台灣過去幾年來看，政黨非藍即綠，台灣的民意也呈現某種藍綠對立的發展趨勢，藍綠政黨為了執政權力長期惡鬥，導致台灣滯留不前，昔日台灣與香港、新加坡、南韓並稱為「亞洲四小龍」如今，無論國內生產總值(GDP:Gross Domestic Product)或國際知名度都位居落後，一個經濟下滑的國家，受苦的永遠都是人民。
這就是為什麼要推動教育E化，3年內，我們要讓臺北市所有國小、國中、高中全面建立免費網路、E化教室，每一個學生有平板或其它移動載具 （mobile device）。我們已經把每一科的課程都拍成影片上網（臺北酷課雲），還要繼續精進。將來，每一位孩子只要願意學習，都有載具可以連接網路，透過「酷課雲」自我學習。
Taipei Mayor, Ke Wen Zhe, 柯文哲, recently made a public announcement that he believed, in the next 30 years, opportunities for the poor in Taiwan will decrease to the point that those the lowest on the socioeconomic ladder will have no opportunity to be president, because social position has become hereditary. In this capitalist world, there are two crucial issues to pay attention to:Healthcare, and Education…
Taiwan, currently, has a national insurance system, and equality of access has approximately been reached for all Taiwanese. Educational access, however, still has significant room for improvement. While in principle a meritocracy, access to the schools and systems, including tutoring and extra class time, that give students the opportunity to achieve high enough scores on tests to enter that meritocracy, is still dependent on income.
As a result, the Taipei Mayor has suggested to push forward a move to online learning, using free online resources and e-classrooms to all of Taipei’s elementary middle and senior high school students. This will give them additional opportunities to practice and refine their basic knowledge, to try to match what Taiwanese ever-present “cram schools” may offer.
America is a classically capitalist country, and Taiwan, in many things, follows America’s lead. Taiwan already has a free market system, and has followed the path towards privatization. In this system, every individual is entitled to invest and follow the path of greatest return. As some maximize their profits, the successful will naturally amass as much as possible, and try to set the ladder to the top on fire and close the door behind them. This system has the tendency to concentrate income in the hands of a few individuals at the highest levels. Pure capitalism can cause and exacerbate income inequality when there are weak redistributive mechanisms in place. Taiwan’s measures of income and wealth inequality are slowly deteriorating: the income inequality ratio between the upper and lower quintiles of Taiwanese earners was 5.55 in 2000, and has increased to 6.08 in 2016.
Taiwanese home prices have also been continuously rising, making it harder for new households. Developers, in their desire to maximize sales, have been deliberately driving investors towards speculatively purchasing, or buying up homes for rental, pricing many lower-end earners out of the market, and raising the cost of living for many. This makes those kept out of the best schools, out of the best companies, socioeconomically lower tier. With lower income, they have less to spend on their childrens’ supplemental education, perhaps depriving them of the same opportunities as their parents.
Editor: Theoretically, if too many people buy investment homes, then the cost of rents will decrease as homeowners are desperate for rental income. With ever lowering rental income, people may eventually stop overbuying homes as it becomes less cost effective. This is the theory, but in the meantime, high savings rates and a tendency towards buying stable investments amidst stockpiling cash mean that this trend has yet to come to fruition. Houses continuously get more expensive with no end in sense. –
In earlier societies, the desires provided by the economy could be satisfied through hard work. In this system, hard work breeded rich rewards. Technological advances slowly improved the standards of living for many, but the rules of the system remained largely fair. In modern Taiwan, however, the system appears to be becoming rigged. People’s ability to achieve a similar raise in standard of living seems more and more limited, with the multiple of home costs over annual wages continuing to multiply. Home ownership and saving are increasingly out of reach, even for the college educated stable wage earning household. Some people are starting to lose hope that they have a fair set of opportunities. These trends are disturbing the country, and are leading to increased emigration from Taiwan, as well as increasing the rates of social disturbances, such as the recent protests in Taipei.
In Taiwan, as in many multiparty democracies using first-past-the-post systems and district representation, there has been a maintenance of essentially alternating two party rule, ever since its transition to democracy. The parties are so focused on extending their rule, they will even sabotage eachother’s policies to try to secure their own rule. This has contributed to the relative wage stagnation in Taiwan. Taiwan was once considered one of the Asian dragon economies, but in recent years, regardless of middling GDP growth rates, or positive or negative fortunes for some of the large conglomerates who control the Taiwanese economy, the real sufferers are the average people.
Editor: Contrary to what many passe liberal market enthusiasts still believe, capitalism never exists in a vacuum and ample quantitative economic evidence indicates that a healthy set of common place regulations, a separation of conflicting business and government interests, and a well calibrated redistributive system, as already in place in most countries, which taxes business, personal, and capital income at graduated rates, provides the most stable economic output and the highest standard of living returns for that output. Therefore, there should be a reform, of income taxation and expenditures, but mostly to draw a separating line between the incestuous business sector and career politician class that most countries are unfortunately plagued with.-
Taiwan is a democratic country, and every election represents a kind of small revolution. Unfortunately for the voters, though, the power is of late less held by the government than it is by the Taiwanese oligopolists.
Major candidates and officials in both parties are complicit in helping large firms to maintain their unfair control on the economy, in exchange for electoral resources to maintain their control.
Until Taiwan can rid itself of this two party system, this system will not improve.
Take the Taipei Mayor, Ke Wen Zhe, unaffiliated with either of the two major parties. In the aim on improving the standard of living for all citizens, he has made a major push to decrease inequality levels, but in this system where class differences are self-reinforcing for the offspring of its inhabitants, the road to reform will be heavily obstructed by those who want to lay impediments on others in order maintain their places. If both parties choose to support his efforts to improve income inequality, then perhaps over time, Taiwan can make steps to improve the redistributive structure and sustain the life of its capitalist system.
Full Text of Ke Wen Zhe’s Facebook Post
Translated: “In the next 30 years, there will likely be no way that someone from the lowest socioeconomic classes could become president, because one’s place in society has already largely become hereditary. If a child born today has no access to the internet, a cell phone, or a computer, they are at a competitive disadvantage. This unfairness needs to be shattered.
I’ve said frequently, in a capitalist system, there are two things which society must pay attention to: namely the healthcare system, and the education system.
Within three years, we will provide to every student in Taipei internet access, an e-classroom that can be accessed from any mobile device, and the device itself.
We have already made digitized videos of the curriculum for every subject available. In the future, every student will be able to freely access knowledge and study material, and will be able to self study at their leisure. In the future, all knowledge will be preserved on the internet. If there is a student who lacks access to the internet, or a connected device, and the school is unable to provide one, how will they possibly be able to compete? Completing the construction of education equality in the digital space is therefore an imperative policy for us.
Digitizing education is our way of providing the poorest of our youth a way to even the playing field.
Staff writer: Chen
English and Translation: Ari B