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By S. Tsang

As a rustic, Taiwan is without doubt one of the such a lot shiny, fascinating, vibrant and entrepreneurial on the earth. The members exhibit what underpins the energy of Taiwan, studying the relevance of its democratic politics, civil society and the presence of an existential risk from China, in addition to the significance of its overseas enterprise nexus.

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Additional resources for The Vitality of Taiwan: Politics, Economics, Society and Culture

Sample text

But can a democratic state do the same? Is democracy to blame for Taiwan’s recent economic troubles? Do democratic systems lack economic policy ‘germinating power’? These are complex questions that cannot be fully answered here. The chapters in this book by Kastner, Wong, Chen and Schubert and Keng consider various dimensions of this issue. Still, some preliminary observations are in order. First, Taiwan’s economy continued to grow in the years after its democratic transition. Its per capita GDP growth averaged a little over 5 per cent per year between 1996 and 2009.

Success on this front is an especially important component of Taiwan’s vitality because, as the literature on democratic consolidation shows, effective governance – both political and economic – is necessary if a new democracy is to survive and thrive. Political scientists and economists have long debated whether democratization enhances or hinders economic performances. 7 Autonomy from popular pressure, in short, is necessary for optimal economic policy making. An opposing position holds that democratization may actually improve economic outcomes because it allows the public to scrutinize public actors and hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.

9 Thus far, the straightforward link between the emergence of the middle class and the transition to, or the rise of, democracy has been examined. The middle class is treated as the necessary, if not sufficient, condition to democracy in the long histories of the West. I am aware that more needs to be done to convince you, the readers, of the political process through which the middle class could have actually initiated and advanced democratization. The same applies to the question of whether democracy-builder would be the middle class of a universal class or some particular class segments only.

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