Human Action in Practice

I’ve always maintained that all human action is ultimately concerned with staying alive by seeking or producing food, so it’s delightful to discover that in Taiwan, with a GDP per capita at 50% US levels, also has a miniscule welfare state and a vibrant free market that is capitalism.  It self regulates, and homelessness is, aparently, close to non-existant.

It only works because the Taiwanese people are free.

But I doubt it would work in Australia as we have a tradition of plundering the tall poppies from over a century of egalitarianism.

Free-marketers are often ridiculed for suggesting the welfare state can be substantially replaced by free enterprise: that we’re smoking funny weed to even suggest that able-bodied adults would be better off with more invigorating freedom instead of a debilitating dole.

The Case of Taiwan

Well, we have a fantastic case study in exactly this: Taiwan. With a GDP per capita about half US levels — between Spain and Portugal — Taiwan has a tiny welfare state paired with regulations that are both light and lightly enforced.

Result? An explosion in commerce, and apparently near-zero homelessness. Walk anywhere in a Taiwanese city and the streets are alive, all day and all night, with a rotating cast of pop-up businesses that employ mainly low-skill labor while making life a joy for consumers.

Hundreds of jobs, small rivers of entrepreneurial income all running off one little street.

Rest here.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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