Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Cluster Of Errors

"In a country where we enjoy the benefits of a democratic political system and free-market environment, and where people respect a pluralistic culture and technological innovation, Taiwan should encourage more companies to move up the global corporate ladder."
Whoever was responsible for the Steve Jobs editorial in today's Taipei Times must have went to University.

How else to explain his obvious misuse of the term "free market"? Taiwan does not have a free market in anything, and to pretend otherwise is willful self-deception at best.

Some markets here may be comparatively less rigged, distorted, regulated and taxed than others elsewhere but that hardly qualifies them for the superlative "free". What that scribbling editorialist ought to have done was used the simple term "market economy" (although "mixed economy" would have made salient that aspect of State intervention which the use of the term "free market economy" elides). But of course, if you're a journalist at the Taipei Times, getting things right is not really the point is it?

It's quite sufficient to continue blundering about with semi-literate calls for unspecified government intervention, despite everything that stands for having been refuted by the life of the man - the great critic - whose sad death this editor has misappropriated as a mere hook.

I despair at these sub-Marxist clowns, I really do.


Another editorial, this one by a union official, calls for the government to enforce adherence to a five-day working week (even though most workers in Taiwan already work to a five-day working week).
"The US data also showed that before Taiwan reduced its working hours, its unit labor cost (ULC) in the manufacturing sector rose 0.2 percent from 1990 to 2000. After the cuts, the ULC dropped 3.8 percent from 2000 to 2007 and another 7.4 percent from 2008 to 2009."
Those figures are meaningless because they are aggregate totals taken out of context. Two questions that need to be asked here are (a) are people working more than the five day week free to negotiate their contracts or not?, and (b) what are the overall costs (not just ULC) and margins like for those companies that require their workers to work over the five day working week? And what about those small business proprietorships - noodle shops, motorcycle repair joints, hairdressers, pharmacists (and of course, not to mention the little nightmarket people) - who regularly work six to seven days a week to keep themselves afloat and employ a very small staff of perhaps two or three workers? Enforcing a five day working week upon these businesses might very well send some of them under.

From today's letters:
"What is most urgently needed now is a political union that will form a coalition government for the entire EU."
So wrote Andrew Michael Teo. I agree with much of his analysis, but I disagree with his prescription. I think default is the better, more honest and more realistic option - as I argued in the comments here.

And this in a letter by one Wendy Shin:
"However, why have people in Japan now protested violently against nuclear power? The answer is because if a nuclear crisis is to arise, it would cause the extinction of all creatures."
Where do these abject idiots come from? Oh, of course - the Universities, and the broader ejyukayshion system underpinning them.

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