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From the Net: Ninoy, Noynoy, No-No (Phil Bronstein – Huffingtonpost.com)

May 13, 2010

The oligarchs are back. Thanks to the Pinoy dimwits who voted the very persons who robbed the poor of their economic birthright.

In colonial times, the Spanish grabbed indio lands through pillage and conquest, in massive quantities at that. After killing the indios, the Spanish marauders declared the indio lands as theirs. Then the Spanish colonial occupation forces distributed the lands to the hacienderos. As long as the hacienderos paid the rent to the crown and converted the indios to Catholicism, the Spanish colonial forces cared any less what the hacienderos did in their farm.

When the Americans came, the lands grabbed by the Spanish and redistributed to the hacienderos were not recovered and returned to the indios from whom the land was grabbed.

Land reform would have been an opportunity to get the lands back, but the descendants of the hacienderos – the oligarchs are not about to let go.

Today, the indios have forgotten that it was their land in the first place. Worse, the former owners of the land now bow prostate like beggars in front of the land grabbers.

To add insult to injury – the indios voted into the Presidency, the very symbol of the cause of their homelessness. The surrealism of it all is not lost – as the indios themselves are boasting of an Aquino win.

The yellow zombies are like lambs bleating how fat it got under the shepherd, not knowing what takes place in the slaughterhouse until it is too late.

I sure now know how it feels like to have a retarded sibling – you can’t kill em, you can’t leave ’em to rot because they are kin – you just love unconditionally, but it doesn’t make your kin any less retarded.

***

The return of the oligarchy was not lost to Phil Bronstein, EVP and Editor-at-large of the San Francisco Chronicle in this piece.

***

Phil Bronstein Executive Vice President and Editor-at-Large, San Francisco Chronicle Posted: May 11, 2010 02:24 PM

Ninoy, Noynoy, No-No.

That’s pretty much how the Philippine elections look to someone whose dance card was punched for years by Manila politics.

I was barely out of kidhood when I covered the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, so Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III – son of the assassinated politician Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and his wife, the recently deceased former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino – was just a boy when I was there (Lets not get started on the Filipino nickname thing; one of his sisters is Ballsy).

I met him a few times, huddled up against his widowed mom and his sisters. But he never said much back then.

Now, he’s almost certainly the new president.

Good luck, pal, and get yourself a private army, in addition to the sometimes politically unreliable military, if you don’t already have one. Because all of your enemies do. Given the Philippines’ history of corruption, coups and the country’s inability to budge an inch off of its 70 percent poverty rate and huge, naked economic disparities, you might as well be Ralph Cramden, just elected president of the Racoon Lodge.

The real news, however, is that Imelda Marcos – sometimes accused in the plot to assassinate Ninoy, and as lavishly pompadoured and aggressively fluttering as ever – also won her race for Congress. I still have her personally autographed bound volumes and rough drawings of her guiding life theory – something about circles and triangles, upside down hearts and love. She pushed that stuff relentlessly, seemingly gone a little loopy after 20 years of power, lots of sycophancy and presidential palace intrigue.

When she closed the fancy Gloria Maris restaurant so she could take me to a private dinner there a deux with a piano player in the shadows and her singing love ballads, I didn’t know whether I was supposed to swoon or curl up into a protective ball.

But Imelda knew a cult when she founded one, even if it seemed often that she was its only member. Given today’s election results, apparently not.

“The little people, they love me,” she used to say as we rode in her limo past the tattered, desperate crowds outside her compound walls. She gave them flowers and a jewel-encrusted, designer gown-dressed first lady that she believed they loved to look up to. “It makes them proud to see me jetting around the world and getting cozy with the famous in the first world.”

And pissed, especially in 1986 when they threw Imelda and Ferdinand – the former “Kennedys of Asia”- out of the country.

The shoes were a raw deal, by the way, considering Marcos himself had almost as many pairs tucked away in a between floors, “Being John Malkovich” department store chamber right below their palace living quarters.

Once again, oddly mannered oligarchs are back in place, re-fighting the same battles of 40 years before.

The only real shock would be if anything really changes
.

***

Glory be to the oligarchy, the political surrogates, and the dumbed down media.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,

Idiotic Filipinos without end.

Amen.

Ang pinoy talaga… bwiset.

From → Elections

30 Comments
  1. Foreign view… really needed… some guy is telling you that you have a pimple on your face… wag magalit…

  2. Jay permalink

    An oligarchy that pumps out propaganda with their political machines and the dumbed down media. What are the chances of the Pinoy society overcoming this, considering they rejected people who wanted to help guide them to self-realization? Add to the fact that cost of living is high and a third factor of dumbing the people are giving them ideas to pray to the point that God has lost the nerve to listen towhiny people telling him to help guide the leader of their country and getting in the way of the ‘Divine Plan’.

    Adapt or die. Many other nations did in the face of devastation and turmoil and as a group, they persevered. The ones that failed… well at least the Native Americans of North America get to build casinos on their land. History was kind to them. I can’t say for the other groups of people that failed. So Philippines, Adapt or die.

  3. a colleague heard the election results being mentioned

    and she said “just because he is honest and he’s got great parents, that’s it?, that is sad.”

  4. famous wolf permalink

    “I sure now know how it feels like to have a retarded sibling – you can’t kill em, you can’t leave ‘em to rot because they are kin – you just love unconditionally, but it doesn’t make your kin any less retarded.”

    I disagree, at least your mentally retarded sibling returns your affections, where as this asswipe (Noynoy) will pretend nothing is happening.

  5. Thanks for the Bronstein article. I can’t agree with your land reform analysis though.. The fact remains that land reform DESTROYED food self-sufficiency in the Philippines because it fragmented land holdings. You need large scale land for capital-intensive and modern agriculture. Yields keep dropping because the small farmers don’t have the capital and management experience to make money off their land reformed parcels. Many end up selling their CLOA land titles. LOSE LOSE situation. There are better alternatives.

  6. That’s because the Philippines did not learn from the Taiwanese experience

    ==========
    http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/medaille-john_taiwan-land-reform.html

    Taiwan and the “Land to the Tiller” Program
    John C. Médaille
    [Chapter 14 from the book, The Vocation of Business: Catholic Social Teaching for the Business Person, a work in progress, copyrighted by the author and reprinted here by permission. July 2005]
    The author is adjunct instructor of Theology at the University of Dallas and a Real Estate Agent.

    Land Monopoly and Labor Markets

    We have seen that Catholic Social Teaching has made wider ownership of the means of production a keystone of its idea of justice. She has, of course, based this on her authority as a moral teacher, but that moral teaching would be suspect if it could not be shown to have a sound economic base. It is not that the Church makes her moral decisions based on some economic system, but rather that a true morality will eventually be shown to be consistent with economic theory. If She is correct in this view, then redistribution of land will be shown to be the basis of a just and stable economic order. Further, this should be shown be both theoretically and in actual historical circumstances.

    To some degree, we have already done this. We have seen how, theoretically, the law of rents is mitigated or abolished in the presence of a frontier or a commons. In such circumstances, wages stabilize at rates far above subsistence; when the frontier is closed and the commons enclosed, the law of rents takes over and the wages tend towards subsistence. We have verified these purely theoretical conclusions by noting the experience of America while she still had a frontier, and of England in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the later case, we noted that by the end of the 15th century, wages had reached nearly 4 times subsistence and attempts to enforce a “statute of laborers” were futile. But after all the land was “privatized” and the commons lost, wages dropped to bare subsistence levels and the statute of laborers became redundant. However, we do not need to look to colonial America or 16th century England for all of our data; we have enough examples in the 20th and 21st centuries; we have enough data from our own time, both positive and negative. Examples of monopolistic land ownership are, alas, all too common and present themselves for our analysis.

    The case for land redistribution can be made in pure neo-classical terms. Where there are few owners, and especially when the few combine to control the market, a monopoly in land is created which in turn creates a monopsony for the labor market; land owners become “price makers” rather than “price takers.”[1] Further, the economic control of the labor market is often reinforced by a series of institutional controls, such as the difficulty tenants or laborers have of obtaining credit, use of police power to prevent protests or unions, lack of education in rural areas, discrimination, etc. All of these things leave sharecroppers or farm laborers at a disadvantage in wage or rent negotiations, making these contracts leonine. The effect is that the landowners can arbitrarily lower the cost of labor with the results that the marginal costs are higher than the average costs, reversing the situation in a “normal” labor market; to increase the amount of labor would require them to raise wages rather than lower them.[2] This has four consequences from a purely neo-classical perspective.[3] One, the cost of labor is lower than what it would be in a competitive environment resulting in exploitation of the farm worker. Indeed, the low wages make marginal costs higher than average costs. Two, total employment on the farms is lower than what it would be because the higher marginal costs make it inefficient (in terms of profit) to fully utilize the land, resulting in surplus labor. The combination of surplus labor and lowered labor costs in turn lowers the “reservation wage” in urban areas, accentuating urban poverty. The third point follows from the second: since marginal costs are higher than average costs, total output is lower than what it could be, resulting in production inefficiencies. Whenever labor costs are artificially controlled through monopoly or monopsony power, average labor cost is likely to be lower than marginal cost, meaning that optimal returns to capital are reached before full utilization of the resource. Which leads to four, although the farm is less efficient, the total profits are higher, which results in an inequality of income distribution and widespread poverty. In other words, the farm is made “efficient” not in terms of total output, but in terms of total profit.

    The implications are that wider ownership of land would raise total output and average income by breaking the monopsony over the labor market. There would be a more equal distribution of income and a reduction in both urban and rural poverty. This in turn would broaden the market in the non-agricultural sectors, allowing for more secure investment opportunities and hence advance the broadening of the economy away from the purely agricultural. However, there is a question of how to break up land monopolies. Three solutions have been put forward, a market-based solution, favored by the World Bank; a re-distributive solution, in which land is simply expropriated; or by a combination of the two. All three have been tried extensively since the 1950’s, when land reform achieved a high priority on the development agenda; the first two have been shown to have extensive problems. The World Bank solution hasn’t worked for reasons which Belloc laid out in The Servile State.[4] In a market solution, by which landowners are simple given the market price for their land, nothing really changes. This is because the “market price” for anything is simply the same thing in a different form. The ownership of land or money is a claim on the output of society; the market price merely converts that claim from one form to another, from land to capital. The practical effects are that the oppressive rents are merely converted into oppressive interest payments. Nor is this effect mitigated by having the national governments pick up the debt, since governments can only pass on the cost to their citizens in the form of taxes. The market solution simply does not change the power relationships involved, which need to be changed, simply because that is not the function of the market; indeed, a free market depends on leaving power relationships exactly in place before and after a market trade. The World Bank solution has therefore merely saddled the so-called Third World with unmanageable debts, crippling interest payments, and even less of a prospect of being properly developed than they would have without the misguided “help” of the Bank.

    But outright expropriation has it problems as well. This is because there is an immediate moral difficulty. It is certainly true that monopoly power is both morally repugnant and economically inefficient, and given that land ownership is a social convention society certainly does have the power to limit it. However, it is a stretch to then claim that the current owners have no rights whatsoever that society is bound to respect. Certainly, their monopoly rights ought to be terminated, having neither a moral nor an economic root. But neither can they be reduced to penury without creating as great an evil, both moral and economic, as the one expropriation intends to correct. Outright expropriation turns to outright criminality, as it did in the Communist nations or in places like Zimbabwe, because it begins in criminality, that is, with a denial of justice.

    The “Land to the Tiller” Programs

    That would seem to leave the third solution, a combination of market buy out and expropriation. Like expropriation, this solution actually changes power relationships within a given society; like market based solutions, it recognizes, partially, the rights of existing land owners. In such solutions, there is no magic formula as to the allocation of rights and power; it is arrived at on an arbitrary basis and is purely a matter of judgment. The primary examples of this form of land redistribution are Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The circumstances in which the redistributions took place are somewhat remarkable, involving three historical circumstances. The first was the explication of Chinese nationalism given by Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), head of the Chinese Nationalist Party (the Kuomintang) which overthrew the Manchu dynasty in China and was in turn overthrown by the Chinese Communists. The second was American ascendancy over the east after World War II. And the third was the imperative to effective action given by the fear of a communist victory in all three places and the need to break the power of an oppressive land owning class whose very existence had been the biggest practical argument in favor of communism.

    Sun Yat-sen had made “land to the tiller” a foundation of Chinese state, but the Kuomintang, at war with the Communists, then the Japanese, and then the Communists again never had sufficient control of China to implement any actual reforms. Further, they depended to a large degree on warlords and large landowners, so that real reforms were politically impossible in any case. In 1949, the Nationalists were defeated by the Communists and fled to the island of Formosa, now called Taiwan. The Taiwan that greeted the refugees was an agricultural and feudal society. The war had devastated production, which was at half its pre-war levels. Mostly it was a nation of small sharecroppers with most holding about 2.5-3 acres. Rents were from 50-70% of the crop and there was no security of tenure; the farmers could be evicted at will. Most of the land was owned by members of 20 families. Further, since the returns on land were so high, there was little interest in investing in anything but land. In addition, Taiwan had to absorb 2 million refugees from the mainland and bear the costs of defense. It was expected that Taiwan would soon fall to the Mainland communists, as the Kuomintang had never proved very effective in controlling China. It was necessary to act quickly to reform Taiwan; it was the very failure to enact reforms which had made the Kuomintang unpopular in China and led to the victory of the Communists. They could not make the same mistake twice.

    Land reform was based on a program initiated in Japan by General Douglas MacArthur, who after the war was the virtual ruler. MacArthur’s plan had both a political and economic purpose: politically, it weakened the landowning class that had supported Japanese militarism; economically, it distributed both income and incentives to innovate among the people. The success of the program in Japan encouraged its application to both Taiwan and Korea. Most of what we say here could apply to all three countries, but mostly we will take the case of Taiwan.

    Taiwan’s land reform took place in three phases. In the first phase, starting in 1949, rents were reduced to 37.5% and landlords were required to give 6 year leases. Further, the tenants were no longer required to pay rents in advance. The farmers now had an improved income and at least some security of tenure. This also had the immediate effect of lowering land prices since the returns were now lower, which later facilitated the process of land redistribution. Further, during times of crop failure, tenants could apply for a reduction in the rents. The tenant also acquired the right of first refusal if the landowner attempted to sell the land.[5]

    In the second Phase (1951), public lands were sold to the farmers at a fixed rate of 2.5 times the average yield. These were lands which had been abandoned by the Japanese and taken over by the government and represented 20% of the arable land. Each farmer could buy .5-2.5 hectares of paddy land and 1-4 of dry land. The farmer was loaned the money and could repay in kind over 10 years. 266,000 families received land in this phase. The third phase (1953) was the “land to the tiller” proper. The landowners were forced to sell all their land over a small amount at the same terms the government had sold its own land, a price of 2.5 times the yield. 166,000 families received land under this phase. So in total, about 432,000 families came into possession of their own land. The tenancy rate dropped from 64% to 17% and the farmers were now paying 25% for 10 years rather than 50% forever.

    Note that 2.5 times revenue is a very low price to pay for any asset. Further, no account was taken of the externalities of any piece of land, which in a free market is usually a critical portion of the price. Land prices are normally set not by the productivity of the land, but by the externalities; things such as how close a piece of land is to a population center, what are the off-site improvements (such as roads or utilities), and so forth, are normally the major determinants of price; all of these were ignored. Thus the program can be considered a partial compensation and partial expropriation of the land. As such, it actually changed the power relationships within the economy and the government.

    The results were dramatic. Farm production increased as farmers used more fertilizer, went to multiple cropping with as many as four crops/year and diversified production to higher value but more labor intensive crops. Production increased at an annual rate of 5.6% from 1953 thru 1970. The farmers suddenly had something they never had before: relatively large amounts of disposable income. Now they needed some place to spend it.

    The owners were paid with 10% cash, 30% in stocks from four government-owned companies, and 60% in industrial revenue bonds. In other words, the government simply printed the money to buy the farms. Normally, when governments merely print up so money to accomplish some project, the result is merely an inflationary spiral. But this did not happen. Why no inflation? This is where the Taiwanese strategy really becomes clever. The bonds that the landowners received were negotiable industrial bonds which they could then invest in any light industry they choose;[6] indeed, there was nothing else they could do with the bonds; it was a case of “invest or die.” The strategy was two fold: get capital, in the form of land, into the hands of farmers; get capital, in the form of industrial investment, in the hands of entrepreneurs. Note that the strategy provided both goods to buy and purchasers to buy them; it was a binary strategy, giving equal weight to production and consumption. A tremendous number of capitalists were created overnight; the former landowners, who previously had no interest in manufacturing, were converted into instant urban capitalists and had to find places to invest the proceeds from the lands sales; the landless peasants became proprietors. By this method, the government provided support to Taiwan’s fledgling industrial base. But the fact that the actual companies to invest in were picked by the former landowners meant better investment decisions than if the government had tried to pick the winners itself. Industrial production expanded, giving the newly empowered peasants some place to spend the money buying locally produced goods.

    We can see the Taiwanese experiment for the conjuring trick it was: the government sold land it didn’t own, bought with money it didn’t have and managed to expand both the consumer market and to provide the industrial production necessary to serve that market and serve it from local resources. There was no inflation because the money supply expanded at the same rate as production by a sort of automatic method. Redistribution allowed for expansion of the consumer base which allowed for expansion of the industrial base. It is not often in business and economics that one gets to see solutions which are elegant and beautiful, but certainly the land to the tiller program qualifies. We can also note that all of this was accomplished with relatively little “foreign aid” or development assistance; the United States provided the 10% cash that the landowners received, but the rest was pure monetary “magic.”

    The story in Korea was much the same. In 1945, the American military government reduced the rents from 50-60% down to 33%. Later the provisional government forced the larger landlords to sell their land at a price of three times the annual output to be repaid in 15 years. However, the actual price was in reality only 1.8 times the produce, since the price was set using the depressed post war averages.[7] In 1949 and 50, there were further forced sales, the owners being compensated in bonds that could be used to buy the industries left behind by the departing Japanese, which represented 80% of Korea’s industrial base.[8]

    Industrial Policy

    The benefits of land distribution would not have been half so great had it not been coupled with an intelligent industrial policy. The monetary conjuring trick which provided land to the peasants and capital to the entrepreneurs worked in concert with the industrial policy that began where Taiwan actually was: in a very primitive state. The “light industries” in which the bonds were invested were very light indeed. Few had more than 25 employees and the average number was just eight. But a business-any business-always depends on a network of other businesses. To set up shop, one first needs land, then a building, office supplies, telephones, delivery services, furniture, machinery no matter how primitive, etc. Business breeds business. But the Kuomintang was especially interested in a particular kind of business: Import substitution. Since Taiwan’s own industrial capacity was limited, most manufactured goods had to be imported. The government encouraged import substitution industries, first in such things that were easy to make, such as shoes, clothing and textiles.[9] Import substitution is a key part of development strategy; local resources were used to produce what had previously been imported and a judicious but limited use of tariffs were designed to give an edge to local businesses.

    Taiwan was still a low labor cost state and hence there were transplant factories, what we now call “outsourcing.” Manufacturers in Hong Kong and Japan contracted out some work to Taiwan. This gave the Taiwanese valuable experience in setting up factories and managing production. In learning how to make things cheaply for others, they learned how to make the same things for themselves. But the skills learned were then used to set up their own factories.

    To encourage efficient use of the land, a Georgist tax policy was followed. Georgism was a 19th century theory developed by Henry George (1839-1897). George was probably the most well-known and popular economist of his day; some measure of his popularity can be gleaned from the fact that at his death, over 100,000 people filed past his coffin, while thousands more were unable to get in. His major work, Progress and Poverty, was a best seller for many years, and his ideas had a tremendous influence up until recently. Basically, George noted that while the law of rents allocated all values above subsistence to the landlord, the landlord did not actually do anything to earn those values. George also noted that the claim to the land the landlord held was based not on any natural right, but on government power alone. Further, the rent of land was due totally to the external factors: population and off-site improvements. In other words, the landlord added no values to the land per se. Yet, land tends to be taxed lightly while the improvements on land tend to be taxed heavily. For George, this reversed the logical order. Land should be taxed to its full rental value, while improvements should not be taxed at all; land after all was pure gift, while what a man made of the land was his alone. Thus Georgism is often called the single-tax theory, since there would be only land taxes. George believed that the single tax would force down the price of land by making it unprofitable to hold parcels for speculation, while encouraging development by leaving both labor and improvements to the land untaxed. One can say that George socialized the land while privatizing its development; it is an interesting view of the questions of the social and the private values of land that we have previously examined. Sun Yat-sen was an admirer of Henry George and made his ideas a part and parcel of Chinese nationalism; hence George’s theories were spread through the East. In fact, both Singapore and Hong Kong are based on Georgist principles. In Hong Kong, all the land is owned by the government and leased to developers (which is equivalent to a 100% tax rate), while in Singapore, the government owns 65% of the land. Needless to say, both are very prosperous states. Georgism deserves a lot more space then this.[10] But for our purposes we can note that Taiwan followed a Georgist policy to encourage development while keeping other taxes relatively low.

    Equality and Development

    Taiwan followed an import replacement scheme right up the industrial scale from cheap cloth shoes to shipbuilding, steel making, and electronics, to become a great trading nation. At the same time, she was able to create an economy with greater equity, in complete contradiction of the Kuznets curve. The Kuznets curve states that development and inequality first rise together before falling in later stages of development to form an inverted “U”. Despite the lack of empirical evidence for this thesis, it is standard development dogma.[11] It is often used as an excuse for development programs which seem only to widen the gap between rich and poor without any discernable benefits to the people. But in Taiwan, along with Korea and Japan, rapid development and increased equality went hand in hand.

    One of the standard measures of inequality is called the Gini Coefficient, which measures the distance from a “perfect” equality; a Gini score of zero would indicate “perfect” income equality and 100 would indicate a situation where one person had all the income. Taiwan measures .33 on this scale; the U.S., by comparison, measures .41. The ratio between the earnings of the top 20% with the bottom 20% declined from 15 to one in 1950 to 5 to one by the 1970’s. Taiwan has managed 50 years of high growth rates, increased equality, and low tax rates (comparatively). Unemployment was low to non-existent through most of Taiwan’s post war history. Before 2000, it rarely exceeded 3% and usually was less than 2%. Since 2000, the rate has risen as high as the low 5’s before dropping back to the 4% range as Taiwan struggles to adjust to outsourcing to mainland China. Further, Taiwan and the other “Asian Tigers” were able to achieve these successes despite having population densities among the highest in the world, a fact which contradicts the prevailing dogma that population density is an impediment to growth.

    Taiwan is, of course, far from utopia. For one thing, its very success has brought with it a corrosive consumerism which threatens the very roots of the social order and cohesion upon which these decisions were made. For another thing, the ownership was that was granted to farmers was not often extended to industrial workers. It is likely that coping with the challenge from China will require the same redistributive will require the same kind of redistributive programs for urban workers that were extended to farm workers. Nevertheless, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan have demonstrated the great effectiveness of redistributive policies in providing development with equity. In only a single generation, Korea and Taiwan were able to transform themselves from feudal and highly unequal societies into industrial powerhouses while overcoming poverty and inequality. As such, redistribution of productive assets should provide a model for development. This is an especially important question, given the destabilizing inequality and lack of development that exists in the world today; moreover the question is made more important today by both the phenomenon of “globalization” and the precarious security situation in the world. But despite the evident success of these models, they are not the models that have been followed by the World Bank and other development institutions; these have followed different dogmas, with tragically different results.

  7. It is not land reform that “destroyed food self-sufficiency in the Philippines” and “fragmented land holdings”, but the BOGUS BRAND OF LAND REFORM that was implemented by the first Aquino government. Instead of organizing rural workers into collectives and cooperatives to maximize scale while giving workers full rights of ownership, the stock distribution option was devised so landlords could keep controlling the land they were supposed to give up. If some farmers ended up selling their titles, that only shows how Cory’s CARP did not provide adequate support systems (i.e. access to working capital, business linkages) to help farmers succeed after land was awarded. These things were not provided because there was really no intention to make landlords give up land in the first place.

    Who should be blamed for destroying food security? It is the hacenderos, aided by oligarchs in big business and government connections. They converted thousands of hectares of agricultural land to industrial, commercial, and residential. Why do you think Hacienda Luisita made sure it would have direct access to the SCTEx?

  8. At least Phil Bronstein isn’t a troll on PinoyChan. Otherwise, he would have used more slanderous references to Filipinos, especially the word “pango”. The more you (Anti-Pinoy) enlighten us (the Filipino people), the more insecure they (it’s obvious) are.

  9. bokyo permalink

    If this article got out on any social network sites (Facebook for sample) or any of the oligarch-owned media outfit, expect a new Adam Carolla-esque reaction.

    Any minute now . . .

  10. Jon Abaca permalink

    Regarding land reform, has anybody seen data on land reform during the different presidents? May I have a link, please?

  11. kusinero permalink

    it’s even sadder because he is not in any way honest, nor does he have great parents to begin with. nauto lang talaga ang mga pilipino.

  12. Jay permalink

    It may take some time to circulate. But boldfacing the last 2 sentences, where the point is made really helps. I don’t think any of them have the comprehension to stick through the whole story.

  13. Amino Acid permalink

    Yeah, they’ll just skim the whole thing (pretending to be intelligent) and go “WTF?! RACIST!!11!!one!1!” at the first non-praise description of Filipinos that they see..

  14. tessie permalink

    There are but a few rich families who control the economy but they own everything essential for living: water , electricity, telecomm facilities, all media, department stores, banks. What is left for the Pinoys of lowly birth? Sari-sari store, the jeepney to be driven all day long, laundering clothes, sweeping the streets, vending taho and tinapa and puto, suffering heat just to earn 200 pesos if they are lucky! These oligarchs may argue that Pinoys are lazy and I attribute that to the Spaniards who have given us NOTHING but religion. After having been discriminated against for so long, we have gotten to the point of apathy – except for the valiant heroes of our revolution against these conos – who were pretty smart themselves (the heroes) but with due respect, they are dead. But it is so characteristic of us to forget the mistakes of our leaders after just 20 years or so. What do we need to wake up? Learning, education, the ability to analyze and think for ourselves, not depend on government for subsidy – the desire to excel and make our life our own. EDUCATION that is affordable to the masses who you, politicians, fool every time there is election by making unattainable promises that you write on running water. Because the masses are glued to the television all day long, what do they get? There is nothing on television that will prick their minds to think. They are so thrilled by some talents appearing on television who are not college graduates themselves, these are the so-called role models of our youth? Pretty faces, singing voices, scandals, immorality! But what can you do? The programs bring the bacon to the stations. Television after all is BUSINESS. Simply business. Because if you try to make the local stations into a discovery channel of sorts, no one will even bother. And the advertising agencies will not put any commercial in these kinds of programs. So we are stuck with our own circle of life. The rich get richer – the poor will be poor all their life. EDUCATION IS THE only vehicle that the poor can ride in towards a brighter future. Unfortunately, education also is the most expensive transportation there is!

  15. Jay permalink

    Well certainly in this harsh environment the pinoys help create, education is the difference between a life of no opportunity and having options in life (you know what they say, beggars can’t be choosers). However just to point out its not only the poor who haven’t learned from the mistakes of the society but the affluent as well. Of course the rich don’t have much to risk considering they help shape the country as it is. The rich, just as much as the poor have shown to be equally resilient to potential ideas that can help transform a nation and instead scoff at them or find ways to dismiss the people with the creativity and critical thinking.

    The pinoy society has been doing the same thing for far too long and if they don’t learn from what is happening around them in everyday life, I doubt a quality education makes them anymore aware. Lack of information doesn’t affect the rich but the poor as well. And its evident when the dumb rich who run for political positions run for positions the dumb poor elect to the highest seat (president), the senate, the congress and even for local government.

    I think everyone, more so those who don’t have the opportunities have to start embracing qualities and traits that normally would be desired, but necessary for their long term survival. There aren’t much options left for them anyway.

  16. The Anti-Antipinoy permalink

    Tsk! Tsk! Tsk, Phil Bronstein! As Jesus Christ once said (as if Phil Bronstein, anyone in the mainstream media, or any author or fan of this website still believes in Jesus or in a God), “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.”

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Bronstein, here is a little discussion of his background. Mr. Bronstein is an editor at-large of the San Francisco Chronicle which is a struggling, always nearly bankrupt, self-described “newspaper” that publishes anything but the news. The SF Chronicle undertook some serious downsizing of staff in the wake of the financial crisis because of decreased advertising revenue. Like other newspapers in the U.S., the Chronicle is struggling to survive because of the emergence of the internet which has led to dwindling subscription and advertisement revenue for newspapers.

    That’s the conventional view of why newspapers are failing. But there is more to the story. Newspapers are failing because people are realizing that most newspapers in the U.S. are nothing more than propaganda machines that help to build popular support for the OLIGARCHS in the U.S.

    How many readers here realize that OLIGARCHIES not only exist in the Philippines but ALSO exist in the U.S.? In fact, the oligarchs in the U.S. are far MORE POWERFUL and have a international reach that is MORE FARREACHING than the oligarchs in the Philippines. If ever the U.S. OLIGARCHS decided to rid themselves of the Philippine Oligarchs, do you think the U.S. oligarchs could not do so easily? The U.S. oligarchs were responsible for Marcos’ quick exit in 1986, weren’t they?

    Who comprises the U.S. OLIGARCHS? The U.S. oligarchy mainly consists of BANKING and CORPORATE INSTITUTIONS that have wielded their financial wealth to successfully capture and co-opt the state and national governments in the U.S. in addition to the U.S. military.

    Mr. Bronstein and many of the writers on this website completely overlook the influence of the World Bank and IMF on Philippine economics and politics. The Philippines is a debtor nation and much of that debt is owed to the World Bank and IMF which are for-profit banking institutions that consist of big banking companies in the U.S. In short, the U.S. oligarchy plays a nontrivial role in influencing the course of Philippine economics and politics and that U.S. banking oligarchy profits immensely from that influence.

    Why is the Philippines a Third World country? Why are so many Philippine infrastructure projects contracted out to foreign construction companies? Why are there free-trade zones in the Philippines where multi-nationals can profit off cheap labor in the Philippines without having to pay taxes to the Philippine government? Why does the Philippines remain largely unindustrialized to this day? Why are 10-20% of the Filipino population forced to seek jobs overseas?

    The policies of the World Bank and IMF have played a role in DIRECTLY causing many of these problems in the Philippines.

    The main problem with Mr. Bronstein’s opinions is that he takes a position similar to one an average person who possesses a limited perspective would take. It’s fair to blast the oligarchs of the Philippines which are the most ostensible cause of the problems in the Philippines but limiting blame for the dire situation of the Philippines to ONLY the Philippine oligarchs while remaining completely silent about the culpability of the U.S. banking oligarchy in the ongoing tragedy called the Philippines is absolutely disingenuous MOST especially for a supposed “newspaper” guy.

    After all, during the financial crisis and the Great Recesion which has a significant probability of degenerating into a Great Depression worse than the First that occurred in the 1930s, the SF Chronicle under the leadership of Editor-At-Large Phil Bronstein has been LARGELY QUIET ABOUT ABSOLUTE 100% GUILT of the U.S. BANKING OLIGARCHY in causing this Financial Crisis.

    One of the originators of the fraudulent predatory subprime loans that preyed on poor people of color and originated the financial crisis was Wells Fargo which is one of the largest banking institutions in the U.S. and is a member of the U.S. Banking Oligarchy. Wells Fargo is headquartered in San Francisco.

    How many investigations has the SF Chronicle under the leadership of Mr. Bronstein launched against Wells Fargo on behalf of democracy and the citizenry in order to break the financial grip of Wells Fargo on the now collapsing economy? How many? — ZERO!

    So Mr. Bronstein himself is 100% guilty of supporting, stabilizing, and prolonging the reign of an oligarchy — the U.S. banking oligarchy which is itself 100% responsible for the current financial crisis and partly responsible for the endemic poverty in the Philippines that persists to this day.

    So, in scorning voters who voted for the oligarchy of the Philippines, Mr. Bronstein is nothing more than a hypocrite. Keep that in mind before you agree with his opinions.

  17. I dunno, dude. Bronstein’s message in that particular article posted here, makes sense. Forget for one moment that that article was written by Bronstein, and it still makes sense. If it were written by anyone else for that matter, it still would make sense.

    My point?

    Perhaps Bronstein has a background that is not consistent with what he says in the above article. But, see, that’s a non-issue as far as people (like me) who knows jack sh1t about the author’s background. And to me, my ignorance of Bronstein’s background helps me focus on the message of the above article.

    But thanks anyway for the bit of trivia you contribute here about the messenger bearing the message in the article above. It’s duly noted.😉

    By the way, I believe many countries in this region overcame far bigger challenges than the IMF/WB regime many Pinoy dysfunction apologists keep invoking in defense of the honour of the former Pearl of the Orient. It comes down to how cleverly one plays the hand that is dealt them.

  18. Naize permalink

    it is also sad to note that even education — our brand of education, that is — is an education geared towards being EMPLOYEES. there is no focus on being innovative, on concentrating on the sciences, math and technology. there is also no focus on being entrepreneurs. the entrepreneurship programs only cater to the rich too. tuition fees to those programs are sky high.

    what’s more, with existing curricula, there is a mismatch between the existing industry need and the training (what little is given in practical training) given in schools. most of our students go through school to graduate and NOT to learn. unfortunately, they think that graduating and learning are synonymous but it is not.

    currently we are conducting training sessions in english for employees in the company where i’m working because we have difficulty communicating in paper which is a requirement of our clients. this is not an issue of subscribing to cono language here but the issue of being able to communicate in business.

    and the government can’t even solve the problem of supplying error-riddled books to public schools.

    which is why it is so difficult to imagine how we can get out of this mire when we have elected somebody who hasn’t even expressed clearly what his platforms are in terms of education. at least the other candidates had an inkling of what they were going to do.

  19. Oligarchies exist all over the world. Although the The difference between the Philippines and the US when it comes to oligarchies is that the US has has a sizeable middle class which checks the oligarchy – as in health insurance reform, taxes, and wall street reform. although the oligarchy exerts influence, there is also a thinking class which disputes the crap peddled by the oligarchy. that’s where the michael moore’s of the world come from. The same thing can be said about our ASEAN neighbors, nay , East Asia – Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand – a sizable middle class. the Philippines can’t even muster jacksh*t.

    The IMF-WB is a bogeyman, the Philippines does not have monopoly of being under IMF-WB programs.

    The policies of the World bank might seem stiff, BUT, consider the Philippine – alternative an undisciplined incoherent trade and fiscal policy akin to a monkey drunk with moonshine stumbling into a tuxedo-only party for humans. were it not for IMF-WB prescriptions the Philippines would be stuck in a North Korea /Cuba/ Ethiopia/ African – type of economy – because local oligarchs have insulated the economy from global trade and investments.

    global oligarchies exist, that is true. but, from the point of view of the national interest of the countries from which these global oligarchies emanate – these do good not just for the oligarchies, but for their domestic economies as well. take for example, the conglomerate that is BECHTEL, HALIBURTON, and ARCHER DANIEL MIDLANDS, LOCKHEED, NORTHROP-GRUMANN.

    Name any Philippine company that has a breadth and extensiveness of operations – and industries as above. There’s none. If we need those companies expertise – we have a couple of options:

    1 – Invite them in (no full participation due to protectionist clauses, but in full swing in ASEAN, East Asia, East Europe,Central America)
    2 – Joint ventures (current mode – they can’t get in unless they partner with locals – who happen to be mostly locals who can match the 60% – local oligarchs)
    3 – Wait till oligarchs acquire the technology – (too long)
    4 – Wait till locals “figure it out” (too long)

    Now to your questions:

    Why are so many Philippine infrastructure projects contracted out to foreign construction companies?

    That is misleading because foreign construction companies cannot own more than 25%. Fact is the companies are Filipino-owned – not foreign owned. You will have to read the news between the lines.

    LIST A:
    FOREIGN OWNERSHIP IS LIMITED BY MANDATE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND SPECIFIC LAWS

    Up to Twenty-Five Percent (25%) Foreign Equity

    13. Private recruitment, whether for local or overseas employment (Art. 27 of P.D. 442)
    .
    14. Contracts for the construction and repair of locally-funded public works (Sec. 1 of C.A. 541, LOI 630) except:

    a. infrastructure/development projects covered in R.A. 7718; and
    b. projects which are foreign funded or assisted and required to undergo international competitive bidding(Sec. 2(a) of R.A. 7718)

    Why are there free-trade zones in the Philippines where multi-nationals can profit off cheap labor in the Philippines without having to pay taxes to the Philippine government?

    That’s what is called a fiscal incentive. Philippine labor is no longer “cheap” – and its not highly productive either. Without the free trade zones, the Philippines unemployment will increase. The local oligarchs can only under-employ so much people. It also wants to benefit from the cheap labor. However, the local oligarchs just want to charge rent – use of their land, their malls, their buildings, utilities – light/water/telecommunication. The local oligarchs are not into industrial types of activities. These are activities which employ people in huge quantities – but also require capital. The downside to manufacturing industries is that the risk of new innovations can render advantages obsolete.

    Free trade zones therefore take on the risk of developing capital expenditure heavy locational facilities in order to attract the high impact industries which can employ the people who the local oligarchs are not interested in employing.

    The new leaders in cost competitiveness are China and Vietnam – which ironically, are socialist – dictatorships of the proletariat. China and Vietnam has practically become one free trade zone of cheap labor and practically no taxes as well because:

    1) they just want the citizens to have jobs instead of having no jobs.
    2) there is no oligarchy – the state IS the oligarchy, the Chinese/Vietnamese tycoons exist to fill the coffers of the CCP
    3) there are no unions in a worker’s paradise.
    4) There is no private property, all property is owned by the the state – both citizens and foreign nationals lease the property from the state. instead of property ax you pay leasing fees.

    Why does the Philippines remain largely unindustrialized to this day? Why are 10-20% of the Filipino population forced to seek jobs overseas?

    Read this – http://antipinoy.com/a-tale-of-two-countries-korea-and-the-philippines/ and weep.

    It’s fair to blast the oligarchs of the Philippines which are the most ostensible cause of the problems in the Philippines but limiting blame for the dire situation of the Philippines to ONLY the Philippine oligarchs while remaining completely silent about the culpability of the U.S. banking oligarchy in the ongoing tragedy called the Philippines is absolutely disingenuous MOST especially for a supposed “newspaper” guy.

    It’s the imperialist bogeyman again. Fact is at the height of the US financial brouhaha, the Philippines was bragging it wasn’t hit by the recession. How can the US industry be culpable when the Philippines wasn’t hit by the US banking oligarchy’s fiasco😉

  20. Jay permalink

    @AAnti-Pinoy

    So in your first point after Bronstein’s fun history about him is that newspapers help support for U.S. Oligarchs. That is besides the point and please point us to a source which says that the SF Chronicle is indeed peddling propoganda to support Oligarchs. Otherwise your view that most paper based media are in trouble due to the internet is a true generalization and not necessarily connected to what you are trying to prove.

    I am aware that powerful oligarchies also exist in the United States and have influence with the world and also how the Jewish elites also HAVE direct influence with how the North American economy but I won’t get into that too much. They however are not exactly as idiotic as to let their country be mired for so long. Because that isn’t the point.

    Why is the Philippines a Third World country? Why are so many Philippine infrastructure projects contracted out to foreign construction companies? Why are there free-trade zones in the Philippines where multi-nationals can profit off cheap labor in the Philippines without having to pay taxes to the Philippine government? Why does the Philippines remain largely unindustrialized to this day? Why are 10-20% of the Filipino population forced to seek jobs overseas?

    The policies of the World Bank and IMF have played a role in DIRECTLY causing many of these problems in the Philippines.

    I find that a joke considering more of the Philippine government policies prevent opportunities for the people than international intervention. Especially the unindustrialized part. People seem to forget the progress made in the 50/60’s in favor of how shit was during the time human rights was violated. From that time frame to 1987, did the Filipino Society do something about this or had a long term vision? Or even the Pinoy Oligarchs who came back to power in 1986? All they had to answer were stuff that doesn’t resemble anything that would be industrialized.
    But honestly, feel free to throw in long term reasons how the international oligarchs keep putting the country down. I’ll just remind you like Benign0 did how other asian countries in turmoil made use of a long term vision with their resources to make something out of it.

    Mr. Bronstein MAY be a hypocrite, but if anything he is fucking correct about his opinion. Because his country doesn’t isn’t having problems with idiot Oligarchs and limited access of information. So Ad Hominem him all you want. In the end of the day, you only have the state of the country and the newly installed leader to see how true the message is.

  21. Jon Abaca permalink

    While I agree with you that it’s important in progress, you also have to consider the mentality behind the drive for education. Check this article out.

    http://www.darkmirage.com/2009/09/19/dreams-are-not-for-asia/

    Sadly, I think that having a country of productive, well educated Filipinos will be enough to fix this country. While a state like that will have a good economy, it could result in cultural stagnation. In a culture as damaged as our culture, that is a very bad thing.

  22. Jon Abaca permalink

    Correction: I think that having a country of productive, well educated Filipinos will NOT be enough to fix this country.

  23. Jay permalink

    hmmm… good points you have there. Though honestly I think Pinoys are more resistant to cultural stagnation than say Singapore simply I think due to its culture. Hell where college teachers have told me in the interest to help preserve the knowledge of pinoy culture, there are many who will help with it because there is healthy interest in doing so. Though for every person interested in the tribes, Alibata and the indegenous people, there are your Tracy Borreses who look down on the Aetas simply because they aren’t caught up with the rest of society. However it seems that there are more people who are glad to remind them where we all come from.

    I sure as hell could be all wrong with this but just adding my two cents.

  24. Jon Abaca permalink

    Remembering the historical Filipino culture is important too. I just think that all Filipinos need to look at the culture we have right now.

    I think many Filipinos are caught up in a “we need to survive, and then get bigger stuff” social mindset. Grandparents who lived in a nipa hut pass on their dreams to live in a concrete house to their children. Then the children who lived in a concrete house pass on their dreams to live in a mansion to the grandchildren.

    Economically, there might be progress, but there should also be increased political and social awareness.

    I offer this as an explanation as to why many middle class and well educated people chose to vote for Noynoy Aquino, even if he is untested.

    In summary, I think many Filipinos have been conditioned to run the rat race. They are so busy in it that they can’t become active citizens and a democracy without active citizens is a troubled democracy.

  25. That’s attacking the messenger and not focusing on the message.

    Also, going on to blame the problems of the Philippines on the IMF and World Bank is another anti-foreign idea. It’s also red herring to draw the attention off the local oligarchs, who have a much larger share of responsibility for our nation’s problems. We need more proof that IMF and World Bank are causing the Philippines’ problems because there seems to be little of this, and these organizations’ policies are made for helping nations, not hurting them.

  26. If the WB, IMF, and the US are the source of the problems, really, the country doesn’t need to accept their charity and the conditions that are attached to it.

    Begging someone for a handout and then complaining that the benefactor is “holding you down” is idiotic.

    And I’ll agree with everyone else here: Who actually gives a damn who wrote the article? But since Anti-Antipinoy (glad to see you learned how to write without using “u” and “r” and “2” as actual words, btw) feels that is significant, let’s look at this bit of logic:

    A. Phil Bronstein is secretly or not-so-secretly a tool of oligarchs who are holding all the innocent teeming millions down all over the world.
    B. Phil Bronstein is criticizing the Filipino electorate for choosing a tool of those same oligarchs as their President.
    C. Therefore, Phil Bronstein is evil and perpetuating the aims of the oligarchy.

    Honey, you’ve been reading too many Dan Brown novels and websites about the Illuminati if that train of thought makes any sense at all to you. Sadly, I think it probably does, and I’d feel bad for your loneliness, except I’m sure those voices in your head keep you plenty of company.

  27. That’s the typical Filipino being demonstrated. Biting the hand that feeds them.

  28. GCL permalink

    I agree with benignO. Bronstein, regardless of his dubious background, is simply making a factual observation. He isn’t going to earn anything out of this article and certainly won’t gain any cent for the US Oligarchs.

    Anti AP, you are correct though to see it at a higher level. The WTO, GATT, SAP’s through the WB and IMF is another level that has made matters worse for us. But it is also our corrupt oligarchs who allow these monsters to get us twice dead.

    The best thing to do is to see the message that Bronstein imparts us. I think that what is more relevant is to synthesize the merits of your argument and that of BenignO and even with the merits of BongV’s comments minus the “apologist” stance for IMF and WB.

    WB’s Wolfenson towards the end of his term was convinced that the WB, if it were to become relevant to its charter rather than continuing to be the juggernaut of demise for developing countries has to look at its impact to the 7 dimensions of any society as opposed to its wolf-in-sheep’s clothing modern colonization. You will even see its pretentious cooperation with civil society through its TSP approaches which actually, to the less discerning, aims to only co-opt and shackle the hands of civil society.

    In any discussion, the focus is to find a synthesis. There are correct elements that is easily drowned by the incorrect ones. It is thus important to cull that, let it float, and add that to what you can resonate to as objectively as possible.

  29. GCL:

    if civil society had its act together – it need not even be tapping the WB-IMF. beggars can’t be choosers. if you don’t want to beg, get yourself by the bootstraps and get to work.

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