Get ready for a decade of prosperity. I coined a new name for last year to next: 3-4-5.
3% (2020), 4% (2021), 5% (2022). Those are the economic growth rates Taiwan is projected to undergo.
TSMC will double its revenue in two years, Taiwan will be a regional R&D hub in more than just AI research, and Taiwan’s leadership in display technology will finally be commercialized.
You’ll be hearing some of the things people were saying about Taiwan a decade ago.
The education system may seem flawed, but it served its purpose, chiefly, to drag the people out of the rice paddies and factories and into the science parks. The system’s brutal emphasis on never making mistakes, that mistakes are shameful and to this day, corporally and emotionally punishable has bred a generation committed to academe like no other before it.
And rote they did. Sacrificed sport and art and leisure and dug into the short term memory art of the cram. And it worked, as Friedman so aptly pointed out a few years ago when he wrote that article. He actually made the rounds from FOX to Letterman talking about Taiwan and basically quoting that article in the interviews.
The blowback of course, is a somewhat social ineptness, coupled with a draught of creativity and a culture that dares not challenge the status quo. Making money becomes the prime directive and selfishness rules the day. The drivers, the laoban class, the salary slave, the owners of FoxConn…
And yet, there is kindness and community and evolution. The mei meis and jie jies are not settling for Prince Slob-a-lots, population is dwindling, and the economy weathers and flourishes. Since the writing of that article, Taiwan has only evolved. Another successful election, no bombs or half-baked assassination attempts, Taiwan plods forward, trends upward. China Lite.
Bizarrely, Taiwan managed to transition from being ruled by a bunch of vicious clowns to a more-or-less functioning government and legal system within a couple of generations, or at least one that delivers a manageable level of corruption and incompetence. That’s quite an achievement, and off the top of my head I can’t think of any other country that’s managed to do that quite so quickly, successfully and painlessly.
South Korea would be another example.
Its more to do with the culture , Chinese ethnic groups value hard work and material success more. So do the Vietnamese, so do the Koreans and the Japanese. Less so for some SE Asian countries.
Taiwan has done well to get to this point but it needs to pull up it’s socks and the KMT need to stop favoring the rich and asset holders all the time. It needs to make the move toward a more caring society in terms of pushing for higher wages, better social welfare provision, better working conditions, cleaner environment. These concepts have been quite slow to be implemented and Taiwan is very much a follower, when the Koreans do it the Taiwanese will think about doing it.