The Indigenous Dynamic in Taiwan's Postwar Development: The Religious and Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship

The Indigenous Dynamic in Taiwan's Postwar Development: The Religious and Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship

The Indigenous Dynamic in Taiwan's Postwar Development: The Religious and Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship

The Indigenous Dynamic in Taiwan's Postwar Development: The Religious and Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship

Synopsis

Using Taiwan's third largest export industry - shoe manufacturing - as a case study, this work contends that economic development can be tied to Taiwan's own cultural history as well as to the influx of foreign capital or the initiatives of the state government.

Excerpt

In the summer of 1988, I made an exploratory trip to Taiwan to focus a planned research project on that country's rural industrialization. a graduate student in urban planning at the Taiwan National University in Taibei was interested in my proposal and took me to a township in central Taiwan that specialized in manufacturing umbrellas. He told me that the town produced a third of the world's umbrella exports. the mayor of the town, a betel-nut-chewing entrepreneur, was also the owner of an umbrella factory. the mayor took us to his factory, housed in a large cement-block building. the factory seemed unusually inactive. At one end of the floor stood rolls of wire and cloth. At the other end were finished umbrellas in rows of boxes, each stamped with a shipping destination: Toronto, New York, and Osaka. There were a few women workers cutting material and sewing the pieces together, far too few to account for the stacks of umbrellas. There was another group of women, ten in all, sitting on stools among a pile of finished umbrellas, opening and closing them and stuffing them into plastic covers: quality control. This was all there was of umbrella production in the factory. the real manufacturing process was occurring elsewhere.

I was taken to a nearby village where I saw men operating machines . . .

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