Rise of Mainland China Requires Four Revolutions on Taiwan
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 8, 2015
Executive Summary: Academia Sinica member Chu Yun-han's new work, "Lofty Thoughts Amidst
the Clouds" has provoked considerable soul-searching. He boldly
proclaimed that the world dominated by the West since the 18th century
has changed. The non-Western world, led by China, is rapidly rising.
Taiwan must decide how to deal with this cataclysmic change. Recently
the ruling and opposition parties have been arguing about whether to
join the AIIB. Actually, that is no longer the main point. If we truly
love Taiwan, we must join the AIIB. We must discard old ideas and
respond to new realities.
Full Text Below:
Academia Sinica member Chu Yun-han's new work, "Lofty Thoughts Amidst the Clouds" has provoked considerable soul-searching. He boldly proclaimed that the world dominated by the West since the 18th century has changed. The non-Western world, led by China, is rapidly rising. Taiwan must decide how to deal with this cataclysmic change. Recently the ruling and opposition parties have been arguing about whether to join the AIIB. Actually, that is no longer the main point. If we truly love Taiwan, we must join the AIIB. We must discard old ideas and respond to new realities.
Put plainly, the benefits to Taiwan's growth from joining the AIIB far outweigh any disadvantages. One. Finance is the lifeblood of economic growth. The AIIB will undoubtedly become an important platform for economic growth in Asia. Taiwan has become a founding member. This will increase its international profile, provide it with an international forum and increased participation in international trade organizations. Two. The outlook for the emerging economies of East Asia is bullish. This is the world's economic engine. Joining the AIIB symbolizes of our willingness to participate in Asian economic integration. It gives us the opportunity to share in future economic growth.
Even more importantly, the AIIB supports the Mainland's "one belt, one road" international strategy. It provides financing for railways, energy, telecommunications, airports and other projects in countries along the way. It reconstructs a Mainland dominated international economic and trade system. The two complement each other. A "Greater China Economic Circle" is swiftly taking shape, and will greatly benefit Taiwan's economy.
That said, once Mainland China rises, and a "Greater China economic circle" takes shape, Taiwan industries will face direct competition from the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, and other Asian economies. Taiwan will face more severe job competition from abroad. We must see clearly. We can no longer assume that we have nothing to fear, We can no longer sit on our hands. Still less can we seal ourselves off from the world. Any attempt to do so will only relegate ourselves to the margins of the East Asian economy, and steadily lower our quality of life. We must understand the current situation. The government must work with the private sector to promote four revolutions to transform Taiwan and enable it to become a special link in the Greater China economic circle.
One. A production revolution. Industrial robots and the Internet of Things are progressing. A global "Industry 4.0" era has arrived. Industry 4.0 is not merely industrial robots replacing labor or services. It is the merging of the Internet of Things with Big Data. Under the Internet of Things, production will be fully automated, personalized, flexible, and self-optimizing. This new mode of production will increase production efficiency and reduce production costs.
This megatrend is favorable to growth. The electrical and electronic industry, precision machinery industry, and ICT have long been Taiwan's traditional strengths. if we can improve integration, adopt correct policies, encourage research and innovation, Taiwan should have no trouble catching the Industry 4.0 gravy train. This is something within our control.
Two. An educational revolution. Famed NTU Honorary PhD. Yang Tseng-ning thinks that students on Taiwan "have become lazy". His remarks provoked controversy. Hard work is important for young people on Taiwan, but thinking ability and creative ability are even more so. The 21st century is a dynamic environment. We must learn from the Scandinavian countries, where students are trained to think independently and creatively. Our rigid education system must be reformed. We must recognize each person's unique potential. We must provide them with the right sort of education. Education must be individualized, so that every child will be able to find his own way. The government must do better.
Three. A civil service revolution. The death of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore set off a wave of "Taiwan vs. Singapore" comparisons. Many experts have criticized our civil service regime. They say this is what Taiwan most desperately needs to learn from Singapore. The admission rate for Singapore's civil service is only 2%. It is as competitive as Taiwan's. But the difference is after admission, the Singaporean government first sends these civil service candidates abroad to study. Only then are they admitted to the civil service. Also, salaries for civil servants in Singapore are exactly the same as in the private sector. Competitiveness and performance are the criteria for salary increases. Civil servants have incentives to use their initiative and get things done. By contrast, on Taiwan the longer you have been employed, the more you earn. We lack an appropriate system of rewards. Naturally we have cultivated a habit of ducking responsibility. Internet era government decision-making must be decentralized. Government officials must seize the initiative and address the problems. They must respond to the public, accept challenges, and solve problems.
Blue vs. green political wrangling has become the greatest obstacle to a sound civil service system. Ruling party changes often force even career civil servants to step down or be assigned to dead end jobs. This results in a lack of policy continuity, incites anxiety among the civil service, and renders them unable to concentrate on their work. Both major political parties should engage in soul-searching. They should establish a civil service system in which civil servants enjoy self-esteem, confident they can do their jobs without worrying about politics. Only then can planning be long-term, and lead to the transformation of Taiwan.
Four. A conceptual revolution. Taiwan society is too hermetic. The slightest mention of the Mainland evokes terror. Nothing is permitted. Mainland investments are not permitted. Mainland tourists are not permitted. The STA is not permitted. The MTA is not permitted. All these things that are not permitted, are things that South Korea, Singapore, and others welcome with open arms. Taiwan, by contrast, shuns them all. Nor is Taiwan particularly friendly to foreign investors. It is wary of foreign talent in mergers and acquisitions, in exchange controls, and in tax regimes. The gap between ourselves and Singapore, Hong Kong and other free economies is considerable. Following transformation, these economies will be our main competitors. If public attitudes on Taiwan fail to keep pace with the times, even the best policies cannot replicate Taiwan's economic miracle.
2015年04月08日 04:10 主筆室