at US President Donald Trump. In last year’s US presidential election, he received 3 million fewer votes than former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, yet he received more electoral votes and beat her.

Would he have won had the election been in Taiwan? No. In the Taiwanese system, Trump would have lost. Should Taiwan imitate a loser?

Moreover, his five major policies — withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, building a wall along the US-Mexican border, repealing Obamacare, banning Muslim immigrants and introducing trade protection policies — drove down his approval rating to about 40 percent in 100 days in office.

Most Americans question if he will be a successful president. Should Taiwan imitate this loser? Most people would say “No.” Only fools would say “Yes.”

The reason businesspeople succeed is because when an order is given, the whole company works toward that goal. With the support of a majority of its board of directors, a company will be united under the overriding principle of profit, despite dissenting voices.

The most obvious difference between politics and business is that politics stresses strategies and schemes. The best way for the opposition to trip up the government is to prevent it from doing well, which creates a vicious cycle.

Also, every single cent in the national budget requires legislative approval. This is diametrically opposed to the flexibility of a business entity. If the system that is applied to states were implemented to businesses, there would be a long series of bankruptcies and devastation.

Politicians have to communicate with and persuade the public, and they have to tussle and make compromises with the legislature. Businesspeople work for profit and have no time for red tape. Politicians and businesspeople are different because they work in different environments.

A businessperson with massive business interests in an enemy nation running for president can only be called a vassal and a puppet.

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