Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advice in a vacuum

Every time the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT) gives advice to Taiwan on how it should run its economy, I get a strong impulse to visit their office and tell them to pack up and go home. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an economist, but I know enough to distinguish between measures that would benefit Taiwan and those that would be detrimental to its survival.

The main problem with the ECCT is that aside from its neocolonial “Europe knows best” approach to Asia, its recommendations are usually made in a vacuum, as if Taiwan did not face an existential challenge political in nature. As such, the ECCT’s “solutions” are always to “prioritize cross-strait trade normalization” or some variation on that theme. Never, in its wisdom, does the ECCT take into account the long-term impact of further coupling Taiwan’s economy to the “greater China” area, which not only makes Taiwan increasingly dependent on its gigantic neighbor for its economic survival, but also makes it much more exposed to economic embargo, blockade and blackmail should Beijing decide one day to rely on such measures to force Taipei’s hand on political matters, such as unification.

It is quite obvious that the ECCT cares not one iota about Taiwanese, their independence, or the survival of their country as a political entity separate from China. It completely fails to understand, or refuses to see, that the “red tape” it complains about is a means by which Taiwan has managed, sometimes by a thread, to retain its independence and identity.

Until the ECCT sees Taiwan as more that a means to an end, as a market for European products or a mere “springboard” to China, it should keep its self-serving, if not condescending, recommendations to itself.


StefanMuc said...

Thanks for that - beautifully written and apt.

I think this a good example how "advice" by lobbyists should be evaluated.

Anonymous said...

truly great post