Poor distribution of wealth is the root of all hardship

Illustration by DonkeyHotey of Who. What. Why.

By JoeAm

Regular contributor Micha ardently believes that the poor distribution of wealth in both the United States and Philippines is at the heart of the problems both nations are facing: rise of the populists, autocratic leaders, discontent of the middle class, breakdown of business ethics, and failure of capitalism and democracy. Although Micha and I argue a lot, on this I am in total agreement.

Both the US and Philippines generate enough riches for everyone if allocated correctly.

Micha provided an article that illustrates the erosion of our ideals. It is well worth reading: “Is the era of unrestrained capitalism coming to an end?”

The article is an entertaining read with healthy doses of disparagement of the rich and a clear recitation of the effects of the rise of the fat cats who tend to dominate politics and government decisions.

The web site itself is also interesting. “Who. What. Why.”, evidently a (populist?) new media of the emotive style to which some of us have become accustomed, and even write. And the authors? Klaus Marre and DonkeyHotey. It appears that Klaus did the writing and DonkeyHotey the superb illustrations. It’s a thoroughly entertaining place whenever Don Quixote is in the building.

The power of the wealthy class has never been so great. The failure of that power class to harmonize their efforts with the commoners has never been so clear. Rather, they provoke everyone except other wealthy people. They provoke the poor. The middle class. The educated. The migrants. And they emotionalize various political “bases” so we see the odd rise of white nationalist autocrats like Trump, violent, abusive autocrats like Duterte, and white knight populists like US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who proposes to tax people making above $10 million at 70 percent.

Anger is clearly rising as we see bloody protests in France and incredible bitterness in Great Britain over Brexit. The US is devolving into another civil war style conflict between Trump autocrats (gunslingers of the NRA, southern whites, and good old boys in the West and North) and the moral majority, democratic style (advocates for the poor, people of color, migrants, and middle class). The Philippines is a mess with growing disenfranchisement of so many: the poor, working Filipinos (farmers and fisherfolk), natives (Lumads), and the educated elite. Favored are dynastic families of no known national loyalty and (weirdly) Chinese businesses and workers.

Clearly, passions are bubbling over and there seems no possible solution until some political wizard puts OPPORTUNITY and FAIRNESS and COMPASSION back into the picture for the masses. Because right now, a lot of people are being left out and left behind, and they know it.

Poor distribution of wealth, I agree, is one of the main culprits. The lousy allocation of money has seen the obscene rise of a few people and total stagnation of the rest. It also produces favoritism and a poor choice of investments, so the US builds walls and not roads and bridges, and the Philippines builds bridges to nowhere instead of creating job-training schools and seeding a manufacturing base. I mean, isn’t the logic for hiring Chinese construction laborers (“there aren’t enough skilled Filipino workers”) about the most senseless and obscene rationalization ever?

Whacknuts. Leaders are whacknuts, driven to gain favors and commissions and re-election and a slice of the pork, not build a great nation and opportunities for all. This is everywhere among democratic nations, the US, Philippines, Great Britain, Australia. Like, everywhere. Okay, okay, there may be a few exceptions, but they are rare and the overriding trend is the emotionalization of the arguments and a hunt for villains rather than harmonious solutions.

Taxing the rich and working to develop a steeper, broader scale of salaries for different skill levels might inject aspiration and opportunity back into the job base.

Are $10 million and 70% the right taxation thresholds? I don’t know. I would ask the experts, and one I would ask would be rich fat cat humanist good guy Warren Buffet who believes he is not taxed enough. I’d also ask Bill Gates. Both of these rich guys spend a lot of time allocating their own wealth to charities and humanistic endeavors. They grasp the problem.

In fact, I tend to think, contrary to Micha and a lot of the rising populists, very few of the fat cats are bad people. They are successful people. Inventive problem solvers, risk-takers, managers of high powered people, efficiency experts, financial wizards, organizers of production lines . . . they contribute a lot of the wealth that we enjoy in the form of jobs and decent pay.

For sure there are some morally vacuous members of the rich men’s club (Mark Zukerberg of Facebook who has trashed all notions of personal privacy) and a few crooks (Wells Fargo Banks executives who masterminded that bank’s fake-account enterprise). But most have knowledge and skills and the kind of “competitive verve” most of us would probably like to see in our own kids.

So where should we go, what should we do?

I do think every nation in the world needs to consider the ease with which various mobs are energized with today’s emotionalized media. They need to temper that and seek harmony.

And they need to do a better job of creating opportunities for all.

Even migrants pounding on the walls, seeking a life for their families, should be cared for, not snarled at and put in cages.

Poor wealth allocation is at the center of so many of our problems. It needs to be at the top of the list of solutions.


175 Responses to “Poor distribution of wealth is the root of all hardship”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    This is one way to redistribute wealth, open the budget bicam to the public.

    I read a report that the senate (ironically,anti-pork Lacson)
    I hope they open it to media.

    • The lack of transparency across government is truly astounding. Trolls disseminating untrue, divisive information. And spokesmen rationalizing everything as if mistakes were just not feasible amongst the gods. And try to do a case study of any police killing. The PNP won’t even give the files to the Human Rights Commission. And to track the money? Oh, no!

  2. karlgarcia says:

    The elite were accused by ERAP as the one who bought him down.
    It does not matter, I think he is already rubbing elbows with Arroyo.
    I don’t think the elite was fully responsible for Marcos’ ouster though, they maybe part of it but not entirely.

    Many landed elites are in Congress so it is hard to pass those laws like Land Refom, NLUA

    The partylists were supposed to be for the matginaluzed, but now billionaires control them.
    Even the Communist Party higherups are accused to pocket all the revolutionary taxes leavong nothing for the literal and figurative foot soldiers.

    Are their really good dynasties?

    Ok, I know there is nothing new in what I have said.

    • Elite is top Duterte officials, it seems to me. The others split into the corrupt, the educated and principled, and the ignorant. Money has little to do with it, or family name, I think. Elite is determined by power in the Philippines.

      • This is the FB and Twitter transmorgafied version of the message your comment provoked:

        “The Philippines has a new elite. It is those having power but no moral values. The rest of the nation consists of the aspiring corrupt, the ignorant masses, and a few educated and honest people who are generally enemies of the State. That’s the simple, social-media friendly view of things.”

    • “Even the Communist Party higherups are accused to pocket all the revolutionary taxes leavong nothing for the literal and figurative foot soldiers.”

      Most Eastern European oligarchs are ex-Communists. Many turned ultranationalistic from the 1990s, in Yugoslavia first. Though some former reformists of 1989 have turned right, including Hungary’s Viktor Orban.

      Most Eastern European countries abolished all benefits from Communism overnight, so many families fell into poverty while others became obscenely wealthy. As of now, the President of the Romanian Parliament is dodging an inquiry by the EU about where some EU money went..

  3. Too much equality can be discouraging, like Communism where college graduates and factory workers earned the same salary.

    But poverty without perspectives is just as bad. Still excellent mandatory public schooling (no home schooling over here) and mainly free university give the capable in Europe a chance to work their way up, include medical insurance that shields against sudden ruin due to illness.

    Public libraries, public transport that works.. all this not only creates opportunities BUT also keeps the streets RELATIVELY safe to walk. Healthier and more natural I believe than the artificial world of subdivisions and malls that Manila is now, with slums outside their walls.

    • Taxes and social security are highest in Scandinavia, still quite high in Germany while France, Spain, Greece, Italy tended and tend to waste money for some to have it comfortable, the root cause for a lot of issues – stuff which Merkel is hated IMO for refusing to subsidize.

      Romania has a 20% flat tax which favors rich, as the poor pay more indirect taxes like VAT. Germany slightly lowered the tax brackets especially for the middle class around 2000 while raising VAT from 14 to 16 then 19%.. the trickery of the TRAIN law is not that new, folks.

    • edgar lores says:


      1. Wealth distribution (social justice) is a primary function of the state.

      2. Wealth distribution that disincentivizes effort to get out of the rut is a dead-end.

      3. Emphasis should be on the equality of opportunities and not on the equality of outcomes.

      4. The rich deserve their wealth if the latter is the product of creativity, non-predatory ingenuity, or even inheritance.

      4.1. Wealth derived illegitimately from the abuse of human and natural resources may be seized by the state. Exception: self-abusers like Pacquiao may keep their rewards.

      5. Companies must share profits with their workers beyond the work-for-a-salary model. The differential between salaries — between the CEO and the janitor — must not be of a staggering magnitude.

      6. There must be a social safety net not only for the poor but also for the middle class. The safety net should not incentivize indolence.

      7. Apart from libraries and mass transport, the state should provide for parks, public swimming pools, sports venues, and wifi.

      8. That is all.

      • I’m not sure I agree with point 5, as different jobs create different levels of value and if you suppress the earnings for the high-value producers you end up suppressing the value put out. The art or science would be to build a stepladder of salaries that correlates well with education/skill and value of output. A top CEO warrants a much, much larger payout than an assembly line worker, but not obscene amounts as we see today. That is all theory, of course.

        • I’d like to think about this some more and perhaps concoct a follow-up blog on socialized salary scales within capitalist countries. NH Herrera will have fun with his slide rule and A < B if Y steals from Z.

          • NHerrera says:

            I had some fun. Using my trusty Excel spreadsheet, I came up with some numbers. along the lines of the suggestion by a US Senator with Presidential ambition. Please note that this is conceptual. I do not have the US tax demographics. It is important of course to assume as a minimum:

            1. That the uber-rich with taxable yearly income of US 10 Million or more continue to be motivated and productive in their business, though with lesser after tax income. Much like the scientists get their kick from discovering something though only compensated only moderately for their efforts — that is, in a similar way (my assumption), the capitalist gets his kick from the growth of his business through his evolving products and business model.

            2. That with 1 above and the boost in after tax income of the other groups getting less than 10 million yearly income — and thus, be productive themselves — the tax rates are designed so as to be tax revenue neutral for the country. (More easily said than done.)

            So Joe, here is result of my fun with the spreadsheet:


            Taxable Income from 0.0 to 0.1 Million: no tax
            Taxable Income from .1 to 0.5 Million: 10% tax
            Taxable Income from .5 to 1.0 Million: 20% tax
            Taxable Income from 1.0 to 10 Million: 30% tax
            Taxable Income in excess of 10 Million: 70% tax

            Here are the resulting numbers.

            Million of After
            Taxable Tax
            Income Income

            0.1 0.10
            0.3 0.28
            0.5 0.46
            0.7 0.62
            1 0.86
            3 2.26
            5 3.36
            7 5.06
            10 7.16
            20 10.16
            30 13.16
            50 19.16
            70 25.16
            100 34.16
            200 64.16
            300 94.16
            500 154.16
            700 214.16
            1000 304.16

            So, in the tax rate of the top bracket, the uber-rich getting a taxable income of 100 million gets to keep only 34.16 million of it. I suppose that is “punishing” enough to that capitalist. Micha may agree?

            Of course, there is also the question of the already accumulated wealth not considered in this. Heavily tax that too? Hehe.


            As usual, in setting the tax rate from one class of income to the other, the after tax income is calculated as follows so there is no quantum jump in going from one class of income to the next. Thus:

            ATI = TI – (Tax of the highest income of the previous income group + (TI – Lowest income of the current income group)*Tax rate for the current income group)


            ATI = After Tax Income
            TI = Taxable Income

            • NHerrera says:

              Oops the column of numbers did not come out nicely. But if the reader notes the presence of one space separator between the first column numbers labeled “Millions of taxable income” and the second column numbers labeled “After tax income” the numbers will make sense.

            • NHerrera says:

              The table above presented in better form:

            • edgar lores says:

              Let’s say my annual income is 100K (or 1 as it is in the table).

              Am I correct in my interpretation that this means I pay 14K and retain 86K?

              If this is the case, I love it.

              My impression is that I used to pay 25K in taxes… leaving me with just 75K.

              And I further love the provision against “quantum jump.” In Oz, we used the term “bracket creep” to describe a salary increase that was not really that advantageous if it made one “fall” into a higher tax bracket.

              • NHerrera says:

                edgar, I may have confused you with my table. At the start of the number crunching, I wrote:

                Taxable Income from 0.0 to 0.1 Million: no tax
                Taxable Income from .1 to 0.5 Million: 10% tax
                Taxable Income from .5 to 1.0 Million: 20% tax
                Taxable Income from 1.0 to 10 Million: 30% tax
                Taxable Income in excess of 10 Million: 70% tax

                So in your case, 100k translates to 0.1M and thus, under my assumption, you do not pay tax and get to keep all of the 100k! Unless you really earn 1M (congrats) in which case you retain 860k.

                The intent of my rate assumptions — for the different tax brackets — is to moderate the inequality in the after tax income from the small income earners to the very high earners. Thus, my rate assumptions.

              • Edgar is now so ecstatic he is slugging down that Aussie beer by the keg.

              • edgar lores says:

                Whoa! When do I get my tax refund?

        • edgar lores says:

          Staggering = obscene.

      • isk says:

        5. Companies must share profits with their workers beyond the work-for-a-salary model.
        Incentives are good besides from the 13th month bonus.

    • karlgarcia says:

      The world is not flat; equality should also be not flat. (If that even makes sense)

  4. dmitry says:

    Give back the land to the people.

  5. Paul says:

    As the saying goes, he who has the gold makes the rules and he who makes the rules keeps the gold. I agree with all of this, the challenge is it will require the “haves” to change they way they are thinking. I really do not know how that will happen. The only two scenarios that I have in mind are; a revolution, most likely violent; or a natural or man made disaster that levels the playing field . Neither is a guarantee of a more equal distribution. As an example, if you look at Europe, most of it was destroyed after WW2 – The vast majority were poor or starving. As a result, their collective “suffering” led to universal medicare. Gov’t taxes heavily and provide essential services for that give all the the same opportunities (very basic picture but I believe it also explains why many European countries are ranked happiest and least corrupt). Of course there will always be exceptions but pretty much that’s the picture.

  6. Micha says:

    Feynman, Tesla, Einstein, Faraday, Darwin, Newton, Berners-Lee and many others who contributed so much in the understanding of our modern world lived modest lives. Some, like Tesla, even suffered poverty at some point in his life. If humanity knows how to reward the most intellectually productive and creative among us, these people should have been billionaires.

    On the other hand, many of today’s actual billionaires, if we examine what they’ve done, merely use other people’s skills, work, and knowledge to accumulate wealth for themselves. Many in the Forbes’ list merely inherited their billions.

    I would grant that Gates and Zuckerberg, and Bezos, and Bloomberg, and the Kochs and the Waltons and the Wall Street bankers probably deserve their millions but to hoard and accumulate hundreds of billions – that’s just a problem of proportionality.

    It’s like sucking oxygen out from one part of the room so one tiny part can have more.

    The Occupy movement and the Gilet Jaunes protests portend of things to come reflecting a situation where the economic oxygen had been sucked out and many people already finding it hard to breath.

  7. Micha says:

    Somewhat OT but…

    Don Donald is being played by his war freak Darth Vader operative advisers in sponsoring a coup in Venezuela..

    I think the doctrine they’re relying on is, it’s okay for Russia to interfere in American elections as long as we are also free to interfere in other nation’s affairs.

    BARPP Doctrine – aggressive intervention to install a right wing neo-liberal puppet in other countries; named after its instigators, Bolton, Abrams, Rubio, Pence, and Pompeo.

    The empire builders are fucked because Maduro is pushing back and there is no plan B other than we’re going all in as in Iraq and Libya. Little Marco R is fucked for being so gung-ho about regime change. And now this :

    “U.S. Plot In Venezuela FAILING” Says Caracas Reporter

    • It is a most interesting bit of hypocrisy, isn’t it, this interference in the affairs of Venezuela. I am amazed at the size of the coalition that has joined in opposition to Madura, including almost all South American states. I’ve not followed Rubio’s initiatives or the particulars of politics in Venezuela. As for Russian meddling vs American, that’s a worthwhile topic to take on. I’m not prepared to say they are similar as to motivation or method. Worth digging into . . .

      • Micha says:

        The Making of Juan Guaidó: US Regime-Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader


        • Thanks. An interesting publication that has as a goal “to challenge current misguided information.” That is a wholly constructive function if it does not wander too far into the realm of conspiracy theory. Theory not being fact. The point of this article seems to be that Guaido is a plot (probably is) by the US that has been aided and abetted by a whole lot of news media (even those dogging Trump), is unpopular in Venezuela, and comes from a party that has backed violence. What it does not explain is the popularity of the effort on Latin American and global stages that tend to suggest this is not stooges of America doing what big Daddy wants, but states that agree with the approach as a solution to a troublesome problem and a lot of misery being imposed on Venezuelans, 3 million of whom have fled the nation. So who is more brutal among the two contesting presidents?

          This is not the US in Iraq but a democratic world acting in unison. So I think the story misses some key points in constructing its narrative.

  8. Pablo says:

    Joe, it seems you missed today’s article in The Guardian.
    When I saw that you mentioned Bill Gates as “the good guy” in your blog, it became clear what the biggest problem is. Gates recently presented the position that poverty is decreasing and we are on the right track. However, he took about $1.70 daily income as the yardstick. And then, yes, he would be right. But most studies mention about $10 per day as the absolute minimum. And if you take that yardstick, then poverty is rising significantly in quantity and in percentage. And even then, $10 is certainly not enough to survive in US or Europe or Russia, so there the poverty is not even counted.
    That gives a nice picture of how far those rich guys are beyond reality. They don’t have a clue but have the power. A complete disconnect. But the richies DO feel that there is an undercurrent threatening their existence, so a very popular theme amongst the wealthy 1% seems to be how they can survive an uprising, especially a violent uprising. And they spend millions “hardening” their hideouts.
    None of them seems to support Alexandra Ocasio-cortez with a significant tax hike. Even if this tax hike is nothing unusual, compare the tax rates under Eisenhower and it seems that 70% is just old-hat.
    May I make a comparison? During the Arab-spring, the king of Jordan defused the situation by giving the protesters a little of what they wanted and as before, he is a popular ruler. Assad, the president of Syria just started fighting (torturing and killing) the protesters and look where that got him….
    The wealthy lost sense of reality and are not willing to give in. And the poor? Do you think Alexandra and her bunch would get 50%++ of the votes? I don’t think so, the wealthy will fight a very nasty battle to stay in power. And they have the money to pay the kings of deception and nastiness… It had always been the same story, at the end, there will be a war and then things change for a while.
    We all know that it is silly. Like the king of Jordan, he actually gained in his image, maybe he theoretically lost a bit in power, but the balance is positive at the end. And he must be feeling a lot better than this sad eye-doctor in Syria nextdoor.
    While Buffet stated that he pays less taxes than his secretary, I doubt if he would agree that 70% (over the earnings above, say, 1 million) would be a reasonable rate.
    In the UK, they called it “austerity”, it was a justification to shift more wealth from the bottom 90% to the top. The protests are barely audible.
    Like you said, it happens everywhere, it is a runaway train going down the hill.
    Can you stop it? Can you stop a runaway train? I had to do an incident review on a “runaway train” once, (an out of control chemical reaction). Only when the energy is spend, can you try to pick up the pieces.
    And the more fuel, the longer it takes and the bigger the mess. And we have been collecting fuel for a while now, not yet enough, but it is piling up.
    Like, we still have the NPA, they never went away, might only have support from some old hands and frustrated (invariably smart) students. But the fuse is still smouldering.
    And when I look through next election’s candidates… Not a single Alexandra amongst them, only representatives from the old families. How long before an NPA style group will re-surface again? Probably a little while, but the seeds are sown.
    In Venezuela, you see that you can fool a people for a long time before the powderkeg blows. It is not nearly as bad in our area. Our people are used to a lot of hardship and take the next insult on the chin. But keep an eye on climate change. This hits vulnerable people hardest and on an unimaginary big scale. And it is in the right timeframe. Another 10 years before it starts to hurt bad and in the same 10 years, the vultures will continue to rape this earth and put pressure on people’s patience.
    10 years is what I estimate. 2030. I am known for my optimism and have been good in forecasting long-term in my job…. I also tought disaster movies are boring and invariably fall asleep. Every disaster movie starts with a quiet introduction laying out the playing field. It feels as if we are just completing this chapter. Time for exciting part of the movie, don’t you think? Fasten seatbelts!

    And then your comment that the Fat Cats are not bad people.
    Let’s consider how those people got where they are and that is FOCUS. FOCUS on their target. And that (by definition), makes you somewhat blind for the things which you consider not important. FOCUS on your target and you will get there. That is no problem when you stay within the law. But now you have substantial wealth, you can use that wealth to shape the law. Ofcourse to suit your vision. And we saw that their vision is a tunnel vision. And then, their motivation becomes questionable. Does that make them “bad people” is a matter of opinion. Serving their own interests and damaging the interests of their fellow citizens? During Austerity, the top 1% made a lot of money while all others were required to hand-n significant parts of their income. Nurses and teachers and civil servants all made less money because “times were hard”. Many people got into problems with all kinds of nasty consequences. Does that make the 1% who made loads more “bad people”. In my opinion, Micha has a very good point when he defines a dab guy as somebody who hurts others. Q.E.D.
    At least, it is not fair. Not by far. And people playing dirty games create friction and anger. And justifiable anger can result in undesirable consequences and the Koch’s and Walton’s etc. have reason to travel heavily protected. A very artificial life. Resulting in additional misunderstandings and more friction, Until the bubble bursts

    • Nice rebuttal, thanks. Before accepting your portrayal of Gates as out to lunch, I’d like to hear his response to you. He deals in some of the poorest nations in the world so maybe that’s where the $1.70 comes from. Perhaps he’ll stop by to comment so I don’t have to accept your harsh view of him as true.

      I do think we have to separate the people from the businesses they run. I think it is the business profit drive that is the force, not personal character. People are motivated to excel and if profits are the measure of success, they will fight taxation and any other erosions. But let’s also be clear, Gates has enough money that he does not HAVE to do anything but what he wants to do. That he works hard to give his money to good causes and is working on genetically altered rice in the Philippines ought to be recognized and commended.

      When he chaired Microsoft he had business goals, as a person he is motivated differently.

  9. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Can someone who is digital tech savvy write on the threat posed by Huawei smartphones and other equipment — such as for possible spying, since it has an obvious close link with the Chinese Government as reported by international news lately — for possible publishing by the TSH Editor as a blog article?

    One article that relates to this threat is titled “Huawei: how the telecoms giant is seen around the world” with the following link:


    Of course, if I may add, there is no need to do this spying in the case of the PH?

  10. QuietPoetic says:

    I respectfully disagree with the arguments:

    – Taxing the rich is not the solution to this problem. It is more complicated than that a) What is the definition of rich? b) Who decides who is rich and who is not? c) If the government decides a rich person is someone who earns $1M annually, is the person who earns $999,998 annually middle class or poor?

    – For every $1.00 a person makes, the government takes $0.70 is called THEFT. Who is stopping the government from doing this to the middle class?

    – Poor distribution of wealth is also not the problem. The issue here is SOMEONE wants to control the distribution of wealth. No one can plan the economy – just look at Stalin’s Russia when they decided to plan it and redistribute wealth from the farmers to the revolutionaries – millions of their own people died. (lookup Ukraine and Holodomor) Economies cannot be planned because there is no metric to predetermine method for pricing – it only happens through supply and demand.


    – Break monopolies. This is actually one side of the government that I support and yet they always fail to do. Facebook, Google, Twitter, at some point Microsoft (Meralco in the Philippines) are all monopolies in their field. Capitalism is not the problem – BIG BUSINESSES in bed with BIG GOVERNMENT is called CRONYISM not capitalism.

    – Learn the true meaning of capitalism. This is not just semantics. Most people think capitalism is evil when the cronies do what they do – that is not capitalism. Real capitalism is the creation of value from nothing into a sellable item – in economics, it makes the pie bigger not stagnant and not smaller.

    – Strengthen entrepreneurship. Small business is the backbone of the economy – when small businesses thrive, the economy thrives because it creates jobs for local communities. Let the good entrepreneurs profit – they took the RISK therefore they deserve the REWARD. This means deregulation. Businesses shouldn’t care so much about red tapes from the government because that is not the reason why they exist.

    – Do not trust the government. I am not a revolutionary. I play by the rules and when the rules change – I adapt. I have to accept that the world is messed up and an average folk like me can only do little about it. However, I do believe that people ought to think for themselves. The government is not your dad, nor your mom, nor your husband or your wife. It’s not an entity whose job is to care. It’s doesn’t. It won’t help us carry the load of our problems – in fact, the government is the problem.

    – Learn from history. C’mon people. When will we learn? Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, North Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, and most recently Venezuela. How many more people must die before the world learns that planning the economy is not only wrong but deadly?

    • With such thought-provoking arguments, you can disagree respectfully or in my face. Thanks for the clarification that cronyism is the cancer, not capitalism. I agree. Capitalism is the energy. So what are we disagreeing with?

      The idea that planning the economy is wrong is new to me. I’m not sure I grasp how wanting and trying to develop prosperity is wrong. Indeed, your solutions, though ‘spot on’, seem like steps to plan the economy. Color me a tad confused.

      • QuietPoetic says:

        Sorry for the confusion

        The idea that planning the economy is wrong is new to me. I’m not sure I grasp how wanting and trying to develop prosperity is wrong.

        I don’t think it is innately wrong for wanting people to be prosperous as well. The question is, how do we make people prosperous?
        a.) Should the government act as an mediator and take from the rich to give to the poor?


        b.) Should the government get out of the way, mobilize the citizens and allow their own people create wealth for themselves?

        I think our disagreement lies from the answer to this question.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Break Monopolies
      Ao far the anti trust and Competion agencies has managed to hound Microsoft, Google, Yahoo in the tech sector, In the transport sector Grab has been fined many times.

      I guess for now, Meralco is doing good on its own, outside Manila, more players are necessary.
      Entrepreneurship-This is why I question the notion that banks are purely predators, without them how can small players have access to money.

      Local government must not hawk enteeps in terms of licencee fees, national gov and local should make it easy for them.

      Find alternatives for the underground economy, so that they go main stream.

    • Micha says:

      “The government is not your dad, nor your mom, nor your husband or your wife. It’s not an entity whose job is to care. It’s doesn’t. It won’t help us carry the load of our problems – in fact, the government is the problem.”

      Ah yes, the infamous Reagan rhetoric. You should tell that to the CEO’s of Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Golman Sachs, Sun Trust, Capital One, American Express, Blackrock, Northern Trust and many others who went to big daddy federal gov’t to bail them out when the going went tough.

      • QuietPoetic says:

        Ah yes, the infamous Reagan rhetoric. You should tell that to the CEO’s of Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Golman Sachs, Sun Trust, Capital One, American Express, Blackrock, Northern Trust and many others who went to big daddy federal gov’t to bail them out when the going went tough.

        That is cronyism like I mentioned. What is your point?

        • Micha says:

          The point, dear Poetic, is that your free market fundamentalism, left on its own, could not function as theorized and is bound to fail, needing the help of big daddy gov’t when the cyclical crash comes to town.

          Are you in favor of a policy that would not have bailed out those corporations?

          • QuietPoetic says:

            No. I am not in favor of bailouts coz that is, like I said cronyism. There is no “too big to fail” in my preferred capitalistic society. They should have been left alone to bankruptcy and the market would have corrected itself.

            • chemrock says:

              I would rather takeover by govt, save it , negotiate partial payments to creditors, rebuild, upon recovery and when market is good, IPO and transfer the capital gains to a sovereign wealth fund.

      • chemrock says:

        Micha, that’s your pet peeve. I get the bail-out idea at tax payers’ expense. You are right of course, that this is a challenge to apologetics of capitalism. But like I said, it’s the people not the system. It’s the strong lobby system and bankers who are owners of the Fed. In short, this is US-centric problem. There don’t seem to be similar big-daddy problems in other countries? So perhaps, capitalism performs better outside of US?

    • Paul says:

      Quietpoetic – The samples you used were countries that planned their economies but essentially were corrupt and had only one person running the country. Countries that plan their economies that are not corrupt and not totalitarian in nature rank among the highest in happiness index (Scandinavian Countries – in fact I think it is Denmark that wants to implant chips in everyone). What I find confusing, is deregulation. While I see the merits of deregulation; it is deregulation that allows the big boys to use their wealth for self gain (maybe we should ask US the Congress how many bills did they themselves write, or did an attorney form a large interest group write it?). As for True Capitalism – have you tried to look at true Communism? The countries you mentioned (Learn from history… – though they might claim they are communist – in reality they are socialist).

      Communism according to Marx – Wikipedia

      In Marxist thought, communist society or the communist system is the type of society and economic system postulated to emerge from technological advances in the productive forces, representing the ultimate goal of the political ideology of Communism. A communist society is characterized by common ownership of the means of production with free access[1][2] to the articles of consumption and is classless and stateless,[3] implying the end of the exploitation of labour.[4][5]

      Communism is a specific stage of socioeconomic development predicated upon a superabundance of material wealth, which is postulated to arise from advances in production technology and corresponding changes in the social relations of production. This would allow for distribution based on need and social relations based on freely-associated individuals.[4][6]

      • QuietPoetic says:

        When was true communism successfully implemented? Capitalistic societies got people out of poverty in one generation or less versus communism has body counts.

        I really have to ask, do people care for the poor or most people just hate the rich?

        • Paul says:

          Has true capitalism been achieved?

          Economic systems (capitalism, socialism, communism etc.) do not cause body counts, forms of Govt do (Totalitarian, Facism, Democracy etc..) The communist disasters cited to have caused body counts were caused not by the economic model but rather by the government system (totalitarian).

          As for getting people out of poverty in one generation or less – that too is a form of Gov’t issue not an economic system issue.

          As for the hating the rich, my best guess is that they are hated because they keep the wealth to themselves. There is nothing morally wrong in generating wealth but keeping it to the point of excess is another thing.

          • Paul says:

            Correction – forms of Gov’t in themselves do not cause poverty, the quality of the people in the gov’t do.

          • chemrock says:

            Paul — all true what you said.

            There is no true capitalism, neither was there true communism.
            Economic systems are not govt forms — but forms of govt naturally will in time tend to skew to some economic systems.
            The failure in the communist economic thinking is they totally ignored the dynamics of social behaviour. It;s an ivory tower concept totally devoid of relevance to the reality on the ground.

          • QuietPoetic says:

            I didn’t say true capitalism. I said capitalistic societies – meaning they have the tendency towards capitalism. Why do we need to achieve the truest form of something?

            With that said, I would much rather live in a capitalistic society where I can compete and create wealth for myself than be in a society where I rely on the government to stay alive.

      • QuietPoetic says:

        You mentioned Denmark, their prime minister said they’re a market economy.


        • From an American perspective, the Nordic countries are “socialist”..

          We have to look at two dimensions at least when comparing systems:

          1) political freedom.. from dictatorial via authoritarian through democratic to anarchic..

          2) economic freedom.. from state-controlled via state monopolies / oligarchic monopolies through truly liberal to totally unregulated..

          The extremes of anarchic politics and totally unregulated markets nobody wants – that means failed states where you have blackmarketeers and possibly even barter trade.

          The extreme of dictatorial and state-controlled was the Soviet Union.. China is state and oligarchic monopolies and a dictatorial state (one-party). The Philippines has oligarchic monopolies on top, barely regulated market on the street, and democracy plus anarchy.

          Denmark is capitalistic but with a strong social element in terms of pension funds, unemployment benefits, medical insurance – and VERY high taxation around max. 60%. Romania is capitalistic, 20% flat tax, no progression, hardly any social benefits left – public schools and public clinics are underfunded so bribes to pass your kid or get a slot at the doctor are common the last time I was told..the USA is capitalistic but there is I think a bit of an element of cronyism when it comes to certain “fat cats”, in pioneering businesses not..

          • Of course minimum big state and minimum big money interfering in the life of a small community that coexists is an ideal, like in Thoreau’s “Walden Pond”.. but the reality is often very different..

            1) first of all, will the others leave you alone? If you live on top of natural resources others want, you can have a problem. Hopefully you have the right kind of state to protect you, because a state that does not care about you will sell your land to the highest bidder.

            2) second, how do you regulate conflicts within the community? If the community is small and relatively homogenous, it is easy. And if everyone has enough – and not too much either, too much can lead to what happens / happened in Gold Rush towns like Diwalwal.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_Moresnet existed between Belgium and Germany for a while, no in fact it existed around one hundred years. The post-Napoleonic order found no decision to where the area belonged, so it was resolved by World War I, finally.

            Legal conflicts had to be resolved using an obsolete version of the Napoleonic code, interpreted by unwilling magistrates in Belgium and Germany. For a while the place became a bit of a center of illegal activities – moonshine, gambling and prostitution.

  11. chemrock says:

    Distribution of wealth is like what Quietpoetic said — a proactive interference in the economy by the government. It will turn out messy. Been tried before. It’s called communism.

    I had a classmate once. His family was quite well off in China, but not filthy rich. Parents worked 20 hours a day at their small business and managed to acquired some properties over the years from their sweat and broken backbones. When China turned red, the govt took everything away and distributed their assets to the commune. Some asset like land you can distribute, but some houses they distribute to the better connected 4-legs. My friends family, together with hundreds of thousands of the entrepreneurial class who managed to stay alive, fled the country. Those that left were the ones with brains, energy, drive, vision, altruistic.

    What the article “Is the era of unrestrained capitalism coming to an end” refers to is re-distribution of wealth. What was brought up was a ‘wealth tax’. In a tax year, people declare their assets, and a tax is imposed. Been tried before in many countries. Abject failure.
    – If you don’t report in your SALN what is there to tax.
    – Valuation is a tough job.
    – It’s a damn expensive way to collect tax.
    – Evasion is pervasive
    – So if you have a house that’s worth $10m and they tax you 10%. In 10 years your house will be taxed away. Does it make sense?

    To tax the wealthy, 3 simple ways that are already in existence :
    – Progressive tax — just raise the rates for the upper brackets of earned income.
    – Capital gains tax
    – Estate duties – the Philippines excuse that estate duties result in many properties in direlict conditions because the heirs cannot afford to pay estate duties and develop the property. That’s a stupid lame and convenient excuse so laws will be passed to the benefit of those with bigger estates.

    Regarding capital gains tax — Politicians like the Villars, pass stock ownership to another family member when they want to be Congressmen or Senators so that they cannot be excused of any self-interest in various issues they handle officially. This is a joke played on Filipinos like forever. Husband becomes senator, wife takes over company. Wife becomes senator, wife takes over. It’s a merry go round. To be divested of interest, ownership must pass to people who cannot be deemed to be in his interest. In any case, in the merry go round, did the Villars pay any capital gains tax for the transfer of all those shareholdings? Care to place a bet?

    • chemrock says:

      “Wife becomes senator, wife takes over” … the first ‘wife’ should be husband. Does that make sense?

      Which dumb lawyer did’nt do this merry go round and is having difficulties ? Mr Calida.

    • Micha says:

      “Distribution of wealth is like what Quietpoetic said — a proactive interference in the economy by the government. It will turn out messy. Been tried before. It’s called communism.”

      “What the article “Is the era of unrestrained capitalism coming to an end” refers to is re-distribution of wealth. What was brought up was a ‘wealth tax’. In a tax year, people declare their assets, and a tax is imposed. Been tried before in many countries. Abject failure.”

      These assertions do not hold any water.

      Taxing the wealthy was tried by FDR in the capitalist haven US of A and it was a spectacular success. Top marginal rate during FDR’s time went as high as 94% in 1944 (on income over $200,000, equivalent of $2,868,625 in 2018 dollars).

      Then he went on full throttled Keynesian, implementing social and infrastructure projects which enabled the economy to recover from the brutal effects of Great Depression. His success made him the most popular president in US history and won a record four presidential elections.

      FDR’s policies were so popular with Americans but the super wealthy loathed him and in this he quipped “I welcome their hatred”.

      “We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests.”

      Asked later for a biographical memoir what legacy he wants to be remembered for, he replied, “I saved capitalism in America”.

      • chemrock says:

        I’m never for a progressive tax on the rich.
        I’m only against a wealth tax based on a % off asset holdings.
        World of difference.
        Those with Fire and brimestones should discharge them responsibly.

        In any case, FDR 1944 situation was for war revenue. People should chip in.

        • chemrock says:

          Oops — I’m for progressive taxes on the rich, not wealth tax. it’s different.

        • Micha says:

          AOC’s 70% on income over $10 million seem reasonable enough. Krugman and others support it and hinted that 80% might even be better.

          • chemrock says:

            Once again Micha, you are not reading properly. You see only what you want to see.

            I’m not against whatever progressive rate for income, I’m against wealth tax — that’s different. My illustration was you have assets of $10 million, not income. If you have a house of $10m and they want to tax you 80%, you will sell your house pronto.

            • Micha says:

              Read again AOC’s proposal. It’s 70% on income or earnings in excess of $10 million.

              You are arguing with yourself only. She didn’t say 70% tax on wealth.

              Put your glasses back on so you can read better.

              • chemrock says:

                You are responding to my comment which is about tax on assets.

              • Micha says:

                And who is proposing a tax on assets?

              • Micha says:

                Ocasio-Cortez’s tax proposal is in line with at least one current of founding-father thought: America’s first political theorists took these truths to be self-evident: that a person could not exercise political liberty if he did not possess a modicum of economic autonomy, and that disparities in wealth inevitably produced disparities of political power.

      • chemrock says:

        The idea that FDR saved US from the Great Depression is a myth.

        Yes he did great in that he was decisive and put in lots of initiative. Whilst he too has his banker scapegoats, one of the first act he did, into his 4th day of presidency, he asked the people to put their money back into the banking system. Banks were collapsing in the sustained bank-runs leading to the depression. Americans took heed and money flowed back into the system. Within months, many banks that closed re-opened.

        FDR has problems with his New Deal and Second Deals. There were lots of ups and downs, battles with supreme courts, battles with unions. It was the WW2 that save the US economy. When Europe went to war, US became the sole supplier of practically everything. That’s how they actually climbed out of the hole. But fair is fair, FDR did his damn best and obviously he guided the economy back up. He was’nt the super-hero he was made out to be. Contextualise, and one can see it’s the gigantic jump in production in WW2 that got US out of great Depression.

        • Micha says:

          “The idea that FDR saved US from the Great Depression is a myth.”


          The stock market crash occurred in 1929 and it was Herbert Hoover who did not do adequately enough for 3 years.

          It was only after the election of FDR in 1933 that sensible policies were put in place (stimulus in the form of increased gov’t spending) that recovery was realized.

          The US did not enter the war until December of 1941 after the Pearl Harbor incident. By that time FDR is already on his 3rd term as President and the economy has sufficiently recovered to marshal enough resources for taking on the Axis powers.

          • chemrock says:

            Hoover did put several initiatives into action. FDR’s New Deal was essentially continuation of Hoover’s work, plus more.
            Eg Hoover wanted to proclaim a national banking holiday (banks were collapsing all over the place at the time). FDR refused in Congress. But 3 days after he took office, FDR immediately declared a national banking holiday.

            Per Bernake, the Fed erred in handling the Great DEpression. They did not expand the monetary supply enough.

            Yes FDR was decisive and introduced many expansionary initiatives in the New Deal and Second Deal, But there were critical mistakes. Some of the stimulus packages were ill-conceived.

            Examples :

            – FDR believed the Depression was caused by excessive competition which depressed prices and wages, this led to lowered demand for goods and services and thus employment. So what did he do? 2 fundamental killer initiatives — (1) he removed anti-trust prosecution and permitted collusion, (2) he allowed union wages to increase by 25%. These are steps that are unimaginable today. The result — prices and wages rose. Studies have been made by UCLA using available data to simulate the situation and the conclusion was it prolonged and deepened depression by 7 years.

            – People were abandoning the $ to seek refuge in gold. This means people were hoarding instead of spending. FDR abandoned the gold standard in 1933 and nationalised the country’s gold stock. Citizens had to sell their gold to Treasury. FDR then raised the price of gold. This caused problems for the rest of the world and reduced world trade.

            – FDR introduced NIRA National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. This resulted from a compromise of special interests: businessmen seeking higher prices and barriers to competition, labor unionists seeking governmental sponsorship and protection, social workers wanting to control working conditions and forbid child labor, and the proponents of massive spending on public works. NIRA led the oligarchs in by the backdoor.

            – FDR policies meant more govt interventions which meant the market was never allowed to correct itself. There were too much regimentalism that SC eventually stopped NIRA.

            All this do not diminish the man. FDR was decisive and energetic and did what he did in the best interest of America. He was not in possession of lot of economics knowledge that generations after him had.

            • Micha says:

              “FDR policies meant more govt interventions which meant the market was never allowed to correct itself.”

              Geez chempo, the market is hemorrhaging and in a free fall, exactly the reason why the government has to intervene. Imagine what would have happened if during that time the gov’t just allowed things to play out and completely took a hands off policy. Even Hoover’s approach which you are here trying to give more credit is still gov’t intervention in a failed free market capitalist system.

              “FDR was decisive and energetic and did what he did in the best interest of America. He was not in possession of lot of economics knowledge that generations after him had.”

              It’s a real time situation and a real time experiment. Considering the severity of the crisis, FDR did very well in managing it.

              • chemrock says:

                Regarding intervention, maybe I did’nt make myself clear. Yes in times of these sort of crisis, the govt intervenes and implements financial regulations. I was not referring to these — sure FDR did a lot of it. But the FDR admin went into micro management, especially with the National Recovery Administration requiring stuff like code of admin for every industry — thousands of them, the Blue Eagle emblems fiasco etc.

            • Micha says:

              Remember that he has to deal not only with the crisis itself but with his political enemies, the wealthy bunch, who oppose the policies and measures he adopted to bring on the recovery.

        • Micha says:

          “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”

          FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Address at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Oct. 31, 1936

      • Paul says:

        Chenmrock… I think you are confusing Economic systems with Government systems – In themselves, economic Models (Communism, Capitalism, Socialism) do not cause poverty or hardship. Government systems (Democracy, Totalitarianism, Fascism etc.) decide which economic systems to use. How the people in the government system choose to drive the economic system is the problem. Capitalism currently mainly driven by the US seems to provide the best option; but, if we look at “happiness indices” world wide, Socialism is much better (most of Europe, in particular Scandinavian countries). In both cases, US and Europe, the systems of government were not totalitarian or oligarchical (although I think the US though has slowly become an oligarchy). Socialist Models that have collapsed are totalitarian or at least oligarchical in nature. When China went “red” although they thumped their chest saying they were communist, in reality they were a totalitarian socialist state. Communism as described by Marx is a stateless model (no gov’t at all). Therefore no country has ever reached a “Communist State.”

        What we have in the Philippines is, at least I think, a capitalist model run by an oligarchy. Unfortunately, the oligarchy drives capitalism to favor their interests.

        • I’m not sure how you distinguish economic systems from government systems when government runs the mechanisms that control the economy.

          • Paul says:

            What makes this a sticking point is Communism is being singled out as bad when in reality being an economic system (like all economic systems) it is not bad it does not cause body counts to rise and economies to collapse. The same can be said of Gov’t systems. It is the people in the systems that cause the ideologies of (of both the economic systems and gov’t system) to be distorted – as you pointed out.

        • chemrock says:

          Economics systems is best seen as 2 ends of a spectrum .
          The extreme left being pure socialism — state owns everything, production shared equally.
          The extreme right being private ownership and unfettered production — to each his capabilities.
          Most economic systems have the govt in between to level the playing a bit and implement some social re-distribution wealth.

          Oligarchies are inevitable in capitalism.

          Normally economics and govt systems are best illustrated by the 2-cows approach. I’ll spare TSOH a repeat of what we had previously, but here’s a bit more 2 cows explanation ;

          American capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. You sell 1 and force the other one 1 to produce the milk of 4.

          Chinese Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. You engage 300 workers to milk them and claim you have full employment and high bovine productivity. Then you jail the reporter who wrote on the real situation.

          Indian Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. You worship them.

          British Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. Both are mad.

          Dutch Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. You can’t milk them as they both gay.

          Philippines Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. You force 1 of them to work abroad as a horse.

          Syrian Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. They can’t live together and so they started figthing and destroyed the whole farm.

          French Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows. You go on strike, join rallies, block the roads… because you want 3 cows.

          Greek Capitalism:
          You have 2 cows borrowed from the French and Germans. You eat them both.
          The French and Germans came to collect the milk, you call IMF.
          IMF gave you 2 more cows. You eat them.
          IMF came to collect the milk, you went out for a beer.

  12. dmitry says:

    “did the Villars pay any capital gains tax for the transfer of all those shareholdings? NO.

    thanks for sharing chemrock.

  13. dmitry says:

    Can it be possible that going back were it should be: fishing, farming and sewing. No more money involved, no government ect.?

    • chemrock says:

      With 105 million population — what can of economy do you think can support this?

      • You mean what area of land I guess.

        The archipelago had half a million people around 1521. Many forget this.

        • dmitry says:


          you mean it’s impossible, right?

          -IBR Salazar,

          thanks for the info that you provided.

          I thought (nature within the acrchipelago) that it can sustain us even though we have a population of 105M.

          • chemrock says:

            You are asking for a return to subsistence economy. Firstly the resources won’t be enough for 105m pop. Secondly, who is going to pay for public services?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Maybe you are just thinking out loud because only a time machine can make that hapoen.

      Let me try just the same.

      Even barter trade is like money, since we ca not go back in time, I do not think money in any form can be removed from the equation.

      Government out? Then back to monarchy?

      Sustainable economy or whatever sustainable practices can not actually sustain us with the wishful scenario you propose.

    • edgar lores says:

      If you find a time machine that can take us back to more innocent times, please reserve a seat for me. Thanks.

  14. NHerrera’s tax diagram is not too far from the German progressive tax diagram:

    There is a “rich tax” starting with €250K/year, but it is just 3% more so I think tolerable..

  15. popoy says:

    OFWS and FIL-IMMIGRANTS ALL OVER THE WORLD who love and care
    please spare Some dollars donate a copy of this book to any of YOUR public elementary
    or high school in the whole of Mindanao. Here’s a sample of POEMS (already
    posted here before in TSoH) to inform about OUR beloved Mindanao. A former teacher the author wrote the book not for money but for donations to public school libraries.


    Bulabog Mindanao on page 96 …

    Why is there no peace in Mindanao?
    Forefathers’ land of promise, this vastness
    of restless potential.
    This home of tribals, this melting pot of strangers
    Now our wasteland of denuded forests, of exploited mines,
    Polluted shores and drying dying marine life
    Small world of tears, desolate prairie
    of widows and orphans,
    Grasslands cratered by bombs and mortars
    Singing armalites, whistling bullets, roaring howitzers
    Sands of dried blood, ashes of burned homes
    Baptismal fonts of PMA lieutenants, Oases of generals
    Graveyard of yes sirs.
    Broadway stage of decapitated heroes
    Paradise of the Haves, hell of the have nots
    A piece of toy, a piece of cake, a treasure trove
    Shangri-La of political warlords
    Eden of the second coming, second original sin
    Mindanao is where the soul
    of the Philippines was born
    And where it will finally die. And

    September 14, 2007

    Falling in Love page 50…

    Falling in Love

    Prologue …
    You came in 1967, then you noticed
    In her unpreparedness
    you saw the girl, she seemed ordinary
    like the other girls, but fascinating.
    Unexplainably you like her
    The differentness struck you as puzzling,
    Captivating. She’s a bit mysterious, beguiling.
    She’s not sexy or voluptuous,
    But clean, almost virginal teen ager;
    Then you like her presence everyday
    As if you have known her all your life.
    But you have to go. Leave her.
    For many decades you didn’t see her again.
    Yet you remember her, in her youth
    And innocence, probably in your senior years,
    You haven’t seen yet, any one like her.

    That’s why unashamed like a shy boy
    you write in 2009, I love her.

    You came again in 1972, then you noticed
    In its unpreparedness you saw Davao City.

    Davao seemed ordinary
    like other cities, but fascinating.
    Unexplainably you like Davao
    The differentness struck you as puzzling,
    Captivating. Davao’s a bit mysterious, beguiling.
    Davao’s not sexy or voluptuous,
    But clean, almost virginal teen ager;
    Then you like Davao’s presence everyday
    As if you have known the city all your life.
    But you have to go. Leave Davao.
    For many decades you didn’t see Davao again.
    Yet you remember the young city, it’s youth
    and innocence, probably in your senior years,
    You haven’t seen yet, Any city like Davao.
    That’s why unashamed like a shy boy
    you write in 2009, I love Davao.


    Perhaps, Amazon can mail your donation to the school of your
    choice with your name on it. Here’s the link :


  16. chemrock says:

    Micha I was referring to the article that Joe referred which was the article you referred. Somewhere in there was a reference to Warren Buffet’s proposal for wealth tax.

    All these talk by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren of taxing the rich is nothing. Many times in the past, in various countries, when inequality reared its ugly head, or in times of war, people get into such debates. In the period 1860 -1880 somethings, it was known as the Gilded Age. There was similar great disparity of wealth and they were wrangling on the same subject as we do now. Mark Twain rote about this in ‘The Gilded Age’.

    I’m aware Cortez and Warren were not proposing wealth tax. I brought it up as a point in my comment.

    It may surprise you that Trump in 1999 suggested a wealth tax of 14.25% on net assets. But he was not proposing this for wealth redistribution, he was talking of eliminating the National Debt. Apparently he was worried about the national debt back then. Of course I’m well aware you are laissez-fare about national debt becuase it’s in US$ and they can print their way out because they have monetary sovereignty etc etc.

    • chemrock says:

      Sorry, this was in response to Micha’s comments :

      “And who is proposing wealth tax?”
      “Ocasio-Cortez’s tax proposal is in line with at least one current of founding-father thought: America’s first political theorists took these truths to be self-evident: that a person could not exercise political liberty if he did not possess a modicum of economic autonomy, and that disparities in wealth inevitably produced disparities of political power”.

      Damn keyboard…..

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Again about transparency, I doubt the Freedom of information will ever become a law. Congress wants to block some info to be accessed from their SALNs.


  18. chemrock says:

    Has anyone noticed the feature picture seemed to be caricatures of Gina Lopez and Cong Gwendolyn Garcia?

  19. Francis says:

    If I may offer a late response.

    Some in the comments have pointed out that government redistribution of wealth is an inherently inefficient way of allocating resources—in short, inefficient. There is an underlying assumption here: efficiency is good, inefficiency is bad.

    Yes, I want to get my services and goods right away so that I may enjoy them. Markets are quite good at that—satisfying our wants at the best combination of price, cost, quality and quantity, that is: satisfying our wants efficiently.

    Efficiency is good. Inefficiency is bad.


    Is efficiency the supreme value in human life? Is efficiency absolutely the better choice in all circumstances over inefficiency? Are there times when inefficiency contributes more to human life?

    On the first question—I wonder. Many people are still unhappy in our modern society despite seemingly being materially satisfied; do we just say that they are “losers” or it is just inevitable that some people get “unhappy” in society? One can argue that markets, that capitalism has nothing to do with this—yet, what about all the cases of “burn-out,” the feeling that one must constantly work, work, work, hustle, hustle, hustle. This can be seen as a virtue by some—yet this was not the norm for much of human work throughout human history.

    To say nothing of the ecosystems being trashed as “unproductive” (i.e. Bolsonaro’s recent statements regarding the Amazon) or the desire of Facebook to commodify our most intimate experiences. Efficiency sounds no longer as appealing.

    We talk about “unplugging” for a bit. We talk about living humbler, closer to nature and to human interaction. We must realize that in talking that way—we demand an amount of “inefficiency” to preserve our humanity, to defend that irrational, undefinable clump called human condition.

    “Efficiency” is not the goal, but a means to human ends—human norms, human values. When “efficiency” consumes our norms, our values—we must (and do often) choose inefficiency over efficiency.

    In the start of our Econ classes, they said the role of government was to: pursue efficiency (i.e. anti-trust, handle externalities, provide public goods), equity and fiscal + monetary stability.

    In short: keep the market humming. I find this a bit misleading.

    The additional role of government is to preserve spaces of “inefficiency” in order to preserve the humanity of its citizenry. In short, there are times when the market has to be humming less—or not at all.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am no communist. The market is still the most efficient way of allocating resources, by far. It is just (I find that economists, technocrats, finance persons forget this) the market is a tool and more than just a tool—a human tool, a human construct.

    Markets are not perfect, infallible ahistorical gifts from God—they are imperfect, falliable and historical (that is, they were the result of events in human history). I am aware that I can be accused of strawmanning at this point, and in that respect, I acknowledge that economists, etc. do recognize that markets are not perfect nor infallible (i.e. market failures).

    But I think not many economists, technocrats and finance types are consciously aware (or if aware—not aware enough) that markets are human constructs. I know the equations are beautiful and neat—and I don’t argue against their sheer comprehensive brillance—but it doesn’t matter how perfect, how systematic those equations are; in the end, those perfect equations have to be translated to the raw, messy bits of human experience.

    For instance, enclosures: proof that the state wrought markets.

    Which is why all this talk about capitalism and communism bothers me. That is grand—but a bit misleading. We should be talking about markets and government—far more precise terms to describe human tools, appropriate in some situations, not so appropriate in others.

    I don’t believe in capitalism, nor in communism. I believe in good markets and good government.

    Why am I center-left?

    I believe in a secular preferential option for the poor. I believe that the poor, marinalized and ordinary are inherently—and will always have—the scales turned against them; corollary being that rich always have the scales weighed in their facor to a degree. Hence, I believe the state should always be there to ensure that the poor, marginalized and ordinary are on equal footing with the rich.

    It boggles my mind why economists, technocrats and finance types do not seem to recognize what the Left has recognized: that economic self-interest leads to political self-interest leads to God-Only-Knows-What.

    The problem is not Bill Gates/Jeff Bezos keeping their stuff. The problem is that billionaires keeping a large enough hoard of stuff generates its own “political gravitational” force so to speak, that does a lot of unintentionally detrimental effects to society. I say “unintentionally” because I think these effects likely happen regardless of the personal character of the superrich. I am reminded of black holes, with their inescapable event horizons beyond which even light cannot escape.

    “States/Governments” are obviously a big arena where power is exercised or a large agent exercising power—but not the only arena, not the only agent.

    Power can be observed outside the State. Outside the Government. This is something that I think which is not highlighted enough in the whole Market v. State discourse. Both are political. Even a laissez faire market is political, for power is involved there.

    “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It boggles my mind that people can so readily apply this to the state (which I fully respect) yet do not apply this dictum at all to corporations.

    Ah, but what of anti-trust and competition?

    That is missing the point. Even if the market is efficient as it can be and none of corporations participating in it are dominant—the corporations are not only economic actors, but political actors.

    And corporations can choose to spend their money on matters besides technology, besides marketing, besides research, besides human resources—that is, why not push profits by sending a few $$$ to Congress/Palace.

    • karlgarcia says:

      You are always unhappy if you are a malcontent, greedy, a sour puss or clinically depressed.

    • dmitry says:

      At the beginning of the book by Aldoux Huxley “Brave New World” there is a scene in which we are shown that the humans of that “utopia” are taught from a young age, with classical conditioning, to hate outdoors and nature. Why? Because it does not help to move the cogs of the economy.

      In my own opinion, I think It’s all money matters.

    • chemrock says:

      I summarise that you see humanity marching to the drumbeat of the god of ‘efficiency’ and to live a good live, some ‘inefficiency’ is actually good. I find that a bit difficult to grasp as there is no explanation of what ‘efficiency’ is nor some illustration to show where ‘inefficiency’ may in fact be good.

      OK, you did say “Markets are quite good at that—satisfying our wants at the best combination of price, cost, quality and quantity, that is: satisfying our wants efficiently.” But this does not quite explain it.

      Yes I agree we all should try to smell the flowers instead of work, work, work. But I would that I can get things done efficiently so I can put work out of the way to smell the flowers. And I would like to afford a glass of wine to go with the flowers, which is better served with an efficient government running an efficient economy.

      As an economic being, let’s view efficiency in the micro-economics sense. Economic efficiency is the state where there is optimal allocation and production. Allocation efficiency, or Pareto efficiency, is the optimal state where resources cannot be moved to benefit one party without hurting another party. Productive efficiency is the optimal state where products cannot be diverted to benefit one party without denying another party, and where productions is at the lowest average cost.

      Economic efficiency is the performance apex constantly sought but never achieved. In the drive for efficiency we seek the best government, and constantly push ourselves forward in knowledge acquisition, devising new tools, new products etc. It is from this work ethos that you feel humanity is working themselves off the cliff. The counter view is economic efficiency provides humanity with the space for non-economic pursuits. Long ago it took me months to prepare a complicated corporate budget on Wang typewriter that allows no edit nor computational capabilities. Lotus123 and Excel came along and now it’s a zip doing the budget.

      Let me illustrate an instance where inefficiency seemed to be good, as you have’nt done so. Long ago a friend had the responsibility to set up a manufacturing plant in Thailand. He boasted that it was going to be the best state-of-the-art plant. He achieved that, but 3 months into production, he quitted his job. His competitors in Thailand with low-tech and high-labour, were all producing at much lower cost than him. His production was efficient, but too costly. However, to be more efficient, or less efficient, in these sort of cases, is simply, market decisions. Nothing to do about working oneself over the cliff.

      My response to some of your points:

      “…. the role of government was to: pursue efficiency (i.e. anti-trust, handle externalities, provide public goods), equity and fiscal + monetary stability.”

      The role of govt is the provision of public services and reducing distortions created by the markets.

      “..I think not many economists, technocrats and finance types are consciously aware (or if aware—not aware enough) that markets are human constructs.”

      On the contrary, I think they do, or at least, most do. The ones that don’t are the pure socialists. Karl Marx, for all his brilliant mind, would certainly be a failure in a social behaviourial class…… for his simple belief that production can be shared equally, that an engineer would be happy going home the same paycheck as a janitor.

      “.. I believe the state should always be there to ensure that the poor, marginalized and ordinary are on equal footing with the rich.”

      The state must always ensure there is a safety net for the weakest in society. But equal footing is impossible, physiologically or neurologically. The govt should ensure equal playing field is all.

      “It boggles my mind why economists, technocrats and finance types do not seem to recognize what the Left has recognized: that economic self-interest leads to political self-interest leads to God-Only-Knows-What.”

      I think people do recognise that — for Trump suggest in 1995 for a tax on net worth, Warren Buffet said he is taxed too little. The issue of re-distribution needs to be seriously looked into by those in power.

      On the other hand, the Left do not appreciate it is individual energy, vision, risk taking, personal sacrifices — that drives people to achieve success and great wealth, and along the way, lifted many others out of poverty. We all see the wealth of Henry Sy with green eyes, forgetting he came to Philippines with less than $500 in his pockets. That he probably workef 24/7 to get to where he was.

  20. karlgarcia says:

    An article by Elfren Cruz ( one of the most respected professors in DLSU’s graduate school of business)
    It is about the Davos proposal pf taxing the very rich.


  21. karlgarcia says:

    This is very acceptable to Micha because it id a book report about the limitations if capitalism.


    • Micha says:

      From the concluding paragraph :

      Most informed observers now agree that corporations must serve a social purpose.

      Some CEOs of those mega corporations themselves have been somehow guilt stricken for quite a while now and expressed the same sentiment on the need for corporate responsibility.

      Question is, what is that un-articulated social purpose?

      I’m interested in Kuya edgar’s take on this since it verges on his expert arena.

      Beyond profits, beyond the individual struggle for self-preservation and personal flourishing, what is the bigger purpose of life itself that corporations may adopt as its operating philosophy.

      • edgar lores says:

        In Oz, some social purposes that companies participate in are:

        o Sustainability campaigns
        o Clean up Australia Day
        o Earth Hour
        o Community initiatives in education
        o Scholarship grants
        o Banks support special children accounts
        o Investment in social infrastructure (healthcare, education, justice, defense, community housing, transport, water and recreational facilities)
        o Support to charities
        o Support/employment of PWDs
        o Support of sports
        o Support for the Olympics
        o Support for indigenous Australians
        o Domestic violence grants (for safehouses)
        o Homelessness grants
        o Support for lifesavers
        o Support for people with mental disabilities
        o Support for youth at risk
        o Emergency relief for employees/customers

        I think the large themes are sustainability/environment, education, indigenous Australians, the disabled, the powerless and the helpless, the youth, and sports.

        A large part in that list consist of Robredo’s “laylayan” — the peripheries of society.

        • Micha says:


          Thank you.

          I apologize if I had not been clear on why I deferred to your expertise on the question of purpose. I am looking for an answer to the philosophical question of purpose of life itself, which is rather overwhelming, I know, but needs to be asked nonetheless because I believe the lack of clear answer to that question is the root of all the social malignancy we see and experience everywhere.

          The items that you enumerated above could all be categorized as corporate philanthropy.
          On the surface it all looks good and harmless, until you realize there’s such a thing as toxic philanthropy as enunciated by Anand Giridharadas in his book, Winners Take All : The Elite Charade Of Changing The World.

          Prof. Elfren Cruz mentioned this on the link karl provided above.

          “the book…argues that the equivalent of today’s slaveholders are the elite citizens of the world , who are philanthropic more often than not– but in ways that ultimately serve only to protect and further their interests and cement the status quo… For when elites assume leadership of social change, they are able to reshape what social change is – above all, to present it as something that should never threaten winners.”

          “According to Giriharadas, the roots of the problem go all the way back to Andrew Carnegie, the famed American industrialist, who advocated that people be aggressive as possible in their pursuit of wealth and then give it back through private philanthropy. It was “…an extreme idea of the right to make money in any which way, and an extreme idea of the obligation to give it back” writes Giridharadas, who accuses Carnegie of “dripping with paternalism” for never considering that “the poor might not need so much help had they been better paid.”

          • edgar lores says:

            “Corporate philanthropy” reminds me of “spiritual materialism” in the individual.

            The entity — whether corporate or individual — engages in selfless acts ostensibly for good purposes but underneath it is really for selfish reasons.

            Like Bong Revilla — or was it Jinggoy Estrada? — going to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage. Or a spiritual seeker visiting all the sites of Marian appearances.

            On a lesser scale, all these politicians — from Poe to Duterte — having themselves photographed in prayerful poses.

            How does one separate the charade from the sincere?

            This really is a hard question to answer… especially here in Oz recently where financial institutions defrauded their customers.

            Perhaps we should not judge by motives — which is almost impossible to discern — but by the consequences of their “selfless” actions.

            o For corporations, on the whole, these would produce good results.
            o For individuals, a greater kindness or grace.

            Then balance this with an assessment of their actions in the “non-selfless” arena.

            • Micha says:

              Hahaha. Let me try again.

              If those billionaires and/or wealthy owners of mega corporations could not also find clear answer to the question of purpose, that is to say, what are we here for, why did life evolved the way it did culminating in the rise of humans…then they could not, understandably, be bothered to genuinely care for the well-being of others or, for that matter, the well-being of planet earth.

              Nihilism is a toxic brew.

              In other words, what is the purpose of life so that we could all move in solidarity with all beings in the attainment of that purpose.

              That, I believe is a philosophical question that needs philosophical answer that we can all agree on.

              • edgar lores says:

                I don’t think it’s within their purview. Or it is not a necessary part of their purview.

              • Micha says:

                In light of their supposedly philanthropic deeds, why not?

              • edgar lores says:

                Well, it’s not their primary purpose.

                If you are asking for the ultimate why, there are a million reasons, but no one has the real answer. Or each claims to have the real answer. And perhaps all answers are real. Including nihilism.

                The options are:

                1. You can despair (remain unconscious) and, by extension:

                1.1. Waste your life
                1.2. Waste your life and the life of others

                2. You can be challenged (become conscious or awake) and, by extension:

                2.1. Create your own purpose
                2.2. Discover what the purpose is (or the purposes are)

                I choose option 2 and a bit of both 2.1 and 2.2.

                As I said somewhere before, to choose option 2 you have to make certain assumptions.

                One of my primary assumptions is that the universe is purposive and morally purposive. To assume otherwise is nihilistic and, in effect, you are choosing option 1.

                From this primary assumption, a sequence of questions arises. And one has to be careful in answering each.

                For example, the next question for me would be: If the purpose is moral, is it close-ended (or pre-ordained as religions claim) or is it open-ended (or evolutionary)? My assumption is that it is open-ended.

                The ramifications of just these 2 assumptions are enormous. Just to mention five:

                o It means that you take responsibility for your life.
                o It means that you have to raise your consciousness to define what that responsibility means.
                o It means you have to develop logical thinking.
                o It means that you have to develop a moral code.
                o It means that you behave in morally acceptable ways with yourself, with others, and with the world.

              • edgar lores says:

                My analysis is incomplete: there is a third option.

                3. Dwell in faith (birthed in unconsciousness but can become conscious) and, by extension:

                3.1. Remain in unconsciousness dwelling
                3.2. Awaken to the truth of the faith and continue to actively dwell in it
                3.3. Or take up option 2

                Basically, this cannot be said to be a choice. We are born into it. All of us are and, in truth, this is the majority option. The choices of 3.2 and 3.3 come later in life.

              • Micha says:

                Or is the honest answer to the question is, we don’t really know?

                That this had been asked by people for centuries only to face a blank wall.

                If so, then all life is madness. Nihilism triumphs.

      • I don’t think guilt plays a part as that is a personal emotion and companies operate more coldly in their own interest. They recognize that if they do not engage in good deeds beyond their business charter, they might be seen as something other than good citizens. So it is self interest to help communities and social causes. I recall a couple of years ago looking at some of the large Philippine mining companies, some of whom have been charged with negligence in their treatment of the land. Now they want to prove otherwise and so dedicate considerable effort to social responsibility. Philex has several thrusts to their effort:

        Environmental management: http://www.philexmining.com.ph/environmental-management/
        Health and sanitation: http://www.philexmining.com.ph/health/
        Education: http://www.philexmining.com.ph/education/
        Livelihood and Skills Development: http://www.philexmining.com.ph/livelihood/
        Public Infrastructure: http://www.philexmining.com.ph/public-infrastructure/
        Foundation: http://www.philexmining.com.ph/philex-group-foundation-inc/

        At the bank I worked for, community branches were actively engaged in local activities, sponsoring sports teams, parades, charities, Rotary, and other activities, wanting to be viewed as an integral part of the well-being of the community. Branch managers considered it a part of their job.

        • chemrock says:

          This movement towards embracing corporate social responsibility is not a passing fad. I touched on this in the electricity triology. From Mckinsey to a host of other marketing consultancy agencies, all market surveys point to a substantial percentage of consumers want to see more green and social responsibility advocacies by corporations. This is something that corporations refuse to acknowledge at their peril. We now see almost all corporations putting social responsibility advocacies, which includes environmental sustainability, in their mission statements, websites, financial statements, in marketing materials, promotions and advertisements. etc.

        • Micha says:


          Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

          Toxic Philanthropy. The Spirit of Giving While Taking

          “Anand Giridharadas, who has traveled first-class in the rarefied realm of 21st-century “philanthrocapitalists,” harbors serious doubts. In his acclaimed book, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” the business reporter and former McKinsey consultant exposes the willful blindness of bright-eyed social entrepreneurs and TED-talking executives who, having drunk their own late-stage capitalist Kool-Aid, are now ready to serve us all. Compliments of the house.”

          • You and I circulate in different spiritual worlds and I don’t want to begrudge you yours. The article seems to me to be a case of an author starting with a premise and then looking for instances to prove it, and then jumping from a few instances as if they were the overall trend. In other words, fallacious reasoning. It is not surprising that corporations are self-dealing, that is their charter. It is not surprising there are amoral gameplayers or even crooks. Greed is a god of our times. But for the author to pan Citybank’s bike program because the bank’s “misdeeds” aided the financial crisis is reaching beyond my ability to grasp the moral logic. That is an example of trying too hard to prove a point, I think. No person, no huge organization, is perfect, and if the goal is to take their mistakes and raise them up as typical of the way they do business, then that is just too negative for me.

            I think of philanthropy as what Bill Gates does. He is a primary backer of the Philippine Rice Institute in their work to develop highly resilient strains of rice that will boost production amid washes of salt water and pests. What is his personal gain? I think a lot of people do good deeds because they want to. It makes them whole. Companies do it for self interest, yes. They help people. I’m not going to be the person who argues they should stop helping people, even if some of the projects seem overly self-serving.

            • The article caused me to google Citibank so that I could understand exactly what transpired in 2008. Basically, City would have gone bankrupt but the government provided some $20 billion in loan loss relief to keep it from folding. Had it gone bankrupt, a lot of governments around the world would have been stressed. The government shared management roles through a gigantic restructuring. I had to laugh because the bank “IndyMac” came up. I guess Citibank got stuck with that dog and it was one of the reasons their loans were so troubled. Rather the way BofA got stuck with the Countrywide portfolio.

              I worked as a consultant at IndyMac after I retired, doing some analytical work on their branching. The bank was the private toy of one man and it was the most shoddy, shady, fly-by-night bunch of pompous autocrats I have ever met in my life, or ever hope to. It fits your description of parasite bankers to a T. Thanks for the fond memories.

            • Micha says:

              “But for the author to pan Citybank’s bike program because the bank’s “misdeeds” aided the financial crisis is reaching beyond my ability to grasp the moral logic.”

              How about trying to help a woman get dressed and tidy her up after you’ve just raped her?

              Is that graphic and visual enough to grasp the moral logic?

              • Well, no, I am unwilling to take that as any kind of moral truth. The financial collapse was 2008. The bike program was introduced in 2013 and Citi was not trying to apologize or make good on a rape. The bike program was proposed by the City Department of Transportation, which had nothing to do with the banking crisis. Citibank spent $41 million to gain naming rights for the bikes, much as Pepsi or Staples and other companies have done with sports arenas. It was a marketing decision, and appears to have been successful. It is the largest bike program in the US. In 2014, Citi paid an additional $70 million to extend the rights through 2024.

                “Citi Bike had 5,794,885 annual trips in 2013, increasing to 8,092,952 trips in 2014; 9,959,627 trips in 2015; and 14,087,576 trips in 2016. As of 2016 the bike share averaged 38,491 daily trips, up 41% from 2015.[77] Citi Bike recorded 70,286 trips on July 26, 2017, which it called “the highest single-day ridership of any [bike share] system in the Western world outside of Paris.”

                The rape analogy does not work for me. I’d say it was a brilliant marketing program.

              • In fact, labeling the bike program as philanthropy is totally off base. Citi does not operate the bikes, just uses them to push their name around town. Paid for the value. I thank you for inciting me to explore the issue more, because now I know the author of that piece has no idea about banks, philanthropy, marketing, statistics, logic, or moral reasoning.

              • Micha says:

                OMG Joe, that’s just no different for Citibank to donate money for the purchase, maintenance, and operation of the bike program.

                How could that not be called philanthropy?

                Downtown New York is so traffic congested even people in business suits prefer to ride bikes to get around.

              • Because it is not philanthropy. There was no donation. It is a marketing purchase, as I said. They spent to have their name on the bikes. They bought the value of face time for Citibank across New York. They probably also have posters in subways, too, no different. Of course the bike people and subway people will use the money to help their operations. A newspaper accepts advertising for the same reason.

              • Or take the names of companies on tall high rise buildings they lease space from. They pay for that right. It is not a donation.

              • Or STP and Shell putting their brand on race cars. It is not a donation.

              • Micha says:

                Hahaha, Citi employees don’t transact their business in bike cubicles.

                Those bikes are for public use.

              • Micha says:

                Sponsoring an ad space in a sports event is called advertisement.

                Donating money for a public bike program is called philanthropy.

                Toxic, maybe, but still…

              • Riders rent the bikes. The annual membership is $95 to $149. Buying naming rights is not philanthropy. You are wrong.

              • Here’s an article that may help you gain an understanding of naming rights and how they are popular and sometimes complex: https://www.law.com/sites/almstaff/2017/06/26/naming-rights-go-beyond-the-brand-and-business-is-booming/

              • Micha says:

                Assuming a member gets to use the bike everyday for a 5 day working week, he’ll be using the bike 240 times for the year. If he pays a premium of $149, that would amount to 62 cents per day.

                It’s a subsidized program Joe.

                Courtesy of your friendly Citibank mascot – because they care.

              • “Citi Bike is wholly private and is not funded by any subsidies from the city.[70] Citigroup spent US$41 million to be its lead sponsor for six years, and in return was allowed to put its name on the bikes;[71] in 2014, Citigroup injected an additional US$70.5 million and extended its sponsorship through 2024.[32] However, the bikeshare is owned by NYC Bike Share LLC, a subsidiary of Alta Bicycle Share, Inc.[72][3][4] Jay Walder is CEO of Bikeshare Holdings,[21] which includes Alta Bicycle Share, and in turn, NYC Bike Share LLC and Citi Bike.[73] In February 2017, Motivate and 8D Technologies merged, with Citi Bike ultimately being operated under the purview of the combined companies.[74][60] As of May 2017, Citi Bike is the largest bike-sharing system in the United States,[75] a distinction it first held when it opened in 2013.[13][16] Citi Bike also had 130,000 members by July 2017, up from 100,000 members in 2016.[76]” Wiki

              • It is a business arrangement, has nothing to do with the crash of 2008, nothing to do with rape, and gives Citibank great advertising exposure in their primary market. It is not a public project. It is not philanthropy. Other than that, you are ‘spot on’.

              • Micha says:

                “Citi Bike is wholly private and is not funded by any subsidies from the city.”

                Not funded by subsidies from the city (government).

                No subsidies from the city hall.

                Subsidies come from Citi, the bank.

                Aligns perfectly well with the motive behind corporate philanthropy. Take out the role of governments in public affairs and put it in the hands of corporations so they can have enough leverage on how policies are directed thereby ensuring protection of corporate interests.

              • Aligns perfectly well with positioning Citibank as New York’s bank for everyday people negotiating their way through traffic. All the conspiracy theory and moral anguish is much akin to making up fake news that slanders and divides. Companies are in business to advance shareholder interests. There is nothing dark and malicious about it.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thank you for discussing it further.

      • karlgarcia says:

        On another note, what are your thoughts on Trump saying that America will never be a Socialist country with the camera focusing on Ben Sanders during the State of the Union.


        • Micha says:

          Trump and his plunderer parasitic friends are scared-shit of the resurgence of socialist views articulated by public figures like Senator Sanders and Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

          Among younger Americans, views on socialism gets a 55% favorable rating; so those billionaire parasites are agitated on the possibility that they may have to let go some of their monies as what FDR had previously done to their kind.

          • distant observer says:

            The reason why only younger Americans have a more favorable sentiment towards socialism is because the older generations are still under the influence of McCarthyism-like propaganda such as the “documentaries” narrated by Reagan himself.

            This sequence in Michael Moore’s “Sicko” brings it also hilariously on point: (after 34:20)

            • Micha says:

              Amazing how most Americans have yet to open their eyes to the cruel capitalist neo-liberal experiment hoisted by Ronald Reagan and continues unabated to this day; impoverishing large swaths of population while their feudal overlords live in gated mansions.

          • karlgarcia says:


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