Saturday, 3 August 2013

Are The Student Protests In Taipei Already Discredited?

The current objections to the cross-strait agreement on trade in services seem to me to be misguided; what is objectionable is not the opening up of Taiwan's service industries to Chinese investment (and vice versa), what is objectionable about this is the absence of respect for property rights by the government of Taiwan.

The significance of this must be raised by pointing out that property rights are for everybody and include the contractual rights of employees (including, crucially, the freedom to negotiate the terms of contracts - with the help of a union if it comes to it) and the contractual obligations of employers. This is an elementary implication of the point, but one which will be smothered under the swirling foam of commentary before it is shaved off along with other untimely grey stubbles of objection. That foam is already bubbling up from the gargling orifices of socialist academics like Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧)...
People like this "Frida" woman (her chosen English name is obviously an allusion to the communist painter) are straightforward propagandists, not academics; what she is doing is deliberately conflating two objects into one; the denial and distortion of property rights through the sprawling of Statist political power with an agreement to retract this sprawl to some extent in respect of cross-strait trade.

Yet this is a vital distinction that must not be lost.

Freedom of trade between Taiwan and China is good. Lack of respect for property rights (including contracts) on either side is not good. This - and only this - ought to be the overarching point of any protest movement among students. But what do we get instead? Demands to restrict trade (classic socialist protectionism), along with demands for splintered, non-integrative demands for justice (e.g. "housing justice", "land justice", "social justice" and other anti-conceptual nonsensicals).

Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around for this state of affairs, but I'd start with the academics in Taiwan's vastly over-rated punyversities and their stupid, sub-marxist textbooks. 


  1. Good/not good for whom?

  2. ". . . [J]ust look at how our lives have not gotten better after Taiwan joined the WTO..."

    With professors making comments like this, it's hardly a wonder why I have to write theses for other students simply so they can pass!

  3. Good/not good as in freedom/not freedom; a Taiwanese hairdresser or publisher or whatever might not like the extra, foreign competition that could arise from this agreement and so in that sense it is "not good" for them, but this complaint falls outside an ethics of liberty.

    I would need time I don't have to research the details, but I think every legitimate* problem arising from the influx of Chinese competition to Taiwan can be better explained as being caused several things entirely under Taiwanese jurisdiction, e.g. the restrictive effects of labour legislation, comparative lack of access to the courts by the poor and the lack of enforcement of court rulings. Oh and then there's just straightforward corruption.

    * "Legitimate" as in arising from some violation of the non-aggression principle, or some other significant imposed cost.


Comment moderation is now in place, as of April 2012. Rules:

1) Be aware that your right to say what you want is circumscribed by my right of ownership here.

2) Make your comments relevant to the post to which they are attached.

3) Be careful what you presume: always be prepared to evince your point with logic and/or facts.

4) Do not transgress Blogger's rules regarding content, i.e. do not express hatred for other people on account of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

5) Remember that only the best are prepared to concede, and only the worst are prepared to smear.