Thursday, December 18, 2008

China-Taiwan talks: the sound of chatter is better than the sound of gunfire, but...

We must always be delighted when governments (or anyone else for that matter) talks rather than fires.

However, I can't help feeling ambiguous about the fact that Taiwan and China are talking about greater links in business and banking:

As the Chinese economy goes down due to the current crisis, naturally, China is very keen to gain access to Taiwan's wealth.

Taiwan's nominal GDP per capita (i.e. wealth per head of the population) in 2007 was estimated to be $16.590 - making it the 40th most rich country in the world - in spite of the political isolation it has faced because of the rise of China - which, meanwhile, has a GDP per capita in 2007 of only $2,034 - making it only the 109th country in the world. In other words, the average Taiwanese is more than eight times as rich as the average Chinese.

The question is: as China goes down because of the current crisis, does Taiwan want to go down with it? Is it merely setting itself up for an invasion that it will be less and less able to resist, the more and more it gets economically entangled with China? Though China has been much more successful in politics because of its sheer size, Taiwan has been much more successful economically - till now!

Morever, as long as Taiwan considers itself "the real government of China" and as long as China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, the divide is unbridgeable. One of them will have to give up their political status for any final reconciliation.

China is still ruled by a Party which, however un-communist it may have become, is still a Party - that is a small group of people who lord it over the rest. In fact, the rule of the Party is, with capitalism, even more to the Party's advantage than was communism. That is, of course, why they have stopped being communist.

As the country goes down, watch the Party become merely dictatorial, without the ideals and and the conscience that made communism at least admirable as an idea, however flawed it was in practice because of its superficial understanding of human nature.

Taiwan, for all its faults, is still a free society. The temptation to give up human freedoms for less economic success is a strange one. But the thought that linking more closely with China will give Taiwan greater economic success is a powerful illusion.

It is idiotic that the USA is pushing Taiwan in this direction. Sphere: Related Content

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