Democracy is in a death spiral in the Philippines

Death spiral (Photo source:

By Joe America

It may be in a death spiral elsewhere, too.

The killer is populism.

Populism in politics is a dynamic that occurs when politicians stop acting with constitutional integrity and start operating to satisfy large blocks of voters who demand, not intelligence or reason or knowledge, but emotional satisfaction.

Knowledge is the foundation of smart decisions and it comes from a lot of places. It comes from the ideals expressed in party principles, the Constitution and laws that flow from it, experience, and experts in various fields.

Legislators and other elected officials have increasingly parted from knowledge in favor of populist appeal.

There would be nothing wrong with populist appeal if citizens were informed, wise, and mature. But when people are emotionally needy and one of the main needs is to punish people . . . especially those with knowledge . . . then the whole formula gets turned upside down. The populist drive becomes destructive. When government directs the vindictive drive against knowledge it becomes even more destructive. .

The assumptions that makes democracy tick, that people are reasonable and informed, and that elected officials really mean what they say in their oaths, are proven false.

Democracy enters a death spiral.

Democracy today in the Philippines is at the mercy of masses of poverty-wracked, angry people whom legislators and other elected officials listen to, over compassionate, wise, and informed people. The educated elite are shunned, and even condemned. Civility and compassion are shunned, and set aside.

If it were just an intellectual argument, we could debate it over a beer. But thousands of people are being killed without the due processes and rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Democracy has for sure failed them.

Sovereignty over islands is being set aside in favor of favors. Terrorism is growing, not being pushed out of the Philippines. The economy is troubled; investors are uncertain as to stability or direction.

Rather than applying knowledge to work on good results, government in the Philippines has become vindictive, reflecting the mood of the masses, and uninformed, because the sources of knowledge . . . the educated elite . . . are not popular. Indeed, they are the enemy, the targets of the angers of the masses, angers which are duly stoked by politicians to gain office and hold it. Knowledge is under attack in the Philippines. It is the enemy.

Fake news is good. And believed because of the emotional appeal.

Real facts are bad. And shunned.

So, by the ever-enduring rules of cause and effect, government work is done poorly.

And at some point, as the spiral against knowledge evolves, it will mean the end of democracy. And the freedoms democracy assures.

This spiral can only stop if the masses come to realize that they are being punished by what elected officials are doing, and turn toward knowledge instead.

Right now, that’s not happening. Even journalists are caught up in promoting stupidity. And emotionalism rules in social media. Not reason, not knowledge. Emotionalism . . . and stupidity.

But accountability must be laid where it belongs. You and I cannot avoid it. The educated elite have not proved smart enough to offer a compelling message to the emotional masses. Many have tried, but, they are not loud enough to be heard. You can’t speak logic to emotion.


176 Responses to “Democracy is in a death spiral in the Philippines”
  1. madlanglupa says:

    Sir, as I see it, many people are still living a cave when everyone else have civilization. We’re prone to autocracies, feudalism, myths, rumors, moral panics, superstition, regionalism, and the unfortunate fact that our idea of leadership is a messianical figure who claims himself/herself to be the gift of God… stymieing any attempts at providing knowledge and enlightenment.

    Apparently the irony of interconnection made possible by social media has also accelerated degeneration by means of negative knowledge imparted by attention-seekers trying to cash in on clickbait.

  2. buwayahman says:

    My friends and I had a similar discussion on this, especially on why there is a disconnect between the educated and the poor and why the former gets “smart-shamed” by the poor. Is it because the poor look at the rich and educated as “unreachable” and hence viewed as another caste? If this is the case, then the poor will not listen to the rich and educated and instead relate to the likes of Pacquiao.

    • I think that is exactly what is going on, and the poor are unreachable, except as they experience the negativity of the economy first hand. I can’t tell if there is any disenchantment toward government coming from Mindanao as a result of Marawi or not. It was Duterte who challenged the Maute gang to burn the town, which they did, because . . . as he admitted . . . government had misjudged the accumulation of arms. Two wrongs . . . no animosity as we saw against Aquino at Mamasapano, even though Duterte had a DIRECT hand in the destruction of Marawi.

    • “Is it because the poor look at the rich and educated as “unreachable” and hence viewed as another caste?” yes, of course.

      many even when they have reached a certain level of affluence in the new middle class. They cannot relate to the values of the old middle class, the values of the “1986 Republic”. Their values are more towards pure materialism and physical security – other priorities.

  3. alicia m. kruger says:

    Democracy in the Philippines is being brutalized. Fake news is on the up and up. Citizens are murdered by the government itself. These make me or any self-respecting patriot want to take up arms JoeAm.

    Right now the corrupt sitting public officials think they are invincible but karma is slowly coming to them in the boxing defeat yesterday of the arrogant hit man in the senate Manny Pacquiao.

    De Lima and thousands dead EJK victims were avenged. Horn’s fight against the odds to overcome his ‘mighty’ opponent gave the Filipinos hope that things Can and Will change with time.

    • If there is a change in the tide of sentiment, I think it is pretty well confined to the educated elite. Until they start talking loudly about price increases, lack of jobs, and taxes . . . things that matter to the poor . . . they will just talk among themselves, I think. China gave the AFP substandard weapons . . . weapons the Chinese won’t use themselves . . . which is a statement of what the PH means to China. Yet the educated elite have not made a point of that, which I think DOES mean something to Filipino pride. So they are missing an opportunity to score big points. Because there is no leadership, and no organized communication program.

      • alicia m. kruger says:

        There is little comfort that the educated elite continues to slide in the polls being ‘decent’ – whatever that word means- instead of taking advantage of the dysfunction of the government of the day. They have regroup and elect a strong leader to address the poverty problems, a leader who have the guts to stand up to any take down from trolls, a leader who can throw some swear words in the mix, Duterte style! But of course China would give substandard weapons to the AFP. It’s insurance when the tide turns. They would never know when those weapons would be turned against them.

  4. Grammy2342 says:

    Heartache and heartbreak.😥

    • bnimble07 says:

      For one moment I thought you were talking about what’s happening in the U.S. these days. The populism virus seems to have spread to all corners of the world from the looks of it. And no one seems to know how to counter it. We have seen this movie before in the 1930’s as prelude to WWII. Very troubling similarities.

  5. Tem says:

    I am a bit confused. I thought democracy is defined as “of the people, for the people and by the people.” Should it be redefined as “of the educated elite?”

    • No, but government should also be intelligent and sophisticated, in the sense that the meaning and importance of human rights should be understood, and laws known . . . and the reasons for them . . . and the ability to do that which is unpopular, but important, be retained. The system by the people, for the people you are inquiring of is essentially communism. Democracy overlays that with knowledge and discernment.

      • One of the pieces of democratic knowledge that is weak in the Philippines, a bit of discernment that OUGHT to exist, is the importance of ethical behavior, and allegiance to oaths. It is a form of sacrifice that each individual makes to assure that the body is whole and strong. Legislators switching parties for personal benefit is a huge violation of traditional democratic ethical norms, and is discussed in the Philippines from time to time. But like anti-dynasty, it never gets set into the actual form of government. That is a huge lapse of discernment that is in fact gross stupidity. Ethics bonds make institutions strong.

    • Nikols says:

      This sucks up of pure elitism. As if the elites in this country has all the answers to our problems! Tama ka kaibigan

      • Welcome to the blog, Nikols. Yes, it definitely smacks of elitism, where elitism equates to knowledge. I don’t know how you solve problems and build an economy without it. But my guess is that your real problem is with those who object to EJKs and other Duterte deeds, not elitism. You are welcome to elaborate if I’ve guessed wrong.

        • Not Needed says:

          Dear Jo. Many are preaching “this fact” or that “fact”. Duterte has announced a subway is being built in Manila, that a rail link will run to Clarke, that the economy data shows it is a leading light in Asia, that reforms are assisting the poor. The only problem is these are not facts, there is NO subway being built..there is NO rail like to Clarke being built, the economic data is massaged and highly inaccurate that poverty is RAGING ahead and that the Government under Duterte is murdering with no consideration of charging and examining the truth and having lawful arrests for trial of those they are murdering. Indeed Duterte never won a mandate to Govern, as claimed, with 56 million registered voters and with Duterte getting roughly 16 and a half million votes that means 40 million out of 56 million did NOT want him…hardly a mandate and if that’s a landslide then I’m a hairy gorilla living in London zoo waiting for my mom to come and save me. The Philippines needs transparent reform….medical insurance, food and education for the poor. Not words of no substance and just plain lies. Imagine, the “bank accounts that cannot be revealed” that DO exist. Nice people the Philippine people but being taken up the river on a boat rid with not paddles to come back.

          • I think both the subway and the rail to clark are creeping forward. I think Japan is the partner. Plus, the common station where three lines join has finally been approved and started. The pace is slower than expected, though, as the Duterte Admin faces the same delays on major projects that Aquino did. I’m wondering what your sources are to claim that economic data are inaccurate.

            All you say is true, but getting from here to there has to pass through a dark abyss. The people you speak of are largely happy with Duterte, even though, right, he did not have a majority.

  6. Victor Sensei says:

    The populist breed of politicians have effectively used the skill of the advertising copywriters, the insurance underwriters or the used car salesmen. They enlarge on a popular problem, metaphors and hyperboles to boot, and quickly offer themselves as solutions. The educated and thinking group — “elite” by force of circumstances — are helpless against this herd and retire limp on the edges of logical society. The whole situation is as free and liberated as democracy in action, operating to wipe out democracy of free thoughts. What we have here is the futility of the opposites, democracy destroying itself. Solutions, anyone?

    • Yes, you are right. The solutions are probably in the organization of a legitimate opposition outside of the legislature, with the aim of influencing popular ideas. The government today labels any such initiatives as destabilizing, and plots to subvert. But those labels are heresy in terms of what the Constitution intends, I think. Attorneys would have to be a part of this legitimate opposition. 🙂

      I’m a foreigner, so could not participate in such an effort to organize.

      • Victor Sensei says:

        Yes, indeed. A kind of fourth branch, independent, legitimized, with power of censure. Accepting the idea and setting it up would be a massive struggle, but I would love to help put it together. And like you, I am now a foreigner, and ex-pat who still deeply care.

  7. Gemino H. Abad says:

    May there emerge a selfless leader to organize the growing “legitimate opposition.” Let us not lose hope: to lose hope will spell the end of democracy and freedom! Each one where he can must voice out his/her opposition to populist demagogues. May our Supreme Court stand firm on our Constitution and our laws.

  8. Nitram says:

    The root cause of this political, and dare I say, societal dystopia, is poverty. Poverty denies the majority a good education, resulting in a population devoid of the basic skills required to conduct reasoned and informed political discourse. So inevitably reason is subverted by emotion which the demagogues exploit at will. Another important factor is the dawn of the internet and social media which has given unbridled access and dissemination of information. Raw, unfiltered and anarchic. Grappling with ethical and moral dilemmas is taxing even to an educated mind, to the rest it is far easier to indulge in emotional musings. Unfortunately the educated “elite” have allowed themselves to be defined by those who want to ride the tiger of populism. May I suggest that the intelligentsia is losing the argument and that they have to rethink the way they conduct the conversation.

    • Not Needed says:

      The root cause is , primarily just moral corruption of those in power who are attempting to establish a dynasty and are prepared to loot, rape, pillage and plunder to do it. Imagine, “Obama is the son of w whore” but NOW the Americans are NEEDED! imagine the Australian nurse who was raped……and ..” I wish I had been the first……” but now th Australians are wanted and needed…and “I will ride a jet ski out to Scarborough Shoal and plant the Philippine flag……….and so the Chinese??? are they wanted any more? This Philippine government has already burnt many bridges……..will they continue to do that?

      • There is significant pushback against Duterte, and it is having its effect. But the battle is for sure raging, with impeachments and lots of divisive accusations. Yesterday Duterte issued an order taking drug enforcement out of the hands of the PNP and placing it with the PDEA. The majority in the Senate has been speaking out against the killings, and the Church.

  9. chemrock says:

    In 2016 Filipinos failed the marshmallow test. The consequences are being played out. If Filipinos want to continue to play delinquent voter, then play on and see Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos over take you. I find all these talk about poverty and uneducation and ignorance is just being over protective as some parents would over some spoilt brats. What is so difficult to understand that here is an empty nut who has nothing to offer in the senate? What is there to understand that here is a misogyist not fit to be in congress? Why you can’t understand here is a master thief not fit to represent us? My 6 year old nephew here understands all that perfectly well.

    • A mass emotional retardation has transpired. I’m guessing it is a magical concoction of the subservience of eons of occupation, anger and envy of poverty, shallow thinking from rote by-the-numbers education, and emotionalism of social media that fosters reinforcement of bad thinking.

      • Let me also drop off this comment from Senator De Lima:

        Sen. de Lima’s Statement on House Speaker Alvarez’ threat to file impeachment case vs. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno

        Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez must be drunk from all the power he wields if we are to go by his recent statements about Court of Appeals Justices, the Chief Justice and even the postponement of Barangay Elections.

        Typical of the so-called “leadership” style of this administration, when faced with opposition, his reaction was to lash out, curse and threaten the CA Justices with disbarment, the Chief Justice with impeachment, and even threaten the entire judiciary with the dissolution of the CA—all because a Division of the CA performed its duty by unanimously finding merit in a petition for habeas corpus. Last time I checked, that’s a subject for a motion for reconsideration and, thereafter, appeal—not an opportunity to flex one’s ego and political clout.

        For that is what this is: a show of political power. He is certainly not purporting to hold that much power by himself: instead, this is Alvarez throwing the weight of his borrowed influence as a henchman of a more powerful patron.

        That is where he gets the gumption to threaten the Chief Justice of the Philippines with impeachment.

        That is also where he gets the bloated confidence to announce the postponement of the Barangay Elections and that barangay officials will, instead, be appointed, as if such are already writ in stone simply upon his say-so.

        His statements are not just galling to hear, but also very disturbing. They are a manifestation of a grave threat to the Rule of Law and our democratic way of life, for they are geared towards making key institutions and officials vulnerable to undue threats and, ultimately, malleable to the whims and tantrums of bullies and dictators, whose capacity for conflict resolution ranges from inflicting ad hominem attacks, to doing their utmost to ruin the life and career of those who disagree with them.

        That is their obvious endgame.

        I can only hope that members of the Judiciary, as well as my fellow lawmakers in both Houses of Congress, will find the willpower to continue resisting such threats. I would be the first to say that it isn’t an easy task. But it is possible because those who resist will also wield their own brand of power—the power of knowing that we are defending our people by doing what is right.#

        • chemrock says:

          Regarding Barangay chairmen perhaps Karl can give us an idea in terms of numbers involved. I was wondering if the President does the appointment, would’nt Mindanao’s population figures go down as all the appointtees from the south move out throughout the country?

          • karlgarcia says:

            That would be 42,036 OICs to be appointed.

            • sonny says:

              I hope 42K is our redeeming number.

              • karlgarcia says:

                In the case of OIC baranggay chairmen all appointed by Duterte, 42 k is not good, Unc.

              • sonny says:

                Neph, if PRD can make the appointments stick then what is this talk of mere plurality. He does in fact have a true mandate. If so, where are the dynastic opposition groups? Did they just disappear into thin air and all this is mere shadow boxing? I don’t understand.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I will first try on the Barangay OIC appointment.
                I don’t know if Duterte can appoint a non resident as OIC as Chemrock is implying, because I read the Bill regarding the postponement of Barangay elections and it is not clear if the president can only appoint residents.
                If he appoints any one then that is problematic.

                About the opposition, in the Barangay level, opposition will prectically disappear in thin air.
                For other positions in the LGUs they are all defecting.
                If I am not answering your question, just tell me.

              • sonny says:

                Neph, looks like pushing HB5359 into law is all designed to accommodate any action of PRD while he is in power. Barbers is not even attempting to disguise that this law is intended to give PRD total free hand. He’s not even expecting any pushback from any opposition. For now Sec 39 (LGU Code) officers will be under siege. Yes?

        • sonny says:

          Reminds me of Mabini, Joe. The senator does. Her imprisonment is a clarion call to the country’s good sense.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      In a word or two, Filipinos lack common sense?

    • NHerrera says:


      One way of looking at this — to ease the pain or outrage of the few such as De Lima and some of us in TSH — is to say that the system or Filipino character is such that we are trapped and consequently have evolved into a Democracy Filipino-Style, and that we are in a scheduled trajectory of more such evolution into perdition, that is, in the Ultimate Democracy Filipino-Style. (With the caveat that there are a few who will greatly profit materially from the perdition of the many, including the kingdom from the North.)

      Is the evolution still REVERSIBLE? (I know we have enumerated the means in many previous blogs, but we may be fast losing the confidence that the means is workable.)

      There is a mathematical analog to the situation. There are some problems where the “boundary conditions” are such that no solution is possible. I hope we are not in such situation, notwithstanding my defeatist note above.

      • NHerrera says:

        In short and in words coming out as a cliché, if one cannot win a game, find a game changer so that one can win the game. The search or strategy is therefore for such a game changer, if such exists. Chemrock offers one such below.

  10. chemrock says:

    Democracy-Filipino style is a disease. It incubates in voters who transmit it to Congress and Senate.The first symptom is turncoatism where you see infected scumbags running from one side to the other side, thuse infecting all sides.

    The solution to Philippines current problem is very simple. Take back Congress and Senate in 2019. Are Filipinos up to it?

    • Sup says:

      This is one of the main problems…You vote a LP governor/ mayor and after a short time he turns to PDP Laban…Nothing the voter can do to stop it..
      Look what happened to Cebu? All mayors and governor went to PDP last week.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I also wanted to comment on that Sup.
        I think even if there will be a law against turncoatism and dynasties, populism will repeal or even kill that law.

        Alvarez is rampaging right now.
        In the senate, Lacson tells Trillanes that he is out of touch with reality.( like in that video you shared, he was called out of tune).

        Revolutionary government?
        The SONA would be 60 days after declaring Martial Law, what a coincidence?
        I don’t think he will be absent.

        • karlgarcia says:

          11-3-1 the SC upholds Martial law.

          • July 4, the day the SC effectively declared citizens’ rights “dead on arrival”.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Yes, and it is sad. ☹️
              Oh, its fourth of July.
              Even with that news I want to greet you a Happy Fourth of July, Joe.

              • American democracy is still alive and kicking, Karl. We can all celebrate the 4th of July without hypocrisy because America will be free as long as its citizenry are ready and willing to kick behinds and take names when the going gets tough.

                Happy 4th, Joe!

              • Thank you, Juana. Happy 4th to you, too! May your flag wave strong, your parade be celebratory, your barbecue delicious, and your fireworks worth an oooooh or ahhhhh!

              • Victor Sensei says:

                Happy fourth of July, Joe, included my favorite but belated (and probably forgotten) fourth, Jul 4, 1946. Pardon the nostalgia, and mush, but I just like to remember my enduring thanks to the GIs who came and rescued the Philippines (now my old country) from those thieving and murderous kempeitai. “O Beautiful ..” and so forth to the U.S., Trump notwithstanding.

              • Why, thanks, Victor. Happy 4th to you! Here’s to freedom and vibrant democracy!

              • karlgarcia says:

                Happy 4th Juana, Uncle Sonny,caliphman,oldman and those I may forget to mention.

              • No fireworks in Socal hardly now , Joe, except for the professionally done ones, too many brush fires ,

                So I borrowed my buddies party speakers (will be here in a couple of hours) and I will be blaring out all rendition’s of Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” ,

                Which gets better and better the drunker you get it seems, LOL!


              • he people sonny says:

                Many thanks, Neph. I appreciate your time on my 42K question. If the people in baranggays don’t take the political education and spirit of democracy at that level, then we don’t deserve
                the fruits of what we have not worked for.

        • sonny says:

          Alvarez not good for Filipino soul.

  11. Nitram says:

    I honestly think that to conduct an inclusive sober and reasoned (for lack of a better term) dialogue like those in TSH regularly enter into we must change the language and strategy. All these intellectual acrobatics and semantic nuances mean zilch to the 16 million, nor to the 75% if recent polls are to believed. We have to learn how to bring this level of analysis out of this echo chamber into the mainstream. The “how”, I have to leave to those more capable than myself.

  12. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe, I will not enter into the politicial side of this discussion. I simply do not know enough to make sensible comments. But tonight on the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s news website was this story on how 40% of all white collar jobs in Australia will disappear in the next 20-30 years, because of artificial intelligence machines.

    This is relevant to the Philippines. White collar jobs have created h the middle classes in all countries. And the existing middle class in the Philippines has come into existence through white collar jobs. If they disappear then the educated middle class will also be devastated.

    Why is this relevant here ? Because the middle class is the mainstay, the support of democratic societies whether here in Australia or in the Philippines.

    Ony a complete and universal total refusal to use or pay for AI ‘work’ will prevent this.

  13. Oldman says:

    My hometown in southern Luzon has been governed by few elite families.

    Elitism is the belief or attitude that individuals who form an elite—a select group of people with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality, high intellect, wealth, specialized training, experience, distinctive attributes, whose influence or authority is greater than that of others, whose views on a matter are to be taken more seriously, whose views or actions are more likely to be constructive to society as a whole, or whose extraordinary skills, abilities, or wisdom render them especially fit to govern.

    Asian nations after World War II, majority started as authoritarian leaders then with improved education and economic improvements, gradually evolves to some form of democracy.
    Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan Monarchy, HongKong British rule until 1997.

    Philippine silver-platter democracy has never work I think, it was really an elite group of families ruling society…… never had been the government of the people, for the people, by the people.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I just hope some form of Philippine democracy would work.
      We know that any Iron fist rule won’t work.
      Silver and Iron won’t work.
      Maybe its time to call the Rhinestone cowboy?
      Para di naman tayo kawawang koboy.

      • Oldman says:

        Global Filipino is emerging, 12 million Overseas Filipinos or 12% of population are getting active awareness and improving its economic position, greatly influencing the families at home. Duterte presidency is just the beginning of evolution of political change, I hope.
        Like the water level metaphor, water always seek its own level.
        The Filipino heritage being a combination of austronesian, Polynesian, Asian Indo-Muslim, Chinese-Traders, Spanish and American culture influence… has a highly mixed cultural environment. Therefore democracy has not progress as expected.
        The new Global-Asianic economic 21th century is growing strong…….I hope the Philippine will evolve in harmony for its economic progress as an independent sovereign people.
        My guess of the future Philippines is as good as yours…Global Filipino will continue and increase,, and will get stronger to influence the future Philippines.

        As an old man, I may not witness that glorious future day!

  14. Nitram, Bill, et al. ,

    Over here in the U.S. the presumption is that America’s wealth and stability is due to the growing of, now attempts to sustain its middle class—- which arguably was grown post-WWII, mainly thru the GI Bill, allowing WWII vets to go to college and own homes… the fact that we obliterated our competition also helped 😉 .

    But the movement right now is that most millennials are going the opposite route of their parents and grandparents. They’re opting out.

    Skipping college (for a couple of years or totally, having read about Steve Jobs, etc.) , not buying cars, not buying homes, not working til retirement instead moving around ( a lot ).

    And all this happens without the rich and the poor sitting down and having this magical dialogue (everyone’s talking about in this blog). I for one don’t meet the rich. I don’t consider myself middle class, though I’m a Ph D. in Google 😉 mostly because of the notion of warrior-monks, monks in general (Origen, Jains, Spartans, Samurais, less is more type philosophy) that i’ve adopted personally.

    Is it really necessary to have this “dialogue” with the rich and educated? IMHO, So long as they are not victimizing me, no dialogue is needed, I’ll vote in my local elections, keep an eye on state issues to ensure they are not victimizing me, i’ll volunteer, get together with like minds, and every 4 years enjoy the circus of national politics,

    that’s when I have dialogue with the rich,

    otherwise, I can go to any beach ( all beaches have to be accessible to the public here , unlike the Philippines) , I have access to some prime camping and hiking lands, access to the same roads, when I come in contact with the police, I know for the most part his treatment of me won’t be any different than some rich guy , same in court.

    I need to keep a close eye with my water and food (and clean air), since that’s where my happiness usually comes in friction with the rich’s concept of happiness.

    So my point is this “dialogue” happens in the ballot box and in the way you live your life (so long as you’re not being victimized by the rich, ie. if the rich are dumping dangerous chemicals in your water source, you’re being victimized).

    The rich’s purpose is simple, keep me feeling like I’m free and not victimized (this feeling is different for everyone) , and I won’t feel like I have to do something crazy (usually violence is involved). That should be the extent of the dialogue, no talks about economics, about numbers and statistics, fact & figures, that’s too abstract—- theories & principles.

    As too A.I. this was one of the issues I raised during the BPO discussion awhile back. And I believe the solution is the digital nomad, hence young Filipinos should be clamoring for better internet speed, since that ‘ll be their infrastructure. Maybe gaming will spark this, and not love of freedom.

    What can’t A.I. do? that should be the question. Do the opposite of sedentary, Jefferson’s “lethargy” in thought and in action. “Ony a complete and universal total refusal to use or pay for AI ‘work’ will prevent this.” Bill, A.I. is the way of the future, you can play Luddite for as long as possible (and even be successful like the Amish in Pennsylvania), but the world will turn. You wanna fight it you have to do the exact opposite, (opt out, be self-reliant, establish your own community not defined by consumption, but by making /production , off-grid , etc. )

    No, I don’t think America became great because of its sedentary middle -class post-WWII (and so also the world), America became great earlier than that, because of its pioneers, frontiersmen, and all those who opted out before opting-out became cool.

    No, you don’t need to have this magical “dialogue” with the rich and educated, you just need to appreciate and fight for your freedom, then live it, and if you’re consistent the rich & educated will follow you, and not the other way around. A.I. will follow you.

    If you’re rich, you have to pay attention to the 80-90%… this, the rich are already mostly pretty good at. So most of the time you don’t really have to worry about the rich, hence your enemy is sedentism & lethargy (Jefferson was right).

    • “So most of the time you don’t really have to worry about the rich, hence your enemy is sedentism & lethargy (Jefferson was right).”

      p.s. that “most of the time” is 1st world, over there in the Philippines that would read, all the time the rich there you need to be wary of . But the solution IMHO is still the same, be opposite of sedentary.

    • Most interesting read, LCX.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Lance I will give you an idea : whever I ring a company and get their computer, I demand an operator. And tell the computer to fuck off…That’s refusing to be AI’d.

      The nerds of our world see see their own advancement from destroying the rest of us.

      • NHerrera says:

        Bill, I can realistically see this coming — the coming “war” between those who refuse to be AI’d and the AI proponents. The speedy development of AI, I believe, cannot be stopped. One option I see happening is the time framing of this, with international organizations getting into the act. Meaning the full-blossoming world of AI is “survivable” as biological viruses, which threatened untold consequences, were survivable with concerted efforts. Some of the best thoughts of mankind can be trained on this coming AI phenomenon with its negatives but with its positives, too.

        • Agree. “The survivalist’s guide to AI” is probably at the publishing house now.

          My guide is ‘discernment’. I’m with Bill on phone operators, but find verbal searches much faster than typing them.

          • Plus, I love the fingerprint authorization to enter secure sites or purchase from apple.

            • chemrock says:

              I’m pissed when the car auto-winder does’nt work when it’s raining and you need to wind down window for the parking ticket.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes that sucks and the automated phone assistance which asks you to press 0 to 9 and the press 0 for the operator comes last and sometimes it is not always zero, so you can’t just press 0 pronto.

              • NH, chem, Joe, Bill, et al.

                AI is simply machines doing human acts that’s possible for machines, ie. answering phones, lawyering (sans the networking and ass kissing ), policing (much of , except for the spirit of the law stuff ), doctoring/nursing (much of , except for bedside stuff, which really you don’t need a degree in medicine, just some empathy), etc.

                Things a machine/s can do easily that’ll be endangered,

                So, find something machines can’t do, ie. living off-grid , growing your own food, clean water, ensuring clean air (machines aren’t self-reliant , though a Matrix or Terminator scenario where machines enslave humans to ensure its own survival is a possibility —– but that’s farther into the future, right now it’s just about consumer/producer, what are you) , essentially re-define (or further defining) humanity is at issue here.

              • Robots will take care of manual labor stuff; A.I. are for recall type knowledge, decision trees and things already thought of by humans , some drones are already pretty much A.I./robots combinations.

                Things not yet thought of by humans, are the purview of humans, ie. creativity, surviving, intuition, etc. A.I. would probably be able to innovate, within existing ideas , but coming up with new ideas it can’t do (i’m confident will never do).

              • Haha, yes, I feel your pain!

          • karlgarcia says:

            The “Survivalist Guide to AI”

            Like. 👍

            • Bill In Oz says:

              It will include the viruses & trojans needed to stuff up the AI’d computers. Humans responding dynamically to inhuman destruction of society…

              • It is the wave of the future, Bill. There is nothing anybody can do to stop it. Like everything else, it will self-correct and you have the choice to opt out from its use. Me, I am tickled to death about it as I am already in the mode of applying time and motion study in most everything I undertake. Use Siri or Alexa to prep for the future.

                As far as hackers, can’t do much about that either but educating oneself in preventing/fixing breaches in your systems.

              • EXACTLY, my point, jp! Thanks!

      • “Lance I will give you an idea : whever I ring a company and get their computer, I demand an operator. And tell the computer to fuck off…That’s refusing to be AI’d.”

        That’s assuming you can tell the difference, Bill.

        We’re already decades from Turing’s imitation game. The most likely scenario now and in the future is you ring a company, and instead of a Filipino/ or Indian accented English speaker, you’ll get an Australian one, and since you’re male, a young female Australian voice, and before you can “demand” an actual human—- you’d be laughing and getting nostalgic with a computer consciously designed to know your personal quirks.

        How are you gonna tell the difference first is the question? A Luddite simply put hammer to the machine, easy…

        Much of human/computer interface, will be virtual, so how to tell the difference, Bill?

        • sonny says:

          If you get a chance, take a futuristic look at A-I. Watch the movie HER (released 2013), featuring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johanssen as an A-I operating system. 🙂

          • karlgarcia says:

            Scarlet Johansenn also did Lucy and Ghost in a shell.
            In Lucy, she was a super computer; in Ghost in a shell, her soul was embedded in the brain of a robot.

            • sonny, karl…

              I have seen Her and Lucy (reminded me of Limitless, w/ Bradley Cooper) , I’ve seen Ghost in the Shell (anime) , but not the movie.

              As someone who grew up with Terminator and Matrix movies , my view of AI was skewed , but the film Her I think is more realistic (totally re-adjusted my thinking, great movie) , AI will render us irrelevant not by war or violence, hate ; but by love & desire (or simply the need, or dependence of both)… in the end our real weakness. sad.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Lance you write “That’s assuming you can tell the difference, Bill.”

          That’s either an insult or dumb Lance.

          Why ? I can always tell the difference.

          We in Australia, always get either an Australian or a Filipina or Filipino when an operator gets on the line. We never get a Scarlet Johanssen sound a like.. ( Now who is she again, an american movie starlet ? )

          But in the US, well, yes you guys may well get deceived and not notice the difference.

          BUT my point is that the character & nature of a society will ALWAYS. be determined by the nature of the people, NOT by super rich nerds without a thought in their heads about what kind of society they want to live in providing it offers wealth to them.

          And that is true equally in Australia and in the Philippines

          And yes I’ve read the Steve Jobs biography. Stupid bastard wasn’t he to die from cancer on his pancreas, because he left it too late to be operated on.

          • Bill, that wasn’t an insult simply an illustration of the tech you’re up against which you seem unable to grasp right now.

            Again look at history and see if there were people who were able to keep at bay tides of innovation & succeeded, ie. printing press, science, industrial, electricity, transistors, etc. look around you right this instant and tell me if you’re Amish (and successful at it)—- the fact that you’re writing on here, and not just reading News or watching videos online, means you’ve bought into this tech stuff already,

            so it’s just a skip and hop away, from interacting with A.I. , Bill. Don’t get emotional , I’m simply saying you’re wrong here, and the proof is in the pudding, ie. you’re already participating 😉 .

            A.I. is beyond individuals, Bill… hell, I’m sure if Steve Jobs was alive he’d probably be against it, ala Gates, Musk , Hawking, and the bunch of other nerd-types (but unlike you, they see it as unstoppable, hence the actual fear from them, you seem to be deceived by history , intonation and accents, provincialisms in language at this point is probably the easiest right now to solve re A.I.

            they are actually working on quantum computing, Bill. imagine all the stuff you’re nay-saying about, when computers are exponentially quicker. Now i’m not a tech guy, like I said i prefer to spend my time camping and hiking, so i’ll leave the actual tech talk to the tech folk here.

            But you’re going against the tide of history here, Bill —- nothing to get emotional about, just is, pardner. work the problem.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              You have surrendered already Lance. And that is reflected in the nature of your country. Massive unemployment; huge disparities in income; the wealthy & powerful paying bugger all. tax.

              Trump is the displaced peoples response to that crap. In fact Dutter’s is the ignored and displaced Filipino’s response to that crap.

              And how many here have complained ad naueseam about Trump & Dutters ? And see them as abberations of normal political life ?

              My attitude is simple : The technology I use is MY servant. If it’s some other dude’s or company’s way of trying to manipulate me or control me, I give it the big fucking flick. And no JP, I have never ‘siried’ on my phone or computer.

              • “US unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in February 2017 from 4.8 percent in the previous month, in line with market expectations. The number of unemployed persons was almost unchanged at 7.5 million while the labor force participation rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 63 percent.Jun 2, 2017,

                Unemployment isn’t the problem. Inequitable distribution of wealth is problematic just about everywhere. It is something more, something emotional, I think. People feeling they have lost control and trying to grab it, through an autocrat. Anger is rising, racism is on the rise, Hawkings says the end of mankind is 100 years away, so why not make havoc whilst the sun shines.

                I personally think the emotional maturity of adults is not what we thought it was, and we are doomed.

              • NHerrera says:

                Oh boy, I just wrote the NK-inspired possible nuclear winter in the current blog of chemrock and now you have this, Joe:

                … Hawkings says the end of mankind is 100 years away, so why not make havoc whilst the sun shines. I personally think the emotional maturity of adults is not what we thought it was, and we are doomed.

                That adds to my scary day on top of the not-too-funny-guy-anymore in the North. I do not know if I will head for another cup of barako or get a SanMig early in the day.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Make that SanMig. One cannot make merry with barako.

              • NHerrera says:


                BTW, edgar, will all these problems delay the AI scenario we are talking about here? I will answer this somewhat — the scientists/ tech guys live a world of their own, they get an orgasmic kick differently from mortals like me; they will go their own merry way, methinks. Trump or KJU or not. Using Bill’s notes, whether countries with the means to use the fruits of such research and in what way is of course another matter.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Joe, I am very dubious about the accuracy of unemployment data here in Australia.

                Why ? The figures are fiddled so that anyone who works more than 2 hours a week is not included as ‘unemployed’. And ‘discouraged’ workers who give up looking here are also excluded from unemployed stats. And then there are the elderly workers not yet officially retired, but on various other Social Security benefits. And finally there are the partners of people still working who cannot get a job and are not employed but not counted as they housewives or ‘house husbands’ maybe.

                Officially unemployment is about 5% her. But when such distorting lies are taken out of the Oz official statistics, the reality is more like 18%.

                Our wonderful well paid statisticians learned those ricks from somewhere. Probably the USA where equally well paid statisticians do an equally inaccurate job.

              • The same difficulties exist in the US, but trend data are consistently gathered, and the US is pretty close to full employment. Given the impacts of technology on job losses, that level of unemployment is actually impressive. It may be that salaries are stagnant because inflation is also low, so people are tired of same o same o, but unemployment appears not to be the issue driving people to radical leaders. The White vote elected Trump, so more prominent reasons are likely the emotions against immigrants that Trump stirred up during the campaign.

              • Note as well that stocks keep pushing all-time highs. The US is not the wretched economic pit you portray, I think.

              • NHerrera says:

                The chart from the link sums it up. The respondents seems to be able to distinguish between items like Infra Dev, Tax Reforms, Negotiating Trade; and items which are merely to fulfill a campaign promise like Climate Regulatory Repeal and Repeal of ACA (otherwise known as Obamacare).

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Here is what another source states about real US unemployment Joe : 8.9% !!!
                “The headline unemployment rate might not be the best measure of jobs
                Friday, 7 Apr 2017

                “The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in March, according to the Labor Department. But relying on that one headline number as an indicator for the economy as a whole ignores important information just below the surface.

                Each month on “Jobs Friday,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a ton of economic data, each point providing its own perspective on the employment situation. Economists look past the official unemployment rate — that 4.5 percent figure, also known as the “U-3” — to other measures of jobs in this country.

                One of those measures is the U-6 rate, which has a broader definition than the U-3 rate. In March, that figure fell three-tenths of a point to 8.9 percent.

                The official unemployment rate is defined as “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force,” but doesn’t include a number of employment situations in which workers may find themselves. The U-6 rate is defined as all unemployed, “plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force.”

                In other words: the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged.”

                And of course there are the ‘casualised’ working long low paid jobs with little security of employment.

                This situation is echoed in the Philippines.

              • Okay, I still don’t think that is what got Trump elected. Technical aspects of calculating unemployment are beyond my interest, and I fear you are juggling the facts to justify a preconceived idea about the US that is off the mark. Perhaps Lance will weigh in to give us his view.

              • Let me review the discussion. You wrote:

                You have surrendered already Lance. And that is reflected in the nature of your country. Massive unemployment; huge disparities in income; the wealthy & powerful paying bugger all. tax.

                Trump is the displaced peoples response to that crap.

                Trump’s election had little to do with these matters. Indeed, he caters to the rich, so the idea that he is addressing this income distribution problem is for sure wrong. So is the ‘massive unemployment’ characterization.

                His winning points were demonizing Clinton, posturing immigration as a threat, and characterizing everything Obama did as diminishing America (health insurance, trade, Middle East), leading to the slogan “Make America great again”. It appears he may have had Russia’s help in seating these ideas.

                It was a campaign of bigotry, fear, and raw emotion, not of unemployment and income distribution.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Joe, the Democratic party was the party of the USA working people. But under Obama jobs went to other countries as that’s where cheaper labor is and as Obama implemented regulations restricting coal & gas exploration & mining.

                The economies of the flyover industrial states died working people there lost jobs and hope in the Democrats and even in America..And they had their revenge. They dumped the Democrats and Hilary Clinton and voted for Trump. Trump said “Let’s make America Great Again.”

                And the unemployment rate was 8.9% in April.

                Do I like any of this ? No. I am merely describing facts. facing the actual facts yields an understanding of the real nature of the problem. Denying the facts does not do this.

                Meanwhile Dutters is Emperor of the Philippines. His time is his own to command. Even if he decides to not be in the public eye for a while. Being in the public eye 24/7 is exhausting and demanding. Maybe he needs regular time outs. After all he is 74 or there abouts.

              • I agree the decline of the rust belt was material as a campaign issue. And emotionalizing the issue and assigning it to Obama is parallel to what was done in the Philippines to lay blame for all the Philippine’s problems on Aquino. It produced a totalitarian result because people did not know or care about what was really was going on. They went with punitive anger. Another parallel, Marcos/China helping Duterte, Russia helping Trump. There was also a huge issue with regard to the FBI’s injudicious involvements as the election approached. MUCH more significant than economic matters.

              • Unemployment trends during Obama’s term. There was no ‘massive unemployment’ in 2016.


              • chemrock says:

                Bill, regarding Duts in the public eye — nobody’s talking about physically being seen in public, kissing kids or kissing the dead. He disappeared, cabinet members does’nt know his whereabouts, there are 2 wars going on, he has fainting spells, been unable to attend several important meetings with world leaders, visited hospital in China. Should people be concerned?

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Hey Joe, you wrote ” technical aspects of calculating unemployment are beyond my interest,”

                Well Joe they are not beyond mine. And they are important. And understanding the real unemployment rate is crucial to understanding the anger and the raw emotionalism you mention in the rust belt before the last election.

                It is also crucial to understanding what is happening here in Oz. The government here has cooked the unemployment figures to make things easier for our government of both stripes..

                There is massive unemployment here in many parts of Australia. I read that some suburbs of Adelaide are now 25% and there is an increasing trrend to multi-generational unemployment families.

                Why has it happened ? Free trade ‘ideo-crats’ want only to buy the cheapest goods and services from anywhere even if it is the fruit of massive exploitation and cheap wages; and even if it screws Australia. They are dopey ‘ideocrats’. ( My new word & I like it )

                It’s confined mostly to certain suburbs of our big cities and regions in the bush..So if you do not live or have much to do with these areas, it’s easy to not be bothered or even notice.

                But a substantial part of the Australian electorate is very pissed with both major parties. A poll last Sunday here in South Australia put that group of people at over 30% supporting minor parties.. And we have compulsory voting so there will be an effect in the elections.

                Trump in the USA exploited a situation very similar to here with his appeal to the rust belt.. But politically it may work out differently with minor parties making huge gains and forcing the big parties to give up the ‘ideocracy’ ( another great new word ) of identity politics, and actually look after the whole Australian nation.

                Ahhh the advantages of compulsory voting for all and a preferential voting system !!! There will be sore arses and sore heads. 🙂

              • Haha, okay, you’ve sparked my interest in the technical aspects. From Wiki:

                The 20th century British economist William Beveridge stated that an unemployment rate of 3% was full employment. For the United States, economist William T. Dickens found that full-employment unemployment rate varied a lot over time but equaled about 5.5 percent of the civilian labor force during the 2000s.[2] Recently, economists have emphasized the idea that full employment represents a “range” of possible unemployment rates. For example, in 1999, in the United States, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gives an estimate of the “full-employment unemployment rate” of 4 to 6.4%. This is the estimated unemployment rate at full employment, plus & minus the standard error of the estimate.[3]

                The concept of full employment of labor corresponds to the concept of potential output or potential real GDP and the long run aggregate supply (LRAS) curve. In neoclassical macroeconomics, the highest sustainable level of aggregate real GDP or “potential” is seen as corresponding to a vertical LRAS curve: any increase in the demand for real GDP can only lead to rising prices in the long run, while any increase in output is temporary.

            • “You have surrendered already Lance. And that is reflected in the nature of your country. Massive unemployment; huge disparities in income; the wealthy & powerful paying bugger all. tax.

              Trump is the displaced peoples response to that crap.”

              Bill, we actually agree more than you think. Our difference re A.I. is in the way we’re bracketing the problem at hand, you think you can yell at a hurricane and make it stop, whilst mine is to accept it’s coming, and deal with it from that context (i.e., make realistic preparations , not demand to talk to an operator in the middle of the storm ).

              Now you’ve pivoted to a weird place, though automation is partly the reason for job lost here, much of it is actually globalization, ie. cheaper labor and costs in the 3rd world. A.I. is not yet even in the picture (now if you’re just doing some forecast analysis, that’s great, but you’ve not really that much data on hand here).

              So far the closest to A.I. that’s being used out there in the real world is meta data (if you can call that A.I., Siri and Alexa at this point are just voiced search responses, but that voice stuff represents leaps and bounds). A.I. and unemployment, income disparity and tax on the wealthy are two separate issues, whether the impending A.I. will prove balance positive or balance negative still remains to be seen… if anything,

              like the Web 2.0 boom, it’ll just create a new wealthy class. Unemployment and income disparity is the norm in human history, your middle class standard of state success is 20th century specific—- mid 20th century to be exact, Bill.

              Now I’m more with you re why Trump got elected (and Joe’s already familiar with my take on this). But to conclude that the fat lady has left the building for us is waaaay pre-mature, hence my comments in Joe’s fluff piece on Australia.

              Australia : 90% White ; 25 Million (we had 25 Million when California had its Gold Rush in 1849!)

              Canada: 90% White ; 35 Million (we had 35 Million right before the Civil War!)

              UK: 90% White; 65 Million (we had 65 Million when we invaded the Philippines! … all done without a middle class)

              New Zealand: 75% White; 5 Million

              U.S. : 60% White; 320 Million

              Bill, you can say that Australia’s gonna fight the coming “industrial revolution”, but again, what in your history, recent or otherwise, makes you think Australia can actually absorb A.I.?

              Australian culture? I’ve been to Perth and Sydney, and you guys are as much dependent on Hollywood and American pop-culture as any others in the world. There was no smart phones when I was there, mid -2000s , but I bet in Perth and Sydney, all the young Australians now are snapchatting, Siri-ing away like the rest of America (Perth reminded me of San Diego; and Sydney San Fran , both liberal cities open to technology)

              Australia , Canada and the UK enjoy a high level of homogeneity , like i’ve said this individual liberty stuff is north of the Hajnal line specific (you got that going for you), it can be taught i’m confident but the definition of Australian and Canadian has to be fluid like American (British is already too heavily defined, opposite of fluid). Canada has the highest likelihood of absorbing more non-Whites, Australia already has the “Wall” , it’s just made of water.

              I can see you’re mental gears working here, that if you can repel non-Australians, you can do so with A.I.

              Australian culture won’t repel this, Bill. So will your prime geography do it? A.I. is virtual , Australia’s already connected, like over here Australia’s already been primed to receive technological innovations (thru Hollywood, pop-culture, games, etc.). Like I said, sticking your head into the sand is no strategy, sure you can argue if more stuck their heads in the sand, it’d work, but take an honest look of your country and its people,

              will they all collectively stick their heads in the sand? No, because where the U.S. goes, the rest of the Anglosphere will follow, Bill. Like i said, work the problem. Australia , Canada, and the US have a pattern of folks just opting out, but they’ve always worked within the existing matrix to succeed , and not against it (few can, like the Amish, but its mainly because they are protected by the larger society, not inspite of it)

              • bnimble07 says:

                This is what got Trump elected as POTUS: FEAR OF PEOPLE WHO LOOKS DIFFERENT (read: Brown People) !


              • Change in topic, LCX. I know you take a keen interest in Mindanao. This article provides a great update.


              • Bill In Oz says:

                Lance that’s too much to reply to. Way too many issues raised. Better to go one at a time.
                So …You said “where the U.S. goes, the rest of the Anglosphere will follow,”

                1 :Well we’ve already concluded that Australia has not followed the USA ( and Canada & Europe & the UK ) with effectively open borders to anyone coming.

                That was an Australian people’s decision & a popular one : the mainly small young ‘one world globalists’, here can rant & fume all they want but they got over ruled. And so we don’t have the issues that the USA, Europe & the UK have with mass uncontrolled migration..

                2: Mass consumption free to air TV here is largely from the USA & Hollywood. But free to air TV is no longer the golden goose laying golden eggs for owners & shareholders. People are not watching mass TV much anymore here. Online from all over the world, ( not the USA ) offers lots of choices.So low cost TV series from Hollywood fill the time slots. And still it’s hard for the TV networks. An example : the 10 Network here is currently in administration because of ratings issues and lower revenues.

                By the way, I hardly watch any US sourced TV myself : it’s so bloody violent. But then that’s me…Which leads me to…..

                3 : The USA has a gun culture. And your gun companies & NRA have funded campaigns to get Australia to relax our very strict controls on guns and weapons here. But it has not happened and will not. We are only too aware of the extraordinary level of violence real & imagined…in the USA.. It’s on our TV news when ever it happens…We count our blessings on this one believe m And wonder how the USA people put up with such garbage…

                4 Lance you also write ” your middle class standard of state success is 20th century specific—- mid 20th century to be exact”

                Hey, Lance check some history of Oz for goodness sake. What you write is false. Even read some of what Samuel Clemens ( Mark Twain ) wrote about us in the 1890’s. Right from the beginnings in 1788, settlers forged a society which accepted income differences but refused ‘class’ distinctions. The successes we achieved from those early times is what we still want and demand of our political leaders. If they fail of delivery, they get binned.

                And academic economic theories from other places which don’t match with what we want as a society get binned as well.

                No Lance we are not the USA. and while in defence and foreign affairs we are allied, in other ways there are huge cultural differences.

              • 1. You’re able to do that because a) you’re still 90% White (I don’t think the US was ever that homogenous, Bill) and b) you have big bodies of water surrounding you. If immigrants legal or otherwise could easily cross your borders, you’d have a very different type of immigrant politics—- see Europe.

                2. I’ll defer to you re TV there, but I do remember catching a movie in Sydney and all movies playing were American.

                3. All fascist type gov’ts want to do the same re ban guns, Bill. Why do you think that is?

                Remember there’s the criminal component to this, which you’re focusing on; then the Jeffersonian rationale — guns as tools to keep the ruling class in check. Just because you guys are enjoying a blip of civility, does not make it everlasting , Bill (human history tells us it’s the opposite). What happens when the blip ends? Don’t get bogged down on the criminal portion of this, though it’s a serious matter to consider, balance it out with the tyranny portion.

                4. I agree, re refusal of class distinction, Bill. But my point was a middle class was not necessary, it’s in the psyche… you can be some poor bastard, but if you accept inhumane treatment from those in higher position than you or chose not to, that’s what makes the difference. the middle class importance is too time specif, Bill . Anyways all this middle class talk is based on consumer culture, again history tells us its but a blip.

                The concept of the middle class and its importance is post-WWII. I’m saying use other metrics, that worldview re refusal of class distinction is apt.

                But going back to A.I. how do you seriously see Australia repelling this, Bill— it’s not immigration; not the NRA; not Hollywood; not American foreign affairs.

              • Great read, Joe. Thanks for the article. I read both chemp’s and this together, and made for interesting reading both. I wonder what VP Robredo’s strategy will be.

              • Glad you found the articles interesting. So far, VP Robredo has focused on her job, being front-woman at a lot of national and local events and providing modest assistance to the disenfranchised (limited budget). She issues statements on this event or that, always principled and calm. She receives a lot of hostility from Duterte/Marcos trolls but sets that aside as irrelevant to the work she believes she is called to do. I think she will keep doing that, never putting her relationship with Duterte on anything but a professional basis. She will not be an attack dog or leader for resistance, as that is not in her job description.

  15. caliphman says:

    What’s more tragic than democracy being at death’s door is that the vast majority of the Filipino people are numb to if not complicit in its passing. Here in America rules a populust president perhaps no less unfit and incompetent as the one in the Philippines, but it is the resounding approval still lavished on the latter that is crushing to any hope that democracy can return and be safeguarded if and when Duterte leaves the scene.

  16. Thea says:

    “The educated elite have not proved smart enough to offer a compelling message to the emotional masses”.

    1. Patience and perseverance. Those virtue will cater to the needs of the emotional masses. Because,you said it, one can’t speak logic to emotion. ( I think,Joe, you refer to logic without emotion. To attend to an emotional wife or a child with tantrums, you have to mix logic with love and affection. Just an example).

    2. Duterte spoke to the emotional masses on the stage(and in private ie BBM when he went to Davao) and he won the election. After a year, Duterte did not change his style. Still he gets high satisfaction grade. What ticks? Yes, emotion begets emotion. Country’s future is at stake!

    3. Not all in the emotional masses are poor people who are frustrated and impatient, it comprised also of people who are greedy and selfish.

    4. False hope is not the answer to the frustration and impatience of the people, it will just add up the burden. Duterte government knows this,that is why they still have the battalion of trolls in the social media till now. But somehow, someone has to deliver true hope. If Duterte can’t, we have VP Robredo. She is the epitome of patience and perseverance. She is the message.

    5. While greediness and selfishness is not truly an emotion,it gears on the acquired character of the person or people (na barkada lang daw sabi ni Sen. Saguisag) which that person or people has already justified to be convenient for them. This is the blunder. And that is why our democracy is spiralling down,IMO. Who is our message for them?

    6. Perhaps, it is time that the educated elite re- assess their target and adapt a not new strategy?
    Not all logic but a balance of logic and emotion?

    • 1. Yes, good point.
      2. Emotion does beget emotion.
      3. For sure, legislators amongst them.
      4. Excellent points. I note the price of gas went up again today.
      5. “Who” should be discovered quickly, I think, to get on the wave at the outset. The wave being pro-democracy.
      6. Yes, agree. Plus the “who” matters, and his or her charisma.

  17. chemrock says:

    How do you explain a nation that wants to go to war with Australia because someone from downunder beats a dumb senator.

    A boxing win makes Filipinos proud, but a Harvard scholarship is basura. Welcome to the new Philippines.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Ehhhh ?
      When did this happen Chemrock ?

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        @ Bill in Oz

        Some netizens defended Vice President Leni Robredo for picking up “trash” to help furnish her daughter’s room at the Harvard University campus.

        Robredo was slammed by critics for what they considered as her pulling off a “political gimmick.” DSWD Asec. Lorraine Badoy even called Robredo “Uncle Sam’s Basurera” and described what she did as “disgracing the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines” and “shaming the Filipino people.”

        Another Robredo critic, a blogger called Maharlika, who is being slammed by a FASO legal adviser for “libelous statement” against the organization, posted a video clip of Robredo’s radio interview where she talked about picking up “trash” in Boston.

      • chemrock says:

        As per Grace.
        I touched on this in a blog tom.

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      wasabi…waley akong masabi. The irony of ironies. The world is turning upside down.

  18. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

    PNOY and Mar are both quiet now.

    Since they have done all they could before the last election, maybe they are just letting the people reap what they sow last May 2016. As my grandfather used to say: MERECE!

    Maybe they think that since this admin still enjoys a high satisfaction rating in the polls, then the citizens don’t need their help, or they could be having a well-deserved rest from the bashing they got from the behemoth propaganda machine that the MAD (Marcos/Arroyo/Duterte) dogs unleashed on them.

    When will the tipping point come, when the spineless SC declares BBM as the duly elected VP?

    God is greater than these MAD dogs, Congress, SC, PNP and the home-grown trolls exporting their poison to Australia.

  19. Nikols says:

    This sucks up of pure elitism. As if the elites in this country has all the answers to our problems!

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      There are a number of elites in the Du30 admin, not counting the elite fanatics.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      Why, do the non-elites have all the answers,too?

      If you think education is expensive, should we try ignorance instead?

      And tell me if Dominguez, Floirendo, Jacinto and all the Davao elites are exception to your anti-elite bias.

    • The new PH oligarchs/elites are in the politics business and part of the present administration. Do they have the answers to your problems?

  20. bnimble07 says:

    Vote for apathy? The uninformed are the key ingredient for a working democracy, study finds:

    1. The ‘uninterested’ help to sway large groups towards views of majority.

    2. Even a small number helps to ‘balance’ views of powerful minorities.

    3. Research with animal groups and computer simulations.

    4. Minority groups have less influence than thought.

    A well-informed, interested public is often hailed as the ‘ideal’ of democracy.

    But a new Princeton study suggests that the opposite could be the case – and that people who have no interest at all could be vital to the working of a democratic society.

    The uninformed are essential to democracy because their apathy helps to dilute the effect of powerful minority interests – for instance, highly educated elites – who would otherwise dominate public life.The researchers used animal research, mathematical models and computer simulations. They report that in animal groups, uninformed individuals — those with no strong feelings on a situation’s outcome — tend to side, simply, which whichever group is the largest.
    The idea that an outspoken minority can ‘manipulate’ voters may be mistaken, say the searchers.

    The less interest someone has, the more they are likely to side with the majority, the researchers found – leading them to speculate that in human societies, the uninterested could be a vital ‘counterbalance’ against powerful groups.

    By Rob Waugh
    Daily Mail

  21. Bill In Oz says:

    @Joe “Haha, okay, you’ve sparked my interest in the technical aspects. From Wiki:…”

    It’s very important NOT to let academic economists redefine unemployment..That Wiki post does just that…

    Joe, the academics will never feel the impact of high unemployment.. Those bastards are fireproof.

    But politicians are not. So they have to listen to people who according to the economists do not exist..Such an irony eh ?

    By the way.. I know from having traveled in the USA just how big it is I drove from Connecticut to South Carolina.. Drove from Virginia Beach to San Diego. Drove from San Diego North of San Francisco…

    There is huge room for disparities between regions in the USA. But the economists expect ( demand !) that unemployed Americans move home & family to where the work is a thousand miles away..

    Now that may happen with a few. But lot’s just get depressed and angry and seek out but to kick the hell out of..Hilary got kicked in the but bad by those people…Even Arkansas which Bill & her ran for quite a while in the 1980’s went for Trump.

    • The concept of full employment is not academic. It is real, a share of unemployed looking for work or otherwise out of work. It tends to counter your argument that the election turned on ‘massive unemployment’, but it is clear that all the facts in the world will be discounted if they don’t conform to your belief.

      Economists don’t demand that people travel to jobs. Businesses do, and people themselves do. It’s a free market. Most businesses consider availability of human resources when they set up shop. People relocate freely. Technology has had a major impact on jobs and neither the economists nor Hillary can be held accountable for that, I think. But enough, this debate is fruitless.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        The North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ) was signed by Bill Clinton. Good for Mexicans as US businesses migrated their plants South to just over the border in Mexico…But it stuffed American workers and their families…….

        • What stuffed American workers was the Bush economic meltdown and real estate bubble collapse. Also technology. Obama stopped the panic and began rebuilding jobs. The chart I provided reflects this success. Companies in Mexico are a flea on an elephant’s behind. The free trade agreements attempt to establish free-market exchanges of goods and services to remove gameplaying and punitive tariffs. Trump wants to do deals and thinks the US need not be concerned about other nations. His policies, six months in, have turned the US into a pariah nation. China is moving into the space vacated by America.

      • It’s a strange pivot to say the least, from talking A.I. to ‘that’s why your country’s going down’ talk. I do agree with Bill that the blue collar workers and the unemployed (especially those that have opted out) would’ve largely voted for Trump, but Trump won the electoral votes, not popular, whether luck or great strategizing,

        Trump’s campaign carved out enough electoral votes in specific areas of the Rust Belt, that’s why he won (not some massive mandate of the unemployed) , so I agree with you Joe this talk of massive unemployment is a fallacy, like Trump’s voter fraud snipe hunt currently underway, rejected by like 46 states off the bat— a total slap in the face (i’m sure if the Administration set-up a similar snipe hunt for “massive unemployment” i gotta feeling it would meet similar fate from state and county gov’ts here).

        What Bill described re small town America is true, but the flipside is the fact that small towns have been able to re-brand themselves, either as tourist attractions or find another industry to pursue. Cascadia which was mostly logging then, are now resort/spa destinations, marijuana growers, centers for the arts, etc. States like Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, etc. attempt to entice retirees and rich folks by lowering taxes and adjusting inheritance laws, etc. Don’t get me wrong, lot of meth/shabu is out there and many small towns are indeed defeated, but largely communities are finding their niche.

        It’s not all doom & gloom. The ability to bounce back is already evident.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Lance Ai is the future issue. It will not bring lots of jobs..Just a very few well paid ones I suspect.

          And it reflects the same process of ‘intense capitalisation’ replacing people with machines.

          But I wonder how mass production can succeed if there is no middle class mass market ?

          • Again you’re thinking consumer economics, Bill; If there’s any silver lining to our discussion re Australia/USA compare/contrast is that I know for a fact most Australia (as compared to Americans) tend to buy less stuff, like Cascadians and Rocky Mountain Americans they do more with less. That’s your repellant to A.I., Bill!

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Thanks for the suggestion Lance. The academics & nerds here are all agog about driverless cars.

              But driverless cars will not be able to cope with unpredictable human driving….So pie in he sky !

              I think I will keep my other thoughts on the future here without AI until they have matured some more.

          • karlgarcia says:

            This won’t change your mind Bill, but allow me to share this article from Forbes.

            Here is a view that says that AI will create jobs.


            “Authentic Intelligence

            Aside from reducing human toil, technology can augment or amplify general prosperity. AI will contribute but not replace jobs at a rate anywhere near that of mechanical automatons. Artificial intelligence still requires authentic intelligence, because the first order of business is always to ask a question, something AI presently cannot do well. We humans are still pretty good at inquiry.

            AI shines at repetitive learning and numerical discovery. In medicine, AI will radically refine patient diagnostics and reduce human suffering (as well as malpractice litigation). It will maximize crop yields, reduce water usage, optimize energy consumption and much more. These make for a much more economically efficient society, which benefits everyone. In the end, AI will help create jobs. These technical applications require a range of workers, from field techs who repair sensors to data scientists who model from massive data sets. It takes people in IT to run servers and configure routers. It needs people assembling components to read and control devices. And the flood of serviceable data opens vistas for new entrepreneurs and opportunities for even more jobs.

            It might even create jobs for service techs to set up or repair your dairy cow artificial insemination machinery. Sadly, the bull will be out of a job.

            What Does Not Change

            Jobs will change. The economy will expand, and our need to toil will be reduced. This will not decimate mankind — it will elevate it.

            Society still needs good mothers and fathers to raise great children. Automated homes, greater general prosperity and shorter work weeks will grant parents more time to nurture their children, and given the trends in homeschooling paired with online education, the only endangered job might be that of a public school teacher. Automated automobiles will give commuters back wasted hours. We will have more leisure and more time for public service.

            That is the promise of all technology. We are, after all, humans. And as humans, our societal institutions — religion, politics, policing, school – still require direct contact and benefit from more of it. Fear not, then, AI and automation, for in the long run, it improves mankind by liberating us to be more human.”

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Karl the writer of that article is very optimistic.

              Or that Forbes sees itself as an agent selling the AI change.

              What I see as jobs disappear is increased consumption of alcohol and drugs and abuse of kids by parents without work. And this is all too human a response..

              So many people get their sense of worth and self fullfilment from work and the income that their work brings.

              This is reflected here in death rates post loss of work and or retirement.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes, Bill I understand.
                Another optimistic take on this, the Luddites mentioned by Lance attemted to destroy the mechanical automation of the garnent industry
                Events that followed were tragic, but decades later we got cheaper clothes.
                Fast forward to the era of Automated Tellers.
                The number of tellers were reduced, but not eliminated.
                A new job item was surely created there maybe someone to report ATM breakdowns and coordinate repairs.
                I understand, it is not easy to lose a job andall
                the stress that go with it.
                I am just applying Thea’s take of hope when there is despair on the subject of AI.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                The Luddites are a very interesting example often referred to but not in the right context.

                Yes hand spinners & weavers lost their jobs to mechanised clothing & weaving production. And some were British. But most of the spinners & weavers were not in Britain. India had previously exported cotton & clothes to the world. But from the 1820’s they were in colonised British India. There were lots of riots & disruptions in colonial India. But the British colonial government simply put down the rioters with troops. They shot them ! And Britain imposed it’s mechanised cotton exports on India. So there was a massive shift of an industry from India to Britain and the extra jobs in a mechanised cotton indistry created work for the unemployed spinners & weavers in Britain. As for the Indians ..well they were not important.

                But now the situation is not the same. Governments which are ruled by their own people for their own people don’t have that choice made in India in the 1820′-30’s – to suppress their own citizens.

                Think about this…

              • karlgarcia says:

                Ok Bill, I will think about it.

                India and China are in a blinking contest in the Himalayas.
                China will come up with a nine dash line in the Himalayas.

            • I occasionally watch a show about ‘How it’s made’. Some things, like saddles, are made by hand. But others are computer-guided cutting and mixing and weaving and packing, and the kinds of machines out there are amazingly intricate and precise. So we are already on the slippery slope, it is good, and the slope will just get steeper and longer and more exhilarating.

    • he people sonny says:

      “…There is huge room for disparities between regions in the USA. But the economists expect ( demand !) that unemployed Americans move home & family to where the work is a thousand miles away..

      Now that may happen with a few. But lot’s just get depressed and angry and seek out but to kick the hell out of…”

      Good point, Bill. A good part of the agony of surviving in America is deciding where to settle your socio-economic roots. It’s double load for the immigrant, looking for the familiar and struggling with the strange: big ones, communication, culture, prejudice.

      • sonny says:

        Also true, Joe: “… this debate is fruitless.” One must deal with any circumstance.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Thanks Sonny.. Yes I agree immigrant groups in the USA such as Filipinos also are part of this situation…,And deciding where to put down roots is a real problem if thee are no guarantees of long term success including the kids and grand kids..

          Joe, I agree we may not ever agree in this discussion :our life experience is too different..But it is not fruitless.. It helps bring understanding….

        • I heard most Filipinos who came here in the 60s were made to settle in small towns throughout the Mid-West first , sonny (I think with a set number of years mandatory as part of their visa), then from there most either moved to better climes, closer to relatives and/or cities (instead of small towns).

          • sonny says:

            From 1961 up to the present, US Immigration opened the gates: via Exchange Visitor Program (college graduates) and Immigration Preference (college graduates quota by countries). Philippine quota increased from 50 a year to 35,000 a year (total quota for country include = immigrant plus dependents). Only Limitation was employment.

  22. Bill In Oz says:

    The issue of how to deal with AI is a vexing one.

    If jobs are minimal then there will be no mass market as our countries are currently structured: the basic premise world wide is that we are all rewarded for work. If we do not work then we are dead poor with no or low income.

    But if there is no mass market there is no profit to be made from investment and production.

    Remember the AI’s are not consumers. Thye do not need to buy the fruits of the AI production processes.

    is there a way around this conumdrum ?

    Maybe via a universal basic income program.

    But that inherently means raising taxes on those investors & other folks who own and control wealth.

    can any of us see such folk accepting higher rates of taxes ? I read the other day that a basic universal incoem scheme here would require a 60% tax on all the richer folk…

    And that seems unlikely to me.

    So it’s a circle that cannot be squared…at least peacefully.

    • In the end there has to be some sort of culling effort IMHO. Another aspect to this much vaunted middle class is that these are the main folks responsible for global warming. Which means if you control/limit these guys, you’ll have a fighting chance at reversing global warming. So there has to be some sort of return to homeostasis.

      I agree A.I. will not be an economic panacea, though the promise will be contextualized as such—- let machines do the routine scrounging of info and decision trees, so humans can do what humans do best.

      You’ve hit the nail right on its head, with that last line, Bill. But I think A.I. will merely be an excuse , to rid the world of dead weight (that or your basic income program, but I think once A.I. is up and running there will be a lot of people just taking up space, non-essential personnel), the time for Soylent Green is fast coming IMHO, humane culling.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        But if there is no mass market there is no profit to be made from investment and production.

        Remember the AI’s are not consumers. Ai’s do not need to buy the fruits of the AI production processes.

        So it will not be profitable long term

        But extremely disruptive.

        Your prognosis means an internal income divide driven civil conflict

        • karlgarcia says:

          Bill, if Australia is not ready for AI, the Philippines is more unprepared.

          A survey of business leaders has found Australian companies are the worst prepared for the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies among selected major economies, despite spending the second-largest amount of money on automation.

          Independent research agency Vanson Bourne was commissioned by IT company Infosys (which as a seller of an AI platform has a vested interest in promoting such technology) to poll 1,600 business leaders of companies with more than 1,000 staff and at least US$500m in annual revenue across Australia, China, the United States, Germany, France, India and the UK.

          According to the survey, released at the World Economic Forum last week, major Australian businesses invested an average of $7.9m last year in AI, behind only the US, but placed last in both the skills required for AI takeup and in plans to integrate AI.

          The Infosys Australia regional head, Andrew Groth, told the Guardian the survey demonstrates that Australia risks becoming uncompetitive.

          “The challenge is the skills situation,” he said. “If not addressed, [our] level of competitiveness could be a challenge, as all companies adopting AI are seeing advantages. We are all competing on the global stage. It’s here and we need to address these challenges.”

          The survey found 23% of Australian business leaders believe their company completely lacks the skills needed to capitalise on AI.

          Groth said AI requires proficiency in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, digital proficiencies, creativity and problem-solving, as well as ongoing learning.

          He said the lack of skills was relevant to another of the survey’s findings – that Australian business leaders are the most likely to be planning to make workers redundant rather than reassign those whose roles have been made obsolete by AI technology.

          Two-thirds of Australian businesses polled said they plan to or already have replaced jobs with AI, with a third of those leaders saying the affected workers will be made redundant.

          Groth was keen to focus on the two-thirds of businesses that intend to reassign rather than sack those in jobs better done by AI.

          He cited as an example the Fiona Stanley hospital in Perth, which last year brought in an automated pharmaceutical ordering system that utilises robots which scan, move and store $200,000 worth of drugs daily, with the workforce previously responsible reassigned to other tasks.

          “Using [artificial intelligence] reduced stock availability outages by 70% and freed up nurses for patient care rather than admin of stock,” he said.

          AI is even impacting on Infosys’ own global workforce. Groth said between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs had been automated at the company over the past year, but almost all affected employees were given other roles within the company.

          Infosys’ human resources head, Krishnamurthy Shankar, has conceded that, over time, improved AI capabilities will see the company hire less new employees.

          A 2015 Ceda report found 40% of Australian jobs were under threat from automation. But University of New South Wales professor of AI, Toby Walsh, said that figure was unlikely as as many new jobs would be created as eliminated by automation. He said the jobs wipeout would be felt most by entry-level workers.

          “We are already seeing the beginning of that trend; companies are not making the difficult decision of letting go of employees, but instead are avoiding bringing in new young workers to fill positions,” he said.

          “That doesn’t have to mean less prosperity however. If machines create more wealth, it is just a matter of distribution.

          “One popular idea is a universal basic income, for which there are experiments in a number of countries, but that is not the only lever – there could be taxations on corporations and the very rich. Or there’s no fundamental reason the weekend has to be two days’ long – making it three days would ease the jobs shortage.”

          For the jobs that are safe from automation, AI will still have an impact in improving efficiencies in our professional and personal lives.

          Commissioned by AI personal assistant firm Julie Desk, Censuswide carried out another industry-funded survey across the UK in November/December and found 47% of professionals were willing to hand responsibility for scheduling meetings, booking restaurants and other administrative tasks over to AI personal assistants.

          The survey of 1,000 people indicated a generational gap in terms of trust in an AI personal assistant – nearly 62% of respondents aged 16 to 24 said they would trust an AI for handling the back and forth emailing of such tasks compared with 35% of those aged 55+.

          The survey indicated roughly two hours a week would be saved by automating such tasks, with respondents saying they would redeploy this time to pursuits such as taking care of their family (24%), going shopping (21%) and making love (20%).

          • karlgarcia says:


            Press Release – Sen. Bam: AI a threat to Philippine jobs

            Press Release
            May 5, 2017
            Sen. Bam: AI a threat to Philippine jobs

            Is the government ready to address possible negative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on jobs in the country?

            Sen. Bam Aquino has submitted Senate Resolution No. 344, to conduct an inquiry on the government’s plan and initiatives to maximize the benefits of developments in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

            “We want to know how developments in Artificial Intelligence will affect jobs in the country and what government plans are to address possible negative impact on current and future employment for Filipinos,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

            According to Sen. Bam, reports on the impact of artificial intelligence have noted an increased presence and capacity of Chatbots and the emergence of systems capable of referring questions to human operators and learning from their responses.

            “These systems use artificial intelligence and are capable of performing the tasks of human employees, putting their employment in peril,” said Sen. Bam.

            The International Labor Organization (ILO) also released a working paper in July 2016, claiming that 49 percent of all employment in the Philippines faces a high risk of automation in the next couple of decades.

            “This early, we should be preparing for any eventuality that may occur when automation goes into full swing,” Sen. Bam said.

            In his resolution, Sen. Bam noted that Artificial intelligence is one of the emerging technologies emphasized in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, with the government engaging in more collaborative research and development activities and invest in infrastructure buildup.

            The Department of Science and Technology is tasked to develop an AI Program in the Philippines, particularly to optimize mass production and effective operations in the country’s manufacturing sector.

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