Monday, December 21, 2015

Assumptions in the order of society

Assumptions in the order of society

President Noynoy Aquino at the World Economic Forum in Makati said that good governance results in good economics. The problem however is it is easier said than done because the “sound bite” is nothing more but for propaganda than for real.  In fact, what he said is no different from his debut slogan that “kung walang kurap, walang mahirap.”  Aside from the hard truth that corruption has nothing to do with poverty, still many of our people after four years remain deeply mired in poverty, and corruption having seemingly overtaken us.  

If one will analyze what PNoy said, he might just think PNoy is some kind of a nut.  His sloganeering of good governance equals good economics is nonsense because he simply lifted that from basic philosophy called syllogism. We know that syllogism will not help us solve our problems occurring in real life.  While the two premises are logically correct, that would not necessarily result in a logical conclusion or be taken as true. We say this because good governance and good economics have their respective parameters to arrive at their respective objective.  More often they clash because they are  incompatible.
Take the Pareto principle.  That principle lays down the premise that the advantage of one could result in the disadvantage of the other.  That principle has partly been influenced by the Marxian economic principle about the growth of capital.   A good case is the theory of freedom.  Unequivocal freedom in politics is interpreted by most libertarians as an inalienable right that cannot be taken away from us.   While applying freedom to certain economic principles may be good to a handful few, that may not necessarily be good to many of our people because of its tendency to deny many of the things they need for their basic survival. 
As bestselling author Ha-joon Chang wrote in his book Bad Samaritans,  the egalitarianism of socialism deprives one of the initiative and the incentive to be creative. It may result in good governance, but certainly bad to economics. The same can be said of absolute freedom stretched to the realm of economics, for ultimately it is bound to end up in a dysfunctional political freedom.   
In our recent history, we saw the intense clash of paradox ideologies.  The ideology of Marxist socialism advocated for the observance economic equality through the state ownership of the means of production.  It is to them a good economic principle that could lead to good governance.   However, that attempt to justify the imposition of a regimented society to keep itself intact failed to bring about good governance because it failed to satisfy the dynamic needs of the people in a society they envisioned.  The opposite are those advocating for free enterprise.  They believe that freedom is the key to good governance, and it is likely to end up in good economics.    They would not care less about the inequality it would entail because the success of democracy would usher in economic success.  It is this economic policy that is being advocated by the theologians of neoliberalism.
Alas, the Soviet Union would not have imploded, and China would not have survived to become the most successful economy in our modern time had it not revised its Maoist version of egalitarianism.  The United States, for all its arrogance as the bastion of freedom today, stands as the biggest debtor state in recorded history.  In other words, its formula of good governance failed to bring about good economics.   Those countries that remain beguiled to the neoliberal ideology like the members of the European Union (EU) are today on the precipice of economic collapse.  Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy saw their economy sliding fast despite the belief that privatization, deregulation and free trade were good to their economy.   Thousands were thrown out of work, stripped of their welfare, and saw their standard of living reduced  by one third.
Even if we give it to President Aquino that because of his good governance he managed to come out with good economics, many are asking, what is good governance if the majority is deprived or has no access to enjoy the bounties of his so-called economic success?  We are not exposing the fallacy of his syllogism, but simply requesting him to stop insulting our people by his cheap propaganda antics only his yellow claptrap could appreciate.
  Even if the country’s GNP grew by an unprecedented rate of 7.7 percent, that good economic point has become one of bad governance because  alongside with it,  poverty remains at 24.89 percent.   The same can be said of the P2.265 trillion budget that was appropriated in 2014.  What good would that be if the country was saddled up with a P164.1 billion deficit that pushed us deeper into foreign debt?  For that matter, our foreign debt of $127.67 billion jumped by 4.5 percent or equivalent to P5.681 trillion in  2013.  These figures betrayed the logic, for normally, increased government budget is assumed to be the result of increased productivity.
The increased GNP was further exposed as plain nonsense because labor surveys  as of  January 2013 showed that 7.5 percent or an estimated 2.9 million individuals are unemployed. Many were astounded because 41.7 percent of our workforce in agriculture, 41.1 percent in the service sector and 17.2 percent in the industry sector are underemployed.  Stated differently, more  than one half of our labor force is now paid below the minimum wage, thereby making a sham of the law on minimum wage.
On the other hand, while our non-agricultural workers in the national capital region are getting P466.00 a day and P429.00 for the other private sector that does not mean anything if  one will add by pro rata his  13th month pay,   SSS, PhilHealth, employees’ compensation, Pag Ibig Home Savings Fund.  That will chalk up to about P550 daily wage which our employers will have to scrounge just to pay their employees. 
Because our workers  have to hurdle more to pay for  their rent, electricity and water bills  which now stand as the highest in the world, that certainly has the effect of bad governance to fallacious economic success, but wholly good to  the few who savor with much gusto the blessings of economic freedom which PNoy claims to be the result of his “good governance.”


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