The island of Taiwan has successfully managed 60 years of fast-paced economic growth. Taiwan is a demonstrably resilient player in the global economy, while also maintaining high levels of income equality. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding whether the factors that have enabled and sustained the Taiwanese development project thus far will be an adequate means of managing the contemporary challenges facing the island. Taiwan may be becoming increasingly vulnerable to global economic conditions, and the island’s future seems also to be increasingly tied to developments in the Chinese mainland. This paper examines the prospects for a continuing Taiwanese growth paradigm from both a cultural and an economic perspective and finds reason for optimism. This optimism is contingent on the strength of international export markets and prudent management of cross-Strait relations with the Chinese mainland. Taiwan is the 17th largest economy in the world, 14th largest exporter and 16th largest importer, and the third largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, with over US $180 billion. After 1949 Taiwan's productivity in agriculture increased. This was a result of land reforms that were initiated by Chiang Kai-shek after his KMT government moved from Nanjing to Tai'pei. Foreign investment was important to Taiwan during the 1960s, so they developed export processing zones with some enticements designed to bring in more foreign investors. The emphasis slowly moved to technology or capital-intensive commodities from that of labor-intensive goods during the 1980s. Deregulation of various financial areas (banking, stock market, trade, finance, etc.) during the 1990s was an attempt to liberalize the economy and was a sign of Taiwan's desire to join the World Trade Organization. It is apparent these policies have been successful as Taiwan has one of the world's highest standards of living. Also one of Asia's "Four Tigers", along with...
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