Taiwan: Discussion questions
1. How has ‘land reform’ contributed to the rapid industrialization of Taiwan?
Back in the 1950s the government of Taiwan started to offer yields of land for families to own and operate off of. The land, which was supplied with food/crop, released man power for industry to prosper. As the government distributed the land, the owners took advantage. Taiwan’s rural beginnings lead to industrial wealth like Mr. Wang, shown in the film. These people’s homes acted as factories inside and out. There was originally cheap labor and long hours which allowed Taiwan to offer cheap goods for western markets.
2. What role have ‘Sweat Shops’ and long hours played in Taiwan’s ‘rags to riches’ story?
The cheap labor and long hours of the sweat shops laid the groundwork for the prosperous future of the Taiwanese. This was encouraged by the reforming government at the time. All of these sweat shops were producing cheap goods for Western markets. The work was indeed long and hard but it was a crucial step in Taiwan’s road to riches.
3. The forces unleashed by rapid industrialization brought increased competition for labor in Taiwan. What impact did this increased competition have on wages and the standard of living of the Taiwanese people?
Increased competition meant only the really competitive companies survived. Companies like ACER responded to increased competition with innovation. They invented devices like the first desktop calculator and the pen watch. They were training thousands of engineers every year in order to produce these high tech goods for other markets to buy. The leaders of ACER strive to make their products the best and therefore others rely on them for success.
4. According to the global computer giant ‘ACER’ which is based in Taiwan, what are the keys to Taiwan’s economic success?
Taiwan’s economic success can be credited to the easy access to start a business in the country. Statistics show that 1 in every 6 families have/had their hands in on their own business. In other terms, Taiwan has less bureaucracy and restrictions than other countries and opens up doors for entrepreneurial families. A deregulated economy has opened doors for many men and women.
5. Taiwan has thrived in the global economy by specializing in what they do best! How have they managed to survive and prosper without producing their traditional rural products? Are there any dangers in this approach?
When adults moved into factories and off the rural fields, they could afford to educate their children and therefore prepare them for a promising future in business ventures such as IT. Prosperity can then increase the return on the education. A good analogy they used was that the parents developed the boxes on the shelves and the kids produced the goods and software inside. Taiwan is constantly exposed to foreign competition which they take advantage of.
6. What role has globalization played in the increased wealth and improved political freedom of the people of Taiwan?
Taiwan is a democracy, unlike 40 years ago when it was a dictatorship. There was a rapid transformation after the fall of their dictatorship. In the 1980s, Taiwan started to produce high tech gadgetry and the middle class started to rise and gain more freedom whether it be politics or economic rights. These laid the foundation for their stable democracy. Some even venture to call this Americanization. Taiwan has credited the businesses that have produced the best around the world as they work to adapt and expand (ie. Starbucks).
Vietnam: Watching the Program: Discussion questions
7. What limits are placed on the employment of children in Nike factories in Vietnam?
They do not employ any children under the age of 18 for footwear and age 16 for apparel. Child labor was outlawed in Vietnam in 1988 which allowed more room...