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Politics & Law

Why Taiwan has outpaced the Philippines

A Filipino migrant worker sleeps on the back of a firetruck in Manila. The country’s rampant inequality, laid bare by Typhoon Haiyan, is in part a legacy of decades of Western-backed political repression and neoliberalism

A Filipino migrant worker sleeps on the back of a firetruck in Manila. The country’s rampant inequality, laid bare by Typhoon Haiyan, is in part a legacy of decades of Western-backed political repression and neoliberalism

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

Scott Charney wrote an enlightening article explaining how a factor caused the difference between Taiwan and the Philippines in respect of economic development in the 1950s-1980s.

“… the U.S.-backed Filipino elite looted many billions of dollars through widespread corruption while violently repressing any attempt by the Filipino masses to improve the situation… under the rationale of ‘anti-communism,’ U.S. business interests profited from Filipino resources… General Douglas MacArthur, who remarked that ‘if I worked in those sugar fields, I’d be a Huk myself.’  Subsequent attempts, peaceful or armed, to redress the injustices in the Philippines were brutally repressed… with consistent U.S. support.”

“… Chiang (Kai-shek) and his successors guided Taiwan’s path to prosperity, conspicuously beginning with a highly successful land reform program… this path to prosperity was only possible because nobody forcibly stopped it from happening. In other words, land reform, resource-financed social spending, and other deviations from neoliberal orthodoxy usually elicited an aggressive response, covertly or overtly, from the United States, European countries, and their local satraps (like those who ruled the Philippines.)”

As China’s helmsman rulers are well known for refraining from interference into the domestic affairs of other nations, for fostering mutual benefits to be derived from international business deals, and for their policy continuity and persistence, the ASEAN peoples will realise sooner or later who their best ally is. Despite some hiccups, a trend has been forming since the 1990s: the nations in the region will build up a prosperous South East Asia hand in hand.

About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).


2 thoughts on “Why Taiwan has outpaced the Philippines

  1. Yeah, following the neoliberal orthodoxy doesn’t tend to lead to economic development, as Ha-Joon Chang argues in Kicking Away the Ladder. The logic of comparative advantage is compelling, but if a country’s comparative advantage lies in exporting raw materials and cheap labor, free-trade will tend to prevent development. So the real question is, given that the US had the ability to influence economic policy in Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines after WWII, why was only the Philippines forced to accept neoliberal economic policy while the other 3 were allowed to practice import substitution and other economic policies that allowed them to develop?


    Posted by wesmcl | February 7, 2014, 11:24 am


  1. Pingback: Taiwan warns officials not to attend Chinese WWII parade | China Daily Mail - August 30, 2015

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