In his March 12 New York Times column, Thomas Friedman said that his favorite country, other than the US, is Taiwan. As a country scarce in natural resources, Friedman said that Taiwan has nurtured a people full of talent, energy and intelligence. He commended Taiwan for developing its workforce so it can compete internationally.
During his three visits to Taiwan, he has often told his friends there that “You’re the luckiest people in the world…You have no oil, no iron ore, no forests, no diamonds, no gold, just a few small deposits of coal and natural gas – and because of that you developed the habits and culture of honing your people’s skills, which turns out to be the most valuable and the only truly renewable resource in the world today.”
In order to prove his point, Friedman cited a study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to illustrate the existence of a negative relationship between countries that generate wealth by extracting natural resources and the standard of high school education. The study demonstrated that countries that rely on their natural resources have a less educated population, whereas countries with very few natural resources must focus on nurturing an educated populace.
A three times Pulitzer Prize winner, Friedman’s books The Lexus and Oliver Tree, The World is Flat, and Hot, Flat and Crowded have been translated into Chinese and were bestsellers in Taiwan.
To read the full text of Friedman’s column, please visit the New York Times at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/friedman-pass-the-books-hold-the-oil.html?_r=1.