Labor reform...not going well


I believe 2000 was the last time Taiwan had normal interest rates. So that alone can explain 17 years of stagnation. But you didn’t report all of the stats in there. They said employers are willing to start graduates at 1.9 or 1.2% higher starting wage than last year, which may indicate (if these surveys are to be believed) that there is rising demand for workers. But this is just a year-to-year comparison, such fluctuations seem normal, but if a trend continues over the years, that’s what to look for.


Not all historians would put it that way, but it’s beyond the scope of what I have time to discuss.

Law set by humans is relatively easy to understand and, in a democratic system, relatively easy to change. When the secrets of the universe are properly understood, you can change human law accordingly.

Unfortunately, a mere mortal like my worthless self does not understand the secrets of the universe. Since Honorable Jotham knows people who do understand these matters, I wish great happiness to Honorable Jotham and his Omniscient Austrian Oracles. :bowing:



[quote=“yyy, post:101, topic:158317, full:true”]
There was a proverb, once upon a time, about a rising tide. I wonder what happened to that.[/quote]
I agree that the ‘rising tide’ is a gross oversimplification. Yet in one of your subsequent posts you imply that a minimum wage does indeed create a ‘rising tide’. In other words, you’re suggesting that lawyers have solved a problem that development economists have struggled with for well over a century. Clever chaps, it seems.

Let’s step back a bit. Exactly what is your goal in implementing a minimum wage, what do you suppose is the mechanism by which this goal is achieved, and have you considered alternative possibilities for reaching it?

I just said it should be freely available (not free, ie., paid for from taxes). Of course, there are lots of laws about who may provide education, to whom, and on what basis. Governments generally don’t like the plebs receiving real, useful education; they start getting ideas above their station.

Sez lawyers, who end up getting their undies in an awful snarl-up. Meanwhile, corporations usually draw lines between financial strategy, HRM, health&safety, and QC … because they’re utterly different things.

Fine, a planned economy then. What do you call it when a government sets price levels of goods and services? You do realise, I hope, that when a government sets the price of (say) bread, they’ve automatically set the baker’s salary, the level of subsidies for wheat, the profit margin for millers, the relative desirability of more nutritious food, and so on and so on?

Your implicit assumption is that governments have such an accurate model of the economy - an astoundingly complex nonlinear, time-variant dynamic system - that they are able to tweak this bit here and achieve some predicable result there. They do not have such a model. If one existed, it would require Deep Thought-grade computing power to run the model. Of course governments do have the power to control the future direction of the economy, and this gives them the illusion that they have the knowledge to do so effectively.

I suppose that’s about the size of it. Funnily enough, here in the third world (I’m not in Taiwan at the moment) I have more flexibility to do the Right Thing. I am able to farm in a way that is right and proper (and productive) because I’m too small to bother with. If I were a large-scale producer, government agencies would be there telling me I have to use this process and that chemical and pay this and that fee for mindless certificates and licenses and non-existent government ‘services’. They would impose so many costly overheads on me that I would be forced to reduce the salaries I pay to employees, because my operating costs are largely fixed. As it is, I can pay them above the market rate, I can give them benefits-in-kind, and I can give them training, without the clipboard brigade turning up sucking their teeth and quoting statute at me.

But this doesn’t scale. And that’s why third-world countries remain populated by tiny inefficient almost-companies, that dare not grow beyond a couple of people and become actual companies. When governments treat companies as adversaries, companies just can’t be bothered with the aggravation, and they either never get off the ground, or they go elsewhere.

Eh? You prefer the third world?

One hallmark of a developed nation is a tax system that’s simple to understand and easy to comply with. Third-world countries always have a tax system that’s so byzantine and draconian that people avoid it like the plague, and they do this by the simple expedient of not earning anything.

Well, obviously, the contract doesn’t get signed in the first place. You seem to be getting confused with issues of interpretation, say in the case of breach-of-contract.

In other words, we’re back to We Know What’s Best For You.

Want to start another thread on it?

Anyway, I wasn’t referring to the British. You do seem to be implying that people are people, and they all think the same way and want the same things. This is why it’s pointless having the middle classes (AKA public school twits) holding consultations with people whose lives they’ve never lived. They either don’t understand what they hear, or they don’t listen.

Personally I think Jarvis got it wrong. “Common people” dance and drink and screw not because there’s nothing else to do, but because it’s fun.


Lawyers created the minimum wage? I guess I need to review my history books.

Let’s step back a bit. Exactly what is your goal in implementing a minimum wage, what do you suppose is the mechanism by which this goal is achieved, and have you considered alternative possibilities for reaching it?

Sorry, I don’t have time to re-invent the wheel for the sake of this discussion. The wiki article has a nice quote from Churchill, fwiw. I’m sure you would object on the grounds of twittiness, but at least he’s not a middle class twit like your lawyers. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

We’ve had this conversation before. If you get a time machine and want to go back to the Dickensian era, I won’t stop you. Farewell, Mr. Finley. :bowing:

Lawyers created not just the minimum wage but the concept of labor standards? Wow, I have so much to learn from the Finleyndian education system, if only I could aford it.

Oh no, we can’t have economic planning! :runaway:

Even the Americanized, 21st century GOP-ized version of Hayek in Jotham’s rap video was in favor of economic planning. “But who plans for whom? I want plans by the many, not plans by the few.” :musical_note: :grinning: :rainbow:

As for the price of bread, you don’t mind if the baker is forced to accept the bread he bakes in lieu of cash, regardless of whether it’s calculated at the wholesale price, the retail price, or any other price. I think most bakers would prefer to have some kind of regulation. (NB I am talking about the baker as an employee, which appears to be the default situation in this era of international bakery chains.)

In my experience it’s the other way around, but I suppose we’re not using the same exemplars of each “world”.

Oh, geez. :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: If you don’t like it, just leave! If that means leaving the planet, so be it!

If it’s wrong for the government to forbid selling your kidney as part of an employment contract, surely it’s twice as wrong for the government to forbid selling both your kidneys. It massively abrogates Darwin’s law.

Or does it? :eek: Which society is stronger, the one where half the population walks around with a missing kidney and the other half is already dead, or the one where the government does its job by regulating things?

Here’s a three part series explaining one aspect of what I’m talking about. It’s not only a labor issue.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.

Over the last 10 years, thousands of businesses across the country — from big corporations to storefront shops — have used arbitration to create an alternate system of justice. There, rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients, The Times found.

The change has been swift and virtually unnoticed, even though it has meant that tens of millions of Americans have lost a fundamental right: their day in court.

Others have already explained it far more succinctly than I ever could, so I defer to them. :bowing:

I will, however, share one more clip with you.

If that doesn’t crack you up, nothing I can say will ever make sense to you. :idunno:

Question about best way to break contract before it starts?

You’re taking that out of context. “Who plans for whom?” is criticism of government planning, because they are controlling people.

His solution is plans by the many, meaning the common people, their millions of individualized personal plans and ambitions with which they freely buy or sell and direct the economy without government intervention. Plans by the few is government planning for millions, another form of authoritarianism.


Also known as democracy. :rolling_eyes: There’s a Churchill quote for that too.


You can’t quote Churchill as a paragon of free markets. Didn’t you know he was quite socialist, even looked favorably on Mussolini’s version of fascism. He’s only known as a staunch conservative dealing with foreign affairs in time of crises.


You’re missing the point.

Plans by the few is government planning for millions, another form of authoritarianism.

Oh no, we can’t let an elected government decide anything. That would be undemocratic! :wall:

How about this: how to destroy the DPP’s credibility in one easy step.

Step 1: Abolish the minimum wage. :rainbow: :moneybag: :grinning:

It doesn’t matter how many jobs would be “created”. It doesn’t matter what the courts or even the Control Yuan would say about it. The people would demand action, so Minister Jotham’s plan would fail and, by the next election at the latest, bring down the current regime. Depending on how the other parties play their cards, Taiwan could end up with an NPP government. And I can guess how much you would love that! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


You’re playing rhetoric tricks, which is why you’re throwing me off. I’m talking about economics; and government planning, in the framework of economics, means specifically manipulating the economy. It doesn’t signify the general legislative capacities of democracies, or the agenda of governments outside of economics.

I have found the DPP under ChenShuiBian more market-friendly with privatization than the Blue Party. Is this currently in the works?

As for abolishing minimum wage, I don’t see it affecting too many people adversely. Only a small portion of workers whose higher salary displaced other disaffected workers (the number of which is commensurate with how high the minimum was raised), which disaffected will be grateful supporters of a government providing them access to the job market again.


So much dogmatism in this thread by bones are starting to hurt.
Would not want most of you within a million miles of government power.


You’re the one who keeps steering this labor reform thread in the direction of theoretical economics, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you obsess over items like supply and demand without accounting for real world factors like the demand for tangible improvement and the effects of social instability, you might as well make an economic argument for reunification, independence or status quo without accounting for the economic impact of resistance, invasion or Cold War shenanigans respectively.

It’s all interconnected. Economics means the science of household management. A household comprises living beings, and living beings can’t be reduced to simple mathematics.

As for abolishing minimum wage, I don’t see it affecting too many people adversely. Only a small portion of workers whose higher salary displaced other disaffected workers (the number of which is commensurate with how high the minimum was raised), which disaffected will be grateful supporters of a government providing them access to the job market again.

KMT-NPP coalition 2020! :smile: :popcorn:


You needn’t worry about Finley, if he’s being honest. I don’t see myself running for office either. The Slayer of Pirates and Buster of Ghosts? I don’t know.

But don’t mess with the OP, or she’ll unleash the fury of the Feline Yuan on you!
:cat: :cat2: :cat: :cat2: :cat: :tiger: :lion_face: :scream:


First of all, Keynesian economics tries to reduce things to mathematic equations, and they err because human beings are the economy, not robots that can be predicted and analyzed with math. This is closer to how you see the world. Keynesian economics give governments permission to go ahead and try to control the economy, the people, because they’re all just reduced to math.

The divide between left and right mostly comes down to natural law. That’s why you and the left can’t grasp economics. In your world, life itself let alone economics can’t exist unless governments make it happen somehow.

When you were speaking to Finley about the rights to work versus responsibility, you were like two ships passing in the night. I understood that Finley was speaking about natural, inalienable rights when referring to the right to work (maybe he denies this characterization), but then I was floored by all the reams of government manuals and decrees you rolled out as though it were somehow relevant.

Our Constitution itself says that Man has inalienable rights, which are natural rights, to “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness,” and that they are self-evident, except to you. That means that government is for the purpose of defending those rights, which are already there; they don’t create them or decree them. But they can work against them, just as they can work against economics.

Thomas Jefferson talking about why Americans are free, democratic and have rights:

As for labor reform, we agree on good conditions for workers. We don’t agree how to go about it because you deny natural law and economics that exist outside of government mandates. British ambassador to USA James Bryce explains why natural law (and by extension plain and simple economics) is the best approach to labor reform:


Oh geez. First of all I told you I’m not a Keynesian and bla bla bla this is boring. :cactus:

I might as well bring out that Churchill quote.

“It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty’s subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions. It was formerly supposed that the working of the laws of supply and demand would naturally regulate or eliminate that evil […and…] ultimately produce a fair price. Where… you have a powerful organisation on both sides… there you have a healthy bargaining… But where you have what we call sweated trades, you have no organisation, no parity of bargaining, the good employer is undercut by the bad, and the bad employer is undercut by the worst… where those conditions prevail you have not a condition of progress, but a condition of progressive degeneration.”

It’s amazing that 108 years later some people still find this controversial.

Now run away before the government passes another law! :runaway:


[quote=“yyy, post:134, topic:158317, full:true”]
Oh geez. First of all I told you I’m not a Keynesian and bla bla bla this is boring. :cactus:[/quote]
I don’t know exactly how you characterize yourself as non-keynesian, and it doesn’t import. But as for this discussion, you say exactly the same things they say. And the result is always the same, more robust government intervention in the market.

It doesn’t change the situation as it stands. As I said before, he was socialist, he favored state interventionism as you do and as Keynes does so it was in his interests to pit the rich against the poor as Marxists do to justify that interventionism. I also have quotes of Churchill, but first of all, Mises:

Churchill was big on establishing labor union power so they couldn’t be prosecuted for property damage in Great Britain, which rendered them unassailable in implementing socialism in Britain, thereby contributing to the epithet of being the sick man of Europe, until Margaret Thatcher reversed the trend.

Says Churchill:

So you quoting Churchill as somehow representing my viewpoint, a voice for free markets, isn’t appropriate.


Herr Jotham, I was accusing neither you nor “free markets” of Churchillianism. Such an action would be above my pay grade. :hushed:


Back on topic:

Commissioner Lin doesn’t give a timetable, but his counterpart in Hualien does.

Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) called on the government to suspend the enforcement of the amendment for five years, saying businesses cannot afford the increased personnel costs.

“The government should consider suspending enforcement for five years until the economy has the ability to support the amendment,” Fu said.

That’s better than the 100 or so years proposed by our friend the pirate hunter. :rolling_eyes: The Premier is having none of it, threatening action by both the EY and the CY. Meanwhile Ko-P is complaining that the central government has refused six requests for clarification of how the new rules actually work, Eric Chu wants them “to make adjustments to the amendment and unify enforcement criteria at the local government level,” and the Premier has some good news for employers:

To mitigate the effects of the amendment, the central government has designated the first and second quarters of this year as a grace period for businesses to make adjustments, the Executive Yuan said, adding that formal labor inspections would be launched in the third quarter to ensure compliance.

I think we can safely say the OP is correct.

Pensions for permanent residents

A friend of mine is helping out in a relative’s factory. Her heart is broken as most workers are SouthEast Asians, who are fed in premise 2 bientangs a day, plus live there. Aside from that, that is the only concession they get.

Conditions are such that the Taiwanese employees resigned in masse after Lunar New Year. I mean all of them. The relative begged my pal yo help out with inspections… of which she knows nothing but I guess at least she’s a warm body.

Sample workers include a South East Asian mom with two kids under 2 years old…which she brings to the factory. The kids cry all day and their bodies are covered in sores from bug bites. Every day, she takes them to work in her scooter. The kids wander in the factory floor among the speeding vehicles… The woman takes the food back home every day, I guess for hubby, who’s sitting in the catbird seat.

My pal is appalled as she thinks upon inspection, Social Services Taiwan-equivalent would take the children away and fine the company for safety issues. I tell her in the very dim possibility that happens, fine won’t be 3000 ntd, so safety is not an issue. Plus she forgets anytime the authorities step in, the Mom would probably be kicked out of the country or forced to leave. That is why she cannot ask for help, if there was any available, such as affordable childcare or any support for single mothers. The children would be given to the Dad, irregardless of him being a drunk, absent or dead. In the last item, they would be given to the nearest Taiwanese relative, whether they want them or not. Possibly not. Both are girls. But neither can Mom take them back to Indonesia or Filipinas. They are MIT.

Which reminds me of this news I saw today about a wife that vandalized the xiao san -mistress- scooter. Wife has 6 children with hubby… all girls. So hubby gets mistress…into teh family home. That did upset the wife, who removed the scooter far, far away and hence she got herself a nice problem with the cops.

Oh, I forgot. The relative told my pal that if she can work Saturdays and Sundays, please, she will pay overtime. Which begs the question if they have enough orders to work 24/7, why can’t they get their act together and get organized so that they do NOT have to work 24/7, treat workers fairly and locals do not run screaming away for their mamas.


It’s official: the government’s slight reduction of overtime is “evil”. :imp:

The commissioner said his proposal to stop implementing the “evil law” of “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day,” which he claims has made the public and businesses suffer, was a reflection of what the grassroots wanted.

Also, the manufacturing industry is dying, and the tourism industry is almost dead, according to the Commissioner.

Meanwhile, Premier Lin tells employers in general how naughty they are.

Yet the same criticism can be directed at the government.

The government’s follow-up to the act’s implementation and its examination of the problems reportedly caused by the policy has shown that the problems mostly arose from lax execution of the labor law prior to its amendment, the premier said

More flexibility is coming, but apparently the KMT only wants general (not specific) flexibility.

The Ministry of Labor yesterday announced that the logistics industry will be allowed flexibility when applying Article 30, Paragraph 3 of the act, which stipulates that employers, with prior consent from the relevant unions, can distribute the regular working hours over eight weeks, provided that the regular working time does not exceed eight hours per day and the total number of working hours do not exceed 48 hours per week.

It would collect opinions regarding the measure, it said.

Asked about the proposed relaxation and whether other industries would be given similar flexibility, the premier said he would respect the ministry’s decision.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the government should set “a final tone” instead of using executive orders to relax prohibitions that it established, “which leaves everyone baffled.”


The headlines say it all: thes egusy really cannot think outside the box.