A Corporate Model of Governance

Ambrogio_Lorenzetti_-_Effects_of_Good_Government_on_the_City_Life_(detail)_-_WGA13493

Ambrogio Lorenzetti: Effects of Good Government on the City Life

This blog is strictly an intellectual exercise. I would not want anyone to think JoeAm is preaching revolution, thus inviting reactionaries to ship him back to the States for violating the terms of his visa. Let’s just think about things, eh?

We watch senators engaging one another as if each member had it in for other members. There is an attack imperative, it would seem.

On the other hand, these senators don’t seem to have a priority for doing work the Philippines needs to grow safe, clean and wealthy. The Ethics Committee is inert. Congressional credibility is so low that passed bills go directly to the Supreme Court to languish. Important initiatives take years to hammer out (e.g., FOI).

We watch the Executive branch trying to paste over a pork scandal that reflects a government running fast and loose with taxpayer pesos. Their dear, dear pesos. We witness that it is a government of friends and favorites, the wielding of favors doing as much to generate sly, corrupt processes as cure them.

We see a Judiciary that is the laughing stock of the greater world, stocked with crooks and malingerers and politicians who play power and favorites rather than make the law mean something. These great minds cannot even comprehend the judicial meaning of “speedy”. It means “fair.”

Most of the government is busy doing the wrong things and forcing citizens to do the wrong things. Non-productive things. We are focused on matters of authority, of NBI clearances and notary seals and paperwork out the gazoo. Meanwhile crooks run loose, businesses are bogged down fighting to make it, and foreigners flee shrieking back home to escape the crazy procedures they are forced to endure,

Well, this is not a gripe session. I only cite these details – you know there are a lot more – to illustrate why democracy struggles in the Philippines. It struggles because this is a hierarchical nation with power and influence at the top and subservience at the bottom and little in the middle. Governmental processes put the favored into office, and, once they are in office they “own” that office, and they make sure the underlings know it.

The largest mass of voters is very poor, lightly educated, working hard and powerless.

It is a nation of and for the favored. You can call it a democracy if it makes you feel good, but it is not one. It is a time capsule protecting the empowered.

Yet, dictatorship has failed here and elsewhere, always morphing to thuggery as power-mongers seek to hang on long after their useful life. Parliamentary systems around the world are an unstable rat’s nest of bickering antagonists, power plays and the lack of continuity caused by frequently changing governments. Democracy is a partisan slugfest – all too literally if you are in India. In the US, the icon of virtue for the democratic process, ideologies and words are getting angrier and angrier. The needs of the nation are bowing to partisanship.

Frankly, most governments, from the outside, appear insane.

I recently argued here that a “corporate model” of governance is an approach that would work better. What do I mean, and why would it be better?

What a Corporate Model Looks Like

The corporate-style government has a Board-elected Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who chairs the Board, an appointed President who runs operations, and an independent Audit function, reporting to the Board, to make sure things are ship-shape and honest.

  • The Citizens own the nation; they are its shareholders.
  • The Board listens to and speaks for citizens and institutions representing blocs of citizens. It replaces Congress. It is small enough that we can watch each and every vote, and the logic behind it, carefully.
  • The President runs things through an Executive Committee which looks a lot like the current Cabinet, but with a lot clearer set of top-down authorities (municipalities are subordinate to provinces, provinces to the Exec Committee via DILG, as departments report to divisions to “groups” in a corporation).
  • The Audit function oversees the courts, ombudsman, and financial auditing.
  • The Customers or clients are citizens and various institutions that manage wealth’building and health-building.

The only elected positions are Board members. The CEO is appointed by the Board, as is the President. The Board also has authorizing powers for key executive positions and for reviewing Audit performance and results.

Provincial governors are appointed. Mayors are appointed. Gone are the days when the Philippines is run by yahoos who got into office by buying votes.

The Board represents a variety of important sub-sectors of the nation. Three are elected by geographic ballot from citizens, representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Others are elected by designated populations representing important functions of state.

Here’s one look at how the Board might be composed:

  1. Luzon
  2. Visayas
  3. Mindanao
  4. Business Executives
  5. Educational Institutions
  6. Health Institutions
  7. Infrastructure Principals
  8. Military Leadership
  9. International Affairs and Trade
  10. Religious Leaders
  11. Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

The trick would be to designate a voting population for each group. For instance, for “Educational Institutions”, all teachers and administrative officials in schools, universities, and tech institutions (TESDA) would make up the voting population. It is doable.

People in positions of responsibility would be very well-paid with incentive schemes used to promote achievement.

What the Corporate Model Would Do

The chief flaws of democracy in a hierarchical, authoritarian state are:

  • The favored have too much power and the masses too little say.
  • The pace of development is slow, almost frozen.
  • The overriding need to generate wealth and health for the nations’ peoples gets bogged down as many subordinate “crises” arise to occupy leadership’s attention.
  • Politics and staying in office take precedence over national well-being.

The corporate government, on the other hand, is built for flexibility and results. It listens to the people and it serves them.

It is fluid and flexible, can adjust, can innovate, can recognize mistakes quickly and correct them, and always has its eyes on target.

Rather than an elegant system to deny accountability, the nation would have an absolute demand FOR accountability.

If a judge is crooked or a malingerer, fire him. If you need foreigners in a crucial field, hire them and pay market wages. If a storm rips through, respond as if the well-being of the nation relied on a quick recovery (it does). Pass laws that matter and enforce them.

Put a premium on performance. On targets for GDP growth and debt and distribution of wealth. Make investment decisions based on return value, not favoritism. Examine oneself relentlessly.

Correct the current deficiency that the democratic model exists simply because another nation liked it and we needed something after Marcos.

The Philippines is a small country. How in the world can 500 congresspeople provide quick-hitting, flexible laws?

They can’t. Especially when the place is packed with housewives, boxers, ideological extremists, and miscreants.

In the corporate model, the framework is built on three fundamental drives:

  • Shareholders are citizens who aspire to better themselves.
  • Customers are citizens who need work done by their government to better themselves.
  • Government leaders are professionals who relish challenge, are of good character, and are well compensated for success.

In a corporate model, things are simpler and more manageable. Government listens to it’s citizens and acts professionally to take care of them.

Comments
73 Responses to “A Corporate Model of Governance”
  1. Ven Cheock says:

    Great Birdseye-view and proven governance success. After 60 years of silver platter democracy in Asia, now it is falling and failing. Great article…. A Corporate Model of Governance.

    By VicGodoyo

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. chit navarro says:

    We can dream, can’t we Joe America?

    In order for our country to move into this kind of governance, we have to amend the Constitution, do away with Congress, do away with all elective positions, etc., etc. Who in Congress (Congressmen & Senators) will have the guts to initiate such an amendment – remove the seat of power that presently belong to them, fund their lifestyle, and make them feel like kings and queens?

    But we can elect a President who can form a Cabinet that resembles your model of governance and start from there. As you mentioned at the outset:

    “this is a hierarchical nation with power and influence at the top and subservience at the bottom and little in the middle. Governmental processes put the favored into office, and, once they are in office they “own” that office, and they make sure the underlings know it.

    The largest mass of voters is very poor, lightly educated, working hard and powerless.

    It is a nation of and for the favored. You can call it a democracy if it makes you feel good, but it is not one. It is a time capsule protecting the empowered.”

    Time to create awareness and action!!!!

    • Joe America says:

      That is the rub. Getting from A to B when the empowered live by A. But it is good to at least start by agreeing on the reasons it works. . . Ummm. . . inefficiently.

    • Dee says:

      “It is a nation of and for the favored. You can call it a democracy if it makes you feel good, but it is not one. It is a time capsule protecting the empowered.””

      Indeed. Filipino style democracy is an ideal yet to be taken seriously. The favored ones make a mockery of it by their unbridled interpretation. It was the vehicle for political dynasties, graft and corruption, bank secrecy laws, and other societal ills.

      Should the Philippines really have to change its present form of governance? This Filipino style democracy is just as old as the EDSA uprising. It is the form of governance that superseded Marcos’ autocratic one. What I am saying is, could the Filipino style democracy be fixed now that we know what is not working?

  3. Dee says:

    Some of the new Young Adult books such as the Hunger Games and the Divergent series explore forms of dystopian governments. Hunger Games divides the states into industries needed by the nation. The nation is governed by flamboyant and indulgent bureaucrats from the main state called Capitol. The Divergent series divides the population into factions according to a person’s values and beliefs. People who are selfless and kind were chosen to run the government but the intellectuals were not very happy so they revolted.

    I think there are a lot of merits to running a government like a business. I do not know though if the Philippines is ready for it.

    Please make sure that all those who will interface with the “customers” get a first rate customer service training. Emphasize service with a smile and rewards for making customers happy and satisfied. Also, a strict “no tips” (bribes) policy.

    • Joe America says:

      Service with a smile. It is interesting that successful businesses here “get it” (Jollibee) but government offices just do the power thing. It is really tiresome, the incivility and bossiness, overlaid on endless, mindless processes.

    • edgar lores says:

      Dee, thank you for the compliment of classifying me as a YA. I completed the Hunger Games trilogy two years ago when I was in my second young adulthood.

      • Dee says:

        Ah, Edgar. I, myself, read the books. I also read the Ender’s Game as well as Harry Potter’s series. I am a voracious reader and my mother used to say I read the paper that the fishmonger wrapped the tinapa in.

        Age is just a number, what matters is your state of mind.

  4. andrew lim says:

    When I was still working in the Senate, my interest in public policy and economics led me to correspond with Senator Saguisag regularly. He indulged me, and we discussed these things (through snail mail!) since Senators had franking privileges.

    Governments do not have competitors; their inefficiency or poor performance is not as sharply rewarded/punished as in private business. Regardless of what they do, the money will come in from taxes.

    The most successful model for me is Singapore’s. You create a bureacracy composed of the best and brightest and most incorruptible, and you lure and retain them with very competittive salaries. Government service then becomes a sought after and highly regarded thing.

    Unlike here where government frequently becomes an employer of last resort, where the throwaways go when they cant find jobs in the private sector. But to do this, you need good finances, good planning, etc. Which is in short supply.

    I proposed this idea to him of a predatory agency in government – let’s call it the Anti-Fat or Efficiency Department, whose operating budget and bonuses will come from how much it trims from the other agencies.

    • Joe America says:

      Man, I really like that anti-fat department. Those guys would get really rich if they were actually empowered to make changes.

    • Dee says:

      A predatory agency in the government. That will work in the Filipino government’s environment. I can see how the efficiency and performance of government employees could be enhanced by putting an anonymous “mole” in every government agency who will ensure that. It would thoroughly wipe the graft and corruption at all levels. Brilliant concept but we need to research the legal issues about its implementation.

      That is the other problem in the Philippines government. I often see that there are laws and other safeguards in writing but their implementation range from poor to non-existent. What is up with that?

    • Jay says:

      Hi Mr. Andrew, I worked before in the private sector and now in the government. I just want to point out that salaries and benefits of government employees are already competitive and thus is not the reason why it cannot attract the best, brightest and most incorruptible individuals. From what I know, professionals are not inclined to enter government service because they fear that if they do so, they might be corrupted by the system somehow. Similarly, they fear that it may jeopardize their life and well-being.

      I have been only working in the government for almost two years and it has been a constant struggle. I have to deal with people who worked there for a long time and have accepted corruption as a way of life or “corruption is a normal thing” so to speak. Nonetheless, I cannot entirely blame them for turning a blind eye on the corruption that is happening around them. If you watch the news, you can see Congressmen/Senators looting the public coffers still go unpunished. You can hear the media always pointing out how corrupt the government is but rarely reports/recognizes the good deeds done by simple government employees. Seldom, I find myself also to be bothered by the question, “Is doing the right thing will make a dent to this country so tainted with corruption?” You can just imagine what would be the answer to that question of a government employee who has experienced several administrations. Well, this is just my two cents.

      Notwithstanding above, I can see a ray of hope in our public administration. Lately, there have been changes in the government landscape. With the implementation of EO 366 (Government Rationalization Plan), several old employees have been given a chance to retire early (with substantial incentive) and jobs with duplicate functions have been abolished. With the retirement of old employees, young professionals (including myself) have been given a chance to enter public service. The professionalism and experiences that will be brought to the table by these young employees I believe will be the catalyst that will saturate the existing corrupt environment in the government agencies.

      Note: Forgive my grammatical errors; writing is not one of my strong points.

      • Joe America says:

        Andrew may have his own comment, Jay, but I wanted to stop by as well to thank you for the real-world view from inside government, and for the ray of sunshine that comes along with it. I hope that the flight of new people coming into government bring with them sound values and help to put into history this tendency toward corruption. Your grammar is absolutely fine, your insights, wonderful. Thanks.

  5. This would be ideal…that is the dream. How to go there from where we are now? Short of declaring martial law and setting up a benevolent dictatorship government like that of Singapore in the days of Lee Kuan Yew. Chit is correct, Congress will never agree to let go their pot of gold, protests will abound in the name of democracy… Oh but what a dream, to abolish these Upper and Lower houses of thieves and plunderers and finally do away with lump sum appropriations Jinggoy Estrada style, PDAF in whatever form and name, to trim the government bureaucracy, to rationalize billions of their salaries, allowances, bonuses and discretionary reimbursable allowances, to abolish the still-Gloria-controlled Supreme Court, to cleanse the judiciary so justice can be meted speedily, to set up enlightened, benevolent government… dream dream, oh is that a dream, too… I say dream on… God have mercy on us

    • Joe America says:

      Yes indeed. The point I am after is that it is not necessary to pattern government off of anybody, and doing so can create problems. Democracy assumes equality, which simply does not exist in the Philippines. It also assumes an educated citizenship, which the Philippines does good at “by the letters”, but the real world teaches too many bad lessons. Like selling votes. It seems to me the best government for a hierarchical, power-based nation that ASPIRES to good values is half-way between dictator and democracy.

      • I’m still on a day dreaming mode, we will hit another oil rich deposit, more Malampaya-like structures will be set up, the standard of living will be like in Europe (Britain and Norway?), the poor will be non existent so nobody will be selling their votes thereby resulting in the election of truly worthy government officials… then A Corporate Model of Governance will be in place…. an Ethiopia Philippines… I can dream, can I? Anyways, I have a deadline to beat, back to reality

        • Joe America says:

          When you see how much money was put into that fund, and no one found a good use for it. Like exploring for more oil. Or buying solar panels for all of the Visayas. That would not happen in a corporate structure.

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    FILIPINOS ARE INTELLIGENT BRILLIANT PEOPLE.

    They elect honest, capable, credentialed politicians.

    WHAT MAKES THESE HONEST, CAPABLE, CREDENTIALED POLITICIANS TURN TO CRIME AGAINST THE PEOPLE?

    No matter how I look at it. Look under my mattress. Turn every stones. I DO NOT GET ANSWERS.

    Honest Noynoy is now linked to Senate-Judges buy-out of impeachment votes to redicule Renato Corona.

    There is no proof! Just he-said-she-said. But, considering the vogue of Philippine Justice: Affidavit-obsessed and witness-crazed instead of PROOF !!!! I WOULD SAY Mr. Aquino is GUILTY of PRESIDENTIAL BRIBERY !!!!

    So, where do we start? Governing the PHilippines thru corporate model? Or, having a foreigner trun the country under build-operate-transfer scheme? I do not know. The problem is the Filipino.

    Filipinos are goot citizens in communist countries;
    Filipinos are goot citizens in democratic countries;
    Filipinos are goot in Muslim countries;
    Filipinos are goot in countries whose form of government different from ours;
    Filipinos are goot in countries whose constitution is different from ours;
    Filipinos are goot in countries whose religion different from ours;
    Filipinos are goot in countries OUTSIDE OF THE PHILIPPINES.

    WHY? HOW COME? WHY THAT SO?

    I am goot abroad. I pay my taxes to the last dollar. I drop coins in parking meter. I do not park in disabled designated parking. I stand in line. I do not steal. I DO NOT DO WHAT FILIPINOS NORMALLY DO.

    Why is it when I come back to Philippines I do not become goot citizens? Is it the air I breath? The water I drink? Are those Filipinos I sit next in the bus have contagious strain of corruption genes?

    I DO NOT KNOW. GOSH, I WISH I HAD THE ANSWER. I could have you people stand, hold hands together and say the prayers …. BUT THAT, TOO, FAILED.

    I have stopped comparing myself with others, so that I do not become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser countries than mine; I Exercise caution in my business affairs; for the Philippines is full of trickery. I do not distress myself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of desperation and exasperation. With all its scam, skullduggery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful Philippines. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

    • Joe America says:

      Your last paragraph is very, very good advice. I intend to aspire to that . . . when I am not blogging . . . 🙂 Blogging is the art of harping on differences . . .

      Don’t compare, caution, don’t go dark with imaginings. Recognize the beauty. Perfect.

      However, I may have to seek professional counselling on how to moderate my exasperations . . .

    • I really really like like this post of yours, Mariano…. such honest self analysis and super conclusion at the end.. bravo!

      • Is this a variation of a beautiful song and narration I heard from 702 AM radio? I forgot the title….”Is… dor ..a” hah, it just skips my mind… it will come to me again in a moment … in the meantime…

        “However, I may have to seek professional counselling on how to moderate my exasperations . . .- JoeAmerica”

        Me, too Joe

        Aha… I got it… I’ts Desiderata by max ehrmann – You are a Child of the Universe

        • desiderata – by max ehrmann

          Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

          As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

          If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

          Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

          Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

          Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

          Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

          With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

          Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

          Max Ehrmann c.1920

    • Dee says:

      Bravo, Mariano!
      Beautiful sentiment and positive insights on how to handle life in the Philippines. It boils down to creating your personal Utopia amidst all the dystopia.
      No wonder empathy is in the back burner.

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. My impression is that there is not enough meat on the bones.

    2. There are many issues left hanging: qualifications of candidates, term limits, removal procedures, and metrics to name a few.

    3. From just a high overview in terms of organization, the current and proposed structures are similar in that they are both vertical.
    3.1. However, the current structure is more multi-layered and each layer is more horizontal.
    3.1.1. The top layer has the three horizontal elements in the tripartite structure of a republic.
    3.1.2. Positions in two branches are elective, while the third is appointive.
    3.1.3. In the lower layers (LGUs), the horizontal structure and elective method of selection of the two branches is mirrored. The third branch runs vertically, top to bottom, through all layers.

    3.2. In the proposed structure, the two elective branches are merged into one elective unit, the Board.
    3.2.1. The Board elects a CEO to chair. It appoints a President to execute. It organizes an Audit unit.
    3.2.2. The Board as a whole replaces Congress.
    3.2.3. The President forms an Executive Committee (EC).
    3.2.4. One part of the EC, the DILG, appoints LGU officials.
    3.2.5. Presumably, another part of the EC, appoints judiciary officials.

    4. Just looking at the dynamics at the top, there’s an entire caboodle of issues and potential conflicts.

    4.1. First, there is the question of skills and specialization. In the current structure, management skills are required separately from legislative skills. In the proposed structure, both skills sets are required in each and every member of the Board. This is a very tall order.
    4.1.2. The good thing about this is that no one can run – or should be allowed to run – to be a member of the Board, unless he meets certain criteria of education, capability, experience and character, which constitute the essentials of the Rizal-Robredo Index. The qualifications to meet these criteria must be formal requirements, just as in the real corporate world candidates for a position must conform to stringent job qualifications.

    4.2. Second, the CEO is the highest-ranking officer. In reality, most of the power will reside in the President. The CEO may well turn into a ceremonial figurehead.

    4.3. Third, in the real world the corporate structure there are immediate targets for the current year, and long-term plans for future years, generally at 5-years intervals, for up to, say, 20 years. These targets and plans are relatively easy to set up because a corporation may just have one or a limited number of products, and forecasts of demand, costs and income are generally based on in-house history and those of competitors’. In government, there are no such agreed blueprints. Policy is largely made on the run based on diverse party platforms. In the Philippines there are arguably no continuous party structures and no platforms.
    4.3.1. What would be the methods for establishing, modifying and refining targets and plans? I presume this would belong to the Audit function.

    4.4. Fourth, in terms of metrics the preset plans serve as the basis for measuring performance. How would one measure performance in a corporate-style government absent these plans?

    4.5. Fifth, the last item brings us to the issue of renewal and continuity. The presumption is that the Board will be reconstituted through elections at regular intervals.
    4.5.1. But how do you remove a non-performing President? In the first place, it is difficult to determine non-performance as itemized in items 4.3 and 4.4.
    4.5.2. As we have seen with the Senate Ethics and Privileges Committee, it would be next to impossible to remove an errant Board member.
    4.5.3. The proposed method of election of specialized voting populations is contrary to one definition of democracy which is “One person, one vote.” I have no real objection to this because the whole idea of corporate governance is one of meritocracy. However, the idea of specialized voting populations is in accordance with the idea that voters must have special qualifications- such as being a tax-payer or land-owner – apart from age, literacy and geographical location. This means keeping and maintaining separate voting registers for each voting population. This will require massive computer resources.
    4.5.4. The issue of continuity may not be problematic if continuity is inherent in preset plans. Who implements is secondary to what is implemented.

    4.6. Sixth, the issue of the centralization of power. The separation of powers attempts to solve this problem, but even so we continue to see abuses. The proposed structure recentralizes power.
    4.6.1. The appointive power of the DILG with respect to LGUs would be an instant source of favor-trading and corruption. Just look at the positioning, jockeying and selection of judiciary appointees under the current structure.
    4.6.2. To what depth would the appointive power of the DILG apply? Would it be just to the top position of each LGU layer (Governor, Mayor, and Captain)? Or would it go down to the provincial board and municipal council?
    4.6.3. The macro plans at the national level will have to be translated into semi-macro and micro plans at the provincial and municipal levels to measure performance.
    4.6.4. Without these plans, LGU officials will be responsive to the opinions of the appointing power rather than to their constituents.

    4.7. I am sure there are many more issues people can think of. At least, the question of where sovereignty resides is not changed just reworded.
    4.7.1. But the idea of corporate governance is well taken and welcome in that it posits just one team pulling together to achieve goals. Certainly, the ingrained attitudes of corporate culture as to preset goals, performance and measurement would go a long way to solving the ills that beset the country. The current structure of not even opposing teams but just opposing personalities is a disaster, has been a disaster and will continue to be a disaster. Kudos for proposing a lateral approach and alternative.

    • Joe America says:

      I’d like to respond to your set of questions in the detail they deserve, for they are an excellent agenda for stage two, putting the meat on the bones. I can respond quickly to a couple of them:

      4.3.1, planning would be done by the President’s staff and approved by the Board. Audit is mainly a quality check, not a “doing” organization. I agree this is a crucial item. It is what drives the nation.

      4.6.1 Appointments of Provincial heads by DILG would require approval of the Executive Committee perhaps. And Mayoral appointments would need similar higher, concurring approvals. The bylaws (constitution) would have to build in the checks and balances that spot likely weaknesses and make sure the process corrects them.

      A couple of the points deal with the dynamics of the people elected and appointed. I agree that requires a lot more thinking. Would the Board fall into the trap of falling into cliques to achieve their goals, or would their electorate speak sufficiently loud to keep the desires of the constituency first and foremost. What if educational professionals get disappointed with education’s share of the budget? Would electing a different member of the Board change anything? Would the process deteriorate into sniping?

      I tend to always go back to what makes good companies work and bad ones fail. The quality and character of the managers is crucial. It is what causes the Philippines to struggle so, poor managerial quality, people not paid enough so they dip into the government till in squirrely ways. Very poor checks and balances. And the vagaries of the marketplace and economy affect performance.

      I don’t think there is any assured perfection. But it is easy to look about Philippine government and say “something is not working right here”, and has not for half a century. Democracy in a hierarchical society. Maybe not the best match. Authoritative in a hierarchical society. Better. But something more accountable to the people than a dictatorship.

      • Joe America says:

        By the way, the Board members of the three regions would in effect “federate” the organization. That is what all local citizens would focus on. Mindanao would know they have equal say to Luzon if they elect the right person.

      • edgar lores says:

        On further reflection, item 4.6 is the biggie.

        1. It has taken the whole of history to diffuse governmental power.

        2. All forms of government, except the democratic republican model with the separation of powers, have arrogated power to itself with untoward consequences for the governed.

        3. The weight of the power of the government is different from corporate power. It is literally a matter of life and death.
        3.1. The weight mostly arises from the condition of volition. With corporations, one has a choice of accepting or leaving it. With governments, you have no choice, pragmatically speaking.

        4. Because of the nature of governmental power, the paradigm of corporate governance may not apply. The knowledge that one holds the possibility and potential of absolute power over someone will affect anyone.
        4.1. One can see this in interpersonal relationships. Even if, as a power-owner, one does not exercise the power one has over another, it colors the relationship, no matter how subtly. Conflicts are bound to occur, and power will always have its say if not its way.
        4.2. The Board, no matter how populated with the best of people, will always be divided. True, one can paper over divisions with majority rule, but people will seek and form alliances to push a common interest. Strength derives from numbers.
        4.2.1. This tendency can be seen in the highest groupings of the wisest people, the Supreme Courts.

        5. I think what has to happen before the paradigm of corporate governance can work is that the perception of the sovereignty of the people must be taken as a self-evident truth, and there must be effective grievance and redress mechanisms to enforce the perception.
        5.1. It must be seen that power does not only emanate from the people theoretically, it must be exercised by the people practically.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that indeed is the biggest problem with any style of government in the Philippines. The people do not appear to grasp sovereignty as sacrifice and principle, elements that would make them believe, in their hearts, that their vote matters and ought not be sold. And good behavior counts. I figure some kind of authoritarian government must act for the people if they can’t do their part, which is why the corporate model basically takes them out of the equation except for very important Board seats.

          Also, we can’t take the humans out of the equation, quite yet, until artificial intelligence is developed further. So politicking and banding together in interest groups is likely to continue. But in the corporate model, it at least is manageable in that each and every vote can be examined by pundits far and wide. Or even near and narrow.

  8. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Why not move in the opposite direction: Direct Democracy, as other countries are experimenting. Instead of electing representatives, select citizens at random. But are ordinary citizens capable of directing the country? Yes, it’s their country but checks and balances will be needed.

    How? One set of random citizens sets the agenda, the provincial boards on a part time bases. One set of random citizens controls the “professionals” in a Senate setting on a full time bases. A House of Representatives is selected by voting as today and it assigns the executives.

    Provincial round tables are organized to discuss the current political priorities, issues to be addressed in the coming year. This happens in the summer, per province 10 groups of 10 random selected citizens get a one day “training”, then in 3 consecutive sessions they discuss priorities and select their representative for the provincial board. The provincial board discusses the final provincial priorities and select the national representative. The national convention sets the issues to be solved by the House of Representatives in the coming year. (inclusive taxation and budget shits over the previous year) This has to be hyper-transparent with netizens involvement too.

    The House acts in a “parliamentary” way, selecting the executive government and issuing legislation in the priority areas.

    A group of 50 randomly selected citizens, after an extensive training, become the Senate. They control progress of the executives, the have an audit force available to control the executive and a legal chamber to control the progress of the Supreme Court.

    Just shooting document based on what I remember from several initiatives elsewhere.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s interesting. Would you put your hands into the decision-making of 50 random citizens? I’ve served on juries in the US, and that collection of random citizens turns up some very limited thinking. I much prefer the idea of professional leaders, people rewarded generously and honestly for the work that they do to to enrich the rest of us.

      Provincial round tables sound interesting if there is a way to get from thought to action without going through kickbacks.

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        These same citizens are selecting senators today… scary indeed.

        These “senators” will be trained, with SALN submitted and live long lifestyle checks. Their main job is controlling progress in the citizen priority fields. They will have to be supported by professional “consultants” reducing the power of “emotions” as played for in juries. Their one year in office will be too short to build Napoles type of networks. Their laymen qualities will generate a language in politics that everybody understands. The detailed law-making stays in the hands of the same experts as today.

        A main effect of this set-up will be educational and empowerment. 20% or ten senators will have had too little to eat in the previous year, experts will have to speak to them. If they can understand, I can too. If they can decide, I can too.

        In an experiment in Belgium the final political agenda of the citizens was not very different from that of the political parties. The main difference was that everybody understood what they were saying and why, only the in-crowd understood the politicians correctly.

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        Politics are perceived as being owned by a political caste (and always has been, since the colonial powers.) We outsiders can judge in “Yes you can dance”, “Miss whatever”, “Deal or no deal” and every 3 years for the “A ringleader politician”, but politics is like the weather you pray for mild weather but typhoons happen too.

        A “direct politics” initiative might help to change that perception.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I find fascinating the enduring might of the families Filipino. The Godfather would be proud. You cast that durability against the relentless lack of achievement, toss in a broad education that seems not to present a passion for self-improvement in favor of resignation . . . one scratches one’s head . . . or shakes it . . .

          I repeat that I think democracy hereabouts does not ride on ideals like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It just forms a bed for cheating. That’s why Mr. Aquino got elected for the “dream” of ending corruption.

        • edgar lores says:

          The perception was true before and is still true to a large extent. But the French Revolution (egalite), the Russian Revolution (proletariat) and, in particular, the American Civil War (Gettysburg Address) should have laid that perception to rest.

          The gap between an idea and the realization of that idea is often measured in centuries.

  9. Joe America says:

    I read my own comments here and recognize I must come across as crabby at best and unhappy at worst. Perhaps I should stay away from the keyboard when I have to get up at 2 am to travel to a different island to have an Immigration official snarl at me in a threatening way that I am here as a privilege, not a right. The processing was efficient, 10 minutes. The fee was only P370 but the whole expense was about P15,000 and two days of time, including the headaches of a cancelled Cebu Pacific flight. Where did I misplace Mariano’s counsel about not letting dark exasperations rule??

    In truth, the nonsensical runarounds here sometimes drive me nuts . . otherwise I am chippy and chirpy and fully happy. 🙂 🙂 see?

    • Geng says:

      This is not to spoil your infectious enthusiasm about what form of government is suited for this country but I always think that it is the culture that must undergo change first.
      We have here a group of commenters and others anywhere else thinking of the same dreams and outcomes who are all well-meaning people and have the best interests of the nation in mind but we also have a set of politicians who had that mindset that they are entitled to whatever money that comes to them (even if it is from PDAF through Napoles) and a voting public who knows that selling votes is not right but sells them anyway because they think that they at least had tasted a share of what the politician stole.
      There could be a chance that that corporate model of governance could be given a try. Why not? Its a good and workable idea. The only problem would always be the culture of palakasan or influence peddling that just would not die a natural death.
      It will not die because there are so many thriving in it and thriving mightily, if not financially.
      Or both, most of the time.

      • Joe America says:

        Ahahaha, “infectious enthusiasm” . . . very good. Actually, you are correct, bad character will undermine about any form of government. The problem is that I see democracy as being a rich bed for corruption in that the voters are so NEEDY that they partake of shady practices, and sell votes. And everything is hidden by processes and laws that hide deeds from inspection (bank secrecy law, no FOI). So it rather encourages the bad behavior.

        The corporate model shrinks public engagement to only a few key positions and cranks up the level of intense inspection on those positions (the Board), and on the President and CEO. The idea is that there are a sufficient number of capable professionals in the Philippines – perhaps in business or elsewhere – who would relish the opportunity to work in a high-paid environment where what is important is accomplishment, not social standing. I should add that this would be a wholly public enterprise with FOI a given, and information only not available for the strictest of security reasons.

        See, you have not chilled my enthusiasm one bit. 🙂

    • David Murphy says:

      Hi Joe, Just filed my annual report yesterday in Manila. Masses of people, confusion on my part about where to go and what to do. Despite all this, and despite the four-page form (five or six for me, to allow space for all six kids), i got through the whole process in about 3 hours, about equally divided between trips to the CR, wandering around aimlessly, waiting in various lines and in filling out that form. I should have anticipated that the massive detail created by the hierarchy was largely ignored by the people who actually had to process it. All in all, it was a pretty favorable experience. The biggest surprise was the courtesy, patience and general pleasant good nature displayed by all of the immigration personnel, during my entire time there. I was amazed at the number of questions that almost continually bombarded them and yet they invariably responded with tolerance, amazing to me considering that they had probably answered the same question a hundred times already that morning. It was Filipino courtesy at its best.
      I’m sorry for the inconvenience that you experienced there but it seems that at least in Manila the Immigration Office is doing an outstanding job.

      • Joe America says:

        As it turned out, after I made the decision to fly to Cebu to do the required registration, the biggest hassle was cancellation of the Cebu Pacific flight out of Tacloban. And other than one grouchy guy, I was in and out of Immigration in about 15 minutes. Polite and efficient. Efficient because no one really looked at the five pages of information, as you said. Then the flight back into Tacloban was something I’ll carry for a lifetime, an air view of the destruction below. I’ll share a little of that in a future article. I know Manila Immigration is a huge zoo, but well organized so that the animals eventually get fed. I’m glad you got through it fine.

        • David Murphy says:

          Careful, Joe. You’ve committed yourself in writing to a positive comment on the Bureau of Immigration. What next? Praise for Customs or the Department of Public Works? OK, I’ll concede that in the context it was more like a concession rather than a complement, considering that you had to fly to Cebu for a simple annual renewal because the local officials were too incompetent to deal with the effects of the typhoon months after the event. But be careful; being positive can give you a bad reputation. (Note: This paragraph was intended to be humorous.)
          Seriously, I wonder if we’re seeing a new paradigm of the bureaucracy: the pompous, arrogant, self-important higher official left over from the old regime supported by competent, service-oriented rank and file. In the best-case scenario these young people will eventually become competent, service-oriented leaders in their respective departments and government bureaucracy will become a resource, not an obstacle, for the people. Ah, I love Utopian fantasies.
          And yes, being in the middle of a catastrophe can give you the experience of the intensity of the suffering but often only a more distant view can give you the experience of the extent. I think most of us still do not fully appreciate the magnitude of the destruction caused by that typhoon.
          D

          • Joe America says:

            Customs is doing better, actually. ahahahahaha

            I hope the young people become competent in spite of the “pompous, arrogant, self-important higher officials left over from the old regime”. Beautiful characterization of the people behind too many government desks.

            The storm indeed laid waste to a region and destroyed much of Tacloban. Huge cement foundations were tossed about like legos. People are still digging through the rubble and still finding bodies.

  10. Paul Lazo says:

    You seem to be confusing me more and more. Corporate model? Corporations are not democratic and we may end up outsourcing some of our functions cuz it just don’t work here. Would also run the danger of being bought out, or maybe that has already happened. Maybe we should change corporate to Civil. 🙂

    • Dee says:

      Philippines is already outsourcing the employment of Filipinos. Hence, the diaspora. It is outsourcing most basic products it could produce and manufacture right in its own soil. It is selling its raw materials instead of making something out them that could generate employment.

      This led me to thinking what government agencies and other resources could be privatized or deregulated?

      • Paul Lazo says:

        You’re right, unfortunately we seemed to have outsourced our competitive adavantage and kept in house what we should have outsourced 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Why does government need to be “democratic” to work? Set aside the halo attached to the word. We indeed might outsource for skill, in the interim, but not for low labor cost. Got plenty of that here. The term “corporate” is meant to convey a style of work, goal oriented, structured for accountability, where people are paid well to achieve certain targets. It loses the endless arguing that characterizes democracy, and the total lack of individual accountability for anything.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I never thought my mother was intelligent until the Senate hearings on PDAF. Here is her story:

    My father is a smokes, drinks and just loves women. One day he brought a woman home when my mother was out of town.

    I told my mother. My mother wanted proof, “Sweetheart, I love our family. I love you and your father. I believe you. I just cannot confront him because you said so. You and I knows your Father is going to deny the allegation. We will confront him proofs. Not imagined. Not faked. No Forgery.”

    MY MOTHER WANTED PROOF AND SHE IS NOT EVEN AN AMERICAN SENATOR. Definitely, elected-by-the-people Philippine Senators would accept my allegations without batting an eyelash. I just love my mother. I will not exchange my mother for DOJ deLima.

  12. cha says:

    I am pretty sure the Americans took some time figuring out how to operationalize the idea of “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”. (And from the looks of it, they still haven’t completely worked it out until now.) So I wouldn’t really worry about the details of its implementation at this point (they can always be modified, revised as more people come on board), but I do like the idea of a corporate style government, where the citizens are understood to be the owners and shareholders of the nation and those tasked with running the affairs of government are clearly accountable to them.

    Maybe we should even stop calling it the government as the implication is that the people are the ones being controlled and directed, running contrary to the notion that they are in fact, the one in charge – the boss , as President Aquino, calls them.

    Speaking of the President, I do recognize in many of his actions and decisions indications of a corporate mindset; in his seeming obsession with numbers as indicators of how his administration is achieving its goals, in how he has selected qualified and competent people to help him achieve his administration!s goals, even in how he has organized his cabinet into clusters according to the nature of their contribution to government, e.g. human development and poverty reduction, justice and peace, etc. Anyone who has had corporate experience will know that these are activities most good corporate executives would give attention to – monitoring performance against measurable goals, selecting and hiring people for results, organizing for optimum performance and teamwork.

    So maybe the groundwork is really already there. Hopefully the people choose another President come 2016, with the same mindset to follow through on what the incumbent has started. And then maybe we will continue to see more inroads towards a government that operates efficiently and effectively like a well-run corporation.

    I know we captured Competence/Capability as part of the Rizal-Robredo Index, maybe ithe criteria can be revisited to make sure the corporate mindset/ skills have been aptly captured. The Society can then start looking at candidates from that angle. (I have a feeling a certain potential lady candidate might still fit the bill.)

    And then when the time comes, who knows , maybe some young public servants from a future generation may just come across JoeAm’s blog on a corporate-style of governance in some sort of museum and then recognize in it the government they have become a part of.

    • Joe America says:

      That was indeed a surprise to me, that Mr. Aquino has the fundamental approach of a business executive. Indeed, I was drawn in part to writing this article in that I see good outcomes from that. And it may just be that the current form of government needs more executive discipline within it to succeed. Sotto is not an executive ahahahahahaha. OMG

      Can you get in LIBEL trouble for saying what someone is NOT???

  13. edgar lores says:

    Ten – Make that Eleven – Differences Between a Corporation and the Government

    1. A corporation must produce something that it can sell. The government produces documents.

    2. A corporation must continually improve its product(s) to continue selling. The government improves documents by asking for triplicates.

    3. A corporation sells its product(s) to customers. The government may sell its documents to “bote diario”.

    4. A corporation must advertise its products to make them known to the people. The government advertises its people to let people know who built the bridge.

    5. A corporation’s income comes from the products it sells. The government’s income comes from the people it ignores.

    6. A corporation buys components to make its products. A government buys – what else? – paper!

    7. A corporation makes profits by selling their products to people at a higher price than it costs to make them. The government profits at the people’s expense.

    8. Corporations must hire the right people. The government hires whatever people are left.

    9. A corporate officer is paid according to his merits and what he contributes. The government official is paid peanuts, may be devoid of merit, not that he contributes anything.

    10. A corporate officer is paid a bonus after he has performed according to the best of his abilities. A government official demands a bonus before he has performed according to the depth of his disabilities.

    11. Corporations are staffed with people who like to earn an honest living. The government is stuffed with dishonest people who live to make life difficult for honest people.

    • edgar lores says:

      I don’t know whether this is funny or serious.

      • Joe America says:

        It is both, and it makes the point that we need to identify the roots of problems with the existing way of doing government business, and act forthrightly to put in place mechanisms that are forward looking and productive.

        I mean, if we stopped paying the salaries of 500 ineffective legislators and put the money into 10 or 15 Board members, we’d get a lot better professional skill level, I’m thinking. They would not have to steal to live well. They’d simply earn it.

        Very nice zeroing in on what the purpose of this thinking exercise is. Identifying weaknesses, converting them to strengths.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        EDGAR !!!!! I did not know you have sense of humor !!!

  14. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Aren’t we barking at the wrong tree? Isn’t power shifting fast from the political scene to the economical scene? Isn’t the fate of the Philippine not determined in the corporate boards of Google, Toyota,… banks and rating agencies…? Economic powers are not democratic at all.

    Aren’t we barking at the wrong tree? Isn’t the main problem in the Philippines rent seeking? That’s what the Spanish did, not work but create monopolies, planters exploiting the land. That’s what the tycoons are doing today, real estate by using the laws in their personal favor, natural and mineral resources, circumventing import taxes… everything but creating material wealth as in manufacturing.

    Aren’t we barking at the wrong tree? More and more decisions are taken in supra-national levels, UN, G20, Asean… More and more decisions should be taken at a lower level, regions, provinces, municipalities… . How to trim the national government to its core?

    Isn’t the main function of a government to create a level playing field so the free market could do its job? Can you approach this function as a corporation? Or does it require a different style?

    • Joe America says:

      What style of tree do you recommend, and how will it help correct what appear to be deeply ingrained deficiencies of Philippine-style democracy?

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        Yes, that the 1000 dollar question. But I do not believe in one golden bullet. A multitude of initiatives will be required.

        1. The almighty economic powers.
        – awareness of the influence of economic decision centers
        – importance of savings, need for individual emergency fund.
        – agenda point in the media in easy non-economic terms
        – conversation point in the families, mandatory subject in schools
        – improved education in mathematics, making people to understand numbers
        – national budget clearly explained, macro economic cash flows…
        – monthly reporting on the inequality gap
        – benchmark what other countries are doing
        – …. 1000 more initiatives, weekly blog to generate them

        2. Rent seeking in the Philippines
        – teach the difference between rent and creation of real wealth
        – expose rent, e.g. high import taxes create high profits for those who are exempt or cheat
        – improve auditing function
        – lifestyle checks as standard procedure
        – expose heroes in creating jobs
        – expose who profit from OFW’s
        – benchmark what other countries are doing
        – …. 1000 more initiatives, weekly blog to generate them

        3. Reduced powers at the national level
        – increase awareness, manage expectations
        – screen all departments and decide where the national level has added value, the Bangsamoro deal was a good starter, how to expand the thinking to the rest of the nation…
        – what has to be delegated to the ASEAN level?
        – how is imperial Manila perceived in the rest of the country?
        – what in English, what in Tagalog, what in local languages
        – benchmark what other countries are doing
        – …. 1000 more initiatives, weekly blog to generate them

        Just bullet points, the brainstorm list to be expanded, priority ideas need to be worked out.

        • Joe America says:

          Very interesting list. Applying Bangsamoro elsewhere . . . federal . . .

          How is Manila viewed? Judging from one editorial I read in Cebu this morning, not good. You characterized it: “imperial”. Not interested in the provinces.

          Delegate to ASEAN. Fascinating. Can you imagine an Asian Union like the European Union? Free trade and travel, one currency, each riding on the well-being of the other. Balancing against China as Europe balanced against Russia and achieved peer status with the US? I think it is not in the cards. The difficulty of travel and complex cultural differences make it unlikely. I’m not sure what would be delegated “up” to ASEAN.

    • David Murphy says:

      Hi Joseph-Ivo, It’s a trivial point but I thought you might like to know that the southern American idiom is “”Barking UP the wrong tree.” It’s a reference to hunting, particularly raccoon (‘coon’) hunting, in which hounds would track the animals at night by scent and then corner them, most often up in a tree. The hunters, usually substantially handicapped by having imbibed significant quantities of “while lightning” (home-made, potent,, untaxed and therefore illegal corn whiskey), would eventually arrive, guided by the sounds of the dogs’ frenzied barking at the animal up in the tree.. Sometimes, in the interim between the time the coon was treed and the arrival of the hunters, either the coon would manage to climb unnoticed along limbs into another tree or the dogs in their excitement would simply get confused, and the dogs would be ‘barking up the wrong tree.’
      The phrase has since been generalized to mean, exactly as you used it, to make a great deal of noise and expend a huge amount of activity and effort on the wrong problem.
      Hope you like the story behind it.

  15. R.Hiro says:

    “The chief flaws of democracy in a hierarchical, authoritarian state are:

    Firstly your premise is flawed and oxymoronic.

    Freedom House a U.S. based NGO rates the Philippines as a partly free democracy.

    Also please note that a famous philosopher from SCOTLAND described the workings of society as nothing but the power relations between groups of people. Those that own the means of production have the almost unlimited power to command labor. They later became known simply as capitalists.

    Today those capitalists have almost all evolved into financial capitalists who have the power itself to create money supposedly with government oversight. They have the power today to command countries/states

    Governments in the past were formed to insure peace and stability for sharing the hunt and later for facilitating trade.

    I strongly recommend Joe Am read “Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke’s “Two Treatises on Government”

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the recommendations.

      The Freedom House evaluation was not exactly a positive endorsement of Philippine governance, with the strength of the rating basically keyed to a very free and vibrant press. It ranked the Philippines poorly in areas where you can see the authoritarianism and favoritism coming forth: judiciary, for example.

      I like your characterization of how modern capitalism has morphed toward financial capitalism, but that is not the whole story. Technological innovation and production has been nothing short of astounding and fueled a boom in global technology, manufacturing remains an important hub of American capitalism, and various services sectors – retail, trade, and health are strong and important sectors. Construction. Agribusiness. To characterize American capitalism as “financial” is not the whole story I think.

      If you think that Philippine governance is working fine, and on the right path, I could buy that argument. But you would have to explain what has to happen to keep it moving and developing and not falling back into favoritism and corruption and inertia.

      • R.Hiro says:

        Also please note that here in the Philippines society still has not evolved for subjects/citizens to grasp their constituent power in a system of representative democracy due to the lopsided power relations with the owners of production. Hence the result our alleged representatives become autocrats. A system more like a feudal society.

        We have first world laws but the culture is steeped in autocratic feudal relations. Power relations are not tempered by the rule of law but by personal relations. Hence crime pays in Philippine society.

        It takes time for cultural evolution. One hundred years after the end of the legal institution of slavery, in many parts of the South and the West of the U.S.”nigger” culture is alive and well.

        Plus you have an academic sector that pushes free trade and free markets as doctrine/dogma. Naturally all financed by the power structure. The temple of this dogma /doctrine is the U.P. School of Economics. Their aim is to establish an unfettered totally free market capitalist utopia. Totally unregulated labor markets, trade and capital flows.

        A throwback to the 18th and 19th century.

        As for finance capitalism before the crisis in 2008 the financial sector was generating 40% of corporate profits. Not too shabby. Feudal societies were slowly replaced by the revolution in agriculture then industry which came in two parts, coal then oil and gas. In the last two generations we have seen and are witnessing a revolution in communication and in artificial intelligence that is creating fault lines in all societies around the globe akin to the emergence of the steam engine.

        Capitalists have turned themselves through finance into conglomerates.

        From the invention of the movable type printing press (Guttenburg) which allowed the printing of bibles in different languages, which in turn fueled the Reformation of the Catholic Church and the Protest-ant movement. South American silver and gold fueled the European renaissance through Spain and the rest as they say is history. Elizabeth the First set the foundation for what was to become the empire where the sun never sets. Critical thinking then replaced superstition. The scientific method then came to be.

        Western Europe pulled ahead and the new nation was born from the advances in Europe which were transplanted to the North American continent. Just look at the difference between North and South America. Why the gap in societal development.

        For the Philippines the choices are stark. The culture is evolving at a slow pace. Only quantitative material change will lead to qualitative change. Culture will follow. However the emergence of China rapidly getting richer and eventually having to change their command style of government to enable it to truly become a world superpower and the U.S. trying to maintain their dominance makes change here really challenging.

        Even neutrality requires power which the country lacks. I suspect we may revert back to the U.S. and eventually dollarize our economy by full integration with the U.S. The BSP could soon become the Federal Reserve Bank of Manila. We are implicitly already anchored to the dollar because it will still be generations for the Chinese renminbi to replace the dollar as the international reserve currency of choice.

        Government here still can’t be trusted. If they do not pass a law repealing bank secrecy through both houses of Congress nothing will change.

        • Joe America says:

          I enjoyed reading this. You ought to do a blog article here.

          “Only quantitative material change will lead to qualitative change. Culture will follow.” Let us hope that the quantitative change that is under way will be material enough to lead to qualitative change. I agree there is great lethargy in the legislature, and inability to do very essential deeds, like remove bank secrecy for criminal investigations. I think the Philippines would merge into the US only as an outcome of catastrophic war in Asia. As we are wishing for things, we can also wish that China would grow up, and the US would get serious about caretaking the planet.

          • R. Hiro Vaswani says:

            Many thanks for your kind words and am humbled by your offer. I enjoy our conversations better as you are a splendid reader/listener.

            I fear the next serious armed conflict will happen in our neighborhood. A miscalculation by China or Japan could result in something nobody really wants. China has deep fundamental problems in restructuring their export led policy and turn it inward. They may have some crazies in their military, who may take their switch to nationalism to pacify their citizens while their structural adjustment is ongoing, to an extreme level.

            Stalin, Hitler and co. were sociopaths who wormed their way into power. The ongoing Islamic insurgency at its roots is an extreme form of Arab ultra nationalism wrapped in Allah as an effective recruiting tool. All countries always seem to have their fair amount of crazies.

            Thanks again for your hospitality.

  16. letlet says:

    Somehow, your Corporate Model of Governance is a bit utopian, but your aspiration to install this kind of governance in the Philippines is exactly what the country needs. I share with your aspiration though it’s an impossible dream…..

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it is, letlet. But the casting of the ideal makes the flaws of the existing system visible, and perhaps will goad us into breaking down the lock on promise held by those working to enrich themselves at the expense of the nation. Maybe people will become impatient with ridiculous laws that protect crooks (bank secrecy), hide performance (no FOI), continue the mien of government intimidation (criminalized libel with presumption of malace), and fail to hold its officials to account (three senators accused of plunder still operating in the Senate and stirring up trouble). And maybe voters will get fed up with the quality of legislators they are electing. And maybe we can demand judges return to a profession of honor.

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