When things were “Made in Taiwan”

Some say globalism is good; some say it’s bad for the local economy.  It depends who is benefiting from globalism. What is happening in Taiwan is similar to what has happened in Japan. I remember there used to be a time in the 1980 when a lot of cheap goods in Canada were labelled: “Made in Taiwan.” The economy in Taiwan was booming with industry and factories were producing goods locally.  Today, many of these factories have moved to mainland China (Giant, a bicycle maker; Tatung; Acer and Asus, computer makers, etc.).

The result: Taiwan is much different today from 30 years ago.  The economy has slowed down. The dollar is weak and the younger generation has a tough time finding good jobs and they are leaving the country to find greener pasteurs. South Korea may experience this in its near future if it doesn’t make a change in its domestic and foreign trade policies.

My wife got into a conversation with a gardener who laments the situation Taiwan is in. He knows the opportunity existed for the older generation of Taiwanese but no longer exists for the younger generation.  Some of the older is still supporting the younger generations who are living at home.  Sad.

The only people who will benefit will be cheap laborers in China, and rich multinational and American corporations’ owners and shareholders; while American and Canadian laborers will suffer and remain jobless or have low-paying jobs with decreasing benefits.  This is the reality today for many in Taiwan, and the coming reality for North Americans and the millennial generation in their 20s and 30s. This is a reality the global elite don’t want the common person to think too much about and to just quietly accept the status quo–of a statist or shinking service economy.

The solution is simple. Think “Taiwan first” and your own country first.  America, Canada and other countries needs to do the same.   What Taiwan needs to do to make this country stronger is something similar to what U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to do in America.  Encourage your industries and factories to stay and/or move back to Taiwan so that your young Taiwanese generations can have jobs locally in the same country.  Think about jobs for you, your family and your children’s children.

Starbucks’ unfair trade

The Starbucks’ franchise system is a success here in Taiwan (vacationing here) but what disappoints me about Starbucks Corp. is how much it is charging for its coffee in a developing country. The owner of the multinational corporation claims it is practicing fair-trade coffee, but as I sit here at Starbucks to read and blog, I am noticing some of their hypocrisy.  The purchasing power of Taiwanese people have decreased, but yet, it is charging customers here a premium for its coffee.

A cup of regular brew is 85/95 NT for a tall/grande, which is equivalent to US$ 2.80/3.12 (or Cdn$ 3.73/4.17).  A fair price ought only be 50/60 NT (according to its U.S. currency equivalent). What does this mean? If an American customer in Taiwan were to buy a tall cup of Pike Place, s/he would have to pay an extra US$ 1.15 (or 35 NT). Is this outrageous or what?!  Does this seem like a fair-trade practice to you?

Starbucks is taking advantage of its Taiwanese customers because it knows it can. People here worship almost anything made in America.  The owner/founder Howard Shultz claims he practices fair-trade but what is practiced and preached just seems a little incongruent to me.

It also makes me wonder where else around the world is Starbucks taking advantage of people.