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What do words like "development" and "globalization" mean in actual circumstances of people's
lives? When I traveled to Taiwan I had never been to Asia and never to a so called "developing
country". I learned that among economists, politicians and businessmen, Taiwan was considered
an "economic miracle". By the time I left I had become suspicious that might be code for
something other than what it seemed. Namely, rapid industrialization and destruction of a
traditional agrarian economy, culture and way of life in order to create a work force. One that
includes children and costs very little, and which, when combined with absence of any meaningful
environmental protections, means greater profit margins than could ever have been imagined
before. I saw what had once been called "a beautiful island" by fifteenth century Portuguese
explorers becoming not so beautiful as part of a present day economic miracle.

Traveling on Taiwan, the experiences I had and the photographs I made were for me compelling
evidence and documentation of a reality I had never seen before. A reality that without my
knowing had already begun changing the world I grew up in back home and would continue to in
ways no one who lives there may have expected or might agree to if made aware. That change
being an erosion and destruction of our own local economies, our own local cultures and ways of
life as Americans, as we are transformed into consumers for things we used to make ourselves
but which now come from far away and cost very little, or perhaps more than we may have
bargained for.
T A I W A N,  B E A U T I F U L  I S L A N D
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