Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Business Community also has a Responsibility to Save Taiwan

The Business Community also has a Responsibility to Save Taiwan
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
April 9, 2008

Terry Guo said "The business community also has a responsibility to save Taiwan's economy." Was he wrong? Terry Guo told Ma Ying-jeou "Government is not a panacea. One cannot place all the responsibility on the shoulders of government. The business community also has a responsibility to save Taiwan's economy." When Terry Guo spoke of saving Taiwan's economy he didn't mean just saving his own Hon Hai Technology Group. He meant everyone on Taiwan must fight to save the island's economy.

Images of Monday evening's Formosa Plastics banquet have appeared in the media. The significance the images of Ma Ying-jeou, Vincent Siew, Wang Yung-ching, Morris Chang, Terry Guo, all seated in a row, needs no comment. Wang Yung-ching said "The election of Ma Ying-jeou and Vincent Siew is a great benefit of the people of Taiwan. In fact, it is a great benefit of Chinese people the world over!" Wang's comment may have been an exaggeration. But coming from Wang Yung-ching, who has been chafing at the bit for over a decade, it is perhaps understandable, and expressed his long suppressed hopes. Terry Guo said "The business community also has a responsibility to save Taiwan's economy." Kuo meant the business community must assume a greater responsibility for the nation and society.

Over the past decade, Taiwan's most prominent industrialists have been thoroughly frustrated. On the one hand they faced fierce competition in the global market place. On the other hand they were utterly helpless to unlock the ruling regime's Closed Door. Let's not accuse these businessmen of being deficient in patriotism. These captains of industry endured a decade or more of government corruption and economic decline. No one listened to their heartfelt admonitions. It should come as no surprise that they felt a deep sense of alienation at being unable to save their nation.

Over the past two decades the meaning of the term "tai shang" (Taiwan businesspersons) has changed dramatically. At first these industrialists who crossed the Strait to save their companies from bankruptcy were accused of being "traitors to Taiwan" or "Chi-Com fellow travelers." Today they are lauded as the "front guard of Taiwan's economy." Had the ruling regime made steady progress toward an Asian Pacific Trans-shipment Center a decade and a half ago, would Taiwan find itself so weak and marginalized today?

The differing fates of key industrialists over the past two decades tells the whole story. They show us the consequences of globalization on the one hand, and a Closed Door economic policies on the other. Contrast the legendary success of Master Kong, the instant noodles manufacturer which moved to the mainland, with the halting progress of Formosa Plastics, which was prevented from doing the same. Contrast Chang Yung-fa's change of course with Hsu Wen-lung's deafening silence. Their stories are not merely stories of industries struggling to survive. Their stories are stories of a nation, the Republic of China, struggling to survive.

We do not believe "businessmen have no national allegiance." An exceptional entrepreneur will surely have a greater than average sense of political and social responsibility. In fact, the struggle entrepreneurs such as Chang Jung-fa and Hsu Wen-lung went through with cross-strait relations reflects their struggle with the issue of national identity. Who wants to be "a businessman without a country?" National leaders must first establish a system that entrepreneurs can identify with and respect. Only then will entrepreneurs spontaneously and willingly assume the heavy burdens of the community.

Given the new political regime, we have four hopes for the business community. First, Do not corrupt the government. Do not corrupt the political process. Do not give out gift certificates. Do not give out diamond rings. To do so is to murder the government. To do so is to murder Taiwan. Second, do not become involved in political infighting. Do not contribute to dividing society. Do not use the power of commercial sponsorship to blackmail the media. Third, do not solve only Taiwan businessmens' problems. Help solve Taiwan's problems. Ease the problems plaguing an "M-shaped Society." Don't just walk away. Give back, and come back. Help Taiwan become an Asian Pacific Base of Operations. Fourth, Improve the image of entrepreneurs. Give back to the community. Turn the achievements of the business community into the hope and pride of the community as a whole.

"The business community also has a responsibility to save Taiwan's economy!" This means that everyone on Taiwan must help save Taiwan's economy. In fact "save the economy" fails to describe our current plight. In fact, we are already at the stage where we must "Save Taiwan." Help the public establish clean government and a system to which we cam remain devoted, that we will refuse to abandon, in which joys and sorrows are shared. Save Taiwan's economy. If not us, who? If not now, when?

【聯合報╱社論】 2008.04.09


台 塑大樓周一晚宴的圖像,出現在媒體上。馬英九、蕭萬長、王永慶、張忠謀及郭台銘,一字排開;其中深意,不言可喻。王永慶說:「馬蕭當選是台灣人的福氣,也 是全世界中國人的福氣!」這句話,當然有些誇大,但發抒了王永慶十餘年來的抑鬱,也表達了他蓄積已久的期待。郭台銘則說:「拚經濟,企業界也有責任!」這 裡所說的責任,應當是指企業界該承擔更大的國家責任與社會責任。

過去十餘年,應是台灣卓越企業家們內心相當鬱悶的歲月。他們一方面在專業 上面對全球激烈競爭,另一方面又無力化解鎖國的政治惡鬥。莫說商人無祖國,台灣的卓越企業家們十餘年來眼見政府貪腐、國家沉淪,說也無人聽,勸也無人理, 內心當然不免有一種救國無門、報國無路的落寞疏離之感!

不說別的,二十年來「台商」一詞的涵義變化即已道盡一切。一開始,這些「渡海自 救」的廠商,被指為「台奸/資匪」或「中共同路人」;如今,則被譽為「台灣經濟的尖兵」。倘若在十五年前,主政當局就朝「將台灣建設為亞太營運中心」穩步 前進,今天的台灣何至於耗弱及邊緣化到這種地步?


我 們不相信「商人無祖國」,一個卓越的企業家一定會有高於一般人的國家社會責任感。事實上,過去二十年台灣在國家認同及兩岸關係上「嘗試/錯誤」的過程,也 正是許多企業家個人跌宕曲折的心路歷程;張榮發是如此,許文龍亦是如此。誰願意作一個「無祖國的商人」?重點是,主政者必須建立一個讓企業家們共同認同的 「國家」,與共同敬重的「政府」,才能喚起他們對國家社會的愛,也才能使他們發自內心地願意承擔起對國家社會的重大責任。

面對政治新局, 我們對企業界有四點期待:一、不要汙染政府,不要汙染政治。不要再送禮券,不要再送鑽戒;那樣做,是在毒殺政府,也是在謀殺台灣。二、不要捲入政治內鬥, 不要助長社會撕裂,不要用「廣告主」對媒體進行政治迫害。三、不要只是解決「台商」的問題,更要協助解決「台灣」的問題,尤其應致力緩解M型社會的問題。 亦即,不能只是「出走/流血」,更要「回巢/循環」,協助台灣成為「亞太平台」。四、改善企業家的形象,把金錢化作社會愛,將企業的成就轉化成社會共同的 榮譽與希望。


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