Written by Ian Inkster. When attempting a summary prediction of Taiwan’s political economy in January of 2019, I admitted that even annual forecasting can look very foolish, especially during the decline in democratic systems perceived at that time and the importance of complex external commercial relations to the country’s growth and welfare. The forecaster turns idiot with awful speed. I asked to be forgiven during the gentle days of Chinese New Year! Like everyone, I did not predict the coming Covid 19.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. If anything is troubling the incumbent government led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), it would not be the external threats imposed by China. On the contrary, China’s continuous assertive actions toward Taiwan have become the DPP government’s greatest asset, enabling the mobilisation of domestic support observed after President Tsai’s National Day speech, which gathered 67.9% of residents’ approval based on a public survey.
Written by Chen-Yu Lin. While the presence of music is found mainly in the side events of TCCF, it implies that music is an effective and powerful medium to engage the public and bring publicity. However, the relationship between music and other cultural technologies is yet to be probed, problematized, and identified. While the influence of technologies is praised and habitually presented in a positive light in TCCF, the unceasing tension between music creators and technological development—highlighted by discussions of streaming royalties and antitrust regulations—is concealed.
Written by Bo-Yi Lee. Employee training is critical in the success of organisations, including productivity, profitability, innovation capabilities and overall competitiveness. Due to the everlasting and intensifying global competition among firms, particularly in the ICT industry, the Taiwanese government has incentivised firms to build formal training systems. This includes establishing a training committee at the corporate level, creating skill development maps and building e-learning databases for employees. Thus, it will help employees catch up with predicament of ever-changing technologies. However, R&D engineers in the Taiwanese ICT industry rely much more on informal training to update their knowledge and skills in related technologies.
Written by Nicholas Borroz. Taiwan’s government intervenes to develop its space industry. It is one of several political economies characterised by solid government intervention approaches to guide market actor behaviour. This robust interventionist approach has different strengths and weaknesses. In terms of strengths, Taiwan’s approach can help establish local dominance in niches in global value chains. In addition, it can incentivise the growth of certain business areas that will benefit the economy and coordinate the development of complementary business areas.
Written by Bonny Ling. Last year, on Human Rights Day marking the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December by the UN General Assembly, Taiwan’s executive branch of the government (Executive Yuan 行政院) released the Taiwan National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) (臺灣企業與人權國家行動計畫). The Action Plan was celebrated, with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) enthusiastically describing it as “aid[ing] Taiwan’s efforts to become integrated in international trade and supply chains.”
Narrated by Yosa Wariyanti, written by Isabelle Cheng. I have spent a total of 16 years abroad. When we return home, we have our savings, and we may open businesses. But businesses do not always go well. It is difficult for us to find jobs because we do not have good education or professional certificates. No one would hire us. Soon my daughter will go to university. I want to give her a good education. I need to work for at least another five years to pay for her tuition fees. So, I will just go on, and on, and on working abroad.
Written by Chih-chien Lin. Mark Twain once said ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.’ On December 31st, 2019, the WHO office in Beijing reported unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. On February 23rd, 2020, right before Chinese New Year, governments enforced large-scale traffic control (aka lockdown) in Wuhan. On February 27th, the Central Epidemic Command Centre in Taiwan gave its highest alert. It was a serious warning about the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Timothy S. Rich, Madelynn Einhorn, and Isabel Eliassen. Taiwan’s efforts at gender parity for electoral offices have resulted in a legislature where women currently hold 41.6% of seats. This leaves Taiwan ranked 12th globally, with only one Asian country (Timor-Leste) with similar rates. However, despite the success of President Tsai Ing-wen, the vast majority of executive offices (mayors and magistrates) are still held by men. Gender equality and the rise of women in national politics are common narratives when discussing Taiwanese politics.
Written by Huang Yi-Ching, Translated by Sam Robbins. Although everyone is at risk of catching COVID-19, the impact of the disease and preventative measures fall most harshly on already marginalised communities. Wanhua district of Taipei, which has a relatively high proportion of such disadvantaged groups, was also one of the first places to experience community transmission. This outbreak has dramatically increased the stigma attached to Wanhua, and many shipping companies, food delivery services and other recourses stopped servicing Wanhua. In the face of these pressures, communities in Wanhua have had to rely on their collaboration and communal work to help provide the recourses that are no longer present.
Written by Denis Simon. In early 2021, Taiwan’s health care system was ranked number one globally for the third year in a row by NUMBEO’s Annual Online Survey. Its overall performance buoyed the island’s ability to consistently earn such a high ranking during the first 12-14 months of the Covid-19 global pandemic beginning in 2020. Taiwan officials initially were able to ward off any significant damage from the pandemic by pursuing a highly aggressive strategy to keep the virus at bay. While other international rankings, such as the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, do not rank Taiwan as number one in its rating system, there is consensus across the board internationally that the government has proven itself highly effective at managing its single-payer health care system, mainly due to its innovative approach to digital health records.
Written by Lotta Danielsson. For the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan served as a brilliant example of how best to handle the crisis. Leaning on its experiences during the 2003 SARS epidemic, Taiwan received glowing reviews for its protective measures. Stories about long stays in quarantine hotels and the vigilant surveillance of arriving travellers spread widely online. Donations of high-quality protective gear served as public relations opportunities, culminating with “Made in Taiwan” facemasks worn at the White House. Photos from a crowded live concert in Taipei elicited envy from those still in semi-lockdown elsewhere.