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Prof. Perng Ming-hwei on Economic Woes of Taiwanese Youth and Possible Solutions

At the invitation of the Human Rights Protection Committee for a series of lecture on the Two Covenants, Professor Perng Ming-hwei gave a talk on the economic troubles facing Taiwanese youth and offered some possible solutions on April 22, 2013.
Professor Perng began by pointing out that the greatest advantage of the Taiwanese society is the highly educated human capital. Despite the available talent pool, the government has failed to ensure proper employment for all. Instead, many talents have been reduced to cheap labors, being forced to accept long hours coupled with low wages, and even atypical jobs characterized by instability. News of workers dying from overwork has been making headlines in the recent years. The problem is not one of low profitability among businesses, but an institutional problem that should be viewed on a macro level, including tax evasion among the wealthiest ten percent, subsidized OEM, and industrial upgrades. Faced with unfriendly work conditions, Taiwan has seen a wave of talent flight to South Korea and Mainland China which has in turn undermined business competitiveness.
Industries in Taiwan have failed to keep up with the global trend of trade liberalization, Prof. Perng says. Instead of kidnapping academics by mandating journal publication for promotion, the industry will be better served by strengthened collaboration between industries and schools. Academics should be encouraged to contribute their knowledge and skills in upgrading small and medium business. Even though we may not be able to parallel global brands, Taiwan stands a good chance to establish its unique brands among emerging markets. Prof. Perng calls on the government to shift their focus from hi-tech industry to traditional businesses such as food and furniture manufacturing, which boasts potential for growth.
Although the Two Covenants were implemented at the end of 2009, the current problem of low wages apparently violates the principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Prof. Perng encourages the audience, comprised of Control Yuan staff members, to play a more active role as government watchdog and correct all things in the society that are unfair and unjust.
At the end of the lecture, the Vice President of the Control Yuan, Cheng Jinn-Lih, who is also the Convener of Human Rights Protection Committee, presents Prof. Perng with a collection of books that document Control Yuan’s effort in human rights protection over the past four years.