A hundred and fifty years ago, Japan’s Meiji restoration launched Asia on a quest for a modern identity. That search continues today, as Asia tries to balance autonomy with state control, the future with the past.
If – and I use that word carefully – there is any substance to Donald Trump’s ideas about global trade it is to be found in the notion that China is stealing a lot of corporate America’s best ideas. In the jargon it’s called intellectual property theft. A lot of people have been exercised for years about the ways China seems to gets its hands on innovations that originate in the United States (and, occasionally, elsewhere).
Former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou addressed a crowd of 400 University faculty, students and local community members in his Wednesday talk on democracy, cross-strait relations and future challenges facing Taiwan.
The China trade argument has boiled down to intellectual property and trade. Roughly it has gone like this: "We need to stop China from selling us all this stuff. Bring the jobs home!" "Uh, right now the jobs problem is that employers can't find workers. Cheap stuff from China is a boon to American consumers. Tariffs like that on steel cost more steel-using jobs than they save." "Hm. Ok, but we have to threaten with tariffs to get China to stop requiring our companies to share intellectual property!"