Discussion Topic: Authoritarianism and the Stateless Society

Your mission if you agree to accept it . . .

The real JoeAm?


JoeAm will be on family vacation for two weeks, returning in early May. He drops off this blog as a voluntary mission for readers, ala “Mission Impossible”. 
Here’s the framing:
  • The Philippines is an authoritarian society. Interpersonal rivalries are intense, a struggle to top or topple the opposition. The government is democratic but tends toward authoritarianism: laying down the law but enforcing it selectively, officious attitude in government offices, army and local government vigilante behavior, issuing dictates left and right with no open justice system for the people. Senators doling out millions in Christmas gifts as if it were THEIR money.
  • Richard Javad Heydarian in his recent article “Why the Philippines Failed” makes a very clear point that the Philippines does not keep pace with other developing nations because it does not have a strong concept of “State” governance. This article is the beginning point for the discussion and is required reading for volunteers.
Here’s the issue: How can the Philippines be both authoritarian and weak of State? 
Here’s the mission:
  1. Rationalize the apparent contradicition of authoritarianism and statelessness.
  2. Explain in clear terms what has to happen — tangibly and practically achievable — to move the Philippines forward to become of equal stature to Japan and South Korea as a core nation in Asia.
Whether and how you proceed is up to you.
This blog will self-destruct in two weeks . . .

54 Responses to “Discussion Topic: Authoritarianism and the Stateless Society”
  1. JosephIvo says:

    Many answers can be found in "WHY NATIONS FAIL, the origins of power, prosperity and poverty" by Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, Profil Books LTD London, 2012.(Will summarize a few later on)

  2. Ella Tovara says:

    Have a wonderful vacation with your family!

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, Ella. We had a delightful time. Disneyland for the kid, shopping for the wife, looking around for me. Hong Kong is a wonderful place for looking around!

  3. J says:

    @Josephlvo: Exactly my thoughts while reading through the post, but you beat me to it! Yes, that's a great book and very relevant to Philippine (and Third World) conditions. Read it, Joe.

  4. Edgar Lores says:

    *** Summary of “Why the Philippines Failed” ***This is an outlined condensation and summary of the subject essay.The essay can be divided into 5 sections: an introduction, a pivot and 3 expositions:A. Introduction – Culture and National DevelopmentB. Pivot: The Philippine Culture SyllogismC. Exposition 1: The Philippine Weak State-formationD. Exposition 2: Historical FactorsE. Exposition 3: Why Strong States Succeed A. Introduction: Culture and National Development 1. Max Weber presented two arguments on the correlation between culture and economic development:1.1. Protestant states overtook their Catholic counterparts due to: thrift, hard work, communitarian values, and an appreciation for material prosperity.1.2. Between the West and China, Western rationality emphasized ‘mastery’ of the world while Confucianism emphasized ‘adjustment’ to the world. B. Pivot: The Philippine Culture Syllogism 1. The Philippines has a culture of dependence and corruption. 2. But culture is not static, it is malleable.3. Therefore culture cannot be the cause for the Philippines’ failure. C. The Philippine Weak ‘State-formation’ 1. A strong state is characterized by an enabling combination of two factors:1.1. Sufficient ‘policy autonomy’ to craft the right decisions1.2. ‘Functional capacity’ to implement the right decisions2. The Philippines is not a strong state. Instead the State is an instrument of extra-state, parochial interests that do not coincide with broader national interests. D. Historical Factors 1. Spain relied on friars and the mestizo class to rule the Philippines.2. America depended on these Spanish-era elites despite its democratic principles.3. The Legislature was dominated by a landed elite blocking a powerful state which could push for egalitarian policies.4. The colonial masters did not establish a powerful executive and bureaucracy.5. Filipinos misunderstood democracy: They emphasized ‘negative freedom’ (non-intrusion interference into private lives and property) at the expense of ‘positive freedom’ (basic social and economic rights for all citizens). 6. Based on the book “Why Nations Fail”, the Philippines is an ‘extractive’ instead of ‘inclusive’ governance. (The book proposes that politics –ahead of resources, geography and culture – is the predominant cause for a nation’s success.) Extractive states are dominated by a vicious circle of plutocracy. In the Philippines, the core-elite have blocked appropriate policies anchoring a large middle class, an entrepreneurial sector and strong institutions spurring growth and innovation.7. in the post-war period, the Philippines has been at the mercy of:7.1. The entrenched elites pushing for their own particular interests7.2. International financial institutions (IFIs) which prescribed counterproductive policies. E. Why Strong States Succeed 1. The strong states in Asia are China, Japan and the NICs (South Korea and Taiwan).2. These strong states have:2.1. Transcended parochial interests and rejected simplistic IFI policies. 2.2. Provided subsidies, trade protection and benefits to strategic economic sectors.2.3. Gained technology transfer from foreign investors 2.4. Negotiated trading agreements that secured market access to Western markets3. These strong states have changed the natural culture, created its own comparative advantage within economic global structures, and sidelined predatory elites

  5. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/04/25/philippines-disputes-report-35-gunmen-from-sulu-killed-while-attempting-to/Am I Nostradamus or what? Those recently acquired helicopters and fridgets are not meant to defend the Philippines from foreign aggression but meant for Filipinos.For sure the government will cover up the massacre of 35 Philippine citizen from leaving the Philippines for a better life.

  6. While Joe is away … the mouse will play … http://gulfnews.com/news/world/philippines/insulting-philippines-diaper-advert-axed-1.1175218This is really a hilarious advertisement of EQ Diaper. I WISH THE ADVERTISEMENT WILL GO VIRAL IN YOUTUBE.

  7. A Damaged Culture: A New Philippines? – James Fallowshttp://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/1987/11/a-damaged-culture-a-new-philippines/7414/A good read while Joe is away …

  8. The English of this child would be laughed at by Filipinos and never will see the light of day in some uptight snotty stuck-up english-snob Filipino blogs: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/04/fourth-graders-pro-gay-marriage-essay-goes-viral/“One of my fourth grade students chose gay marriage as his topic for a persuasive essay,” the teacher, Reddit user rafa3l2, wrote. “This is the result. More sense than some adults.”The student wrote:“Why gay people should be able to get married is you can’t stop two adult’s from getting married because there grown and it doesn’t matter if it creeps you out just get over it. And you should be happy for them because it’s a big moment in their life. When I went to my grandparents wedding it was the happies moment.”“I am not sharing this because of how perfect the sentences are, but because of how clear his thought process is on this specific issue,” the teacher wrote on Reddit. “It isn’t as simple as pointing out mistakes and spelling errors.”The essay, errors and all, has since been posted on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Towleroad, and shared on social media sites, such as Tumblr.Despite Filipinos' penchant for high critical english usage they are still not making it to Scripps Spelling Bee and National Academic Decathlon.

    • Joe America says:

      What a wonderful statement of how petty we adults can be after we have hammered each other into political corners for a lifetime. That youngster’s eyes are unclouded by such artifices.

  9. it's a shame that most Filipinos are trying-hard grammar nazis considering the fact that we aren't considered as native english speakers. yet, they seem to be lacking in critical/ logical/scientific/mathematical thinking beyond the veneer of grammatical correctness. look at koreans, they didn't give a damn about mastering a second language, but their export economy prospered. they are prioritizing English now so that they can expand their export markets further. if more filipinos gave the same effort in studying math, computers and technology, science ,and engineering, we could have been a core asian country like korea with a strong manufacturing/export industries.

  10. Edgar Lores says:

    *** Analysis of Mission 1 – Part 1 *** Mission Statement: “Rationalize the apparent contradiction of authoritarianism and statelessness.” 1. In “The Foundations of Patriotism” (August 2012) essay in this blog, I said there were many reasons for the lack of Philippine nationhood, in effect for Heydarian’s weak state-formation. I listed some of them.1.1 Two of the reasons were geographical:o The country is an archipelago fragmented into many islandso It consists of disparate tribes, speaking different dialects.1.2 The others were cultural:o The country fought two revolutionary wars – against Spain and America – that were unsuccessfulo The major churches have been no respecter of the State and have fought against it.o Every branch of government is populated with politicians and judges who have promoted their self-interests over that of the national interests.o The bureaucracy cannot serve people without bilking them.o There are very few patriots who can serve as role models.o A Pledge of Allegiance was only developed in 1996 under the Ramos administration.o Most Filipinos exist at the level of subsistence; the rest scramble to ensure a higher quality of existence. Hence, at all levels, ethics is stuck at the survival and/or egoic levels, with little thought of country. (Classes D (60%) and E (30%) account for 90% of the population.)2. From the above, from the subject essay and from the Acemoglu-Robinson book “Why Nations Fail”, it can be seen that there are two viable approaches for an explanation of a failed country.2.1 Single Bullet Theory (or Magic Bullet Theory). I take the name from the investigation into the assassination of JFK by the Warren Commission. Basically, the theory attributes the reason for a phenomenon to a single cause. The Heydarian essay falls into this category as it advances the notion of a “strong state”. The Acemoglu-Robinson book also falls into this category as it proposes that politics is the predominant factor ahead of – but perhaps not to the exclusion of – resources, geography and culture. (Disclosure: I have read about the book, but not the book itself.)2.2 Multiple Bullet Theory (or the Butterfly Effect). This theory posits that there are many reasons for natural and human phenomena. A minor change, such as the fluttering of butterfly wings in the Amazon, can cause major changes, such as powerful storms elsewhere. (This is better illustrated by a fact: the sands of the Sahara Desert refertilize the soil of the Amazon rainforest.) To explain the failure or success of a nation, this theory would consider not only resources, geography and culture but seemingly extraneous factors like perhaps the probability that a young Imelda was teased into tears for wearing worn-out bakya. 3. Both approaches are valid, although I tend towards the complexities of the second theory over the neat simplicity of the first. The theories are not mutually exclusive: the second theory encompasses the first.3.1 in the telescope of history, the validity of the first theory can be demonstrated by Lee Kuan Yew’s stewardship of Singapore. Another example would be Deng Xiaoping’s adoption of capitalism and a free market economy as the reason for China’s recent and ongoing surge. A third and final example would be the improved economic ratings under PNoy.3.2 Conversely, the validity of the second theory can be demonstrated by the effect of geography. We have a Manila-centric government. The development of the outlying provinces and islands has been, not necessarily neglected, but waylaid by malversation. The successes of Puerto Princesa under Hagedorn and of Naga under Robredo are the exceptions that prove the rule. 4. In attempting to perform Mission 1, we are confronted with a dilemma:4.1 Lemma 1: Confine our rationalization to political factors.4.2 Lemma 2: Consider cultural factors as part of our rationalization. This would be a contradiction of the Heydarian essay precisely because it rejects culture as a probable cause.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve been noodling on this culture thing, whether it should be rationalized and accepted or hammered into a different shape. I think culture erodes or shape-shifts naturally, and we can tilt it to advantage if we work at it and are willing to “fly free” of the old security blankets.

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    *** Analysis of Mission 1 – Part 2 ***5. Possible Lemma 1 ‘political’ rationalizations:5.1 Macario Capili’s explanation, in his essay “Why Filipinos are not a patriotic people”, that Filipinos are the descendants of Taft’s ‘little brown brothers’ and the victims of the ‘scorched earth’ policy of US colonization.5.2 William Pomeroy’s explanations, in his books, of the inflictions of US imperialism which included economic domination through the Bell Trade Act and the imposition of US bases for a period of 99 years through the Military Bases Agreement.6. Possible Lemma 2 ‘cultural’ rationalizations:6.1 The authority of Roman Catholicism that dominated the islands for close to 400 years under Spain and continues to dominate the landscape with its anti-secularism. Arguably, the Church is the root of (a) the culture of dependence through its mindset of clerical authority and papal infallibility; (b) the culture of corruption in the practices of: (b.1) the Sacrament of Penance which offers instant absolution of sin and the opportunity to sin some more (?), and (b.2) the pro forma Sacraments of child Baptism and early Confirmation which might be the cause for the non-internalization and non-observance of the faith by laity and clergy alike.6.2 The master-slave mentality of the Filipino that is rooted in the pre-Hispanic class system of datu and alipin, that was exacerbated by the colonial masters in the creation of a plutocracy, and that continues to this day in the ‘politics of patronage’, and in the OFW and political dynasty phenomena, both of which position the family over the nation. In politics as in daily life, the family is the be-all and and-all for stealing and for the pursuit and maintenance of power. 7. In all the above rationalizations, there are two facts which might explain the dichotomy between authoritarianism and statelessness. These two facts, the first moot but the second incontrovertible, can be summed up in 4 words: Top Light, Bottom Heavy (TLBH).7.1 As Heydarian cites, the entrenched elite – both political and religious – have pushed their own agenda above national interests. The oligarchy is authoritarian by nature to preserve their privileges but causes the state to be weak in their lack of national vision.7.2 Filipinos breed like rabbits. For reasons aplenty: political (read dynasty); religious (read multiply); cultural (read pamilya); personal (read fun). The masses are not self-reliant and depend on the oligarchy (economically) and on tabloid and barber-beauty-shop gossip (mentally). Of the proverbial ‘Filipino voter’, it may be said that the dichotomy can be attributed to the short-term attention to his immediate needs and to those of his patron – rather than to the future of the state.7.3 So there is a symbiosis between oligarchy and masses: each exists for itself but is dependent on the other for continued existence. 8. In the second to the last post (“Sympathy for the Boston Bomber?”), we postulated that generalities, abstraction, are necessary to understanding phenomena. 8.1 But complex, dynamic and ongoing phenomena are unfinished quilts comprised of various patches. In studying the Philippine phenomenon, one can take a particular patch and not only extrapolate a pattern but also part of the nature of the phenomenon. Indeed one can trace a single thread in that pattern and unravel many a mystery. To a certain degree, the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm.8.2 Arguably any of the rationalizations itemized in items 5 and 6 can be spun out and be convincingly presented as an, if not ‘the’, explanation for a failed Philippines. 8.3 Any understanding is crucial as long as it is based on reason and causality (or correlation). It means that we have arrived at a plausible cause or causes. And it means that we can propose solutions. But only in the further understanding that we are looking at just a segment of the problem, that we can perhaps never see the entire picture and that any proposed solutions are just one set of perhaps an infinitude of sets.

    • Joe America says:

      “To a certain degree, the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm.”

      The ever-quotable Edgarism, zinging in on essential truths. I like your conclusion, for it is optimistic. If we can understand the causes, we can figure out solutions.

  12. Edgar Lores says:

    Interesting reading – full of anecdotes. Is Heydarian's criticism valid?

  13. Attila says:

    Renato:Thank you for the article. I keep reading it again and again. I'm still learning.

  14. Attila says:

    It took me a while to understand what Colonial mentality means. I could not understand it since I'm also from a country that was colonized and it did nto fit the description. We lived under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy for a long time. However we had a very different experience than the Filipinos and it did not compromise us. It was the opposite: it progressed to benefit us greatly. Even the Soviet Union could not "damage" us. After watching the movie Imelda directed by Ramona S. Diaz I realized that I can not draw a parallel between the Philippines and Hungary. Imelda and Marcos are the product of the Philippines, I finally understood that. The Filipino culture is truly damaged and self sabotaging. Now I see how the Spanish period formed the mindset of the Filipino and made it what it is now.

    • Tantan says:

      In addition to the Spanish, the Americans and the Japanese.

      The Americans have long been supported the corrupt elite (remember their support for Imelda and Marcos?? the US Airforce even helicoptered them them to Hawaii!!! along with their loot). When the friars left the Philippines, the American colonizers gave the lands to the elite rather than redistributing it to the peasants…probably to appease the elites who were into revolutions and secessions.

      Not trying to blame the US or what but that is reality not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well. And Americans need to be honest about this. The US had and is continuing to support dictatorship that oppress people. These dictators may not be communist but they are as repressive as communists) Take for example the US’ support for Mubarak the dictator in Egypt until kicked out by the Egyptians…and now the US admin is supportive of the Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood who are much worse in terms of tolerance towards the Coptic Egyptians.

      As for the Japanese, they equally supported the corrupt elite and practically destroyed the Philippines — read the Battle of Manila, the massacres that took place)

      On the other hand, the Spanish(mostly Basque, actually) descended Filipinos are the most Philanthropic like the Zobel de Ayalas . The most disgusting though are the Chinese mestizos and the a couple of the Chinese elite (the Chinese in SMEs are better than these people esp if you go to small local cities) who raked their fortunes through being a Marcos crony

      • Joe America says:

        A Golden Popeye to you for your visit and interesting perspective. Yes, the US is no angel in Philippine affairs and has from time to time been quite Satanish.

        Mubarak, yes, good point. The US does exercise her international will for the benefit of the US, rather than let people run their own countries. But I don’t think the US supports the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama administration supports democratic ideals and fair dealing. Syria is perhaps a more dynamic case-in-point. The Syrian “people”, as represented by the rebels there, may come under the sway of legitimate terrorist organizations. So if you were President Obama, which would you prefer? Assad or Al Queda running the country?

        Those are sometimes the choices the US is faced with. And, in defense of US well-being, I personally would rather have Assad. But I suspect the US will attempt to arm the “good rebels” and suppress the “bad rebels”. It’s dicey, making those decisions. Not easy.

        It is easy to write about it here.

        I appreciate your perspectives on the Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.

        The best solution, of course, is for Filipinos to do a better job of taking care of Filipinos, rather than pursuing relentless clan strife that weakens the nation.

        By the way, your comment went to my spam file. I have no idea why. I extracted it.

    • Tantan says:

      Not to be forgotten too is the dirty secret wars the US in Latin America because of the interest of US banana investors…and til this day it continuous…slave labor by US companies and if the locals resist, they suffer US military and political intervention like in the past

  15. Edgar Lores says:

    *** Analysis of Mission 2. Solution Methodologies – Part 1 *** Mission Statement: “Explain in clear terms what has to happen — tangibly and practically achievable — to move the Philippines forward to become of equal stature to Japan and South Korea as a core nation in Asia…” 1. This is a difficult mission! A mission impossible, one might say.2. Before proposing solutions, I believe a consideration of methodologies for framing analyses and solutions is in order. As with Mission 1, I think there are two extremes of valid approaches for proposing solutions:2.1 The Magic Bullet Approach. This approach proposes a single-method solution, either an idea or a system. The solution would tend to be revolutionary in character. It would also tend to modify or replace current paradigms with new ones. Deng Xiaoping’s pragmatic adoption of capitalist market principles was such a solution. Although the adoption consisted of several measures — such as opening the country to foreign investment, the demonopolization of state industries, the dismantling of collective farms and the recognition and encouragement of private enterprise — the essence was the distinctly radical, indeed subversive, notion to embrace non-communistic principles.2.2 The Multiple Strategy Approach. This approach breaks down a problem into logical segments – like the executive cabinet departments – and may propose disparate solutions for one or several segments. The solutions tend to be piecemeal and incremental (or evolutionary) in character. It would tend to enhance or refine current paradigms. PNoy’s so-called Billards approach to problem-solving is a good example. The strategy is multiple-pronged, and consist of fighting corruption, changing the mindset of privilege (wangwang), ensuring cabinet performance, making the judiciary responsive, and introducing legislative initiatives (RH Law and FOI).2.3 No doubt between the extremes of the first and second approaches are a range of solution methodologies.3. The all-time favorite Magic Bullet Approach is revolution itself, changing the established order to a new order by extreme – often extra-constitutional and often violent – means. Revolution is instant change and covers people’s revolution, military coups or even martial law declarations.3.1 This is a high-risk solution both in terms of process and results. Process in that constructs – both human and institutional – may be indiscriminately swept away. Results in that the expected outcomes are not guaranteed, as is happening with the Arab Spring. 3.2 In terms of this approach, we might rephrase Mission 2: “What do you think is the biggest problem? And what solution will bring the largest cost/benefit in the quickest time possible?”3.3 Note that solutions like the following are not allowed: “The biggest problem in Philippine society is the ruling oligarchy. The quickest and best solution is to get rid of it.”3.4 Note further that framing the problem properly is all important. This is true for any methodology. Mission 2 not only posits the central question: “What has to happen to move the Philippines forward?” It also establishes the scope by the criterion of usability: the solution must be “tangible and practically achievable”. Revolution may be tangible but is it practically achievable? I think not.3.5 Upon re-reading the mission, I have some misgivings because it seems to limit the scope to economic solutions by the comparison to Japan and South Korea. Or am I over-analyzing? Perhaps because my understanding of economics is poor, the question I would like to answer is: “What can be done to make the Philippines succeed as a nation?” Not just in terms of economics but in terms of people living a quality of life that – yes, granted – is above the level of subsistence but also in harmony with each other and with nature.

    • Joe America says:

      The quality of life I think is improving, judging by all the shiny new cars on Manila’s ever-congested streets, and all the new buildings reaching for the skies. These represent huge investments and a lot of good, earnest money flying about. The middle class is the anchor of good values and good times, and I’d guess it is getting appreciably larger. That is the hope, that the weight of the middle will start to squash the ruling oligarchy and pull the poor from the worst dregs, Manila is very different than it was three years ago I think. With prosperity comes confidence, perhaps, and more open minds.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        “With prosperity comes confidence, perhaps, and more OPEN MINDS”.

        OFWing is educational. My stint in the U.S. and travels outside the U.S. totally changed my outlook and taste. My house is wrapped around by floor to ceiling windows in the outskirts of the city overlooking treetops just the same I still have A/C just in case if it gets unberably hot. So far, seldom I use A/C. I have rainwater catchment for sprinklers during hot summer days. Bathroom run-offs supposedly irrigates the trees next to my house but homeowner association snobs disallow it regardless compelling arguments thatt I am recycling. Whatever !!! Well so far my house is pension-sustainable. I save on power and little bit on water. GOSH, WHY IS WATER AND POWER SO EXPENSIVE HERE !!!! Water and Power are monopolgized by the mestizo class that have puppets on a string in the House and in Malacanang.

        Those U.P. Ateneo la Salle successful graduates that need not go abroad design their houses Mediterranean style !!! HUH? Yeah! Small windows and stuff like that becaue it looks soooo European. Some of those have Mission California style houses. Again these requires so much power to cool the place down. These people never have had a glimpse how houses are designed at beach cities in the U.S. They can never see it because Filipinos never go to the beach afraid that they might get browned and darkened. A glimmer of the sun Filipinos pop their umbrellas, whereas, whites put on sunglasses.

        Our boutique community which I prefer to call it because it is a small sophisticated gated community living above the rest because we are up here 100 meters above sea level rather than generically calling it community which conjures a gaggle of back-stabbing to-each-his-own households calls househelp as SERVANTS !!! The association wanted the SERVANTS wear Identification Cards. Few OFWs and I opposed it because I might be mistaken for a SERVANT with my brown-skin and servant-look. I do not want to be treated like Professor Henry Louis Gates arrested by Sgt Crowley for being off-color in white neighborhood. They agreed that all SERVANTS must wear uniforms and Identification cards. WoW!!!!!

        All SERVANTS must not hobnob with neighboring household SERVANTS !!!! What???? THIS IS TOTAL DISCRIMINATION !!!!!! The logic is SERVANTS are carrier of gossips between the goings-on in the household that causes cold wars.

        I’ll be darned !!!!! Here is the clincher … SERVANTS must not cavort with security guards and drivers (chauffers) !!!!! I want to get out of here …. but it is such a nice place.

        • Joe America says:

          Power is expensive because there are no hydro-electric damns or wave-generators and the fee structure is a pile of nonsense like the Customs charges, itemized to rationalize the corporate theft. My water costs 75 pesos a year, from a pipe running down the mountain. Of course I can’t drink the stuff as it has creepy crawlies in it that the locals have adjusted to. haha I use it medicinally when I’m constipated. One teaspoon does the trick.

          My bottled water bill is about P1,200 a month.

        • Joe America says:

          Servants covorting is a no no to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Nothing worse than a pregnant maid trying to get down to wash the tiles. When are you going to do a guest blog? You come up with great topics.

  16. Edgar Lores says:

    *** Analysis of Mission 2. Methodologies – Part 2 ***4. There are several Multiple Strategy Approaches, but the model I would like to highlight is called “The Rider, The Elephant and the Path” from Dan and Chip Heath’s book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard”. The metaphor of the Rider and the Elephant is based on Jonathan Haidt’s division of the self, where the Rider is man’s rational side and the elephant is his emotional side. The basics are explained by Amie Vaccaros: “Human decision making is like a tiny rider on a massive elephant. The rider may think he’s in charge, but the elephant’s will always win. Both are imperfect – the rider over-thinks and over-analyzes. The elephant acts on passion and emotion.” “Heath’s advice for causing change is three-pronged:o Direct the ridero Motivate the elephanto Shape the path” 4.1 For our purposes, I propose the following equations:o The Rider consists of the constructs of State, Church and the ruling elites.o The Elephant consists of the constructs of the Community, Family and Citizen.o The Path consists of the proposals for change.o Culture is the interaction of the Rider and the Elephant, so we may locate cultural problems/ solutions in the construct of Community.4.2 I like this model because it recognizes the importance of the Rider(s). As we have seen with Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kuan Yew and our own PNoy, the Rider is an effective catalyst, able to initiate and sustain change in a relatively short period.4.3 The methodology assumes that the most promising solution(s) will reside in and with the Riders.4.4 The Elephant – or should we rename it the Carabao? – is society at large, and is the beast of burden that is difficult to move along the straight path. In reality, it is composed of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It ranges from highly individuated citizens to the royal hygienic masses. Some of the former are more highly motivated than the Rider(s) themselves, but they are at the sidelines unable to shift the Elephant directly.4.5 This is not to say that the royal hygienic masses are the only problem. Some highly intelligent people work at cross-purposes against the best intentions of the Riders. But the royal masses, as represented by the proverbial Filipino voter, are undoubtedly at the center of the problem.4.6 They – the truly elephantine voters – are a mystery. Is ‘name recall’ the reason why PNoy was elected into the presidency? And is it the same mechanism that will sweep Nancy into the Senate? Or are there some other benevolent / sinister forces at work?4.7 The model might be extended in this manner: each construct in either the Rider or the Elephant can be broken down into subconstructs. For example, the construct of State can be broken down functionally (executive, legislative and judiciary) or geographically (province, town, barangay). For each subconstruct, there will be associated issues. For each issue, we can define what the problem is and what the solution (The Path) might be. 4.8 The advantages of a systematic methodology such as this are, of course, classification and comprehensiveness. The immediate disadvantage would be the enormity of the task. But solutions can be concentrated on certain areas.5. Apart from the suggested approaches, there are other options possible.5.1 There is the option of entrusting the fate of the nation to good Riders, ensuring that they are elected into power and relying on their good faith to move the Elephant selflessly.5.2 There is also the option of not having any specific solutions in mind but keeping the question close to our hearts. In fact, asking the question dynamically as we are confronted with issues that we have to decide on in our daily life may be the best solution of all. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. From this view, the Rider and the Elephant are rejoined and hopefully reconciled.

    • Joe America says:

      The elephant is the massive number of poor people who live for now, not then, and here, not there where the intelligensia and politicians and rich folk reside. It falls to the middle class and opinion makers to shout louder than the rest and demand progress, not recalcitrant greed.

  17. Edgar Lores says:

    Attila,I agree, Spanish colonization was the 'parent' during the formative 'childhood' years of Philippine nationhood. But as Heydarian argues, culture is malleable. From the post-war WWII period, when the Philippines achieved independence and adopted American democracy, Filipinos could have matured and taken responsibility for themselves. Heydarian says that did not happen because of the predatory elite. But why did the citizenry allow themselves to be 'predated' upon? Why did they not become self-reliant?

  18. Edgar Lores says:

    Good news! Standard & Poor’s has just upgraded the country credit rating to BBB- from BB+.Perhaps all we have to do is do more of the same:o PNoy to continue to fight against corruptiono The Cabinet to continue to respond to people’s needso The Legislature to continue to pass progressive laws like the RH Lawo The Judiciary to continue to shape itself into a responsive dispenser of timely justiceo The taxation office to continue to increase collection o The Ombudsman to continue to pursue high-profile caseso The OFWs to continue to keep remittances higho The public to continue to support PNoy’s effortso The public to continue to monitor and critique performance of government officialso The public to elect the right candidates

  19. JosephIvo says:

    … and Joe America keeps blogging

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, with an occasional vacation thrown in to help him realize how good he has it in the Philippines. That is, how good it is to return home.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        “…how good it is to return HOME” !!!

        Take that Filipinos !!! While 99.9999% of Filipinos are dreaming and concocting ideas to get out of the Philippines and here is Joe calling Philippines HOME !!!!

        • Joe America says:

          This whole matter of citizenship and “home” and where the heart rests is percolating around in my brain looking for organization as a blog. Maybe later in the week . . .

  20. Hi! Ed, it looks goot from the outside but bad on the inside … "The upgrade reflects a "strengthening external profile, moderating inflation, and the government's declining reliance on foreign currency debt," S&P credit analyst Agost Benard said.Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/02/3376118/philippines-gets-second-investment.html#storylink=cpyWhat Fitch and S&P not telling the world is reliance on OFWs which has no import content, not dependent on foreign currency and loans. There obviously a correlation with the increase in GDP with OFW remittances.Top ten exports (source: Yahoo! Answers, CIA, Wikipedia nothing from OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT SOURCES) also correlates to imports which also obviously tells me that Filipinos only contributes their labor.

  21. Philippines is still not a manufacturing nation. If ever there are economic data available it is obviously a National Secret for the eyes of the tisoys and tisays and the mestizo class "industrialists". If ever there are data the graduates from Ateneo, la Salle and U.P. journalists are making their business reports hard to understand which mostly are fit to be understood by Harvard Economic graduates instead of reader-friendly easily digestible words and phrases.It is easier to understand from foreign news website than from the Philippine business newspaper. Why these so-called ivy-school graduate Filipnios use plenty of technical economic goobyledicgook? PASIKAT !!! They want to flaunt how goot they are with englsichtzes. .

  22. Philippines has no visible industrial export products. Those products that Philippine exports are knocked-down imports, assembled and re-exported. The only visible exports are human slaves. If only Fitch and S&P can give me clue what industry I can invest in. Right now I am investing in Maternity hospitals and maternity clothes lines. The looming effect of RHBill will bring the Philippines back to BaBy rating or BB+.

  23. Edgar Lores says:

    Josephlvo and Mariano,;-)It has been noted that the country missed the industrialization stage and has gone from an agrarian to a service economy. We are not into the manufacturing of cars or white goods or computers or mobile phones. As has been noted our main export is labor. What's left? Our natural resources? Well, not logging but mining, fishing (aquaculture) and tourism (?). Or what's the next 'type' of economy after service?Or perhaps we should stick with the service economy and change Ateneo, La Salle and San Beda into schools that churn out certified and diplomaed human slaves. We can award Bachelor of Arts degrees for super-maids (GMA's idea), nannies, valets, gardeners, yacht pilots, pedicurists and massagers. Think of it! We can have specialized Masters in Shiatsu and reflexology and Doctorates in petrissage and effleurage.

  24. JosephIvo says:

    Some concepts, mostly from “Why Nations Fail”. Each keyword might need a full article to explain.A- Growth: Inclusive economies hand in hand with inclusive politics.Connectivity and specialization. Delegate. Social mobility. Innovation. Creative destruction (cars killed saddle makers, I-phones kill cell-phones). Easy access to capital. Checks and balances. Centralized (enough to guarantee property rights) Rule of law. Increase the cake. Results in the free market create strength. Open. Strong middle class. Social fabrics. “We” (win-win / adult-adult)B- Decline: Extractive economies hand in hand with authoritarian politics. The labor of many benefiting a few. More of the same, copy. Suppress initiative (start at school, sent remaining driven people abroad in serving positions = OFW’s) . Unlimited powers (money can buy all). Feudal (king-earls-serfs set-ups). In-fights (form a coalition to kill the king). Get a bigger share of the cake. Dynasties (cover as many bases as possible, get more when the top is small). Relationships (knowing the right people creates strength). Monopolies and cartels. Closed. “Divide et impera” (divide and rule, hinder traffic between the islands). “I and They” (win-lose / adult-child)How to get from A to B? No simple task, work at all key concepts at once, promote A and fight B. My brain is too small generate ideas in all fields. They are all interconnected, the luxury of setting priorities does not exist. In every area: define the “problem”, start collecting data (when not available yet), analyze, come up with improvement ideas, test / implement, evaluate, adjust… Isn’t that what the president and his team are doing, trying to get more A. With trapos (and the church) eager to reinforce B.

  25. Attila says:

    "The only visible exports are human slaves." Bingo! The money that is send back by OFW slaves is not invested in a way that could lift the economy. Suze Orman the personal financial guru got so frustrated by her own Filipina maid's example that she decided to give seminars in the Filipinies. OFW slaves are feeding and clothing and educating the family members and hope to raise the next generation of OFW slaves.

  26. "I think they're very skeptical about (her story)," Miller said on "CBS This Morning." "But again, 'skeptical' isn't proof and that's why they're trying to work through that and I think that's why her lawyers are slowing that down."Investigators are looking at a phone call between Russell and Tamerlan Tsarnaev just hours after the FBI released a picture of him. Miller said the "nature of that call" is of particular interest. – CBSNewsIn the Philippines mere association, eng-get, innuendoes, critiquing is proof enough … PHILIPPINE INVESTIGATORS STILL HAVE A VERY LONG LONG LONG WAY TO GO.

  27. Philippines is still a agrarian state where people plant galunggong and evidences and ivy-school philippine media practitioners are just sooo clueless. I am not graduate of Bachelors in Criminology or law I just learn about it watching CSI series and John Grisham.I recommend University of the Philippines require their journalism graduate students to watch full version of all series of CSI and have them read all novels by John Grisham.

  28. Landing contract employment abroad as OFW is big celebration in the Philippines. Special masses, banquet, thanksgiving masses are said in churches. It is bewildering graduates from colleges are looking for employment abroad. Some colleges even give pamphlets to their graduatinig students websites to go to for foreign employment.

    • Joe America says:

      OFW’s are the biggest class of traveler in the airports, I think. They are there in mobs with their own entry gates and immigration desks.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Welcome Home, Joe !!!!

        OFWs deserve their own gates and immigration and customs desks. This way, the customs and immigration people do not stress who they will ask for “pasalubong” or mistake Filipino-American citizens as OFWs.

        OFWs should also have their own dedicated NAIA exit for the well-wishers and sundo crowd.

        Isn’t it weird? It is easy to spot an OFW at the airport like it is easy to spot Filipino traitors (those that gave up their citizenship and profess alliagiance to their host countries).

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks Mariano. A Golden Popeye to you, too. You can prop it up in the garden like a fountain statue, maybe peeing into the trees.. It is indeed easy to spot an OFW. No kids in tow, not pregnant, no shopping bags, traveling in parties of three like-sexed partners. I wondered if the OFW gates were for special treatment. I did not imagine what you are suggesting though. Special harassment perhaps.

  29. HAPPY WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY !!!! That is today 5/03/2013 !!! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22358495"In many areas of Colombia press freedom is still just an aspiration” – JUANITA LEONIn the Philippines, press freedom is 98% psychotic-babble 1% inspiration 1% aspiration 100% literary contests"More freedom should be given to journalists to do their jobs without any restrictions” – Chris Kehinde NwanduIn the Philippines, we have more freedom. Freedom to make fools of themselves and to fool the readers."It is far easier to blog in today's Egypt, but that doesn't mean that press freedom is in any better shape” – Mahmoud SalemIn the Philippines it is easier to blog BUT BLOGS ARE LITERALLY IGNORED BY SNOTTY ENGLISCHTZES-SNOB JOURNALISTS AND EDITORIALISTS AND COLUMNISTS. That is why Philippines was, is, and, forever will be the same. CHANGE THE MEDIA and Filipinos thinking processes change. AS TO WHY PHILIPPINE MEDIA IGNORES BLOGGERS is just beyond my kukote. Because according to Philippine journalist wisdom if it is not reported and blogged by Philippine journalists IT DOESN'T EXIT. Or, simply, has no meat in it.

  30. Edgar Lores says:

    "My brain is too small.." Totally agree. I think that even with all the computing power that is available, not all of the interconnections can be sussed out. Perhaps that is why the luxury of setting priorities must exist. The Pareto principle (the 80-20 rule) has been adopted by business and can be applied to prioritizing problems and solutions.

  31. Edgar Lores says:

    Don't forget the pasalubong.

  32. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:


    31 year-old Filipina Bride burned inside a limo along with 3 other Filipinas. 3 other escaped but in serious condition.

    Checked Local and Philippine National dailies all their news reports were pulot from SF Chronicle and LATimes. This happened late Saturday, so it should be early Sunday here in the Philippines. Where is TFC newsreporters in SanFo? Where are the Facebookers and TWitterers and bloggers? Why there are no interviews of Filipina Bride’s relatives here? Where are the Ateneans, la Sallites and U.P journalists? Why make “pulot” news from America? I thought U.P. journalism graduates are professionals.

    When Benedict IV announced his impending resignation European media were abuzz with information. Where he came from, what he did, his specialty, age, race, family interviews INSTANTANEOUSLY.

    • Joe America says:

      And I discovered from you that the victims are Filipino. I saw the news headline but skipped over it because it is such horrible tragedy. I’ve been over that bridge, low and long across the San Francisco Bay. It connects the large Filipino community in South San Francisco on the west side of the bay to those in Union City and Fremont on the east side.

  33. Myron says:

    I every timke used to read piece of writing in news papers but now
    as I am a user of web so from now I am using net for posts,
    thyanks to web.

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