Thursday, 9 September 2010

An Unlikely Pivot?


Further to Nathan Novak's identification of Chinese political economy as fascist due to the heavy involvement of the CCP within the firms of strategically important industries, it is understandable that President Ma's signing of the ECFA accord was widely seen among supporters of Taiwanese freedom as a mistaken, if not disingenuous, attempt to diffuse the very real threat to Taiwanese freedom posed by that very salient aspect of Chinese fascism - Chinese nationalism.

Yet I would suggest that Novak's point about the economic and financial aspect of fascism, and on which I myself have written before, may itself be one on which any successful defense of Taiwanese freedom will pivot.

Allow me to delineate the context for this hypothesis. The looming sovereign debt crises in the U.S. and the E.U. together with worries about the continuing viability of the Federal Reserve dollar mean that the greater part of serious economic activity in China is more, not less, vulnerable to economic shocks such as that experienced two years ago in 2008. In addition, large Taiwanese electronics firms, in spite of their wealth of engineering assets, continue to strain their eyes in the hope that they can maintain their tight profit margins with the flogging of high end electronic goods such as televisions and smart phones. A further problem in both China and Taiwan is that of natural disasters - a problem which is compounded by government incompetence at satisfying the immediate and urgent spike in demand for utilities.

Should a group of Taiwanese entrepreneurs put themselves in a position to tap some of those engineering assets from the larger firms in order to produce small and network-independent solutions to the universal problems of procuring clean water and acquiring reliable electricity, then they may find themselves in a position of much greater strategic import than simply offering relief to poor people hit by disaster. It takes only a little vision to see how the commercial development of nano-scale water filters or of radioisotope thermoelectric batteries for example could render obsolete the old idea of centralized utility networks under effective State control. And it takes only a little more vision to see very much farther than that.

Not only might the potential market demand for such products far exceed that of luxuries like smart phones and monitor screens, but alongside an even more severe global economic meltdown, such enterprises could help the Chinese people themselves to begin to put that government in Beijing and many of its despicable corporate hang-ons out of business for good.

Perhaps in considering a fresh perspective such as this, the opponents of ECFA may yet find it a help to the defense of Taiwanese freedom rather than a hindrance - and this quite irrespective of the intentions of the KMT. If only they could remove those anti-capitalist cataracts from their eyes....

Yours freely,
Michael Fagan.

(Sent: Thursday September 9th 2010. Published in the Taipei Times Saturday 11th September 2010).

Good work on the editing this time (except the switch from "freedom" to "sovereignty" - nobody may presume my authority delegated to any hive, democratically constituted or not; this stuff is important and if you can't keep it straight, then I will not be answerable to words that are not my own).

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