Taiwan: Populism or Nationalism?

Lawmakers are now running after what it’s called “foreign fat cats”: foreign people with a high salary (for Taiwanese standards).

The target is now the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC).

A legislator asked (see HERE) “asked to the company’s spokesperson what the company would do with two foreign managers whose yearly salary exceeded NT$10 million (US$309,600) each”.

The idea behind that question seems to be: can their job been done by Taiwanese nationals?

We are talking about a very specific industry and activity.

I am maybe naive, but as far as I know, not so much countries are specialized in high speed train: France, Germany, Japan.

Does Taiwan has the expertise?

Of course not.

That remind me the speech in some countries from the right wing.

We use to call that populism and/or nationalism.

I don’t know about you, but I was quite surprised by the above question asked by a legislator.

Beside, USD 309,600 per year for a top manager…

In western countries, no top managers would work for that amount.

It’s about Euro 200,000.

Obviously, some people have no idea of what they are talking about.

But in few weeks, there are key elections…

Always a good time for populism and nationalism.




7 Responses

  1. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually agree with the government going after them. While Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp is a privately held company, it is essentially providing a public service (they bid for a government contract).

    With that in mind, the government should have a right to make sure their contract is executed in a manner that will result in the most public good, aiming for ever-decreasing customer prices of high-speed rail tickets. I’m not sure that can be achieved when they’re paying these kind of fat cat salaries.

    Personally, I’m a strong believer in top level management in any company being paid reasonable salaries, but receiving shares/dividends based on company profits (i.e. success).

    Now whether it should be foreigners or Taiwanese receiving these salaries, I agree that it should be whoever is most qualified for the job, which at the moment is likely to be a foreigner at this stage. But if the government were smart with their contract, they would have put in some clauses, making sure that are reasonable amount of technology and knowledge were transferred to Taiwan, which should ultimately results in Taiwanese leadership. That’s what Mainland China’s government does for many of their public contacts.

  2. Alex, I just got your comment.
    Thanks a lot 🙂
    I will answer tomorrow. Let’s say I disagree 😉
    I am just in rush now.

  3. Alex, all this story is about 2 foreigners who are paid (for Taiwanese standard) a high salary.
    What was said about them was pure populism to attract attention before the coming election.
    Taiwanese have not the expertise. That’s all. In the future, they will have but not now.
    Beside Alex, do you believe that those 2 salaries explain the financial situation of the company?
    The trees hiding the forest…

  4. Perhaps the methods for this topic being discussed was an act of nationalism, but I still think it’s a real issue that hopefully they are actually looking in to (although of course it may just be all talk).

    I definitely believe fat cat salaries have an influence on a company’s profitability and costing structure – Maybe I’m just Communist idealist 😀

    It’ll be interesting to see if the story unfolds any further…

  5. May be you are Alex 😉
    I am against unjustified high salaries. But obviously in this case, the problem is different.
    And I do believe that after elections, we won’t hear about it too much.
    By the way, I didn’t see any reaction about this “populism/nationalism” stuff.
    Maybe people don’t really care about it (?).

  6. It’s not really nationalism to me but definitely populism (uses of demagogy). We’re maybe more aware/vaccinated of Demagogy because we’re european, people here maybe doen’t necessarily see things in the same optic as us (or don’t care simply…)

  7. I agree with you Tortue 🙂

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