Saturday, October 20, 2007

Terrorism as Fire Insurance

This early, there have been calls from fellow bloggers to pull together after yesterday's tragedy. Blogger Rom says that:

"A united response to the bombing is paramount to politics, however way you cut it."
DJB, who is one of the most predictable bloggers i've come across, is more emphatic:

"No matter what our opinions of her may be, I believe it is our duty as citizens to support the President and Commander in Chief in this dark hour that is increasingly beginning to look like a terrorist attack. I agree with her that this is a time for all of us to unite behind the authorities for the sake of the national security."
If it turns out JI, the CPP/NPA or the MILF did it, does that mean that we automatically rally behind the government of Gloria Arroyo? We've heard of cases where business owners, usually those who are losing money, set fire to their own shops to collect fire insurance. In the same way, beleaguered political leaders who have expended their political capital have been known to replenish their stock on the back of tragedies such as terrorist attacks. In this case, they collect their insurance in the form of "popular support" for "a united response" that is supposed to be "paramount to politics". It wouldn't take a Machiavelli to realize what lesson could be learned from this kind of dynamic.

An expected mass response of pulling together would lead to the classic problem of moral hazard, i.e.,

"...the prospect that a party insulated from risk (such as through insurance) will be less concerned about the negative consequences of the risk than they otherwise might be."
Does that mean that the government set the fire itself? Not necessarily, it would be premature to conclude that. However, the situation today can be likened to a case where you have roaming bands of arsonists. Given that terrorist threats are commonplace today, any President in a pickle and interested in self-preservation can simply relax his/her vigilance and let the terrorists do what comes naturally to them, knowing full well that the political windfall would go to him/her. He/she knows that in matters involving National Security where secrecy is involved, negligence is hard to detect.

Let's keep that in mind whenever someone finally tries to collect on his/her insurance.


MBW said...


The prejudices against Arroyo and her govt are founded on her excecrable governance, her lies, her cheatings, her moral corruption, her inability to unite, etc.

If people are not rallying in the aftermath of the Makati blast around her little person is not because they despise the JI and all the other terrorist cells less but it's because Gloria, as a leader has lost all moral high ground to ask them to despise terrorists along with her.

In any case, I don't believe she's even asking the citizens to rally around her and that to me is very telling -- she cannot because she knows she has lost the trust and confidence of her fellow citizens.

There is really nothing she can expect at this point from the people. The country is so divided -- there is an existing political and moral chasm so strong (or so bad) that renders the nation incapable of rallying around their leaders, a chasm primarily of Gloria's own making.

The gulf between the nation's leaders and the citizenry is widening and I believe it is beginning to thoroughly sap the nation's moral energy.

cvj said...

Hi Anna, i believe that if the bombings are indeed the work of groups like the RSM, JI, MILF, ASG or the CPP/NPA, then it could not have come at the worst possible time when the credibility of the State, and therefore its capacity to lead, is so low. I therefore agree with blogger Dominique that this would be the right time for Gloria Arroyo to resign.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information on topics.I was excited for this article.
Thank you again.

Insurance information for good ideas.