Friday, 22 April 2011

Against C.J. Wu 吳啟禎

They do like to keep the red flag flying in the TT don't they? Not a jot of irony between the lot of them: consider this plate of barely-warmed-over Naomi Klein ejectile from one C.J. Wu (吳啟禎) of the interestingly named Taiwan "Thinktank"...
" released by the Ministry of Finance and other departments show that income distribution in Taiwan is becoming more and more unequal."
To speak of the "distribution" of income is as morally outrageous as to speak of the "distribution" of women - neither women nor income are to be rightfully considered as mere quantities subject to State policies of redistribution. The mere fact of income inequality is of no moral import whatever and neither is the extent of income inequality. What is all important is the moral fulcrum of action by which that income is obtained: there is coercive command at one end, and free exchange on the other - and yes, it is that simple.
"This [capital flight - ed] has led to an excessively rapid change in Taiwan’s manufacturing sector, which has damaged the employment prospects and incomes of middle-aged, older and less skilled workers, although it has brought benefits to capitalists and white-collar workers who have high-level knowledge and skills."
Oh? Well perhaps it's about time the employment prospects and incomes of middle-aged, older and less skilled academics in Universities and ironically-named "thinktanks" took a bit of damage too then isn't it? After all, why should the unfortunate workers continue to subsidize academic cretins - whom I might add, constitute the single largest item in the government's budget this year at >NT$348 billion - through the tax system?
"...when it comes to Taiwan’s long-term competitiveness, our society and economy have been systematically weakened, and so in turn has our capacity for innovation."
That is pure collectivized ethics: look - it is individual people who are "competitive" and other people's competitiveness is not the property of the Taiwan government to dispose of it as it sees fit. To speak of "our capacity for innovation" is insolent - it is not in any sense "ours", and least of all yours, Mr Wu.
"It ought to be possible to moderate the detrimental effects these external factors have on a country’s long-term social and economic development through income redistribution mechanisms, and this is an important functional role of government."
No it isn't; that is a symptom of a dysfunctional government, and with all due respect (i.e. none) to your "it ought to be possible" claptrap, the salient fact is that it is not possible for the simple reason that no government can spend money more wisely than a country's civil population can themselves.
"However, wealth redistribution mechanisms in Taiwan have been damaged by an economic mindset heavily biased toward the supply side that has long been held by successive governments."
The veracity of that claim must be considered against the fact that those "redistribution measures" now account for almost half of current government spending at NT$838 billion,* or almost three times that of defense. If the word "fact" means anything to you, then you will draw the appropriate conclusion as to Mr Wu's claim that wealth redistributions mechanisms are "damaged".
"Around the world, this kind of supply-side economic thinking has come to be widely seen by academics as “voodoo economics.”..."
I see they still stock those old left-wing comics in the mental institutions then...
"This brand of economic thought has been carefully reconsidered and strongly criticized in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis."
No - you people can't even "carefully reconsider" your own lies and outrageous expropriations of the semantic content of words.
"Now, however, it is seen as lacking a scientific basis, as well as being detrimental to economic justice and being at least one of the factors contributing to the greed that led to the financial crisis."
"Economic justice" is just a euphemism for theft - this is a perfect example of how persons like Mr Wu, who perhaps benefits from such theft personally, expropriate the semantic content of words to suit his nefarious ends. And, like Turton, Wu fails to mention the two most salient aspects of Federal involvement in the 2008 financial crisis. I've got a NT$500 bill that says none of my occasional left-wing readers can tell me precisely what those two aspects are.
"Since taking office, US President Barack Obama’s administration has taken a lead in reconsidering such policies and has implemented a range of reform measures aimed at correcting the problems brought about by the infatuation with voodoo economics demonstrated by the preceding administration of former US president George W. Bush."
Oh yes - President Obama has massively inflated the U.S. national debt to over U.S.$14 trillion and then had the temerity to talk about cutting up to 27% of that - over 12 years! - with the only real figures he could offer adding up to a paltry 6% at U.S.$854 billion (which, coincidentally, was about the size of the stimulus bill signed by President Bush).

That the TT continue to publish this sort of rampant red flag waving is .... (cue mighty effort of self-restraint)... unfortunate. I've had enough - I could refute the entire thing in detail, but I can only stomach dissection for a few minutes before I begin to feel queasy.

*Education: NT$358 billion. Social Welfare: NT$347 billion. Retirement: NT$134 billion. See MOF website for budget download (excel file): I can't quite remember where it is now, but I'll post a link when I find it again later (the MOF's wesbite is a mess).

Later: The relevant link is here actually, not at the MOF website. Hit that first download item ("Brief Presentation on Analysis of Annual Revenue and Expenditure").


  1. You do realize that "income distribution" is used in the statistical sense and does not, in itself, imply any redistribution (thought some may choose to see it that way), do you not? Likewise, speaking of the "distribution" of woman is about as morally un-outrageous as speaking of the "distribution" of the population or the "distribution" of freckles on that man's face.

  2. Blob: I wasn't born yesterday. Look - why is that statistical perspective required? What is its' purpose? What does its' employment signal to you about the sort of actions it will inform?

    These people don't consider such questions just out of idle interest.

  3. Because it's the default perspective when it comes to measuring stuff. How would measuring any property of the population (sex, wealth, health, etc.) not involve statistics?

    Now your criticism makes sense with "income distribution" because of the way "redistribution of the wealth" tends to follow. But then you brought up the example with women which just made no sense.

  4. Oh for pete's sake... work it out for yourself.


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