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Academic ‘genius’ backs Taiwan’s ‘human capital’

Jacob Soll believes better wages and improved education key to future economic growth

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Jacob Soll. (Alchetron screenshot) 

Jacob Soll. (Alchetron screenshot) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Economist and “Genius Award” winner Jacob Soll believes Taiwan is outperforming many European countries technologically but needs to be stronger.

He recommended attracting the world’s top talents by upping salaries. Furthermore, he suggested Taiwan should spend more to develop its cultural industries and branding.

Too few people know about Taiwan, he said, and this is holding the country back. Like South Korea, it would benefit Taiwan if it made more of its cultural wealth and was better known on the world stage.

Soll is a professor of philosophy, history, and accounting at the University of Southern California. His latest published tome from 2022 is “Free Market: The History of an Idea.” Soll won the MacArthur Fellowship, or “Genius Grant," for his work on the history of the state.

He was in Taiwan to take part in an Academia Sinica event. He also gave an interview to the China Times.

A believer in the free market and education, Soll was quoted by the paper as saying that Taiwan needs education reform. He believes that economic growth relies on the improvement of human capital.

He said he recognized that this was an area in which Taiwan shines, but if it increased its investment in higher education, conducted international recruitment, and offered competitive salaries, then Taiwan could create explosive economic growth.

Soll said Taiwan was a mix of the characteristics from Asia and the United States — making it a bridge between East and West. He continued by comparing Taiwan with the Netherlands as it also uses a technological edge to stay ahead of its neighbors and competitors.