Taiwanese are really gifted, and it would be better if the government was less involved.
When President Ma went on his "long stay" during the 2008 presidential campaign, and he asked people what they wanted him to do if he were elected, they told him they didn't want him to do anything. What they wanted was small government.
Taiwanese are smart. There is a limit to what the government can do. Basically, we have to provide some services that allow citizens to live in a calm environment and do things without hindrances. That in fact is the government's most important role.
Why are we trying to improve our industrial structure? Because everybody has already drifted far off course. Just trying to keep labor costs down, just asking the government to give you an advantageous exchange rate – with this kind of thinking you can't improve.
What the government can do is help sectors make progress by using examples as models, hoping to lead the way in letting businesses know that there are other approaches – rather than only focusing on improving production processes or lowering costs.
Actually, there is no "big government" or "small government." It should be "appropriate." Governments are not made up of angels.
Those are not my words, but the words of the fourth president of the United States (James Madison), who said that if men were angels, no government would be necessary. But the government isn't made up of angels either. What he meant is that governments need to rely on systems rather than individuals to govern.
(Compiled by Fuyuan Hsiao, Rebecca Lin, Margaret Pai)
Translated from the Chinese by Luke Sabatier
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