WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE PHILIPPINES?
What’s wrong with this country? It’s the hot topic these days; let me join the fray.
One word: MONOPOLY.
Five percent of families owning eighty-five percent of the entire country– that is monopoly. When you have the remainder, 95%, fighting over the crumbs, 15%– that explains the rest of the problem.
So, what is wrong with monopoly? Everything— let alone the matter about this terrible social inequity. The arguments are long but essentially it is this: In a monopoly, you lose all your concern for things like efficiency, merit, quality, productivity, good governance, integrity, and the like. And why not? You are secure; you have no competition from within; you can do whatever you want. Remember PLDT, the giant, before the deregulation of telecom? Or Meralco now? Or Napocor? That is so in business enterprises, that is so in any other organizations; that is so in all its macrocosms: monopoly behaves the same way it does wherever it appears in nature or in political or economic systems and inflicts the same afflictions in corresponding manner.
In the discussion about another but connected issue, Federalism, on a comment thread over at MLQ3, I wrote the following:
Tongue’s Wrath has a term: reverse engineering.
You see, Filipinos are in a perpetual quarrel about so many things; now they think putting them in separate states like they do squabbling siblings in separate rooms will do the trick. Wrong. I said:
Break up the monopoly of the oligarchs to multiply economic opportunities not break up the republic to multiply political opportunities. In the absence of widespread economic opportunities, there is disunity as people quarrel of the little that is left. He who would be a manager/supervisor of a business firm sees opportunity in becoming a mayor instead…. Who is otherwise a CEO of a conglomerate, he would be a state official sucking the blood out of the national coffer.
In political oratories, you often hear speakers extolling Filipinos “we are one family”. The analogy is correct, if a cliche. Trouble is we often see only the romantic and convenient outward parallelisms. You wonder why the more important correspondence a nation has to a family are easily overlooked.
In a dining table, when one sibling takes the choice cuts and the other siblings get the bones and the father just looks on, you know what sort of trouble will follow. The same thing in society: you take 85% of the resources for the few of you and leave the rest of the crumbs for the multitude, why the hell you wonder why there is so much grumbling?
The one sibling who got the bone, packed his bags and left home in a huff, suffocated, is the diaspora of OFWs who saw breathing space and opportunity elsewhere far far away.
The sibling who cornered the choice cuts and who always grabs the most in everything because he is big and packs a deadly wallop when frustrated is the oligarchic interest and the choice cuts are the resources and properties it now monopolizes.
The rebel son who stayed behind, the black sheep who always comes home drunk, who breaks the glasses, who steals his mother’s jewelries, sells furnitures, wipes off his dirty shoes on the carpet, who slams the door—he is the undisciplined drivers, the pot-bellied cops, the swindlers in the market, the uninspired teachers, the conniving politicians, the corrupt bureaucrats, the poor who reproduce like pigs, and so on and so forth, they who populate the land.
And this thing called federalism?— they are rooms the father intends to build for his quareling sons because he would or could do nothing to correct the inequity in his home.