Can Taiwan's Economic Miracle Persevere? Page 2

     Aside from the economic considerations, I will discuss some other driving forces behind the 50 years of economic development starting in 1949, areas involving changes in the social power structure, unique ethnic/cultural factors, and domestic and international events, etc. I have also seen some red lights signaling troubles to be reckoned with.

     In a nutshell, if you analyze this miracle carefully you will have to come to the conclusion that it was fraught with many factors connected with luck, coincidence, even accident which the Taiwanese people took advantage of to turn in their favor. Some of these factors came from inside, like the delicate relations and interaction between the "native Taiwanese" and the "mainlanders," and the controversial land reform. Others came from outside international influences. One thing this miracle was not, it was not the result of genuine governmental planning or leadership. This means if a responsible government had thrown in its fair share of contribution, this historical miracle would have gone many, many extra miles.

II. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

The Popular Belief

     Taiwan's economic takeoff started in the 1960s. This phenomenal success was widely believed, though not necessarily entirely true, to have derived from the following causal factors:
1) Successful implementation of a compulsory education system from six to nine years. This has helped improve the quality of Taiwan's labor force tremendously.
2) Ten National Projects-in the '70s the national government moved to establish basic infrastructure, such as airports, highways, railroads, seaports, etc., and basic industries such as steel, petrochemicals, shipbuilding, etc., and utilities, to form a foundation for other industries. The results were mixed and not as claimed by the government.
3) Export-oriented policy-it started as an import substitution policy to the government's credit, but the export boom did not come about via government policy but stemmed from other reasons.