Saturday, November 17, 2007

Abe Margallo: The Philippine Elite's Bayanihan Pact

In his blog entry, Abe Margallo reflects on What to do with the Philippine Oligarchs. He provides a concise summary of where the recent Philippine Presidents (legitimately elected or otherwise) stand with respect to the Philippine political and economic elite. More importantly, Abe reiterates his proposed Bayanihan Pact which is...
" entrepreneurial arrangement where the oligarchs emerge as national business elites in partnership with the State, a representative group from the private sector, and the bureaucracy (hence, there’s no need for a bloody confrontation) in the nature of a Philippine, Inc., just as a Japan, Inc., a Korean, Inc. or a China, Inc., of recent time or the French, Inc. the British, Inc. or the American, Inc. of the old."
I believe Abe's suggestion (which he first wrote about in his book aptly titled Build or Perish and further discussed in his blog entries here and here) is the optimal way to achieve economic takeoff without going through the hassle and gamble of a Civil War or a populist dictatorship.



Hi Chuck,

If I may leap ahead, I'd say that Abe's Bayanihan pact could be extended and brought out on a worldwide scale because the issues involving wealth (oligarchs) and poverty are not confined only to the Philippines.

The Philippines today is a victim too of the current trend by a number of people in the world to stash away wealth in so few hands.

There is a strong indication that an economic take off across the board all over the world is the only way forward otherwise there is a distinct possibility that civil wars or a WW and populist dictatorships would take over as they are happening now in a number of countries, the Philippines included albeit not quite in tyraniccal fashion (yet).

Americans should take the lead in fact for they possess the most advanced economy in the world.
But how can that happen when Americans themselves do not believe that global wealth should be shared? A way forward is for Americans to be less insular in their outlook.

Recently, I stumbled on the Becker-Posner blog courtesy of another blogger in Norwegian Would. Of particular interest to me was their thread on 14 Oct 2007: Globalization and Inequality--Posner's Comment.

My view:

Clearly written by an American with a rather "insular" view of the world. I accept his ideas based on that premise, but I think we have to look wider than a national basis and consider how we are going to bring prosperity to the billions of poverty stricken in the world. This is the role of the UN and it may mean that the rich nations (G8/G15) have to give up some wealth.

Global wealth has increased. Considering marginal incomes in the US may work as everyone has access to education and there are jobs for almost all those prepared to work and there are equal opportunities to gain wealth if one is clever enough. Much of the world is not in the same situation. Billions of families live on less than 1000 dollars a year and the UN is rightly concerned with these people. It is not enough to say I am in my country and everything is fine - especially with the globalisation of the economy. That way lies the development of disgruntled people who resent the consumption of a minority of the inhabitants of the planet and, in the extreme, are people prepared to commit terrorist acts. This makes the income inequality more than regrettable, unfortunate, deplorable etc - it makes it dangerous.

I agree we are citizens of our nations. We are also citizens of the planet and on this planet there are finite resources of energy, minerals and food. As such we have to consider the wider picture when we consider our relations with the world. We can no longer be insular. Technology is helping and will help more - indeed it will become our saviour or I fear the numbers of humans on the planet is in for a drastic correction.

Education is also different in different countries. In the US the education level is high and I agree that there is little that can be improved and the marginal cost is probably too expensive. However let us look at a country where the literacy rate is 25% (e.g. Afghanistan). In this country how do we run an administration, a legal system, and form a government. No-one can read notices, no-one can fill in forms, no-one can do accounts, no-one can record a contract. Life is based on what you can say and what you can remember - Your Word is Your Bond. This is not a world with which the average US company can deal. The cultural difference between our trade practises, with their armies of legal advisers, and the practises of companies in such a company lead to huge difficulties. Of course more education is needed. Sadly over three quarters of the world is in desperate need of more education.

Mr Posner needs to look more widely and see what the UN sees. He needs to use some imagination and get outside the little island that sits in the middle of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Have a good weekend Chuck! (Whole family is driving to the Ardennes and to Luxembourg to visit war memorials.)

cvj said...

Hi Anna, thanks for the link to Posner's comment. Judge Posner is a typical American conservative. I think you're spot on in describing his world view as "insular" which is a very common one for Americans to hold.

Have a good weekend as well!

Abe N. Margallo said...


Thanks for the mention.


Great comment. I'm on a trip too. Have a wonderful travel with your family.

I'll try to respond to your comment and cvj's post in my blog soon.

All the best!

mschumey07 said...

Then it all boils down to social justice. What is weird is that the ideals of democracy is in fact socialist. It can be confusing at times since neo-cons would call one a communist for espousing such beliefs.