President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has failed to lay out an economic vision for Taiwan because it has offered only rhetoric without studying the problems facing the country and finding solutions, said Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐), director of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research.
In a recent Facebook message, Chang lamented the lack of understanding by officials about the real state of the economy and said that pinning hope on them to boost the economy was “asking the impossible.”
He posted the message shortly after former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) in a public speech on Monday proposed an initiative that Taiwan modify its growth model and try to position itself as an Asia-Pacific regional value-added service center to increase its economic value.
Siew previously advocated an Asia-Pacific Regional Operations Center when he served in the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration in the 1990s, but it never materialized.
“I saw the dignitaries gathering once more to beef up the economy by shouting slogans. It was the same group of people. Every once in a while, they set the stage by offering rhetoric that sounds right, but is actually wrong, like establishing a center of something in the Asia-Pacific region, to earn titles and build reputations,” Chang said.
He added that “in fact, they get further and further away from the people, and the people still suffer. Events like this are social occasions for the upper crust in Taiwan which do not deserve to be taken seriously. They all live in cloud-cuckoo-land and know nothing about the suffering of ordinary people.”
As a case in point, Chang said that they had proposed in 2005 that Taiwan learn from the development experiences of “three nations — Ireland, the Netherlands and Finland.”
“What are the situations [of these countries] now?” he added.
US management guru Michael Porter told Taiwanese media that the country’s problem was that it has “no vision,” Chang said.
The officials think they have laid out an economic vision for the nation when they spout rhetoric, Chang said, but “setting out a vision in this way is too cheap.”
In contrast, Chang said that in China, think tanks under the Chinese State Council work together with international organizations to create 20-year economic and strategic development plans every 10 years, in addition to its five-year economic plan, Chang said.