2018 This New Year Is Really Old

[Photo source: bnox.be]

by  Popoy del R. Cartanio

2018 This New Year Is Really Old, Never was New after the Birth of Christ. In Christendom the New Year began and ended the year of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The New Year is really old; it’s much older than the previous one in all aspects of nature where change has permanence; nothing becomes the same the more they change except good and bad people. So, why think much more write about the passage except to salute the merriment and holiness of Christmas and welcome the repeat of time to luxuriate upon success and persevere the struggle against failure. Such is life, such is reality, such is one’s fated universe. To the rich, the haves and the elite New Year’s Day is divine and glorious; to the have nots, the homeless, the downtrodden and losers: it sucks.

That said and done, I will write on other things which could, may be of consequence even if only in abstraction, even if it is  never put into action. There was this lady philosopher, a Jew from Communist Russia, a drum beater for capitalism, a wannabe creature of the right, an objectivist novelist who said a lot about it: GOVERNMENT IS FOR PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE. She needed not to elaborate that government is just a little of everything else, even about economics and the politics of uncommon sense.

This lady novelist-philosopher breached the closed door and left her mother country to cross land and seas to the welcoming arms of a country which then had wide-open doors to strangers from many climes, seekers of the good life. Beyond seeking the PROTECTION of her adopted country she said a mouthful:

“In order to live, man must act, in order to act he must make choices,
in order to make choices, he must define a code of values, in order
to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is–
i.e. he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge)
and the nature of the universe in which he acts — i.e. he needs
metaphysics, epistemology, ethics which means philosophy.”

To get back to the here and there and NOW, let us think or write (if writing is our means of livelihood) about two relatively new presidents: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines and President Donald J. Trump of the United States and answer the  BIG question:  PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE is that what their governments are doing during their first year in office? In so doing of course, there is no avoiding many little questions, even smart alecky ones like: protect them by unprotecting the environment? Protect them from living horror full kind of life by killing them; kill the unworthy of living to protect the larger population? Protecting them against themselves?

Another perspective is to elaborate the policies and activities of the executive departments. Make protect or protecting the obtrusive word or example like: The Department of Protective Health, Education, Labor, National Defense, Foreign Affairs, etc. It sounds funny and laughable but not as insane as to what is happening to here and now. Given the infinity of possible issues to rethink, the word PROTECTION could have a billion meanings for a reason.

One can write sense or nonsense without the readers suspecting the written thoughts are really answers instead of questions; are really solutions instead of problems. Like for example consider the two: President Duterte and President Trump by listing down what they have done so far specifically as concrete actions against the parameters of their policies, programs, and projects designed as PROTECTION of the people. Very likely many items in the list will be inconclusive and debatable.

To have a steady or increasing Gross National  Product (GNP) is like good maintenance medicine for the country but not for the larger population who can’t afford even generic medicines. The benefits of positive GNP happen only to a very few; the disbenefits of negative GNP inflict and afflict most the larger population. Good GNP is hardly felt by the poor. Bad GNP devastate hardest the poor in the society. GNP is not therefore, PROTECTION. But it remains debatable to say: IT IS ECONOMICS STUPID!  because economics is not and never been PROTECTION of the dirt poor.

There’s the rub, this word PROTECTION as the absolute essence of any government, because as abstract and shapeless mass it could be configured or structured into the image of the devil. Because any issue or concept have its pros and cons the only recourse is to look at PROTECTION in its MIRROR. What you see is what you get without make up or plastic surgery or make over by charlatans.

Most countries are governed by their constitution defining and imposing the good life in terms of equality, liberty and the lawful means to pursue happiness. As it should happen, governments should give the people PROTECTION to make all those nitty-gritty happen every day. May be governments should leave the people alone to do their things to attain what they think is the GOOD LIFE; just PROTECT them from rascals who are trying to thwart them. Except for extending and receiving PROTECTION, “the least governed is the best governed.”

To answer the anticipated wise guy question: Can that really happen? In the days of yore think of the US colonies which broke their  yoke from Great Britain, also of Canada, and other countries; of city-state like Singapore, of metropolis like London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Think of these places as Mirrors. Yes, very likely all of them prospered because of PROTECTION by their governments to do their own thing.

In these countries, these cities and places the majority and the elite citizens were mostly left alone to pursue the good life with PROTECTION by their government. For the good people (businessmen) there should be advantage to be left alone. Where protection means control, corruption follows closely behind protection. Comparing the power of the government sector against that of the business sector will be a good indicator who started and perpetuated corruption.

Every New Year’s Day, it’s good to think like Plato who suggested we are like cave men facing the cave wall seeing only images from the reflections of the light behind us. We should turn around to see the real world.  ***


141 Responses to “2018 This New Year Is Really Old”
  1. edgar lores says:

    I agree. I wrote this on another social media platform. I use the word “security” instead of “protection.”

    “The most basic purpose of government is security. Security being defined as the “state of being free from danger or threat”.

    Government is to secure:

    1. The individual against another individual.
    2. The individual against a group.
    3. A group against another group.

    To achieve this basic purpose, the government must also secure itself:

    4. Against an individual or group within it.
    5. Against an individual or group outside of it.

    The voluntary agreement among individual members of a society to form a government is known as the social contract. In doing so, individuals sacrifice part of their individual freedom and power for individual and communal protection.

    Against this basic purpose of law and order, one may add all the myriad purposes that government has been given or arrogated to itself, such as building infrastructure, priming and maintaining the economy, preserving natural resources, and taxing you – endlessly. If we consolidate all these other purposes with the basic purpose, we can say that the ultimate purpose of government is to serve its people.

    Time and time again, this telos has been turned on its head.

    It is not unknown that governments will act contrary to this basic purpose. It is not unknown that an individual or a group within a government will seize power and dominate the entire country for their own ends. It is not unknown that the government of one country will seize control of another and dominate that country for its own ends. It is not unknown for the governments of several countries to coalesce for good (European Union) or for bad (Axis powers).

    Governments are like God: if it did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.”

    • Micha says:


      In Ayn Rand’s toxic world, government’s purpose could (must) be reduced to only police and military function – providing security from internal and external threats.

      You do not do infrastructure (that should be left to private businesses) or manage the economy (let the free market do its wonders).

      It’s the ultimate libertarian con full of internal contradictions embraced apparently by an orange-haired nincompoop that now occupies the White House.


      It’s too early to tell if the union of European nations is good or bad for the people of that continent. Many are complaining of the undemocratic method in which policies are imposed from its Brussels headquarters by a select few with dire consequences for cross border citizens. Instead of statesmen, bankers have taken over the European project. And we know how bankers usually work.

      • edgar lores says:

        I think security/protection exists at several levels.

        At all levels, the basic principle to observe is that government must foster an environment conducive to social and individual growth.

        There are two corollaries.

        o One, there must be a recognition of the scope and boundary between public (government) and private (personal) spaces.

        o Two, there must be a proper balance between, on one hand, public programs and regulations, and on the other hand, private programs and initiatives.

        As the essay picture denotes, the balance is between protection and freedom. Although they are not separate roads, just two lanes going in the same direction.

        Basically, there are three levels of security and protection — body, soul, and spirit:

        1. First and foremost would be physical security. This is the security of the body. This is covered by the military and police functionality.

        2. Second, would be psychological security. This is the security of the soul — the lower soul and the higher soul.

        2.1. Economic security is the security of the lower soul. This is a huge area and, as noted, there is an ongoing debate on whether small government is better than big government.

        2.2. Spiritual security is the security of the higher soul, the spirit. Hitherto, this was thought to be a primary function of government; indeed, theocracies still exist. It is now largely recognized that this is a private function.

        • Micha says:

          We still don’t have a civilization out there, edgar. It’s still pretty much a Darwinian world of brutes and mice and nasty men.

          We can agree to formulate those noble aims of security for both body and soul but first we must confront and vanquish the enemy that hinders the realization of those aims.

          We need to confront and tame the power of global plutocracy.

          We need to confront and tame the power of the banking cartel which has co-opted the role of governments around the world.

          We need to confront and tame the power of multi national business conglomerates which, in pursuit of more profits, seek to override sensible regulations that protect workers, consumers, and the environment.

          Humanity is still at war with itself and these above mentioned entities currently have distinct leverage.

          • edgar lores says:

            Agree. But there are civilized “consolidated democracies” — to use NHerrera’s term — out there.

            For example, take the top 10 countries by happiness index. These are countries that support happiness factors: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.

            o Norway – parliamentary constitutional monarchy
            o Denmark – parliamentary constitutional monarchy
            o Iceland – republic
            o Switzerland – semi-direct federal republic
            o Finland – parliamentary republic
            o Netherlands – parliamentary constitutional monarchy
            o Canada – parliamentary constitutional monarchy
            o New Zealand – parliamentary constitutional monarchy
            o Australia – parliamentary constitutional monarchy*
            o Sweden – parliamentary constitutional monarchy

            All of the above score above 7.0 on the 2017 happiness index. The other 4 countries that score above 7.0 are:

            o Sweden – parliamentary constitutional monarchy
            o Israel – parliamentary democracy
            o Costa Rica – presidential republic
            o Austria – federal parliamentary republic

            * We suffer from bad governance at the moment.

            • Sup says:

              Time to ”rent” 5000 honest persons from that top ten countries to manage the Philippines for 10 year…out with the dynasties…after 10 year slowly integrate ”fresh” Philippine blood in the government again…. 🙂

              • I’ll warn them not to be fools.. look what they did to Aquino recently.. expect them to bungle and maybe even steal under your nose then set you up as scapegoats..

                white Gods failed to deliver.. let us sacrifice them at sunrise.. get the picture?

              • Yellow former Gods are on the way to the stake already for minor mistakes while the naturally imperfect native rulers of now are forgiven anything.. but how dare the elite be less than Godlike in perfection? They who think they are better /sarcasm..

            • edgar lores says:

              1. I find it remarkable that 7 of the top 10 countries are parliamentary constitutional monarchies.

              2. To me, this means that the best form of government is a hybrid of a parliamentary republic and a monarchy.

              3. It should be instructive to analyze why this is so.

              4. Parliament. In the separation of powers doctrine, the three branches of government are distinct and separate. This is true of the presidential form. However, in the parliamentary form, the Executive and the Legislature are fused.

              4.1. Consequence: The government of the day is responsive. Government programs are delivered quickly and efficiently.

              5. Republic. This is representative democracy. Representatives, who belong to political parties, are elected by the people to govern.

              5.1. Consequence: Good government is assured by two key mechanisms:

              5.1.1. Elections are the controlling mechanism for accepting/rejecting good performers.

              5.1.2. Political parties are the controlling mechanism for developing/implementing good programs.

              5.2. The above is not true for the Philippines because we have an immature and non-organic party system.

              6. Constitutional monarchy. The monarch is a figurehead. In some cases, royalty is inbred within the country; thus, the monarch is a direct figurehead. In other cases, royalty is a byproduct of colonialism; thus, the monarch is an indirect figurehead and is internally represented by a governor-general. In Oz, the governor-general is appointed by the Queen at the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and serves for a term of 5 years. The term is asynchronous with federal elections.

              6.1. Consequence 1. The country is politically stable. The monarchy provides continuity. The people are respectful, if not adoring, of the monarchy. This is especially true for an inbred monarchy.

              6.2. Consequence 2. The reigning government of the day is not seen as all-powerful, and is symbolically obeisant to the monarch. This is important in the cases of Trump and Duterte who exercise unfettered power. The governor-general serves as the Head of State.

              6.3. Consequence 3. While the role of the monarch (or governor-general) is largely ceremonial, he/she plays a real practical and political role, such as conducting oath-taking of the prime minister and cabinet, appointing certain officials, giving royal assent to legislation, issuing writs for elections, and bestowing honors and providing encouragement to the community.

              6.4. Consequence 4. In Oz, there was a famous case of the governor-general dismissing a Prime Minister, who (naturally) had majority support in the Lower House but not in the
              Senate, such that supply bills (budgetary) could not be passed.

              7. I wonder if the benefits of a constitutional monarchy can be applied to the country by the creation of a governor-general office. The term has historical resonance. He would be representing not a sovereign monarch but the sovereign people.

              • There needs to be a preparation of people so they can find meaning in what you say. You supply the roadwork. The people need the proper emotional/reasoned vehicle that they will willingly climb aboard.

              • edgar lores says:

                Come to think of it, there was an attempt to do this. The Marcoses tried to install themselves as the monarchy. But monarchies are hereditary from times past; they cannot be grafted on. Perhaps if Imelda had succeeded in marrying off Imee to Prince Charles, there would have been the ghost of a chance.

                I believe the cultural mentality and traits of Filipinos are conducive to supporting royalty. We are simple and idolatrous.

                What I am suggesting is an extra layer that mimics the top layer of a constitutional monarchy. The separation of powers we have is not separate enough. The executive is too powerful.

                If the Constitution Convention of 1987 can adopt an experimental party-list system, then the concept of a governor-generalship is a possibility if we shift to a parliamentary system.

              • I’m not thinking of a form of government, but how to align people’s minds to reason when they are prone to the illusions of dictators and magic. It can be any form of government as long as people are earnest.

              • edgar lores says:

                That is true to a certain extent. The republican form will work whether it’s presidential or parliamentary… if people are earnest.

                But one has to give credence to the republican form. A non-republican form will not work in the same manner as a republican form, in terms of any factor that one can name — political rights, economic management, or social structure.

                So the question to ask perhaps is: What is easier to reform? The political structure or the earnestness (sincerity) of the people? This could be a false dichotomy. So at the very least, both should be worked at.

              • Yes, both. One can’t separate the two unless one adopts an autocratic form of government in which people obey. In a participative form of government, people must grasp the benefits and responsibilities or else one ends up like the Philippines, a citizenry better suited to autocracy. So if the given is individual freedoms best attuned to participative governance, prospective leaders would be wise to start with configuring citizen knowledge to understand what it means to participate.

              • chemrock says:

                Excellent points Edgar.

                After thousands of years of political experiments and chopping off heads of kings and queens, you point back to a seemingly importance of monarchies. Except for a few, such as the Sultan of Brunei who has dictatorial powers, monarchs of today are ceremonial figure heads. They hold no admin/executive powers (except for some specific functions). So then what is their relevance to their countries and why do these countries seem to do well.

                Anarchists and ultra nationalists may cry and howl all they want, but my gut feel is the tribal instincts in men require a focal point to stabilise diversity. We turn to someone deserving of the reverence and that used to be someone of strength in order to be able to deliver. Today, that strength is no longer necessary. These monarchs rise above the fray of political fights and messy administration. They thus carry with them a decorum and dignity worthy of higher respect. Without a monarchy, any social discontent directed against the governing admin, such as anti-Duterte, is construed as against the nation. I’m very sure many who does not support Duts’ policies refrain from activism because they have a conscience that they will be acting against the country. Now if there were a King, one could love King and country but hate the Duts Admin and feel free to work against them. It’s the same way in the Army how one ‘hates’ the general sergeant major and the company sergeant major but love the commanding officer and the company commander.

                It is a fact that the American revolution was not an uprising against the Crown. It was against the British Parliament.

                There are various advantages of having a monarchy, such as :
                – they provide continuity, in the legal and social sense. A country that keeps changing govt after a few years is like a child going in and out of adoption. A monarch anchors the people to a fixed abode.
                – they provide more social cohesion.
                – they provide the voice of sanity when chaos reigns. The late King Bhumibol of Thailand played that role extremely well for decades when the reds and the yellows were at each others throats.
                – in times of great national stress, they provide the focal point that ignite the sparks in the hearts of their countrymen. Japanese Kamikaze pilots honour their Emperor as they made their last dive. Brits go into battles for Queen and country.

                Sociologists Andreas Bergh and Christian Bjørnskov wrote in 2013 that their research indicated there is a higher level of social trust in countries with monarchs. In Philippines we don’t need any research to tell us our social trust is NIL. With no social trust comes the problems of higher crimes and corruption. Bad for society, bad for economics.

                The Bible has a phrase “valle lacrimum” or valley of tears. This refers to the tribulations of life a departed soul leaves behind as he enters heaven. Academicians Bjørnskov and Peter Kurrild‐Klitgaard, prof in political sciences, refers to this valley of tears as the period of stagnation that follows constitutional reforms. In their research 2014 they pointed out their data indicates that monarchical systems do not have this valley of tears. In fact, it seemed, there is an opposite positive effect on the country. Watch out Philippines, expect this great valley of tears in Revgov and Federalism.

                Kings or queens cannot be created. The last one that tried to do it was Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī, the Shah of Shah of Persia. So many countries make do with elected or appointed presidents or heads of state. Looks like Philippines may have a Prime Minister Arroyo and President Duterte, or is it Prime Minister Duterte and President Arroyo? It’s confusing at times.


              • edgar lores says:

                Wonderful expansion with historical data to boot. You have put flesh on the bones.

  2. josephivo says:

    Protection. A major component I miss is protection from myself. What do I mean? Just think of a fire and you know your child is in the building, then you will do whatever you can to find and rescue your child. Even if as a result 5 other children will perish. Thus, for society me and the ones close to me create a irrational bias, one child in an extreme difficult situation saved instead of five easy to rescue. The same mechanism are at work for wealth distribution, the money I spent on Christmas presents could easily save the live of an unfortunate child in the slums. The government has to protect us from our individual “egoisms” and look for group optima, prevent us from falling in the prisoners trap, where my optimum is not the optimum for the group. Sometimes it might work against me, but more often then not it will work in my favor.

    • josephivo says:

      (the prisoners’ dilemma in a nutshell: Imagine you and your friend committed a crime that could put each of you in prison for 10 years. But is you speak they’ll let you free but your friend will go to jail for 10 years and visa versa, if both speak it means 20 prison years, if both keep their mouth shut it will mean 1 year for each, the maximum time they can keep you without a legal conviction.

      So, your individual optimum, when you speak and your friend keeps his mouth shut, is 0 years in prison, but the group result will be 0 +10 years in total. The group optimum however, when both stay silent, is 1+1 year in total)

      • karlgarcia says:

        On gut or instinct decisions- Follow the Nike rule- Just do it.

        You leap before you look, if something bad happens, either you die or get bashed in social media.

        Kidding aside in the situation mentioned. (fire or sinking ship)
        Sometimes society understands if you save your loved ones first.

        Omerta- made famous by Mafias is the game changer in the literal prisoner’s dillema.
        You talk, you are dead so better stay in jail.

    • @josephivo, @Edgar, What I see happening is a breakdown of the most fundamental basis of protection/security, that we are all deserving of fair and equal treatment. This principle has been replaced with the more animalistic survival (or prospering) of the fittest. Once that change in moral position is made, the elements of protection/security shift. For example, we align with a powerful person instead of a constitution because we can get immediate results and not have to hire an attorney. That others suffer is not of our concern.

      • josephivo says:

        I fully agree and I’m very afraid of what I see as the root-cause. Constitutions where written by rational people, e.g. understanding the prisoners’ dilemma, the today’s world is losing respect for facts and rationality in politics. Shouting “America first”, the prisoners’ dilemma equivalent of “I’ll talk”, in some cases it might be in your advantage but if the others “talk” too we will all loose. (Gut feeling is ok only until rational overrides it.)

        People accept that there are rational experts in operating rooms and airplane cockpits but for politicians knowledge and expertise became a liability.

        • Yes, and I’m sure professors get perplexed when they teach one thing and the political world does quite a different thing. Also, the military tends to get stuck in the middle, as we see the AFP today, with President Duterte working mightily to bring them into the fold.

          There are probably proper names for the two moral foundations, but the distinction is visible today in the Philippines with its tug of war between democratic (based largely on Christian values in the US) and autocratic or survival of the fittest (been around since crows could fly). My article on Jan 2 will expound on this.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Happy Holidays Popoy, and Happy New Year to all.
    Government’s concern is National Security and Human Security.

    I am supposed to support anything good for the national interest, but I have to tell it like it is,

    They failed in National Security by expecting China to show some sort of good faith in the island building and good faith in their investments here, including the proposed entry through our telco.

    They failed in their independent foreign policy.

    They failed in human security through EJKs whether it is their intention, or not.
    Trickle down economics in Pinas is maambunan ng konti o sana maambunan ako.

    Peace talks to all? Epic Fail

    Marawi, Abu Sayaff,NPa,BiFF,Martial law….

  4. Sabtang Basco says:

    Limit Freedom to Protect Freedom

  5. The book ‘Why Nations Fail’ by Acemoglu and Robinson has a simple formula – either:

    extractive economy, group monopolizes power (examples: Congo, NoKor) OR

    inclusive economy, power is distributed via impartial rules and institutions.

    Any mix either has more people getting opportunities and clamoring for a fairer system.. OR

    a group hijacking and changing the system (or trying to) for its exclusive benefit i.e. looting.

    ..which is not too far from the ideas the above article expresses..

    • karlgarcia says:

      Re: Why Nation’s Fail.

      I was confused at first, about the extractive stuff, I thought, it was all about mining,
      Corruption and impunity, dictatorship,authoritian governments are all extractive qualities and the oppossite are all inclusive.

      I learned more about Oz, on how it took a different path from the US and other British colonies, the rights that they gave to the early exconvicts and even the convicts was a game changer then.

      • edgar lores says:

        I read just now that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been fined $250 for not wearing a lifejacket while moving a small boat on the waters near his mansion.

        Here in Oz, there is no confusion between Prime Minister Turnbull and Citizen Turnbull. More importantly, there is no confusion between the political power the Turnbull can wield as Prime Minister and his “powerlessness” as a citizen to flaunt the laws of the country.

        Never mind being PM. Can you imagine a rich businessman, say Manny Villar, being fined for such a “petty” offense?

        The Rule of Law over the Rule of Power.

        The other point about security/protection. The State affords protection for its citizens, but citizens must also act to protect themselves — as Turnbull should have done — without relying entirely on the State. Citizens must also act to protect themselves from a predatory State.


        • karlgarcia says:

          I think it boils rown to what Irineo noted about El Fili’s biblical quote in the cover.

          “All is vanity”
          Vanity leads to impunity.

        • Francis says:

          “Citizens must also act to protect themselves from a predatory State.”

          Rule of Law is ultimately trumped—always—by Rule of Power.

          The difference between the Philippines and the West is that the un-elite have built up “solidified” (that is: institutional) counter-power against their elite. In short, the un-elite have leverage over their elite. Unions. Mass Political Parties. Associations. Laws are therefore given strength by the fact that it is backed by sufficient force. Laws are also ingrained into “culture” and thus respected because there are institutions (i.e. unions, mass political parties, etc.) that “socialize” (“teach”) individuals to adopt values that underpin said laws.

          That is why—if there is anything that I wish liberals and moderates ought to really pick up from the Left, it’s how to build organizations, institutions. The key to saving the nation is not by legislating the good, but by building the power that will bring about the good. Like actual political parties. Or grassroots organizations that won’t disappear and re-appear depending on election season, depending on whether Personality A, B, C…Z is still interested or not.

          • Filipinos rely to much on saviors.. Marcos’ New Society, Aquino’s Daang Matuwid, Duterte’s Change.. then drop them when they inevitably fail to deliver paradise.. Marcos was ousted by the same then new middle class that had backed him in 1972.. later in 1986.

            Even citizen groups are often aligned with persons – VACC being the most notorious example. Hawaiians believed ruling families had special powers – could there be a similar kind of ‘bilib’ among their Western Pacific cousins, that the Force is only for Skywalkers?

      • Oz is also mentioned in Why Nations Fail… so is the transition of England from an extractive to an inclusive society – the Glorious Revolution, but also the same forces which led to the first failed attempt which was Oliver Cromwell. Also how the Wars of the Roses (York vs. Lancaster were merely two different extractive groups competing for power) – somewhat like the pre-Marcos Philippine national politicians (I read somewhere that Marcos broke an unwritten rule when he got re-elected in 1969 – that elite groups take turns in “extracting”)..

        There is also something about the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution but I have not yet reached those chapters… but what I have already read is that extractive economies STUNT personal initiative – the example given was the precolonial Kingdom of Kongo where it did not make sense to develop any initiative as a farmer, to improve productivity, as what you produced more could either be seized or you could be captured and sold as a slave anytime. This part jibes with Joe’s article on opportunities as a driver for progress – it all fits together.

        Well, what happened to the Philippines. Those seeking opportunities in the 60s/70s thought Marcos would be their savior, but he was not… many went to the USA… those at the verge of losing opportunities around 1986 saw Cory as the savior.. some are now in their 50s and do not feel their lives really went anywhere I think.. a lot left in the 1990s and later could be in similar frustration like what I feel could be eating up benignZero.. plus the OFWs/BPO folks who think that Duterte could be their savior… so question of the positive tipping point remains.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Since you mentioned Benign0, he cited Fallows a lot.
          Here is Acemoglu’s reaction to Fallow’s “A Damaged Culture”, in relation to his book.


          “In reality everyone in every country of the world trusts their family more than people outside their family. As Victor Nee and Sonja Opper show in their recent book Capitalism from Below, the great manufacturing boom that started in China in the 1980s was primarily driven by the private sector. The Communist Party did not provide institutions, so Chinese entrepreneurs built them themselves, for example by using reputation and existing trust relationships to enforce contracts. But contracts are easier to enforce with your kin and it is easier to lend money and be sure you’ll get it back if you lend to kin. Thus strong kin relations did not inhibit this crucial stage of Chinese capitalism, they facilitated it.
          As for littering, standard economics suggests that individuals are very bad at efficiently dealing with public goods or public bads, which is where the state comes in. The Philippines certainly has had a very different state than Japan and South Korea, and as we will argue in our next post, this seems a much more plausible part of a convincing story of the path of economic development in the Philippines than building it all (or attempting to   build it all) on culture.
          There undoubtedly are cultural differences between the Filipinos and the Japanese, for instance. But the striking thing about Japan is how it modernized while preserving its rich and unique culture. Our guess is that the Philippines can do the same.”

          Acemoglu also has a note on who are the extractive elites.


          “Buttonwood suggests that two plausible candidates are too-big-to-fail huge-risk-taking bankers and public sector employees with their cushy jobs, which they protect using their power as voters and sometimes through public-sector unions.
          Banks, which have huge political clout, as the world witnessed not only in the midst of the 2008-2009 crisis but again in the European debt restructuring debacle of the last two years, are a great candidate indeed. Buttonwood questions whether they have really been an impediment to prosperity. The answer is probably yes: excessive risk-taking by the banks created lots of economic distortions and is in part responsible for the crisis. The inflated salaries in the banking industry may have also damaged the economy by attracting a lot of the talent that should have gone into more innovative activities (as suggested by the evidence in this paper and this paper).
          But what about public-sector employees? What about unions? Don’t they, as Buttonwood suggests, also exercise their power to block new technologies and create similar distortions?”

          • karlgarcia says:

            As to the Industrial revolution, here is a blog by Acemolglu on Politics and Technology


            “When social scientists think about technology, institutions and politics, regardless of their ideological leanings, their first instinct is to take their cue from Marx who viewed technology as an exogenous driver of history, and institutions and politics as merely parts of “superstructure” adapting to the needs and peculiarities of technology. As we noted in our post about a year ago, Marx famously summarized this perspective by stating:
            The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.
            We also noted there that this view is seriously at odds with the facts, for example as recounted by historian Marc Bloch in Land and Work in Medieval Europe.
            On the contrary, the development of these technologies, as with other technologies, has been endogenous and strongly responded to incentives in part shaped by politics.
            History is in fact full of telling examples how technology responds to politics. Roman technology did not stagnate and then disappear in much of Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire because it had reached some natural technological barrier, but because politics first within the Roman Empire and then among the fragmented European structure of polities that emerged after its collapse created no incentives for technological progress or even the use of existing technologies.
            Nor can the phenomenal advances in sailing and ship-building technology starting in the 15th century documented for example by Carlo Cipolla in Guns, Sails and Empires be understood as the exogenous march of technology. Rather, they were a consequence of incentives created by inter-state competition for the capture of overseas trade routes and colonies.
            Likewise, government policy and conflict over it is probably a first-order factor in understanding the direction of technological change today. For example, can we understand the types of technologies developed and enthusiastically used in the US health care system, which then rapidly spread to the rest of the advanced world, without considering the distorted incentives that the US health care system creates?
            Though this point was made by Burton Weisbrod as early as the 1991 in a very interesting paper in the Journal of Economic Literature, there is curiously very little work on how politics affect endogenous technology, which seems a clearly under-researched area.
            Returning to the issue of climate change, though the impact of government policy on the direction of technology may be potent, the politics here is unfortunately particularly challenging.
            First, there is the issue of domestic politics. Government policy can be fruitfully used to redirect technological change from fossil fuel-based technologies to cleaner ones, but this will involve a significant redistribution of profits away from some of the most powerful companies in the United States. Not surprisingly, existing oil companies and energy producers relying on coal aren’t the biggest fans of a transition to clean technology.
            This domestic dimension of the politics of energy technology is further complicated by the war over the science of climate change. It’s hard to know for sure, but one would imagine that without the involvement of the energy sector, there wouldn’t be so much confusion on what climate science does or does not say about man-made climate change.
            Second, there is the issue of international politics. Any country that unilaterally adopts policies to redirect technological change towards cleaner technologies is likely to end up bearing the cost but not benefiting much unless others follow.
            In this light, perhaps the defining political struggle over climate change is the one between the United States and China, the two biggest polluters today. Not surprisingly, this looks like a classic game of chicken or war of attrition, each side waiting for the other to make a concession while we get closer to the abyss.
            If you thought that politics of technology was something you could ignore, perhaps you should think again.”

            • karlgarcia says:

              Acemoglu’s thougths on the Institutional changes in Europe after the French Revolution.


              “Many of the most radical institutional changes both in Europe in general and within Germany were undertaken during the invasion of the French revolutionary armies. While the impact of the French on the Rhineland during the 1790s remains controversial, especially because of the great deal of plunder and the resulting resentment by the local population mentioned above (see, e.g., Blanning 1983; Doyle 1989), the importance of the revolutionary reforms in Rhineland is not in question. Most signi cantly, between 1795 and 1798 the seigneurial regime and the guilds were abolished (Blanning 1983), paving the way to a relatively free labor market. Equally important were the legal changes. For example, the French created a commercial court in Aachen in 1794 and followed with similar courts elsewhere in the Rhineland (Jeffry Diefendorf 1980), which were to play an important role in the creation of commercial and industrial businesses in the years to follow.
              Although Napoleon was an Emperor seeking to solidify his control, ruthlessly when necessary, he nonetheless continued to implement the reforms initiated by the revolutionary armies (see Grab 2003; Owen Connelly 1965; J. Stuart Woolf 1991). Napoleon saw the imposition of the civil code (Code Napoléon) in the areas he con- trolled as his most important reform (Martyn Lyons 1994). Kisch emphasizes the economic importance of this (1989, p. 212): “When the many strands of commercial legislation were subsequently consolidated in the Code Napoléon, the Rhineland (on the left bank) was not only given a most up-to-date legal framework, but also a system of government in close harmony with the needs of a buoyantly industrial- izing society.” The Rhineland was transformed from an oligarchy-dominated area to one open to new businesses and new entrants. Similar reforms were also system- atically introduced into the German satellite kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Westphalia, and the Grand Duchy of Berg.
              In practice, Napoleon’s institutional legacy outside of France is complicated, especially since he was more inclined to compromise with local elites at some times. Nevertheless, in most places there was a genuine attempt to continue and deepen the reforms brought by the Revolution. The motivations for these reforms seem to have been several. First, Napoleon had been deeply involved with the reforms of the revolutionary period and shared the ideological commitment of the early reformers. Second, like them, he wished to build a series of buffer states around France. Finally, reforms such as abolishing the political control of the elite, feudal privileges, and introducing equality before the law undermined existing elites and made it easier for Napoleon to establish control over the areas he conquered.
              After the nal collapse of Napoleon in 1815 the institutional reforms implemented over the previous 25 years suffered various fates. In the Rhineland, whose largest part was assigned to Prussia as a consequence of the Congress of Vienna, the new local elites successfully fought to preserve French institutions, such as the civil and com- mercial codes. Prussia itself was inclined to continue on the path of reforms begun under French rule (see Herbert A. L. Fisher 1903). The presence of a new elite created by the reforms and determined to hang onto them was a key factor. In other places, where the old ruling dynasties returned to power, such as in Hanover, Brunswick, and Hesse-Kassel, most reforms were rolled back. A return to the status quo ante was functional to the rulers’ need to rely on ancien régime institutions to support their claim to power. In our econometric analysis in Section IV we speci cally code reforms throughout the nineteenth century to examine this issue empirically. “

            • NHerrera says:

              Karl, thanks for the 3 links — on Acemoglu’s notes on Fallow’s Damaged Culture; extractive elites; and the effect of politics (domestic and international) on development of technologies. Interesting reading.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks NH, Happy New year. Here is more.


                “Though the Philippines is in East Asia, its history is very different from other East Asian countries. Reflecting on Philippine colonial history, Stanley Karnow in his book In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines characterized it as being “300 years in the convent, 50 years in Hollywood.”
                By this he meant to convey the impression that the Philippines had languished under colonialism, hidden in the convent and entertained by Hollywood, while the world had dramatically changed.
                It was first colonized by the Spanish in 1565, though the great mariner Ferdinand Magellan had visited the islands in 1521 where he has been killed on the island of Lapu-Lapu (Mactan) near the modern city of Cebu. The key economic institutions that the Spanish used to control and exploit the indigenous peoples of the Americas, like the encomienda, were also used in the Philippines but there were important differences. For one, there were few Spanish settlers and the governance of the islands was left to the Church. Moreover, large parts of the archipelago, particularly the southern island of Mindanao, were never controlled by the Spanish until the 19thcentury and maintained de facto independence.
                We met Mindanao in Why Nations Fail where we showed how the expansion of the Dutch East Indies Company had reversed development among the sultanates of this island. Though in the 17th century the Spanish ruled in Manila or Cebu, the Sultan of Maguindanao was still independent. (Such enduring independence was not unknown in colonial South America. Soon after the early conquest of Chile, the Spanish lost control of the south of the country to the warlike Araucanian and Mapuche Indians who were not conquered until the second half of the 19th century.)
                Spanish colonialism was cast off in 1898, only to be replaced by US colonialism that lasted until 1946. Like many post-colonial experiences with democracy, that in the Philippines collapsed in 1972 with President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law. His viciously kleptocratic regime was finally forced from office by a popular revolt in 1986. Now all that most people recall of this regime is the 3,000 shoes of Marcos’ wife Imelda (800 of which are now on show at the Marikina Shoe Museum in Manila).
                On the surface this seems very different from the trajectories of other East Asian countries and the obvious explanation is the different colonial history. The Philippines is just a Latin American country stuck in East Asia, with Evita replaced by Imelda. Right?
                In the next few posts we will dig deeper into the roots of poverty in the Philippines and discuss some of the explanations that have been produced to account for it. 
                But first it is worth noting that the fact that the Philippines was on a par in terms of income per-capita with South Korea or Taiwan in the 1950s says little about what the long-run economic prospects of the societies were. Many other countries with radically different underlying growth prospects, such as Ghana, had similar income levels. All were emerging from long periods of colonialism: South Korea and Taiwan from that of Japan, the Philippines from that of Spain, and the US and Ghana from that of Britain. In nearly every non-settler colony, colonialism had the effect at best of trapping the country in amber. There was no chance of institutional change or structural transformation. Little chance of indigenous innovation or adaptation to a changing world. At independence, living standards often bore little relation to the long-run prospects for economic growth.
                But what then were these differences that led to such poor economic growth in the Philippines? And how come they got stuck with Marcos rather than President Park or Chiang Kai-Shek?”

                Last for this thread.
                A little bit recent history, it was gone for a while, but now, it is back.


              • “In nearly every non-settler colony, colonialism had the effect at best of trapping the country in amber. There was no chance of institutional change or structural transformation. Little chance of indigenous innovation or adaptation to a changing world.”

                Bingo! So you had a Philippine Republic running institutions that were “postcolonial”, meaning continuations of certain colonial institutions. The Philippine President has powers modelled upon those of a Spanish or American colonial governor, with (still) relatively little limitations.

                As for the indigenous or native mindset, it remained trapped in amber, even for decades after the end of colonialism. That is why it recently voted a datu/raja style leader to become President, even if it is almost 5 centuries after 1521. The only hope I see is that the native mind (the OFWs, many BPO people) slowly realizes that things don’t work that way today. That you can’t give pistols to tanods, for example. Or rely on barangay lists for “justice”. The learning process may be quite fast in the next few years – hopefully – driven by experience.

              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks karl for the last two items,

                * Empirical evidence of the positive impact of the externally imposed reforms by Napoleon on the Rhineland/ Germany/ Europe

                * The last link on the Philippines in the context of Why Nations Fail, and aptly titled 300 Years in the Convent, 50 years in Hollywood. Thanks again Chief (Librarian) — I am still reading this last one.

                Happy New Year to you and yours.

          • Written in 2011

            Award-winning theater director Rody Vera shares with us on Rizal Day


            By Rodolfo Vera

            When Rizal wrote “On the Indolence of the Filipinos” more than a century ago, James Fallows was not yet around to pose his theory about how damaged our culture is. Mr. Fallows might not have known, however, that his theory is not really new in this part of the world. It has merely undergone a few transformations throughout our history, including and beyond the time Mr. Fallows wrote his controversial article in the Atlantic. During Rizal’s time, the laziness of the Indio was believed to be the main cause for his stagnation. It was supposedly his indolence that brought about his own misery. Today there are no colonial tyrants that blame us for our slovenly ways. There is no dictator that instills in us that progress can only be achieved through discipline (Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan.). In this so-called democratic space, seemingly, we can easily say what we want. And it seems blaming these evil tyrants for causing what’s wrong with us now is not valid any longer. And so, then, some people say that we have no one to blame but ourselves after all. And that blame, ironically reverts back to the very same assumption that Rizal refuted. Only now, we are not lazy per se, but that it’s because our culture is damaged. The damage occurred not just during the time of Marcos but way even earlier. And it seems the damage is so deep-rooted, so deeply ingrained in our wiring, so to speak, that the only way to fix it is by probably imposing this cure on ourselves as a people, not unlike the very dictatorship we have experienced in this country almost forty years ago, only “benevolent.”

            The thing is, for as long as our country’s miserable condition is not alleviated, tyrants. politicians, media, powerful institutions, such as those of religion, business, and military will constantly implicate society’s culture, if not its innate characteristics, as the ultimate core that needs to be changed for this poor country to emancipate itself. The friars and Spanish colonial masters pointed out laziness. The American sociologists zeroed in on our smooth interpersonal relationships (SIR), utang-na –loob or debt of gratitude, and amor-propio. Dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared that it was our lack of discipline that was the real cause of our stagnation. James Fallows reinterpreted the SIR concept and found a more familiar name for it: delicadeza. And many among today’s Filipino middle classes think we are simply just too shallow.

            Rizal, the very figure we are paying tribute to today, never believed it was any of these. He wrote his novels, essays, poetic and dramatic works, all impassioned and sincere, from one clear perspective: That it is not our culture, but who profits most from the inequality and the misery, the injustice and impunity, the corruption and greed that will determine why and how our country has gotten into this mess. That our cultural behavior, that which is truly ingrained in us, does not make us corrupt. Rather corruption and greed, impunity and injustice have all been using our cultural practices as alibis and instruments, the way a rapist will blame the pornographic material he has been reading as gagging his own sense of responsibility and allowing him to commit a crime (Sapagka’t ako’y lalaki, natural lang iyon). To be sure, corruption and greed have indeed utilized our very own cherished values of utang-na-loob, pakikisama, etc. Our close family ties and our adherence to delicadeza or our being non-confrontational in the interest of smooth relationships have all contributed to sealing corrupt transactions and exploitative deals. But is this evidence to suggest that it is our culture that is damaged? Any culture is always context-specific. It enriches societies if the context is appropriate. Our modern set-up, imposed on us by American tutelage for example has not taken Filipino culture in serious consideration. It has, in fact demanded that we do away with how we think, denigrated our values as primitive and untenable in the context of democracy and individualism. Taken from this angle, our culture has indeed been damaged. But as Rizal may have pointed out in his essay more than a hundred years ago—who made this so and who profited most from it?

            It is important that we do not distract ourselves from answering this crucial question. For once we figure out a clear reply, only then do we realize that it is not culture that we have to change, but the purveyors of the damage they have wreaked on us.

            Mass media has been the most pervasive, most influential festering agent of this so called “cultural damage”. It has effectively reduced our cherished cultural values to promote materialism in its most crass and shallowest sense, even utilizing the urgent struggle of poor Filipinos for survival as its hypocritical measure for Christian charity, for example. Politicians, businessmen, religious institutions, and the rest of the influential elite have profited most from the power that mass media can wield to spin this myth and feed the masses in daily doses…

            One cannot blame a naton’s culture for the prevalence of corruption and greed because greed itself is universal. Our revolutionary spirit has always come to the fore whenever we Filipinos think that we have been pushed against the wall. We may have experienced a fatigue of this revolutionary spirit as expressed in conventional modes but it eventually finds ways of manifesting itself, ways which even the most disillusioned and pessimistic citizen may not foresee.

            We know how depressing our nation’s condition can be, especially if we compare ourselves to our Asian neighbors. Many of us would harp on about the Philippine’s past splendor and at the same time blame what has been ingrained in us for hundreds of years as the main cause for this splendor’s decline. This is simply not logical. I believe that much of what has happened to our country is hidden in our history. A history unfettered by interests other than the truth. The search for these answers requires a strong political will coming from a band of new ilustrados, armed with the shiniest light of truth…

            • karlgarcia says:

              Thank you Irineo, Happy New Year!

            • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sobre_la_indolencia_de_los_filipinos#Summary

              Rizal acknowledges the prior work of Gregorio Sancianco and admits that indolence does exist among the Filipinos, but it cannot be attributed to the troubles and backwardness of the country; rather it is the effect of the backwardness and troubles experienced by the country. Past writings on indolence revolve only on either denying or affirming, and never studying its causes in depth. One must study the causes of indolence, Rizal says, before curing it…

              ..Rizal enumerates several reasons that may have caused the Filipinos’ cultural and economic decadence. The frequent wars, insurrections, and invasions have brought disorder to the communities. Chaos has been widespread, and destruction rampant. Many Filipinos have also been sent abroad to fight wars for Spain or for expeditions. Thus, the population has decreased in number. Due to forced labor, many men have been sent to shipyards to construct vessels. Meanwhile, natives who have had enough of abuse have gone to the mountains. As a result, the farms have been neglected. The so-called indolence of Filipinos definitely has deeply rooted causes..

              ..According to Rizal, all the causes of indolence can be reduced to two factors. The first factor is the limited training and education Filipino natives receive. Segregated from Spaniards, Filipinos do not receive the same opportunities that are available to the foreigners. They are taught to be inferior. The second factor is the lack of a national sentiment of unity among them. Because Filipinos think they are inferior, they submit to the foreign culture and do everything to imitate it. The solution, according to Rizal, would be education and liberty…

              (do everything to imitate it… did MRP read that essay?)

              • karlgarcia says:

                I googled it and from the snap shot……

                “It was written by José Rizal as a response to the accusation of Indio or Malay indolence. He admits the existence of indolence among the Filipinos, but it could be attributed to a number of reasons. … Education and liberty, according to Rizal, would be the cure to Filipino indolence.”

            • edgar lores says:

              “Many of us would harp on about the Philippine’s past splendor and at the same time blame what has been ingrained in us for hundreds of years as the main cause for this splendor’s decline. This is simply not logical. I believe that much of what has happened to our country is hidden in our history.”

              If I may paraphrase:

              o Theory 1: Many claim that the main cause for the decline of the country’s past splendor is what has been ingrained in us for hundreds of years.

              o Theory 2: I claim that the main cause is hidden in our history.

              What is the difference between Theory 1 and Theory 2?

              The only difference I can see is that Theory 1 says “ingrained” while Theory 2 says “hidden.”

              Presumably, it’s a matter of epistemology:

              o Theory 1 has known knowns.
              o Theory 2 has unknown unknowns.

              But both theories are premised on historical culture as the root cause of decline.

    • NHerrera says:

      Firstly, I would like to great everyone in TSH a a Meaningful and Happy New Year as much as we, individually, can manage or arrange to do it — we can really, those of us contributors, commenters and readers here; and I wish we can somehow arrange to make at least one of those less fortunate than we are to share in the happiness of the New Year.


      Concerning Acemoglu and Robinson’s “Why Nations Fail,” I found that the analytic thoughts of the authors in their paper, “A Theory of Political Transitions” published in The American Economic Review is somehow incorporated in their book. The paper can be read in pdf form in the link:

      Click to access jr_transitions.pdf

      I paraphrase the concept of the latter paper of theirs in a diagram below.

      • NHerrera says:

        I mean by the diagram:

        Consolidated democracy = one where the institutions work more or less with less cyclic amplitude; the poor and the rich benefit although the difference in wealth still exists.

        Unconsolidated democracy = there are periods of seemingly working but weak democracy after a revolution of some sort against the elite followed by the elite regaining their former strong status — a cycle, which seems to picture the PH democracy rather than one of a Consolidated Democracy

  6. Sabtang Basco says:

    I will run for Philippine President under the platform “the least governed is the best governed” BAHALA NA KAYO, DYAN !

  7. Sabtang Basco says:

    Donald Trump little brown brother in Asia, Duterte, has better tax reform than Trump. The wealthy Filipinos get little money than the poor.

    Here is ABSCBN Tax calculator: http://news.abs-cbn.com/pinoytaxreformcalculator

    Remember that sacked MetroBank Senior Vice-President? She earned 250,000 pesos. She would have taken back just 3.3% while those earning 20,000 pesos are getting 100% tax back into their pocket.

    Doesn’t work that way with Trump Tax.

  8. Sabtang Basco says:

    Why Nations Fail. Philippines struggle but never fails. I call it resilient. Philippines never have had countrywide revolution since Magellan. There were only pockets of rebellion but Philippine Historians make it appear so big that pupils thought it was nationwide.

    That is why foreign news wire do not believe news coming out of the Philippines. They send Anderson Cooper and Al Jazeera to check if it is true or not.

  9. Anybody is resilient. In Somalia they also survive even if there is practically no state left. Just a Mad Max place controlled by different warlords. Back to 1521 for the Philippines is the road to that kind of hell. Try what worked in 1521 with 1/2 million – with 200x the people and modern weapons..

  10. Sabtang Basco says:

    1. Working Filipinos will be happy with Duterte Tax Reform
    2. Working Filipinos will receive an average of P4,000.00 pesos in their paycheck
    3. National consumer spending will go up up and awaaaay
    4. More Filipinos will buy excise-tax-free mini trucks and crew cabs
    5. More imported rice means more Filipinos eat rice because imported rice is cheaper
    6. There will be less drug-related killings, more work for judges and prosecutors and crowded jails
    7. There will be more mixed-use malls: actually malls in the Philippines are already mixed use. They offer Sunday mass. Government are holding offices in malls. There also banks. Massage Parlor. Grocery stores. Apartment above ground level. Condos. It also has a bus and jeepney stops.
    8. Philippine Media and journalists will still publish the nicknames of important people like “Kokoy” “Noynoy” “Mar” “Ferdie”
    9. Philippine Media will still be under HEAVY MODERATION and WATCH LIST by foreign news wires: to believe or not to believe
    10. Philippine Media will still be addicted to science of politics
    11. Philippine Media cannot still analyze economics and justice. They are only good in parroting
    12. Mass Market cars are taxed 10%. Luxury cars from 20% to 50%
    13. Build. Build. Build. Borrow. Borrow. Borrow. Build-to-borrow. Borrow-to-build. Build today-pay tomorrow.
    14. There will be palpable incentives of Filipinos not work abroad because of TRAIN.
    15. Filipinos will still be racist. American Liza Soberano born and raised in Santa Clara with American passport is hijacked as Filipino. Any foreigners with a drop of Filipino blood who have not known where one of their parent came from is now considered a Filipino.
    16. Filipino will still hate their looks.

    Thank fully slick-pomade ex-Lieutenant Trillanes represents macho brown skin Filipino but the women Filipinas still want to be white as white as Americans can be.

  11. Francis says:

    Off-Topic—but in light of an increasingly globalized and post-industrialized (that is: digital and intagible) economy, this policy proposal struck me as gold. I think that the policy outlined below (“portable benefits”) may very well be the only way to adequately deal with the “endo”/excessive contractualization problem in the long run—while still maintaining a globally competitive economy.

    (Though, if you’d ask me—I’d honesty say that the only sure way to deal with super fluid trade between nations breaking down barriers between national markets, both in terms of product and labor, is to come up with an equally global/regional welfare system. Because seriously, how can national welfare co-exist with a highly globalized economy. But that’s highly unlikely—I mean, the closest thing to that (the EU) is literally barely holding up—so might as well go for the next best thing.)

    Source: http://prospect.org/article/portable-benefits-insecure-workforce

    Imagine an entirely new system of employment benefits—a system that substantially closes the gap left by the ongoing decline of secure full-time employment while uniting business and labor, tech companies and small businesses, progressives and libertarians.

    You would sense you were on to something, right?

    We believe that we (and Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Etsy, and the libertarian R Street Institute) are on to something. Traditional full-time employment—and the middle-class lifestyle it enables—is slipping from the grasp of more and more American workers, who’ve been stripped of the benefits our parents’ generation understood to be part of standard compensation: health insurance, vacation, sick leave, unemployment and disability insurance, and retirement. The loss of these basic employment-based benefits is worsening the insecurity faced by workers and their families. Fewer and fewer jobs offer a full package of benefits, or any benefits at all.

    At the same time, innovative companies such as TaskRabbit, Instacart, Handy, and Upwork—part of a sector variously called the on-demand, sharing, or gig economy—risk being distracted from the task of creating real economic value by the easy profits to be reaped from classifying workers as independent contractors. This “disruption” of employee-employer relations, which has abetted the on-demand companies’ billion-dollar revenue and high-flying stock valuations, moves us beyond the letter and spirit of our aging and inadequate regulatory framework. The debate over the on-demand economy isn’t merely a legal question, however: Our collective failure to close the widening gap between technological innovation and social realities is responsible for much of the economic angst that dominated the 2016 election.

    To address this challenge, we developed the idea of a “Shared Security System,” a package of portable benefits for contingent workers first proposed in the Summer 2015 issue of the journal Democracy (“Shared Security, Shared Growth”). Soon after, an unlikely collaboration of individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum also called for a new system of employment benefits. Supporters included gig economy executives, labor leaders, venture capitalists, business people, academics, and policy professionals.

    This Shared Security System would recognize that work and employment are changing, and that we can no longer wait to act as the old system unravels. Workers would earn and accrue portable benefits on a per-hour basis, regardless of a worker’s relationship with the employer that is paying him or her. Like Social Security, these benefits would be fully portable, with every worker having an account at the qualified financial institution of his or her choice. Companies would be responsible for paying into workers’ benefit accounts at a reasonable rate. In some situations, workers or the government might also contribute to benefit accounts.

    In the year and a half since we first proposed a Shared Security System, we’ve seen serious interest from the tech sector and public policy experts. (President Obama even mentioned portable retirement benefits in his last State of the Union address.) It seems highly likely that cities and states will begin experimenting with some type of prorated, portable benefits program within the next year. Accordingly, it’s time to move beyond our rough outline and into more specifics of what a plan could and should look like—and why it’s so crucial for the future of American workers.

    OVER THE PAST FEW DECADES, corporate America has assiduously worked to sever the social contract that had formerly been the birthright of the Great American Middle Class. There was once an understanding that the benefits of growing labor productivity would be shared with the workers who created it. But while productivity has continued to rise, most of the profits over the past few decades have accrued to CEOs and their shareholders, while most of the disruption from the historic transformation of globalization, automation, and the financialization of the economy has been shouldered by workers and their families. And little has proven more disruptive than the transformation of the employment relationship between corporations and their workers—particularly low-wage workers.

    The direct employer-employee relationship assumed by U.S. labor law, a staple of our society for generations, is no longer the reality for 40 percent of American workers
    The direct employer-employee relationship assumed by U.S. labor law, a staple of our society for generations, is no longer the reality for 40 percent of American workers, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. These “contingent” workers have jobs that are temporary, irregular, or otherwise not expected to last. Whether they are driving for Uber, working multiple part-time jobs without a consistent schedule, or contracting for a labor intermediary, a growing number of workers don’t have a stable employment contract with the company (or companies) that pay them.

    Even workers who technically have a full-time job and receive a W2 increasingly do not work for the company that ultimately benefits from their work—but rather for an ever-shifting network of subcontracting companies.

    These pressures have been building for years, as David Weil’s study The Fissured Workplace makes clear. Over the past few decades, corporations have made a science of squeezing labor costs down to the bone. There’s been no one there to stop them: Where labor unions once had the power to hold the line on wages, today fewer than 7 percent of private-sector American workers are represented by a union. At the same time, technological advances in automation and communications have made it easier, and financialization has provided pressure, for companies to export jobs overseas, hire less-skilled contract workers, or eliminate the positions entirely.

    Even those jobs that remain have increasingly been low-wage service-sector work; the jobs that returned after the Great Recession were, on net, all low-wage. According to economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger, all of the net employment growth over the past decade has been in contingent work.

    These transformations have created a more rootless, desperate—and flexible—labor force. Workers could feel the effects of these changes in their lives, but until now there hasn’t been a focal point to galvanize public attention around these changes in the nature of work.

    Now we have a name: Uber. The powerful ride-sharing company has helped drive the creation of one particular form of the fissured workplace—the on-demand sector. Uber, Lyft, Handy, TaskRabbit, Postmates, Instacart, and an ever-evolving cast of smartphone application-based companies have built their sometimes-massive valuations (Uber’s is $66 billion) around a business model of providing customers the service, flexibility, and convenience they were often missing from more traditional competitors.

    On-demand companies have also built their fortunes on the insistence that the workers who provide these services are not employees, but rather independent contractors who are simply using their technical platforms to connect with customers. This strategy has allowed them to provide services that are powered by a large and highly flexible workforce, which is—in aggregate—ready to work at any time, for any amount of time. According to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, more than 4 percent of American workers received income from the on-demand platform economy between 2012 and 2015, a rate which increased 47-fold over that time. This growth rate makes platform work by far the fastest-growing sector of the economy, even exceeding the growth of home health care and software.

    Many labor advocates have found the contractor arrangements enshrined in the on-demand sector to be unfair and exploitative. By classifying workers as independent contractors, the companies evade the traditional responsibility of paying basic benefits like unemployment and Social Security taxes, complying with overtime provisions, or allowing collective-bargaining efforts. On-demand drivers are also not reimbursed for their gas, insurance, or car payments.

    Multiple lawsuits have charged these companies with “misclassifying” their workers as 1099 contractors instead of W2 employees, and have met with some success. Most experts believe that the companies exist in a legal gray zone that could easily turn into a serious liability problem. Drivers for the Lyft platform are most of the way to winning a class-action misclassification lawsuit against the company; U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria granted approval to a $27 million settlement for the workers, saying Lyft had “shortchanged” the drivers. The judge also called out the inherent difficulty in applying labor law to the on-demand economy, noting that “the jury in this case will be handed a square peg and asked to choose between two round holes.” A similar suit is being brought against Uber.

    Confronted with this litigation, on-demand companies would be providing further evidence that their contractors are actually employees if they were to pay their workers benefits or provide them with training. Attorneys in misclassification lawsuits against the on-demand companies can make a strong case that providing benefits indicates a traditional employer-employee relationship between the companies and the workers.

    It is important to note that worker classification is a legal issue, and not a choice to be made at the convenience of a company or industry. But without a legal mandate or industry-wide agreement for on-demand companies to provide workers with benefits, the companies aren’t willing to jeopardize their contractor-based business model, thereby finding themselves stuck with fewer options for recruiting, training, or retaining their workforce than their competitors enjoy.

    While a study by Intuit said most workers are “highly satisfied” with their on-demand jobs, many also protest that the companies treat them like contractors while trying to manage them like regular employees. Uber drivers, for example, are essentially required to abide by Uber’s “rules” for exactly which and how many fares they take—or risk being deactivated from the platform without warning.

    In a fissured, flexible world of work, do we give up on the American model of benefits tied to employment? Or innovate a new way to tie them together? When some worry that Uber is wrecking work, we need to remind ourselves, as The Economist wrote last year of the contingent workforce, “that the on-demand economy is not introducing the serpent of casual labour into the garden of full employment: it is exploiting an already casualised workforce in ways that will ameliorate some problems even as they aggravate others.”

    ALL OF WHICH LEADS US to our unexpected bargain: Portable benefits. By redefining work for the 21st century in this way, we will find a common ground between workers who can’t or don’t want to obtain a 40-hour workweek with a traditional employer, and employers who seek to reimagine the worker-employer contract. It offers workers and employers alike the certainty they require while still acknowledging the realities of a technology-driven economy.

    We need to put a structure in place that will raise standards for all contingent workers—including those who weren’t ever included in traditional labor law (notably, the domestic and agricultural workforce, explicitly excluded due to misogyny and racism). It’s time for a new safety net, with workers earning benefits that are

    • portable from job to job;

    • prorated by contributions from employers (for example, a $2-per-hour contribution); and

    • universally accessible by all workers.

    Portability ensures that benefits are not tied to any particular job or company, but that workers own their own benefits. Even if they work multiple jobs in a single day for multiple employers, benefits are pooled into a single account. A worker should be able to manage and maintain their benefits from year to year, and their protections should not depend on the app they currently have open.

    Proration means each company contributes to a worker’s benefits at a fixed rate depending on how much he or she works, or earns. Contributions from companies can be prorated by dollars earned, jobs done, or time worked. For example, if a person works an hour for a delivery company and an hour cleaning houses, both companies would contribute a predetermined amount toward that worker’s benefits on a per-hour basis, such as $1 for each hour worked. To increase their competitiveness in the labor market, companies could also choose to contribute more, or offer an expanded suite of portable benefits beyond the minimum requirements.

    And universality requires that benefits cover all workers, not just traditional W2 employees. If all companies are playing on the same level field, there is a lot less room for gamesmanship and creative avoidance of employment classification, and more certainty for both workers and companies about their rights and obligations. Any viable benefits system for the new economy must cover individuals working outside of a traditional employment relationship.

    A system of portable benefits would initially be tailored to the needs of contingent workers—especially on-demand workers, who are among the least protected—but could be extended outward to cover all workers below a certain benefits floor. And so it should, because the work of the future is much more likely to be a catch-as-catch-can, technologically mediated affair than a return to the union contracts of midcentury American industry.

    Shared Security Accounts could track a variety of benefits, including:

    • health insurance contributions

    • disability insurance

    • workers’ compensation insurance

    • unemployment insurance

    • retirement contributions

    • paid sick leave

    • paid vacation leave

    • paid family leave

    In terms of exactly how portable benefits are implemented, we should stress that this is a moment for a big “what” and a small “how.” We believe the system will provide the best outcomes if executed in certain ways, but it’s more important that cities and states quickly begin to experiment with how to implement portable benefits for their workforces.

    A state or municipal mandate, or industry-wide agreement, is more or less required to make this system work; anything less leaves loopholes for less scrupulous companies to exploit.
    That said, we propose that cities and states craft legislation that sets out the structure of the system, including a mandate for companies to pay into workers’ benefit accounts at prescribed rates. A state or municipal mandate, or industry-wide agreement, is more or less required to make this system work; anything less leaves loopholes for less scrupulous companies to exploit.

    We intentionally are not suggesting an initial push for national legislation, because, as the Fight for 15 and the path to legalized same-sex marriage have demonstrated, the real work of moving America forward in the 21st century has begun at the state and city level. It’s not just blue states moving forward, either: Arizona voters approved a statewide $12 minimum wage while also voting for Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. It’s obviously best to enact portable benefits at the state level to avoid tricky coverage issues (such as, for example, Lyft drivers taking fares into a neighboring city that does not support a portable benefits program). But where state leaders are unwilling to experiment, it must fall on the most forward-thinking cities to forge a path that others will surely follow.

    We believe that Shared Security Accounts would best be administered by nonprofit benefit providers whose qualifications are determined by criteria written into statute. We imagine that any number of existing nonprofit organizations, including unions, professional societies, civic groups such as the AARP, and credit unions will have a vested interest in competing in this space. These providers would have to legally agree to stringent conflict-of-interest rules ensuring that they operate with the best interests of beneficiaries in mind, and that they are insured to possess sufficient cash reserves to pay out the benefits that workers have already earned.

    The benefit providers will compete on an open exchange for the business of individual workers, who will choose the provider that offers the suite of benefits that most appeals to them. To take advantage of pooled insurance rates, however, benefits such as health insurance, disability insurance, and workers’ compensation should be mandatory.

    Once they pass the regulatory hurdles, these benefit providers will be accountable to workers as their customer base. If workers are not satisfied with the quality of their pension plans, they should be able to easily move their account to another provider on an annual open-enrollment basis, with all current benefits intact. This will ensure that providers will advocate for and efficiently provide the highest-quality package of benefits for their workers. Provider organizations could choose to contract with financial institutions and insurers as vendors, but we do not foresee that most of these stringently profit-driven companies will meet the necessary criteria to place beneficiaries’ interests before profits.

    In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post, Senator Mark Warner recognized that “[m]odern American capitalism is not working for many Americans,” and recommended that “we should be encouraging more innovation and experimentation around portable benefits—a 21st-century safety net tied to the individual, not the job.”

    How would qualifying organizations provide portable benefits that significantly match current offerings for W2 workers? Certain benefits are already available as products that would function well in a portable system, including health care and retirement plans. Some, such as disability insurance and workers’ compensation, are now virtually impossible to secure as an individual, and would require new products to be created by insurance companies or innovative startups. Others, such as paid leave, would need to be conceptualized from scratch as cash accounts or accruals that could be withdrawn as cash with the plan administrator’s approval.

    Obviously, Shared Security programs would not replace preexisting public benefits like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. In time, as local portable benefits plans establish themselves, it will become clearer how to thread national social safety-net programs—and more complex national issues that are currently in flux, like Obamacare—into a Shared Security program.

    Each worker will be provided with a Shared Security Account card or number, which they will then provide to each employer. Whether they work for one employer per week or a dozen, all their benefits—vacation time, sick time, retirement, health insurance contributions—land instantly in a single, easy-to-manage account. We imagine that workers will be able to access their benefit options through an online portal that helps to guide them through their choice of provider, benefit types, contribution and withdrawal options, and more.

    Benefit providers can resolve the portability and universality problems of a portable benefits system, but what about proration? How much would this amount total for each hour worked?

    Our internal analysis of the cost of providing basic benefits in Washington state yielded an average figure of between $1.68 and $3.54 per hour, depending on the worker’s age and occupation. This calculation includes the cost of the most critical social safety-net components, in our opinion: Sick leave; workers’ compensation insurance, offered by the state of Washington; and 60 percent of the most inexpensive bronze-level health-care plan on the Affordable Care Act exchange. (Our sick leave calculation is based on the City of Seattle’s innovative paid sick leave legislation, which requires that large employers fund one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours an employee works.)

    Another metric comes from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which estimated last year that employers save about 20 percent on their total payroll costs by shifting workers from W2 employment to 1099 employment. That works out to $3.61 per hour for employees earning a $15 hourly wage, and includes the cost of unemployment insurance, payroll taxes, and $2.27 per hour in Affordable Care Act penalties for uncovered employees.

    No matter what the magic number is, it’s important to remember that the established amount of deposit for portable benefits accounts is a floor, not a ceiling. While many present-day low-wage employers will undoubtedly pay the bare minimum in benefits, many other employers—those who prefer to invest in a long-term high-quality workforce—can offer better benefits like higher 401(k) pay-ins and higher-quality health insurance to desirable employees.

    Depending on the specific legislation passed by each state or municipality, the Shared Security System would likely begin with 1099 contractors and then circle outward to more traditional employees. There are currently a variety of limitations on state or local changes to retirement and health coverage requirements for W2 employees. We also believe that it makes sense to bring contingent workers closer to parity with traditional W2 workers as a first step, as contingent workers usually lack employer contributions for Social Security and Medicare, health insurance mandated under the Affordable Care Act, paid sick leave in states that require it, workers’ compensation, and other crucial benefits. However, in the long run we would like to see a mandated benefits floor that applied to every worker, to reduce the games that companies play with worker classification and ensure that workers are treated equally under the law, no matter their job or sector.

    Basic benefits are critically important for American workers, but benefits on their own are meaningless without setting an enforceable floor for the minimum labor standards that all employers must meet, including:

    Paid leave. Employers will be legally obligated to provide time off to use the leave benefits accrued in portable benefits accounts, without intimidation or retaliation.

    Livable minimum wage. The federal minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour and indexed to inflation.

    Anti-discrimination and worker protections. The federal government should pursue policies that create real wage parity between women and men and properly enforce anti-discrimination provisions. Reasonable health and safety standards should be enforced regardless of workplace or worker classification.

    Health insurance. Obviously, the federal government also needs to improve health-care policy to the point where every American, regardless of employment, has health insurance. Single-payer health insurance by a government or government-related source would help to resolve issues around the skyrocketing costs of care in the United States and provide true universal access.

    For now, we incorporate health insurance into our model because it has historically been tied to employment for U.S. workers.

    WE’VE ALREADY SEEN SOME motion on portable benefits. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, has prompted the federal government to collect more information about the on-demand economy. In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post, Warner recognized that “[m]odern American capitalism is not working for many Americans,” and recommended that “we should be encouraging more innovation and experimentation around portable benefits—a 21st-century safety net tied to the individual, not the job.”

    The Republican Party also included a provision in their 2016 party platform that said changes in technology and the workplace mean that employees need “portability in pension plans and health insurance.”

    Another leader on the effort has been Senator Elizabeth Warren. “For many,” Warren said in a speech at the New America annual conference in 2016,

    … the gig economy is simply the next step in a losing effort to build some economic security in a world where all the benefits are floating to the top 10 percent. … Workers deserve a level playing field and some basic protections, no matter who they work for, where they work, or how the law classifies them. They deserve a strong safety net, dependable benefits, and the chance to bargain over their working conditions—that’s the basic deal. And that’s the deal that is necessary to restore a strong and sustainable American middle class.

    Hillary Clinton also enshrined the concept in her presidential platform, noting that “as the nature of work in America changes, the government must do all that it can to update the safety net and ensure that benefits are flexible, portable, and comprehensive.”

    Critics of this idea argue that prorating benefits and tracking hours will be difficult. Yet Starbucks utilizes scheduling software that can plan a shop’s schedule months in advance down to the last second, while freelancers have access to powerful software like Harvest that easily allows them to track a complex set of tasks for a variety of employers.

    Strong economies are completely compatible with high wages and labor standards
    Then there are those who argue that paying a living wage and benefits is impossible. But if you think that’s impossible, imagine running a business with no paying customers; a modern economy can only thrive when all participants are able to be consumers. Strong economies are completely compatible with high wages and labor standards—the minimum wage in Australia is $17.70 an hour, while fast-food workers make a minimum of $20 an hour in Denmark, and the average autoworker in Germany made more than $67 per hour including salary and benefits, nearly twice the $34 average in the United States.

    Others charge that this plan will only encourage automation. We say, try selling burgers to your burger-flipping robots.

    Finally, there are those who claim that the old employment agreement is the only way forward. But we must reluctantly admit that the old employment contract of the 20th century isn’t coming back.

    One argument that few dispute, regardless of party affiliation, is that the current social contract between companies and workers isn’t working. Inequality is rising, growth is not where it should be, populist unrest is increasing. Clinging to a system of labor laws that originated out of the Great Depression—built for an industrial economy that no longer exists—is not a viable strategy.

    Most policy experts believe that something like a Shared Security System is coming. Some pilot programs will be sketched out as early as 2017 by state and local governments. The only question is how we build this system. Do we choose to create a system that gives outsize power to large employers, casting a century of labor standards to the dustbin of history? Do we attempt to regulate new-economy employers into behaving as though they’re the factories of the mid-20th century? Neither path works. Instead, we must create a system that benefits both employers and employees.

    The Shared Security System balances the needs of workers and employers because those needs are not, and have never been, at odds. The trickle-down economics story, which pits owners against workers as parasites who suck profits dry, is a fact-free caricature. Employees are not regrettable expenses to be strip-mined and cast aside; they are problem-solvers, teammates, brand ambassadors—and they are customers, too.

    In the proposal we’ve outlined, government does what it does best—establishes a floor of basic rights and standards on which businesses can innovate—and in so doing creates a civic infrastructure for benefit providers to advocate for their workers. It also removes the complex burden for employers to manage benefits, an ill-fitting relationship born out of necessity almost a hundred years ago.

    Many have told us that this concept reimagines too much of the contract of American work. But if the election of Donald Trump does nothing else, it should inspire progressives to think bigger than just tinkering with decades-old social programs ill-fitted to our modern economy. Progressives must create and promote new, nimble programs that help America to evolve as a nation and an economy. Our goal is not to make America great again; it is to make America better than ever as we transition into a dynamic 21st-century economy.


    With an ETIC (Earned Tax Income Credit) similar to that of the US and the incoming universal ID scheme of the government, I can see an opportunity for constructing the foundations for a 21st century social democracy (or less elegantly: a welfare state) in the Philippines.

    • edgar lores says:

      Shared Security System?

      Aspects of this system is a reality and have already been implemented in Oz in its superannuation scheme. In the Philippines, it has been conceptualized as the PERA system.

      Refer to Karl’s and my comments in this thread:


      The “super” system is effectively better than PERA in that it is compulsory for employers to contribute to the employees’ fund.

      Some of the features mentioned are not within the scope of the super system — such as unemployment insurance, paid sick/vacation/family leave — as these are part of the existing employer and government benefits.

      Super and PERA are effectively private retirement fund programs. In Oz, it does not replace — it supplements — the government aged pension scheme. Adding all those nice-to-have features detracts from the main purpose of the scheme. However, there are certain situations where it is permissible to access and make use of the funds, in part or in whole, before one’s retirement.

    • There is already a set of agreements within the EU that mutually recognize social security paid into different systems, although I think it is still highly complex in practice.

      Social Democrats tried to push for an EU Social Charter but have failed until now. Possibly the anti-Socialist reflexes of Eastern Europe play a role. Some of those countries abolished nearly all communist-era benefits including medical insurance (!) – making many very poor.

      As for temp work, the elegant solution in Germany was to force employers to fully pay the Social Security for so-called 450 Euro a month jobs. Pragmatic SocDems who made that law knew that you cannot control businessmen through conscience, only via rules and money.

  12. josephivo says:

    Protection from algorithm that are optimized for retention and leading to addiction.

    Google, Facebook, YouTube… are organized around algorithms that have to keep us as long as possible on their sites because their income is directly related to it. And these algorithms are extremely performant, so good that most of the internet users became addicted to the mass of information/entertainment provided. It locked us up in echo-chambers, created new tribes with rituals and heroes, made us consume spoon sized quantities of communication. The hours we spent behind screens are not spent at anything else. The little real social interactions, exercise or creative work we still do are all performed with a selfie or Twitter message in mind.

    Up-to-date politicians understand how to “play” this new type of addiction that is much more destructive to society than the old drugs.

  13. chemrock says:

    Men are social animals that need to live within communities. The industrial revolution and division of labour imprisoned us to a life of interdependence. For a society to function we needed an organisational structure to manage us. The government is basically a management agency. Ever since men came out of the jungles and form nations, the human history has been one ongoing experiment of political systems. We have seen mass migrations along the political spectrum played out over and over again. (NHerrera’s wave amplitudes)

    Move to left for big goverments and more controls, or to the right for small governments and complete freedom. Take your pick.

    The question is, do we as a people decide for ourselves which direction to go, or is it up to the management agency? A democratic society allows us as a people to make that decide through our votes. Thus as individuals, we must have the responsibility to vote for those that we think will carry us to the direction we prefer. It also means candidates and political parties must have party ideologies so we know which is the direction they are moving. Sadly, Philippines are deficient in both critical requirements.

    A big part of government responsibilities is about ‘protection’ as per Popoy, or ‘security’ as per Edgar. Popoy alluded to ‘protection’ as covering a larger field, Egar’s ‘security’ is confined to that of the physical. The govt ought to provide ‘protection’ or ‘security’ not just in law and order and national defence services. We also look to the govt for the security of food ( in the wider sense, means the economy) and the security from environment (natural calamities, diseases, sickness etc).

    Back in the good old days (way back before Marcos time), when human societies were not so complex, Confucius expounded on getting back to basics for a good social contract. He cited 3 basic pillars :
    1. Individual responsibilities
    2. Military equipment
    3. Govt must have people’s trust.

    Individual responsibilities basically refers to knowing one’s position in life, propriety, ethics, respect for others and authority etc. More or less the Ayn Rand quotation cited by Popoy. In today’s language we would say the individual must vote wisely.

    Military equipment would refer to the law and order apparatus of today. The hardware and software for law and order and national defence. It should cover the PNP, AFP, the legislature and the judiciary systems.

    As to govt trust, that’s self-explanatory. It’s all about the executive branch.

    As we reflect on what Confucius say, the 3 pillars are missing in the Philippines of today. With the POP’s (as in POTUS) pivot to China, one wishes he learns from Confucius rather than Emperor Xi.

    • I wish your statement could be liquefied and injected into that part of the brain that carries wisdom and the part that carries conscience for every adult Filipino (and American while we are at it).

    • edgar lores says:

      Terrific. Three points: two minor and one major.

      1. Minor 1. It is true my initial post confined security to the physical. However, I qualified it as “basic” and not “only.”

      1.1. My post of December 30, 2017, at 7:24 am elaborated on security and extended it from the body to the soul… but not to the spirit.

      2. Minor 2. I was at first disconcerted that fascism appears on the extreme left of the political spectrum diagram. In the more conventional (?) depiction of the spectrum, fascism appears on the extreme right. I now see that the axis is from “total control” to “none.”

      2.1. In the “conventional spectrum,” the axis is from “collectivism” to “individualism.”

      2.2. Perhaps we should be using the two-dimensional diagram rather than the one-dimensional one?

      3. Major 1. Perhaps we can improve on Confucius? Certainly, there can be more than 3 pillars, such as the separation of powers, social justice, and the institutionalization of controls on corruption. But if we were to limit ourselves to 3, I have no quarrel with Confucius’ first 2.

      3.1. Military equipment would equate with physical security.

      3.2. Individual responsibilities, although in Confucian times this would be the responsibilities attached to one’s role in the family and social hierarchy, this can be equated, as suggested, to modern notions of active citizen participation in the life of the community. It would also imply the prerequisites of individual rights and freedom. I would emphasize critical thinking to the level that each citizen is capable of.

      3.3. The third pillar is a question mark to me. POTP (or POP) holds the people’s trust if survey results are to be believed. I would replace this pillar with the Rule of Law. I would qualify that with the rule of humane or just law because, if unqualified, it can refer to the tyrant’s law.

      • chemrock says:

        I agree with you the left-right linear representation of the political spectrum can be confusing at times. 2-dimensional representation has it’s advantages. We can see that Duts is right at the top, left inclined.

        Confucius’ 3 pillars need to be expanded in today’s complex world. But remember, we just want to bring it down to basics so that it’s better understood. At the individual level, I totally agree with your 3.2.

        The 3rd pillar of trust I meant it to be people’s trust in the govt. Like we trust the govt to protect the constitution and the sovereignty of the country, we trust the govt will do what’s right for the people’s interest (for the majority and respecting the minority). We trust the govt to fill it’s ranks with competent executives with moral compasses. We trust the govt to pursue policies and action frameworks with the view to creating a better living environment for all of us. We trust our govt to hold a mature worldview and act in manners conducive maintaining international relationships for we live in inter-connected communities. By all counts, the admin has failed miserably. All those with open and clear thinking minds are similarly perplexed just as you as to the SWS results on the people’s trust in the president. I posit that the SWS unbelievable result is due to the people’s understanding, or rather, non-understanding, of the very subject matter of the survey — what is the meaning of TRUST. A crook will trust another crook, a murderer will trust another murderer, a plunderer will trust another plunderer. It’s all very subjective. By this count then, is it fair to conclude a high level of the general population is tainted?

  14. Happy New Year to all… and hope it is better than this one… in parts of Bavaria they say if one is on the way down into the basement, one should at the latest turn back on the last step before the bottom is reached – hope it doesn’t get that far or even reach the point of no return..


    …The year 2017 has no doubt been tiring and frustrating – it seems to have brought out the worst in some among us.

    Criticisms, threats, and ad hominem attacks polluted the already toxic air of 2017, with some of the attacks even initiated and led by appointees to government posts. At the receiving end were independent institutions and media, along with democracy and human rights advocates.

    The year 2017 has been a period of decline in many ways – we saw the decline of peace, human rights and respect for human life, check and balance, democracy, independence and sovereignty…

    • Happy New Year, Irineo. Thanks for bringing so many great insights to readers this past year. Forward! Upward!

    • chemrock says:

      Happy New Year Irineo.
      This countdown clock is in line with your sentiments. 2017 was the year of the bullies.If history has taught us one thing, their lights won’t last long. Just like the bully in the class, it’s a matter of time they get a black eye.

      Philippines has been very good to me and I wish the good people in these islands will find their way back to sanity in 2018.

      I wish every one here in TSOH a very happy new year. Let the hands of time sweep away all the ills of 2017 and may the light shine on all your dreams for the old country. And to Popoy in Canada, who has to contend with the terrible cold, keep warm my friend.

  15. From Popoy, who is unable to post directly. A nice close to the year.

    Happy New Year to all !


    December 31, 2017 5: 28 am ON, Canada

    Hi Joe Am

    In less than 24 hours as I write this it will be Older Year 2018.

    Because a few TSoH guros (not the world’s gurus) said they
    Need to re-read my blog a few times to get it,
    I did so this time for what you thought was a wise one?
    And lo, behold and awed was I by their comments,
    My neurons just burst with Christmas lights each
    A cluster of Chemrock, Micha (in Tagalog the part of a candle
    Where you apply the lighted match), N Ach este NH,
    Karlyo este Karl, Ireneo, Edgar, hurting Sabtang, josephivo,sup, . .
    Eureka these guys I thought raised the level of discourse
    To an abstraction unclimbed by the minds
    Of petty thieves who steal pennies and billions,
    That could harm millions.
    It felt like, at least almost I was time transported
    To the Lyceum of Old Greece where these Chemrock et al
    Was like students standing like Senators trying hard
    To show the gallery the Socratic Method in action.
    Re-reading the piece and comments triggered
    A rewind to the days of EST, of Timothy Leary,
    Of the flower people.


    p.s. habol

    that’s how popoy’s mind flies
    like an albatross in the open seas
    with no lands and trees
    to alight and rest
    must open one’s wings
    and ride the ocean waves
    till a ship cruise close by
    to land and die by accident
    on its deck.

  16. edgar lores says:

    Happy New Year to All!

  17. chemrock says:

    I guess I’m the only one having good wifi connection. Here’s some encouraging news. It may be a sign of the times as we into 2018. There is widespread violent demonstration goin on in Iran. It’s much more widespread than the 2009 unrest. Not just in Tehran but in the holy cty of Ohm also.

    The demonstration is frustration over a sputtering economy, endemic corruption, bread and petrol issues. It just goes too show the massa can only take so much. If those nincompoots in high office in Philippines think the country is theirs for the picking, they should read the Iranian uprising as an omen.

  18. Thea says:

    A hopeful 2018 to all!

  19. I just caught Fareed Zakaria on CNN this morning interviewing Harold Evans in which Evans compared Trump’s use of direct language when he wants to be clear and concise, ie. “Stop immigration!” ; “Build the wall!” as very effective, and

    his obfuscating style of talk when speaking of say Climate Change when he doesn’t wanna be clear, in which he always equates weather and climate as if they are the same, as more effective rendering Trump a clear & present threat.

    It was an interesting interview, now I’ve ordered Evans’ book in the library (I hope you guys get your copy too) looking forward to reading it and hope my posts on here will be as forceful and/or obfuscating as Trump’s in the coming year, and make Harold Evans proud.

    Happy New Year , everyone!!! 2018 will be a great year, just as 2017 was, so too 2016, 2015, 2014, etc. and the year before that, to whenever they started counting days and years, before Gregorian and Julian calendars, probably before lunar ones where we waited for Full moons to New moons and back again, before we noticed the seasons…

    But my point is, 2018 will be great — just as previous years have been.

    • I agree Trump is a master of simple or obscuring tweets, but they are manipulative and offensive for being unfair and punitive, or deceitful. Ours is a world of games, manipulating minds and playing power games rather than being simple, honest, and forthright. We need to unlearn these tricks and get back to being understanding and sincere.

  20. isk says:

    To Mr. JoeAm, if you kindly delete the above video link. Thanks.

  21. Bill In Oz says:

    If the Philippines really wants to do something ( anything ? ) to make life better, getting rid of Dengue Fever is it. I notice that the previous Filipino government chose to go the expensive vaccine route. And people ( kids ! ) died from the vaccine.

    Getting rid of dengue is dead bloody simple to do. Ad not political at all…Just a bit of clever science and so practical !


    I will carefully tip toe out again Joe.

    • chemrock says:

      Happy new year Bill , and welcome back. The dengvaxia mess needs to be sorted out, but in today’s toxic polarised Philippines, it’s impossible to have any impartial investigation. There’s probably a mix of impropriety and wrong judgement calls. One needs to be persecuted, the other needs a compassionate understanding of the circumstances.

      • “I will carefully tip toe out again Joe.”

        Don’t be a drama queen, Bill… stay awhile. Joe can be a little mean sometime, but he’s not like that every time. No need to tuck tail and leave every time he’s mean, Bill.

        HAPPY NEW YEAR, by the way! 😉

        As for mosquitoes and dengue, well we don’t have dengue/malaria here , but when mosquitoes are feared it’s due to West Nile virus ( which I’m sure is less dangerous and claims far fewer lives than say vehicular accidents here, guns and cancer inducing foods over here) , but we have these guys (I think at the county level) called Vector Control ,

        essentially controlling rodents, insects and other carriers of diseases. I’m not sure if the Philippines has something akin to Vector Control , but i’ve seen in some provinces, small towns, to cities, to as low as barangay level , employ street sweepers. Maybe use them as Vector Control.

        If Philippine gas stations can be over-manned with 20 attendants , I’m sure you can get an army of folks just looking for standing water, disabling mosquitoes ability to reproduce,

        then more trained folks for insecticide.

        How about mosquito eating fish,

    • Happy new year, Bill. To my knowledge, no one has died from the vaccine. One case is getting close examination. The child who died had other health problems. Dengue cases are down significantly, I believe. I’d refer you to Irineo’s blog for a stastical look at the vaccine.

      • I don’t have any stats yet on dengue incidence since the vaccinations started. Any links in that direction would be interesting. There is NO evidence at all of any death from the vaccine.

        The suspicion being engendered towards the vaccine is so typical for the anti-science mindset of the Duterte administration, which also defunded Project NOAH as “unneeded”. The result is hundreds of casualties while the last typhoons with NOAH had near to zero deaths.

        • That reminds me, I want to do an article about Noah. We just emerged from another storm this morning. It’s a way of life in the Philippines, and to CUT resources when climate change is pounding the nation is a major head-scratcher.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Happy New Year Bill!
      Hope you tip toe back in again.

  22. After months of obervation:


    Concluded that the Filipino subscribers in that FB Page is full of questionable levels of intelligence.

    This only happens whenever anything Political or Conspiracy shows up, then they act like they know better than History, because “it’s their country” – By basing their “facts” from this:


    Be warned, wherever you expose a fault in their facts, they will lose their mind & start going personal at you.

    You will see this when we reach February 22-25.

  23. Bill In Oz says:

    Simplifying a situation..
    1 – Dengue Fever is endemic in the Philippines
    2- Mostly it affects children
    3 – It is caused by a virus,
    4 – The virus is spread by mosquitoes when female mosquitoes bite to feed on blood
    5 – Mosquitoes infected with a bacteria called Wollachia, block infection with dengue virus.
    6 – It up-regulates the mosquito’s own immune system & ‘ reduces the capacity for the virus to replicate in the mosquitoes’
    7 – Wallachia bacteria are spread by sexual transmission between mosquitoes. So once introduced in the local mosquito population it will spread naturally until the whole population is infected with the Wallachia bacteria
    8 – This is not politics. It is simple Healthy Science.

    By the way Dengue Fever is not endemic in Australia. It is brought in by visitors who have the virus in their blood already. These visitors infect the mosquitoes and the mosquitoes then bite other people & so spread it here..

    It is your kids and grand kids who are suffering and sometimes dying from Dengue Fever. And it is you who also have to pay the medical & hospital expenses.

    Karl, surely this is an issue which your boss the senator could speak out about ?

    • Sup says:

      They choose to use it after the WHO did approve it….
      There will be more dying from dengue if not injected.
      Like Joeam said, the few deaths are probably not related to the vaccine but pre existing conditions but the parents are smelling money now…
      The same parents who don’t clean the canals, removing stand still water from old tires and so on…

    • karlgarcia says:

      Happy New Year to all, once more.

      Hi Bill.

      A lawyer from the office of Senator Trillanes suggested people to file a class suit.


      Lawyer urges parents to file class suit
      As this developed, a prominent lawyer yesterday urged parents of pupils who got anti-dengue shots to file a class suit against Sanofi and government officials responsible for the vaccination program.
      In an interview with The STAR, Ernesto Francisco, who is also the legal counsel of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, said Sanofi and the officials should also be made to put up a trust fund for the vaccinated Filipino children.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Karl surely you can see that the only folk who make money from law suits are lawyers.. And the kids keep on getting dengue – or is it dengue vaccination disease ?

        Suggest Senator Trillanes read the Health Report transcript on what some nifty science has done in Oz….

        Whisper it.to him softly because there’s no money to be made from introducing the Wallachia bacteria into mosquitoes in the Philippines….No money at all for the pharmaceutical companies , nor the doctors, nor the hospitals, nor the lawyers…

        But kids stop getting sick…And that’s good eh ?

        • karlgarcia says:

          His staff reads the blog and sometimes, he does too.

        • karlgarcia says:

          ps. there has been known succesful class suit in the philppines so far.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Ahhhh well Karl….
              I hope all here are well or becoming well. Certainly I am and so is my lovely wife.
              Occasionally I drop back here to see what’s happening. Most;y it seems to be just the same old same old about the appalling state of politics in the Philippines. All stuff which I cannot do anything about. So better to stay away from it.

              The issue of Dengue fever though is a health one. When my lady was a nurse at the pediatrics ward of Chinese General hospital, at times mot of her young patients were infected with dengue fever. And most recovered

              But of course these are kids from comparatively well off families in Manila. Poor families do not have that option.

              So when I saw the transcript of that discussion last Monday of the progress made in Australia to prevent mosqitoes from spreading the disease by infecting the mosquities with the Wallachia bacteria, I thought WOW !!!

              Here’s something that is adopted by the Philippines Health Department could cheaply ( so god dam cheaply ) deal with the problem completely & forever !

              So I lobbed that information in here with my comments.

              But reviewing the comments since, no one has taken it up. Folks are too interested in the legal side of the dengue fever vaccine….

              Now there is Dengue in Malaysia, Thailand Vietnam, China etc. I wonder if their health departments are aware of this scientific research..

              But it seems no one is here..

              So I will bid thee all adieu again.

              • chemrock says:

                Bill, this is using one pathogen against another pathogen. In this case it is using bacteria (Wolbachia) vs the dengue virus. It is weaponising the mosquitoes and I think it is still laboratory stage in Aussie. But it does seem interesting, particularly as if may also be used vs Zika, yellow fever, chikugunya and malaria. I’m sure the scientific world is watching.

              • karlgarcia says:

                For now Bill, bye for now.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                The program was started in Cairns in Queensland in 2015. Carns has a population of 150,000 people.
                As of June 2017 there were 2 cases of Denge Fever in the previous 12 months. Scott Ritchie he program organiser who actually lives in Cairns says this in the transcript :

                “this has been the lowest I’ve ever seen it in all my years of being here. It has just almost disappeared. I think we’ve had two cases of dengue in Cairns this year. And so far we haven’t had any locally acquired dengue in areas where Wolbachia has been established.”

                The two cases he mentions happened in visitors who got with Dengue some where else.

                Cairns is like Boracay with huge visitor numbers from overseas & Australia every year…over a million every year from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, etc….

                And that I suggest gives the Philippines yet another big incentive for introducing this program. It makes it safer for tourists.

              • karlgarcia says:

                If ever you return write about Dengue’s health side, and you said you are tesearching about aging, all of us will age, so that will be a good read. They are Not about politics, so I hope you consider.

              • chemrock says:

                Bill, Cairns make sense. Its climate is like equatorial am i right? Been there once 1990s. Can’t recall mosquito problems. But lots of huge houseflies.

                Yeah I agree worth looking into the Aussie experience. Any official info like I can relay to our guys in Spore?

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Chemrock, Wikipedia says about Cairns :
                “Cairns experiences a tropical climate, specifically a tropical monsoon climate (Am) under the Köppen climate classification.[17][18] A wet season with heavy monsoonal downpours runs from November to May, with a relatively dry season from June to October, though light showers can occur during this period.[19] Cairns’ mean annual rainfall is just over 2,000 millimetres (79 in), although monthly totals in the wet season (Dec-Mar) can exceed 1,000 mm (39 in), with the highest rainfall being recorded in any month in January 1981, when over 1,417.4 mm (55.80 in) of rain fell.”

                The huge tourist industry exists because of the “Great Barrier Reef” offshore. And with increasing numbers of tourists from South East Asian countries, infected already with Dengue virus, and spreading the virus, the disease numbers should be increasing. Instead they have dropped to zero for Cairns locals and just 2 for folks from elsewhere…

                I wonder if the Walbachia bacteria is passed on to humans when bitten by mosquitoes, and also reduces the ‘vigor’ of dengue virus in humans. And so also lessons the Degue Fever rate this way as well

              • chemrock says:

                Bill, you got me curious about Wolbachia so I do some read up. It’s interesting and yet scary. By all counts, the statistics show success in Cairns, but I think the science is not as yet absolutely established.

                Wolbachia is a bacteria inherently in 67% of all insects, so mosquitoes, a big part of them, have this bacteria already in them.

                Wolbachia in the female insect causes :
                1. Cytoplasmic incompatibility — sperms and eggs cannot form offsprins.
                2. Parthenogenesis — mothers clone daughters (virgin birth).
                3. Outright killing of male offsprings.
                4. Male to female sex change.

                So in this way, you are right. The mosquitos will be terminated if eventually all females are infected with Wolbachia. I’m never comfortable with this type of scenario because we are playing God. Who knows what nightmarish chain of events follows. Less mosquitoes mean less frogs, less frogs mean less snakes, etc etc.. The ecosystem turns upside down.

                Your million $ question — can Wolbachia infect humans? Imagine if it can and the same threat of extinction to humans. This Orsen Wells scenario is technically possible. Bacterias are also evolutionary and it may just happen.

                In 2000 there were rumours of virgin births in West Africa. The Centre of Disease Control sent a team to investigate the rumour. The team concluded the events were real. Investigations revealed Wolbachia had infected the mothers. In virgin births, the femal offspring is a genetic replicate of the mother. Parthenogenesis had indeed taken place when the women got infected with Wolbachia. Remember, parthenogenesis is natural in some plants as well as invertebrates.

                Because of the Orsen Wells scenario, scientist worry about the use of Wolbachia by terrorists to use it as weapon of mass destruction, dictators intent on racial cleansing, or mad scientists out to save the world from over-population.

                Please keep Wolbachia out of the hands of Lance.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                The Singapore NEA has this to say about Walbachia Chemrock

                ” Wolbachia Is SAFE

                NEA has conducted a comprehensive risk assessment of Wolbachia technology and has determined it to be safe, with no risk to human health and insignificant risk to ecology. The conclusion is consistent with other international findings. NEA’s long evaluation process involved critical reviews of existing knowledge and research, and consultations with various overseas and local experts, and stakeholders such as academic researchers, medical and healthcare professionals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

                For further reassurance, we have appointed a research company to conduct an independent assessment to identify any potential secondary environmental and social impact that may arise. The outcome is consolidated as follows.
                Wolbachia CANNOT survive in the environment outside insect hosts
                Wolbachia can only survive inside insect cells and does not persist in the outside environment.
                When the host insect dies, Wolbachia degrades together with the host’s body and the residue will be no different from natural organic matter found in the environment.

                Wolbachia DOES NOT harm humans or animals
                Humans and animals have been exposed to Wolbachia through contact with insects, and consumption of insects and foodstuff that have frequent contact with insects (e.g. fruits). Wolbachia from insects has not caused harm to humans or animals that are exposed to them.

                Wolbachia CANNOT be transferred through a mosquito bite”

                I am a bit dubious about parthengenic births in West Africa circa 2000.Not exactly an area with history of reliable science or population studies.

              • chemrock says:

                Thanks Bill. But it’s just me, fearful of all these drugs and sciences. I avoid taking all those anti-flu jabs.

                Despite NEA’s pronouncements, I hesitate to take all in.

                Wolbachia does not like the tropical gametes of mamals, thats why science thinks it won’t infect humans. Also it can be easily eliminated by anti-biotics. But all these are in laboratory environments. Who knows what can happen outside.

                Laboratory pronouncements and real world experiences are different.

                Horizonal gene transfer capabilities of Wolbachia has been studied. This means it can mutate when it’s genes contact the host’s genetic material. A genetically
                modified Wolbachia, sticking to a virulent airborne form of sinus bacteria could cause a
                severe epidemic among humans.

                Call me a doubting Thomas, but I’m scared of these type of engineering.

              • chemrock says:

                Bill, you may well be right the Wolbachia is the answer to dengue problems in Philippines. But in today’s political environment, particularly with the knives out for those involved with Dengvacia, nobody’s going to take the initiative.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Chemrock, I just read that releases of Walbachia infected mosquitoes have already been done in Florida and California in the USA to get rid of Dengue Fever…And Malaysia is also interested.

                I suggest that the costs of the vaccination program were high.. The per capita costs of a program to release Walbachia infected mosquitoes would be very, very low. But there are lots of islands in the Philippines. It would be easy to trial it on one island…

              • “Please keep Wolbachia out of the hands of Lance.”

                Now i’m curious about this Wolbachia stuff, it is right up there with culling to save mother earth, Soylent Green, population control (although I still prefer my way) , etc. etc.

                I’m a big fan of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”,

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Lance i think he’s having a lean on you…

                And anyway, your in the colder bit of the US so no dengue mosquitoes and no Wabachia either.. They are strictly tropical species….Snow ice, cold winds and blizzards are not to their taste..

  24. Bill In Oz says:

    Karl, your comment is timely. Thanks for the invitation to comment about it. I turned 70 in November. So this is an issue close to my heart.

    Aging is programmed in our genes by mother nature. ( I wish I could underline that last sentence, or maybe ‘caps lock’ it..But there is no need to shout. )

    Putting it another way : “We are all programmed to age & die”. Even Dutters himself ( who is 74 I think ) and who is loathed so much by folks commentating or writing here. In fact there is a high probability of him dying of aging or suffering a heart attack or stroke or becoming senile, during his 6 year presidency, is pretty high. And that has political implications but I do not want to get into that.

    Getting back to ‘aging’ : I don’t really believe in a creator god much these days. But “programmed aging” implies that God makes sure we all die. Thanks god !!

    Moving on again, ( as I do not want to get into religion either ), there are things we can do to delay aging.
    1 : Stay fit and trim or lose the visceral fat- the fat around our waists. This fat especially causes inflammation and chronic inflammation accelerates aging. I speak from personal experience here. My weight increased by 12 kg during 2015-2016. And I got quite physically weak. I have turned that around by going to the gym regularly, and losing those 12 kgs. I am almost back to my old normal weight of 85 kg.

    2 Eat well : stay away from high sugary foods & drinks like cakes, Sprite and Coke. And don’t eat food cooked with industrial seed oil fats.For you folks in the Philippines coconut il is hugely better than canola, sunflower, corn or cotton seed oil. These all increase inflammation and aging.
    There is a also a huge debate running world wide about white flour and high carb foods generally.There is a Paleo movement to eliminate carbs entirely from the diet.This means no rice, no breads, no pasta, no potatoes, no sweet potatoes. I think that this is very extreme. So I still enjoy some carbs. But each of us is different. What works for me may not be good for you.

    3: The programmed aging works by reducing the body’s ability to heal itself. Every day our bodies suffer minor injuries most of which we do not notice as the repair process is automatic. This capacity declines as the body gets older. Some scientists have looked at this process deeper and worked out what is going on.

    The repair process needs minerals and vitamins and various hormones to work well : For example Vitamins D3 & K2 are needed for bone maintenance and repair. Without them our bones get brittle and after a while we have osteoporosis. Then a minor fall and we break bones and they will not heal. Lots of old folks die from osteoporosis.

    Usually D3 is generated in the skin ( from Cholesterol !! ) when we are in the sun. But the skin as we age the skin gradually loses this capacity.to make D3. Solution take D3 capsules. I take a 10,000 IU capsule every day. Vitamin K2 is present in some fermented foods like fermented cheeses and a horrible Japanese delicacy named Natto. I like cheese but I also take a Vitamin K2 capsule each day. I also take a vitamin E capsule every day and lots of Vitamin C. I also take some melatonin supplement at night to sleep deep & well.

    By the way lots of folks take Calcium tablets to prevent osteoporosis. It does not work and in fact is usually counterproductive. We do usually get enough Calcium in our food. Additional calcium without extra D3 & K2, will be used in making calcium plaque in the arteries and so help bring on cardio vascular disease and heart attacks. Another feature of our wonderful genetic aging program.

    Minerals like Magnesium and Potassium are crucial and often deficient in the diet when folks are eating the Standard American diet. And older bodies have a reduced capacity to use these minerals in our foods. ( Programmed aging again; nature does really want us dead ! ) So I take Magnesium citrate & Potassium bicarbonate capsule each day. ( There are lots of Magnesium Oxide tablets available for sale. Do not take them. Unless you have constipation. And even then only for a short time. )
    There is lots more could be written but I have not the time. But here is something I learned recently. People who live in areas of the world where Lithium is present at low levels in the water supply, have a much lower rate of dementia than places where there is no Lithium.

    Why ? I have no idea. Lithium is usually present in water from volcanic areas of the world. But there are no volcanoes in Australia. And Lithium Orotate is available real cheap as a 5 mg capsule supplement capsule. I prize my capacity to think and remember. So I take a 5 mg capsule every couple of days.

    Hope that this is interesting and useful Karl.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks Bill,
      I recall before that you were/are researching in the aging process.
      Many thanks, Bill.
      In the Philippines, many still take care of their old parents, and I think that is where I am going wiith my dad being 80 and my mom 76.
      Again, Thanks.

      We can talk about non-political and non-religious topics as long as we do not disturb or hi-jack the discussion.

      • All posts now are open discussion, if relevant to the Philippines.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Good luck with your parents.
        Preventing osteoporosis is a major key to good health. So D3 & K2….

        Poor health means we cannot stay fit and at a healthy weight. Cardio Vascular disease CVD, is a major disease and cause of death in older folks….

        The standard medical advice is lots of Statins and BP lowering drugs..Statins supposedly reduce CVD by reducing Cholesterol levels in the body. But we actually need Choleserol and so the liver makes it abundantly to supply our need for it.

        Also statins have major side effects weakening the muscles ( including the heart ) and Type 2 diabetes and even brain malfunctiion (= loss of capacity to think and remember ). I refuse to take statins even though a GP & a cardiologist have both prescribed them as part of the standard medicalised care.

        Cutting edge thinking on CVD is that it is caused by stress. Continual stress leads to chronic high cortisol hormone levels in the blood. Cortisol is good as part of the flight or fight reaction of the bosy. But cronic stress means chronic cortisol levels and chronic inflammation., leading to CVD and aging

        And the stress is caused by a multitude of things including physical stress and emotional stress.. Even a big argument over politics or religion does this to most of us ! Talking to my brother just now about the MSM did it to him…..

        • karlgarcia says:

          Thanks again, There a te two sets of experts as far as statins are concerned, one the not so much side effects and the otherschool of thought that it hasmany side effects.
          I take the generic atorvastatin and some literature said to add COQ 10 with statins to reduce side effects, so thst is what I do.

          I am interested in, though I am sure, it will bd expensive, the nano-technology studies to delay aging.
          I hope supply and demand will make it cheap, once it gets scaled up.

          Artificial pancrease, which I thought at first was just an insulin dispenser, but it has shown promise.

          Again, mass production will be the key.

          Ok Bill.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            CQ10 is good but is not easily absorbed by the body. There is an alternative form of CQ10 called Ubiquinol which is better for you..

            There is a lengthy discussion of statins at Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s website on what causes CVD.He has also published a very popular book on Stayins….

            I forgot one thing which helps delay aging : Intermittent fasting.. Say for a day each week…It up-regukates a body process called ‘hormosis’..

            • Not sure if Paleo is the same, Bill (or similar), but is the Keto diet/movement there too in Australia?


              As for me, I’ve just limited my meat in-take. Vitamin C is about the only “supplement” I take, and have been consistent since childhood. Oh yeah, and coffee/tea, something hot upon waking, that’s consistent too.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                There are definitely Paleo & Keto folk here in Oz Lance. But I think they only have followers among dedicated gym jocks….For myself i pursue a policy of moderation with no extremes in diet. Except for real tea at breakfast and real coffee at lunch….
                The Weston Price Foundation mostly has some sound moderate recommendations on diet…But I am not convinced by their thoughts on unpasturised milk…

            • karlgarcia says:

              Will read more on Kendricks and all your recommended readings.
              Muchas Gracias.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                There have been no comments posted on Dr Kendricks blog for 4 days. He may be on holiday or perhaps the power is down because of the huge storm there in the UK this week. But there is a huge amount of information posted there CVD.

              • karlgarcia says:


                This is important to our discussion, you may skip breakfast, or fast, just don’t forget to be active.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Karl the percentage of over weight ( and obese ) people here is increasing. It’s extraordinary. I notice it every time I arrive back in Australia from overseas. As a population we are very like the USA. And for the same reasons. Not enough activity; too much sedentariness at TV’s and computers; eating/snacking too many carbs.

                This last issue is indciated by the simple fact that the major supermarkets here all have a complete aisle dedicated to snack foods ( potato chips and corn chips etc. ) and a compleye aisle dedicated to sweet & dry biscuits (= crackers in the USA ? )

                The supermarkets would not do this if there was not the demand from consumers. n And t give you an idea my home town of 16,000 has 6 major supermarkets. Plus there are 7 fast food joints selling hamburgers, KFC, pizzas etc. And I am still trying to wean my lady off the stuff at KFC & the local Burger King franchise.

                Ummmm !

              • chemrock says:

                @ Karl, about being active.
                I once had an argument with a friend as regards exercises such as jogging. He was of the opinion discipline is required. I differ. Whilst discipline is good, it is a form of enforcement thus you are not exercising voluntarily. So discipline can slacken easily. I think it is a habit. Humans tend to be habitual creatures. Once you make it a habit to say go jogging at 6 pm every Sunday, then it becomes automatic. I’m trying to get back into my jogging habit again. Been running evenings but I want to switch to early mornings to enjoy the freshness, Woke up this morning, felt too lazy and told myself it’s already a bit late. I’ll go tom. Is it lacking discipline or habit not formed yet.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Groceries and Fast food, can’t leave them and can’t live without them.
                Who am I to preach? I am just 1.76 or 1.78 m depending on the accuracy of the ruler.
                and I am overweight at 110 kg the last time, I weighed, five weeks ago,I was 104 kg.

                Bad habits of fast food and junk food.

                I am interested in this because, I too need to start the habit of veing active.
                Good habits that are formed are tantamount to discipline, me thinks.

                My excuse for not walking( can’t jog due to an old injury) during Ber months, is the rainy evenings.
                It rains all year round,but it does not rain every day, so no excuse.

                Cheers, to good health!

              • I read somewhere that it takes 6 months for a new habit to become normal.

                Most probably some kind of Stone Age programming that one is in a new environment.

                It also takes more effort to fight a bad habit than to instill a good habit.

                BTW I bought myself a Fitbit bracelet and have used it since the New Year.

                It tells me about pulse, steps and sleep quality – I can even enter my meals in the app.

                Since it works with the same motivational/conditioning tricks as social media, I think it will help.

              • “KFC & the local Burger King franchise.”

                Filipinos tend to love KFC – or Chicken Joy.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Breaking bad habits is like going to voluntary rehab,(let us not go there,sorry).
                If political will is hard, the will to be determined is just as hard. That app, does it go with a smart watch?

              • There is the bracelet and the Smart Watch version of FitBit. I went for the bracelet.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I thought when you said bracelet, you meant watch. Thanks,

          • opppps… that’s the pyramid.

  25. karlgarcia says:

    Muchas Gracias to you too!

  26. Bill In Oz says:

    You wrote ” I am just 1.76 or 1.78 depending on the accuracy of the ruler.
    and I am overweight at 110 kg the last time, I weighed, five weeks ago,I was 104 kg.”

    If I have understood you right that means your weight has increased by 6 kg in 5 weeks.
    Bugger mate that is not good ! Either the scales are wrong or something has gone wrong with you. A big rapid increase in weight is sometimes an indication of type 2 diabetes…

    I am 1.8 meters and I now weigh 85.5. At my top some years ago I was 104 kg. I started going to the gym 3-4 times a week and over 18 months reduced it to 82 kg. Probably avoided a heart attack & T2D by doing this. And felt so much better for being fitter.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I am Type 2 D unfortunately.
      I need to go back walking, I can’t lift weights because my left hand got median nerve palsy ever since late 1991, from the same accident my right ankle from my right foot did not heal correct, so my ankle always hurts or feele like it is loose, so threadmills is also difficult, I can but not properly.

      So walking is what I must do.
      Thanks for the health tips.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Karl, It may be better if you cut down the carbs and increase protein foods..Also I seem to remember seeing a study that said that some T2D folk did a 5 day fats and emerged from it with properly functioning pancreas again.. But sorry no link just yet…

        But looks like walking is your way…

        • Bill In Oz says:

          PS : Malcolm Kendrick has written about T2D in some posts..Look through these ones

        • karlgarcia says:

          Your word is better than any link on that subject matter.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Thank you for that compliment Karl.
            I do not have T2D. ( Though I suspect I cam quite close in 2016..Too much being sedentarty. )
            However my younger brother is T2D..He developed it after taking statins for quite a while..He also became quite overweight. It is taking a big efffort by him to get his weight back to a better level. And like you he cannot do gym as he has a back issue. But he is walking a lot & has lost about 7-8 kg the past 6 months

  27. “I forgot one thing which helps delay aging : Intermittent fasting.. Say for a day each week…It up-regukates a body process called ‘hormosis’..”

    Bill, can you talk more about fasting and how you do it. I started fasting when exploring Islam, and I did a Ramadan (the real deal , not gorging after sun down, though everyone around me gorged, as you know Ramadan is like a 1 month Christmas in the ME). then after that I got into Buddhist type fasting which is more aligned with your fasting to re-balance, hormosis. Which is simply not eating for a day, 24 hours.

    But I wonder if there’s more science to it, than just simply stop eating. Do you have a special diet going into said fast, then another diet coming out? I just wanna know if fasting can be done better.

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