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Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou asks Paul Krugman for economic cure

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou asks Paul Krugman for economic cure

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou asked Nobel Economics Laureate Paul Krugman for advice Thursday on how to cure Taiwan’s economic ills.
Receiving the prominent U.S. economist and columnist at the Presidential Office, Ma told him about the recent developments in Taiwan’s economy. Even though there was optimism that an upturn could begin later in the year, economic growth, exports and employment were still performing poorly, Ma said.
The president pictured the country’s economic plight and also explained the measures his government had taken. Ma mentioned the NT$3,600 consumption vouchers distributed to the population to stimulate domestic consumption, and the special public construction projects.
At a public forum in Taipei, Krugman said he was modestly optimistic about the near future, pessimistic about the mid-term, but optimistic about the long term.
Krugman said the cure might come from new investment opportunities created by technological innovation and environmental policies.
The economist said the current crisis was often being compared to the Wall Street crash of 1929, but the situation was different this time around because government debt was much larger, and the previous crisis only ended with the Second World War.
Private demand was the key to the solution, Krugman told his audience, with new government measures fighting global warming forming a catalyst for new technologies.
Prominent businesspeople and politicians said Krugman wasn’t bringing a joyful message. According to Krugman, “the future economic recovery still needs a long road, so you can say he is rather a pessimist,” Vice President Vincent Siew told reporters.
Krugman addressed a forum which included some of Taiwan’s top business leaders, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Chairman Morris Chang and Teco Group Chairman Theodore Huang.
Huang expressed disappointment at Krugman’s prediction that it might take up to four years to leave the current crisis behind, while Chang turned his arrows on President Ma, saying he had not done anything apart from improving trade relations with China.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan met Krugman during the afternoon, saying he hoped the Nobel Prize winner could offer Taiwan some advice. Liu said he hoped Krugman could visit again later and stay longer.


Updated : 2021-06-17 16:24 GMT+08:00