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Apr 23

Leaving for home

In the New York Times Magazine there’s A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves by Jason DeParle (registration required to read the artilce), which takes an exhaustive and in the end, rather inspiring look at Filipino OFW’s. There are the social costs of working abroad -and the social gains: surprisingly, some studies say children of OFW’s are better fed, even better adjusted, than the children of non-migrants; if there’s “brain drain,” there’s “brain gain”, OFW’s bringing home knowledge and connections; our bureaucracy is a model for other countries, though we often have nothing but bad things to say about it; it can build dependency, but also breed independence; if our culture has remained static over the centuries, it has breaking old habits and eliminating old limitations. Things have changed:

With about one Filipino worker in seven abroad at any given time, migration is to the Philippines what cars once were to Detroit: its civil religion. A million Overseas Filipino Workers - O.F.W.’s - left last year, enough to fill six 747s a day. Nearly half the country’s 10-to-12-year-olds say they have thought about whether to go. Television novellas plumb the migrants’ loneliness. Politicians court their votes. Real estate salesmen bury them in condominium brochures. Drive by the Central Bank during the holiday season, and you will find a high-rise graph of the year’s remittances strung up in Christmas lights.

Read the article and compare it to what you see around you, and the people you know.

My column for today is Making political parties obsolete. Another, related article was Randy David‘s Sunday column on volunteerism. Sylvia Mayuga, on the other hand, focused on the things that don’t change.

Amando Doronila says the country is showing signs of being a failed state, because of political killings. And yet, as I point out in my Inquirer Current entry, the country has actually inched away from its 2005 Failed State Index rating of 56: last year, it was rated 68, a substantial improvement (i.e. we were ranked as less failed, but still within the orange “failing” category).

Justice Isagani Cruz says a legislative trick -the insertion of a rider in a law on an otherwise unrelated subject- may be the political salvation of Senator Lito Lapid.

Continued commentary on Julia Campbell from last Sunday’s Inquirer editorial and from Howie Severino.

In the blogosphere, Big Mango uses a medical strategy for problem-solving: if they use the triage system in emergency rooms, can there be a political triage?

Ruben Nepales of the Inquirer’s Nepales Report has highly enjoyable cultural notes on people of Filipino ancestry in Hollywood who deny their origins, and on the Filipino-American obsession with awards.

The Bunker Chronicles says DZMM’s embarking on televising its broadcasts is the worst kind of television -TV on the cheap.

Yugatech presents some very interesting figures on Internet penetration in the country:

Still, the internet usage growth rate from 2000 is 291%. If you extrapolate that, we could make an educated guess of 10.15 Million for 2007 or 11.6% penetration.

Photo caption of the day:
Fatdaddy
“The President visits Niño Muhlach.”

95 comments

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  1. The Ca t

    I suppose I don’t have to say this but I will anyway: the problem that contributed to this tragedy wasn’t that of race but of mental illness. Apparently there were so many indications that Cho was a danger to others as well as to himself.

    A good example of believing all what have been published.

  2. UPn student

    The Philippines having its own car factories like South Korea is only to dream of, so a better model may be KERALA, India, if only because of its health delivery infrastructureL
    (1) Kerala’s extra-ordinary health-care delivery system is to be emulated; more than 95% of Keralite births are hospital-delivered; over 2,700 government medical institutions in the state, with 160 beds per 100,000 population, the highest in the country.
    (2) Kerala’s literacy rate (91%) and life expectancy (73 years) one of the highest in the world;
    (3) Kerala’s economy best described as a democratic socialist welfare economy, but the state is nonetheless moving to a more mixed economy with a greater role played by the free market and foreign direct investment;
    (4) 63.8% of economy is service-sector;
    (5) female labor participation 13.2%
    (6) Kerala unemployment rate is in 19.2%-20.7%;
    very little work opportunities domestically; about a third of the population of the state living abroad;
    (7) the “overseas foreign workers” phenomenon is the equal of the Philippines; 20% of Kerala GDP is from remittances by its overseas foreign workers;
    (8) parliamentary form of government (the form GMA will drive for after 2008 elections);

  3. john marzan

    thanks for clarifying cathcath.

    these statements here:

    Remember Seung-Hui Cho, was a South Korean national before they migrated to the US due to poverty.

    here:

    You still have to hear (knock on wood) a Filipino who became anti-social due to inability to adjust in a new environment.

    and here:

    Bottomline is bakit ang South Korean ang gagayahin ninyo?
    Their improved economy does not prevent their people from migrating too.

    are non-sequiturs pala.

  4. cvj

    UPn Student, thanks for that. One other thing to mention is that the policies that resulted in the relatively high human development to income ratio fro Kerala was achieved under the rule of the Marxist/Communists who were democratically elected in 1957. One of the first things they did was to pass a land reform bill.

  5. Bencard

    There are so many drawbacks to immigration and just as many benefits for the Filipino family. But just to emphasize the fact that there is no “perfect” situation in this imperfect world, think of how many homes were broken, and with them the future of countless number of children, because either parent has to to try his/her luck elsewhere.

    In a trip to Spain (Costa del Sol area), my wife and I met a number of young Filipino married women working as domestics ( even though most have college degree)who have various sad stories to tell about the families they left behind. Husbands who are living off their wives hard-earned wages while engaged in extra-marital cohabitation with other women, or vice versa. But the most tragic is the husband and wife who divorce (with or without the collusion of the other spouse) just to marry someone else mostly for immigration purposes. More often than not, this move leads to more problems and complications.

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but how much “green” do we want? Is it all worth the trouble?

    buencamino, you got that one right.

  6. justice league

    Janie,

    I feel as if you frown on seafaring as a job (Well I could always be wrong).

    But just in case I’m right; I feel that if there is only one kind of OFW (if seafarers are regarded as such) that must REMAIN to be deployed to foreign lands/seas; it must be our seafarers.

    I feel that even if the Philippines one day should be a maritime trading power in that it has numerous trading ships, our seafarers who will man such ships must still go to foreign lands/seas.

  7. xavier

    re: children of ofw’s faring better than non-migrants

    if that is true, then its good news for me. but i have to do my own share of keeping my family in good shape.

    yes, xavier is leaving also after four long years in the goverment civil service, gutom pa rin at walang asenso. after 10 years in the middle east i decided to go back and work in my old agency pero yun nga, walang nagbabago. business by the way is not my cup of tea. sa gobyerno, lahat tiga london (loan dito, loan doon). quite getting old to do this ofw thing once again. but you know what, being an ofw is a badge of honor which i am going to wear this for the rest of my life. hope i can find the time to read mlq3’s blog and trade comments with you guys once again.
    philipines, dont forsake us…

  8. amee

    hi manolo.

    thanks for linking the nytimes article. it was an interesting read.

  9. janie

    justice league,

    i am not frowning about it. but even if we don’t consider seafarers as OFW, they still have to leave their families behind for a number of months or years missing what could probably be the best or worst times of their family lives.

    i am grateful that even my dad wasn’t with us most of the time, we were able finish college and we have stable jobs now.

    what i am frowning about are the stories of my dad’s fellow seafarers who wished they have stayed in the country despite the meager salary. they were able to provide for their families all the material stuff that they need, but they weren’t able to provide the most important of all, and that is their presence as parents.

    but anyway, im proud of my dad. and all of the filipino seafarers.

  10. Bencard

    I think one way out from this ofw syndrome is for Filipinos to strive creating wealth for their own pockets through business, rather than make somebody else rich for a pittance. I think the problem lies in the general tendency of Filipinos to be content with being employees rather than employers, go for the “sure thing” than take risk, be driven rather than drive.

    I remember when Rudy Giuliani was campaigning for mayor of NY the first time. A group of Filipino professionals, including myself, were invited to a fund raising dinner hosted by a Korean-American businessman in his Long Island home. A large group of Korean-Americans were present and they all operate their own businesses. Our group were mostly salaried professionals, with a few practicing on their own. Who do you think gave more for the campaign kitty?

    Another cultural thing?

  11. Gigi

    The Ca t says:
    “A good example of believing all what have been published.”

    Oh-kay. So if I’m apparently gullible, what’s your interpretation then? What do you think is the truth or what information have you been privy to? Seriously, I’d like to know — in the spirit of being exposed to different points of view.

  12. UPn student

    Bencard: The difference between creating wealth and earning wages is the major explanation for wealth.

  13. ronin

    To Janie: I’m glad to know you’re proud of, and grateful for, your Dad’s decision to work abroad. It’s no easy decision to make, believe me.

    To Xavier: You made the right choice. What good would it be serving your country (through government service, in your case) when you yourself find it difficult to raise your own family.
    An OFW’s motto: “Family first! Everything else would follow.” 🙂

    To Bencard: Yes, creating wealth is one of the best way out for this 30-year diaspora. Investing one’s savings in a business that would also employ many fellow Pinoys is a good idea. However, it is unfortunate that not all Filipinos (including me) have the makings of a good businessman. Many returning OFWs have lost their savings to failed businesses.

    The NY Times article, however, gives examples of how these OFW remittances can be put to good use. Personally, my “way out” is to provide my kids with a better education. That would give them a good headstart in life.

  14. cvj

    UPn student, we employees are not earning our wages based on nothing. The entrepreneurs are creating wealth on the backs of laborers. The difference is the amount of risk they are willing to take, but in this age of mass layoffs, the risk differential is not that great anyway.

  15. The Ca t

    What were published were testimonials of relatives, friends, teachers averring that he’s mentally unstable.

    What were not published or little publication was just made because the media were criticized when they started airing the video and audio were the factors that must have contributed to the social maladjustment of the killer.

    He’s not totally crazy. He was Angry to people who were bullying him not only when he was a kid but even when he
    was already a college student. His classmates would laugh at him and tell him to go back to China.(it’s not even Korea).

    He was never accepted in the community despite his intelligence.

    The analysis of the character was never made and instead testimonials from relatives from Korea who only knew him when he was a kid were the ones which came into print. The professors’ observations were just symptoms of a problem of social withdrawal, of a person who was treated as an outcast.

    He did not snap like the man in LA who killed his wife and one of the children when they tried to leave him.

    He did not snap like the man in New York who killed his mother, the home health careworker and a wheel-chair bound man.

    He was diagnosed to be mentally-ill but he was accepted in Virginia Tech. What do you think are the weaknesses in the American system that they would not elaborate in the media?

    The culture of bullying, the weakness in the mental-health system, racism even among the community of educated people ? take your pick.

  16. Bencard

    cvj. so why are you contented with just receiving wages, because it’s a sure thing, right?

  17. UPn student

    cvj: hvrds should be able to write on the underpinnings of this thing called “creating wealth”.
    .
    Schumey, too. Schumey is an entrepreneur with his own business, but he/Schumey will probably resent if you say that he is creating wealth oh the back of his employees.
    .
    As for “..the risk differential is not that great anyway”, read ronin:
    Investing one’s savings in a business that would also employ many fellow Pinoys is a good idea. However, it is unfortunate that not all Filipinos (including me) have the makings of a good businessman. Many returning OFWs have lost their savings to failed businesses.
    .

  18. cvj

    Bencard, not sure how it is with lawyers, but nowadays wage earning (or salaried) work is no longer a sure thing (if it ever was). No one is immune from being laid off.

    UPn Student, unless an individual is personally digging for gold, all value generated is a product of someone’s labor. The more accurate distinction between entrepreneur and laborer is between ‘making a profit’ and ‘earning a wage’. Creating wealth is a result of combined effort. In the modern economy, it is a culmination of collaborative, complementary and competitive processes that involve entrepreneurs, capitalists, banks, workers, r&d labs, legal and political institutions.

    You have acknowledged that going into business is a good but risky idea. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Instead of asking ordinary citizens to risk their meager life savings on risky business ventures, we should instead ask our lackluster elite to channel their resources into productive industry instead of just collecting rents from the poor majority.

  19. vic

    Guys, we have to differentiate between South Koreans Immmigrating for permanent residency than millions of our countryfolks seeking jobs abroad, due to lack of oppurtunities in P.I. or lack of decent paying jobs. And not all migrate because of poverty, because first and foremost it takes a lot of money to even attempt immigrating to the First World countries.

    And also South Korea economy don’t see the boom until just a about a dozen or so years ago. Their first Hundai Pony imported here was no better that the real Pony (a baby horse). But now the Sonata rides like Music to the driver’s and passengers ears…

  20. UPn student

    cvj… The majority of people (and it is well that it is so) are quite satisfied with wages and salaries as their engine for cash-flow generation and financial well-being. It is also true that one can even get richer through wages and salaries, so be you lawyer, teacher, accountant, seaman, media-columnist or project-manager, more power to all.
    .
    As for creating wealth/entrepreneurship… it is a challenge! But you are painting it as extremely complicated — “..a culmination of collaborative, complementary and competitive processes that involve entrepreneurs, capitalists, banks, workers, r&d labs, legal and political institutions”. You make it sound like “…huwang ka nang mangarap, anak. Para sa mayayaman lang iyan”.
    .
    Entrepreneurship is a challenge — it needs a lot of personal drive along with skills (like yours — accounting; or abe’s : law — or q3’s – writing). But to paint it as EXCLUSIONARY (be it for only for the rich, or the foreign-graduate educated) may dis-empower the young who have visions of entrepreneurship and creating wealth. And see again what ronin said — “a business that would also employ many fellow Pinoys is a good idea”. And at the very minimum, the successful entrepreneur pays taxes, right?

  21. UPn student

    And as to how to get richer from wages/salaries as well as how to create wealth — there is a lot to be learned from what Einstein is widely rumored to have once said.
    ….that the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.

  22. justice league

    Janie,

    Very well.

  23. cvj

    As for creating wealth/entrepreneurship… it is a challenge! But you are painting it as extremely complicated… – UPn Student

    It really is a complex process, which is why the interplay between people, organizations, markets and institutions is a wonder to behold when the system works (as in South Korea, Taiwan and our other neighbors).

    Anyway, i’m not saying that the aspiring entrepreneur should be aware of all of these, as most of the time, he really does not need to.

    The point i’m making is that entrepreneurs, who perform an essential role in wealth creation, do not exist in a vacuum. For example, in the company i work for, even an employee (i.e. wage earner) can come up with an idea or invention that can generate revenue (i.e. create wealth). Also, where would a businesses be if it did not have good salesmen (who are, btw, also employees)? What about the programmer who builds the software or the engineer who designs the hardware? So to insinuate that the wage/salary earner is not a participant in wealth creation is simply false.

    You make it sound like “…huwag ka nang mangarap, anak. Para sa mayayaman lang iyan”. – UPn Student

    If what i said will be enough to discourage an aspiring entrepreneur, then he/she probably does not have what it takes to be one. My brother is a (struggling) entrepreneur, and i know that nothing i say could keep him from his chosen vocation.

    But to paint it as EXCLUSIONARY (be it for only for the rich, or the foreign-graduate educated) may dis-empower the young who have visions of entrepreneurship and creating wealth. – UPn Student

    It is really those who have capital to risk who should be the first to go into business. It is the Philippine elite who have all this time short-changed the people in this regard. In the 80’s, the elite sent their wealth overseas while it was the underground economy that kept our country from collapsing. Twenty years later, the burden of propping up the economy has been passed on to the OFW’s (who are by and large employees). When will they start doing their share?

  24. Bencard

    cvj, I was originally referring to wealth creation for one’s own pocket, not somebody else’s. When an employee comes up with a wealth- creating idea, who get’s rich, he or his employer? Of course, he may be given a plaque and a relatively “small” cash reward, but that’s not what I had in mind.

    As to lack of capital, I don’t think the Chinese who starts business by buying and selling scrap irons, vending taho or buying old newspapers and empty bottles. then ends up with their own sari-sari store, complains about lack of capital. It’s just determination, lots of hard work, and a bit of risk-taking, man. Why should it be always the fault of the “elite”. And who are the elite that you are so fond of demonizing?

  25. UPn student

    The eighties consist of 10 years, plus it really is so long ago. I think the early part of the 80’s was when Marcos instituted South-Korea-style chaebolism with cronyism. I suspect the bulk money you say got sent out was actually not created in the Philippines but was US-of-A foreign aid that Marcos diverted to Swiss banks. And the 80’s was also when a number of Filipinos (like Abe Margallo, I think) further hastened their migration to US-of-A because of Marcos tyranny and a crappy economy. And of course, Ninoy Aquino was assasinated; Marcos brought the economy to a standstill when he began reneging on foreign debts; then EDSA1; Cory.
    I’ll tell you this, though. Asset-transfer in the 80’s was very slow — it was physical, I believe. The next time an economic shock hits the Philippines, liquid assets will flow out much faster. Factories and buildings stay; scrips that signify dollars/pesos/euros will flow out via electronic banking.
    And Overseas Foreign Workers have some similarities to the asset-transfer that you decry. If there is not enough activity in the philippines to use the assets (be it worker-skills or dollars), the practice is for the asset to move to Dubai, Hongkong, Singapore or Australia where they can be more productive.

  26. cvj

    Bencard, on the meaning of ‘wealth creation’, i see what you mean. You and UPn Student were using it in the sense of creating ‘personal wealth’ while i was using the term in the sense of creating aggregate wealth for the nation.

    As for citing the oft-repeated story of the Chinese businessman who starts from the bottom and ends up successful as a model to be followed, given our present society, i think you are setting false expectations. Over here, it’s like recommending that people buy a lotto ticket because someone won the jackpot. In the Philippines, only a minority of those who start a business succeeds and in a system where the government does not actively participate (as in South Korea and Taiwan), you end up with a society with very few rich people at the top.

    Although i would not say ‘always’, I lay much of the blame for our falling behind squarely at the Filipino political and economic elite who have performed poorly as compared to their counterparts in other countries. They know who they are.

  27. rego

    Lack of capital? I started my business ventures here from nothing but a $2 dollar subway fare…..

  28. rego

    One thing that I like Gloria, is that she the only presidnet so far who pursued enterpreneurship. And she appointed the right aviser for it, Jose Concepcion III

  29. Bencard

    cvj, generally speaking, there are three major kinds of “personal wealth” in the Philippines. One is created through legitimate business, another is inherited, and the third one is acquired through plunder or other illicit means. I think the first and last comprise the bulk of the nation’s wealth.

    The “oft-repeated story” of the no-read-no-write emigre from what was then known as Red China, who came literally with nothing but a flimsy shirt on his back, and did so well eventually joining the ranks of what you prejoratively calls the “elite” is so common and so fresh in contemporary history to be forgotten. People such as this make their fortune the hard way and through hard work, not through winning the lotto or “feng shui” as you allude to.

    We have to be cognizant of our deficiencies as a people and try to address it rather than blame the government
    or someone else (like the U.S.) for all our economic miseries. One big problem is that we treat business as a get-reach-quick scheme, impatient about making it big right away. Illustrative of this is the Filipino restaurant who serves ever-declining portions of food at relatively high price, while the Chinese fastfood shop in the corner offers comparatively cheaper price and more generous quantity. Guess who between the two would be around much longer?

    Regsrding “personal wealth” vs. “wealth of the nation”, the nation’s wealth is not given away to everyone as an entitlement. Otherwise, it won’t last no matter how big it is. There still has to be personal responsibility for one’s stomach.

  30. cvj

    Bencard, i do not deny the success of that emigre from Red China. (Neither am i blind to the oft-repeated deficiencies of Filipino entrepreneurs and their get-rich quick short cuts.) What i question is the large scale replicability the story you peddle. Don Rego and his 2 dollar rags to riches story aside, the batting average for business success is low. It may be good to maintain the illusion of being a future Henry Sy (or Bill Gates) because such mythologies encourage more people to try, but the reality is, it will only remain an illusion for the majority. Korea and Taiwan did not progress via trite anecdotes but by well thought out industrial policy and corresponding investments.

  31. rego

    I dont think all enterpreneurs should aspire to be Bill Gates or Henry Sy…

    And Im very far from being a “Don”. Hindi po milliones dolyares ang kinikita ko dito. Just enough to survive.

    Im just so happy that the goals that I ve set before coming here is happening. And belive me it wasn’t that easy . I spent 5 solid years to stabilize it. There were even time that I have to be up till 8 am to 4 am the next day just to deliver my finish products…..I missed so many meals that worsen my Gastritis.

    But the good thing is If I dont want to work the next day . OK lang .

  32. cvj

    Rego, i’m glad to hear that.

  33. UPn student

    Bencard… one may actually look at the University of the Philippines as a member of the Filipino political and economic establishment that has performed poorly when compared to their counterparts in other countries. UofP
    has performed poorly base on its world-ranking (much lower now than a decade ago). Its employees (professors, staff) will rank it lower (salaries and infrastructure remain mediocre, some will even say “dismal”). Its customers (students) will rank it poorly (increases in tuition; decreases in scholarships). All the negatives, and it continues to seek special favors from the State — less teaching load for professors, more funds, more this, more that. However, its efforts to obtain preferential treatment is probably less troublesome because practically all will want the University of the Philippines to be world-class.
    ,,
    A better example will be jueteng operators. The gangsters that operate this business enterprise do include prominent names. This is definitely a rent-seeking group (rent-seeking means seeking benefits from the government with little benefit given to the country in return).
    …A more traditional example will be the owners of the interisland transportation system. I really do not know if they charge reasonable fares, but the Philippines
    is world record holder for maritime disasters, proof-positive of the dismal performance of the interisland-shipping business magnates. The blame has to be shared. Either the interisland-transportation business elite have immense political inside connections, or the government civil servants are pathetically (criminally????) negligent in its oversight of that particular
    sector.
    .. A more traditional metric is : how come that the Filipino business and political elite have not transformed the Phlippines into a South Korea? I have mixed thoughts about this question — after all, there is no South-Korea clone in Latin America nor Africa — so the formula to create one appears nebulous. Still, it is fair to ask : why don’t we have more businesses and factories? Why are the Filipino-owned banks charging still very high interest rates for business loans for the schumeys and other entrepreneurs of the Philippines? And why the billions in tax pesos that the government has not yet collected from Lucio Tan?

  34. UPn student

    And a footnote about Philippine maritime disasters. I did see a website-page about a year ago which said that the Philippines can cut its maritime-disaster death-rate by over 60% if only Filipinos know how to swim. This is not a joke. The ferry disasters occur within swimming distance to shore. The passengers do jump out of the ferry, into the sea. But they can’t swim.

  35. Bencard

    UPn student, thanks for your thought-provoking insights. It seems the first question a young Filipino business graduate ask upon graduation is: “Which company shall I apply for work?” Seldom “how can I start my own business?”

    Again, it seems every ofw who leaves the country only have one thing in mind – who can he/she work for. Here in the U.S., in particular, there are enclaves of semi-literate immigrants from Korea, Vietnam, China, Malasia, Thailand, Cambodia, etc. For the most part, they don’t need employers because they usually employ themselves operating unpretentious but lucrative small businesses.

    In the Philippines, the “poor” who flock to the Big City and squat on somebody else’s property usually tries to find employment but, given the meager opportunities, end up committing petty crimes. A few enterprising ones manage to eke out a living as small-time entrepreneurs, doing back-breaking, and often-dangerous, service jobs. But these are the exceptions.

    It seems that many Filipinos have the mindset that it is their government’s sole responsibility to provide them jobs and/or opportunities for employment. They seem to forget that in a free democracy, every one can pursue their dreams, and achieve them by their own effort, without too much government intervention. The faster we, as a people, get rid of this albatross, the quicker we shed off the image of “the sick man in Asia”.

  36. cvj

    how come that the Filipino business and political elite have not transformed the Philippines into a South Korea? I have mixed thoughts about this question — after all, there is no South-Korea clone in Latin America nor Africa — so the formula to create one appears nebulous. – UPn Student

    It won’t be as nebulous if you read Alice H. Amsden’s The Rise of The Rest. After World War 2, both Latin America and the East Asian countries pursued more or less the same strategy of industrialization. At some point, because of factors such as colonial heritage and level of inequality, their paths diverged. The former pursued an ‘integrationist’ strategy which relied more on Multinationals. The latter followed an ‘independent’ strategy with home grown manufacturing and trading firms.

    why don’t we have more businesses and factories? Why are the Filipino-owned banks charging still very high interest rates for business loans for the schumeys and other entrepreneurs of the Philippines? And why the billions in tax pesos that the government has not yet collected from Lucio Tan?
    – UPn Student

    One of the key factors in the development of ‘The Rest’ (whether Latin American countries such as Brazil or our neighbors South Korea and Taiwan) is Development Bank. Their home grown development banks played a key role in the financing of local businesses. In contrast, the Philippines followed the prescriptions of a foreign development bank (i.e. the World Bank) as well as the IMF. Bottomline, we listened to the wrong bank.

    Bencard, thanks for providing an excellent summary of oft-repeated, hackneyed and trite strawman arguments for the Philippines’ underdevelopment. The only thing missing from your analysis is the claim that the country has ‘too many lawyers‘, but i can understand why this part is omitted.

  37. UPn student

    cvj… You can buy amoxicyllin or tetracycline in Johannesburg, Sydney, Pusan or Makati because the “experience” of creating the products is replicable in various places. South Korea has not been replicated in Africa nor Latin America. Now it possible that the world do not think the “product” is worth replicating, but my sentiment is more that the formula is not replicable. I mean, you see gold in SoKorea chaebolism while the Ca t sees trashy Marcos-style cronyism. That is evidence of lack of unanimity. Of course, your opinion is yours and mine is mine. But I do not believe that the Philippines can find quick solutions to its problems from an Amsden-, Stiglitz-, Jeffrey Sachs-, Bello- or IMF-authored “cookbook”. After all, there is no South Korea in Latin America.

  38. Bencard

    cvj, “hackneyed and repeated strawman’s argument” from your point of view, maybe, but true and realistic nonetheless, at least from mine. But, until you changed the course of the discussion with your wealth distribution mantra through government intervention, we were articulating here the need for more personal self-reliance as a means to escape poverty. Dependence on foreign economic recipes and theories, which may not be applicable to our unique situation, will definitely not do it.

  39. cvj

    Now it possible that the world do not think the “product” is worth replicating, but my sentiment is more that the formula is not replicable. – UPn Student

    South Korea, Taiwan, China and India followed more or less the same ‘independent’ approach, which was itself patterned after Japan’s development model. Instead of taking a summarily dismissive attitude, we have to study why these countries are able to do it and adapt to local conditions. I think you will find out that the major obstacle is the current Philippine political and economic elite who are more interested in preserving their rents and/or gains (as the case may be).

    cvj, “hackneyed and repeated strawman’s argument” from your point of view, maybe, but true and realistic nonetheless, at least from mine. – Bencard

    That prevalence of the hackneyed and strawman viewpoints you hold is part of the problem as it provides an excuse for inaction and an apology for more of the same trickle-down approach.

    Dependence on foreign economic recipes and theories, which may not be applicable to our unique situation, will definitely not do it. – Bencard

    You are now trying to use the word ‘foreign’ to cloud the issue. Coming from someone, who in his own arguments, cites examples of what is happening in the United States, that objection is even less credible.

    Our situation is not unique. What is happening here commonly happens in other places where you have deep inequality and a short-sighted political and economic elite.

  40. Bencard

    cvj, just because you can quote copy or “replicate” Amsden or Chomsky does not make your arguments less than “strawman’s”. Our situation is unique because, good or bad, our people is unique. Our national character, attitude, mores, values, and sense of pride and independence, among others, are different from those of the countries you mentioned. I wouldn’t even mention Japan and its “oft-repeated” ability to achieve economic greatness sans the natural resources with which we are richly endowed.

    If your problem is the “short-sighted political and economic elite” why don’t we make “elite” out of our
    masses by encouraging them to be more productive and imaginative (beyond waiting for government aid)?

  41. cvj

    Our situation is unique because, good or bad, our people is unique. Our national character, attitude, mores, values, and sense of pride and independence, among others, are different from those of the countries you mentioned. – Bencard

    I agree that we should take those factors into account saying that we are somehow ‘unique’ is a cop-out. As Amsden said in the conclusion of her book, “‘The remainder’” [that includes us] “has the advantage of being able to choose among ‘the rest’ for a mentor. Here two submodels promise to vie for global market share and mentoring in the next ten to twenty years: the ‘independent’ approach of China, India, Korea and Taiwan and the ‘integrationist’ approach of Argentina, Chile and especiallly Mexico (and Turkey, to the extent that it is joining the European Union).”

    If your problem is the “short-sighted political and economic elite” why don’t we make “elite” out of our masses by encouraging them to be more productive and imaginative (beyond waiting for government aid)? – Bencard

    What government aid? Gloria Arroyo’s elitist government has been a government of trite exhortations. Thus far, the masses where they can, have been lifting themselves by their own bootstraps.

  42. Bencard

    cvj, and so they should (lift themselves by their bootstraps). What’s wrong with that? If no government aid is forthcoming, why wait for it? Again, who cares what Amsden say?

    You cannot dismiss truth by labelling it “a cop-out”. These types of quips sound cute but not at all elucidating.

  43. cvj

    cvj, and so they should (lift themselves by their bootstraps). What’s wrong with that? – Bencard

    There’s nothing wrong with the poor lifting themselves by their own bootstraps. There’s everything wrong with a government that only serves to protect the interest of the few and does nothing to look after the welfare of the majority.

    You cannot dismiss truth by labelling it “a cop-out”. – Bencard

    You cannot hide your cop-out by call it the ‘truth’.

  44. Bencard

    cvj, take my advice. Forget the government if you think it has no use to you. Just look after yourself, and your problems would be solved. Meanwhile, stop bellyaching. It’s really annoying.

  45. cvj

    Bencard, you’re really doing a good job reflecting the Palace line. Keep it up.

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