"Living in peace" can be interpreted very broadly to include a person's family and housing. "Working happily" is related to your professional life, and it all starts with simply having a job. The next step is earning an adequate income, but what is adequate is truly subjective and depends on the individual. If the state of "living in peace and working happily" can be achieved, then that is real well-being.
Three factors identify good companies: one is satisfied shareholders, another is satisfied employees, and the third is satisfied customers. If a company's stakeholders are satisfied, then you have a good company.
But, if you have happy people and good companies, does that automatically indicate a country with a high level of well-being? In my opinion, not necessarily.
The factors resulting in a happy country are relatively complex. All we can say is that the vast majority of people should be "living in peace and working happily," but inevitably there will be those who are not. The country's responsibility is to help those left behind have a greater sense of well-being. So we have to improve social assistance programs and income distribution.
The "Golden Decade" we have advocated consists of eight major visions. The overall goal is to create "a prosperous, harmonious and sustainable Taiwan." Among the plan's eight visions, a dynamic economy and broad-based infrastructure are both related to increasing GDP. Even Bhutan's GNH and the OECD's "Your Better Life Index" cannot completely delink themselves from GDP.
I'm not saying that wealth can be equated with happiness. Some people do fine with just something to eat and something to drink. However, for most people, wealth is still quite important.
The vision of a fair and just society refers to achieving different balances within society and narrowing the gaps. The government needs to use the Public Assistance Act and adjust tax policy to redistribute income and transfer wealth.
Capital Gains Tax: Different Markets, Different Strategies
Of Taiwan's 23 million people, how many are invested in the capital markets? About 12 million accounts have been opened, and after second accounts held by the same person are excluded there are about 8 million people. Of those, there are 3 million who trade shares at least once a year.
If there's income, it should be taxed. That's only normal. But then you have to consider if such a move will have an impact on the market.
The stock market is very special because it's the showcase of the economy. If the market is sluggish, economic activity suffers. Stock markets produce secondary markets, and if secondary markets are anemic, when venture capitalists consider investing, they will be very hesitant, and will question the need to invest so much. So the stock market cannot be treated like a vegetable market. You have to be very careful.
Taiwan's stock market has existed for 40 years. There has often been talk of imposing a capital gains tax on securities trades, but it has never been implemented. Under such circumstances, you can't deal the market too harsh a blow. In other words, no matter what system is adopted, it cannot spark panic. Panic is really terrifying.
To me, the rise and fall of the market's index is not in the least important. I've never paid attention to the index. My main concern has been volume, because the most important factor in the market is that there are people willing to buy and sell, not whether prices are high. As a result, any measure imposed should not affect volume.
Some have linked (former finance minister) Christina Liu's advocacy of a capital gains tax to a decline in the market's benchmark index. This view has two shortcomings. First, during this time period, didn't stock markets around the globe all fall? Second, did volume shrunk as the index fell? If volume hasn't contracted, then there's no problem. But during that time period, volume fell, and I worried that the policy was having an adverse effect.
Chang Sheng-ford (the incumbent finance minister) and I have the same general attitude toward the capital gains tax – to first get the law in place, and then work to improve upon it.
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