An Explosion of Social Power
As postwar generations grew up, Taiwan’s total population exceeded 20 million in 1989, having doubled in thirty years. During those three decades, Taiwan’s nominal GDP surged more than 100-fold. Economic take-off brought spectacular industrial and commercial results, but Taiwan paid a heavy environmental price. Villages were emptied of people, and working conditions worsened. Behind the wealth, social pressures and inequalities got worse. Issues such as overpopulation, environmental degradation, treatment of workers, and the suppression of local cultures and minorities, all surfaced. As a result, protests became more common from the 1980s, and the political and economic system that centered on the party-state began to change. Ever so slowly, Taiwan was transformed into an emerging democratic country.