Filipino exceptionalism, Filipino moral courage

Xi Jinping [Photo by NY Times]

By JoeAm

We normally hear of “American exceptionalism”, meant to characterize the economic, moral, and global power of the United States. And we might imagine the term “Chinese exceptionalism” to mean that nation’s historical claim to global prominence, or “Swiss exceptionalism” to mean determined neutrality, or “Japanese exceptionalism” to mean racial purity and discipline.

How can we think of “Filipino exceptionalism” emerging from a chaotic mix of cultures, colonizations, races, languages, enduring poverty, and unexceptional economic and international achievements?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Filipino exceptionalism is a quality of BEING Filipino that embraces the past, present, and future. The past is represented by a richness of history and cultures, of conflict and struggle, of occasional flamboyance and triumph, and a persistence of effort that has Filipinos spreading out across the globe to better their lot in life. The present is characterized by political conflict, dynastic impunity and corruption, haphazard competence, and that ever-present, enduring struggle. The future is characterized by hopes for more and better jobs, more money, and a whole lot less struggle.

Oh, foreigners might mock this as unexceptional, but then, they did not do the slogging, did they? They sat on their fat asses swilling San Mig and living cheap and easy.

Filipino exceptionalism is rooted in struggle. Some dealt by outsiders. Some dealt by other Filipinos. If there is one commonality that binds Filipinos, I’d imagine it to be that weary end-of-day feeling, the exhausted satisfaction of knocking out another 24 hours and thinking . . . “We, as a people, persist against all odds.” Even more than that. “We are just fine, thank you.”

Think about it. There are over 100 million souls in the Philippines bound through struggle, but there is only one nation. One people, apart from any other.

It is a tangible, pragmatic thing, this togetherness. The smarter among Filipinos gathered in 1986 to work on an idea, a way to assure a safer, wealthier, better future. They worked up a contract, one Filipino to another, stating the values they wanted to live by and the rules that should bind its citizens, from many, as one.

They crafted a Constitution.

The Constitution is more than a dry legal document, a list of rules. It is the moral foundation of a people bred from tribes, blended with oriental and western races, and bound by seemingly unending struggle. Filipinos in 1987 decided who they wanted to be. I imagine it would FEEL something like this: “We choose to be free so that we can aspire for self-fulfillment, fair to one another in the most compassionate ways as our faith would demand, and disciplined to follow the rules that help us take care of one another in the best way possible.”

The people who put that document together might today be disappointed. “We’ve drifted far away from that ideal. A long long way.”

Filipino exceptionalism is on the ropes. Indeed, the nation may be going down, going away, to be absorbed by a higher, stronger exceptionalism promoted by China. Political syndicates are taking the nation apart. Dynasties with no national loyalty. Gangs of Filipinos, some egged on by China, others bound to greed. But they are gangs and power is their currency.

Name calling and political posturing are everywhere. Threats, deceits, game-playing. Pushing and shoving and insulting. These disputes are nasty and bitter. Murderous. Tragic. Possibly inspired by and aggravated by outside forces.

The biggest fight is about nationhood. It is a fight about the very real, very precise understandings stated in the 1987 Constitution. The laws are finite. They are certain. They take care of Filipinos. They were hammered out with a lot of work done by representatives of the left, right, center, north, south, east, west, up, and maybe even down. They were approved by the Legislature, the President, and agreed to by citizens in a national plebiscite on February 2, 1987.

They said in effect:

“We are exceptional as a sovereign people, and this is how we propose to remain that way.”

Let me turn sharply to ask.

What is moral courage?

Well, here’s what I think it is.

Moral courage is full dedication to the rules that keep society whole, harmonious, and healthy. For the Philippines, the moral character of the nation is defined in that 1987 Constitution. “We are a people who cherish peace, equality, fairness, freedoms, human rights, due process, and good works”.

There is no second set of rules. There are no asterisks or caveats. It is fact certain that Filipinos crafted a vision of a responsible, fair, and productive nation.

There are subordinate rules, yes, there are those. For example, the doctrinal rules of churches. Or executive orders set forth by the President, judicial orders from the courts, and the implementing laws produced by the Legislature. But there is only one supreme moral guidebook for the Philippines. The Constitution.

I’ve used the term ‘courage’ because in today’s hostile political environment, those who seek to uphold the values stated in the Constitution are under attack by those who are loyal to the occupants of government offices today. Overwhelming evidence suggests holders of government offices are more loyal to each other, and their own personal interests, than they are to the Constitution. Look around! EJKs with hidden case files, sneaky budgeting, corruption, free-flowing drugs, persecution and jailing of critics, hidden terms on Chinese loans, politicized court rulings . . . hostile language and acts toward women, human rights officials, priests, and foreign dignitaries . . . do I really have to elaborate?

Trolls deployed by the powerful gangs, government propaganda shills, greedy businessmen, and other vested interests defend the abuse of these moral standards by naming and shaming those who argue for due process and civility. The term “Yellows” originated as a term of disparagement for supporters of the prior Administration, one that moved the nation toward orderly, competent government and away from corruption. And it is now applied to any critic of government. “Destabilizers” is also used. “Unpatriotic” or “disloyal”. Lately, “liberals” has become a term of disparagement and “snobby, self-absorbed, and elitism” thrown out as trollish descriptors for those who will not give way to erosion of the lawful moral standards of the nation. Those with moral courage fight back and are seen as snobby for holding the line, self-absorbed for not bending to privilege, and elite for endlessly reciting the importance of the moral rules stated in the Constitution.

They argue . . . courageously, loudly at times, rudely now and then . . . that the moral rules of the Constitution are just. They are fair. They are kind. They were written to bring the nation together. They protect the interests of the most vulnerable.

Too many people blame the masses for today’s conflicts, for the way the vote turned out in 2016. But common Filipinos, the “masa”, are the battlefield. They are not the troops of either side. Votes are where you can find them, or buy them, or lie to get them, or bully to demand them.

There is no middle ground in this fight, no place of safety where people can hold a moral position other than defense of the powerful or defense of the Constitution. One either has the courage to recognize how valuable Constitutional values are, and defend them, or one becomes an enabler of the erosion of the nation’s togetherness.

Middle-grounders destroy the idea of sovereign Filipino exceptionalism in favor of a nation where the powerful take the spoils and the rest are thrown slops.

  • Senators Poe and Angara, holding to safe political middle ground that takes pro-Duterte positions as legitimate (martial law extension), are of DDS morality, not Constitutional morality. They enable the end of Filipino exceptionalism.
  • Pundit Richard Heydarian, holding to some idea of a higher intellectual objectivity that gives legitimacy to troll chiefs and blames critics for anti-China “hysteria”, is of DDS morality, not Constitutional morality. He empowers DDS.
  • The Daily Inquirer, in publishing a narcolist of drug suspects, is of DDS morality, not Constitutional morality. Inquirer publishers break the clear and precious moral rule that all citizens carry the presumption of innocence until a court renders its evaluation of evidence. They are not REPORTING THE NEWS, they are participating in the erosion of Filipino values.

The fight is between the loud and powerful dynasties who prize obedience, supported by the enabling middle-grounders, versus those morally courageous and increasingly disenfranchised advocates who defend the Constitution. And Filipino exceptionalism.

The Constitution DOCUMENTS the nation’s exceptionalism, built on the past, framed by the present, and aspiring for a healthy, wealthier future.

It cannot be made any simpler than that. We are not witness to a fight between poor and rich, or left and right, or uninformed and educated, or Davao and Manila, or China and the US.

We are witness to a fight between impunity and nationhood, between being a pawn of dynastic and international gangs . . . and being Filipino.

The law of the land stands above us all, simple and clear.

When the law of the land changes, the moral standards can change from freedom and responsibility to obedience and loyalty to the President, as the people choose.

No problem. Put it to the peoples’ vote.

But that is not today. That is a wish. A goal for the corrupt. And the root of many ill deeds.

Those arguing for obedience and loyalty to the people in office have the cart before the horse. They are wrong. They are also culpable for the abuses and division now occurring in the Philippines.

They are tearing up the Constitution, one strip at a time.

They are making Filipinos a little less exceptional, one strip at a time.


70 Responses to “Filipino exceptionalism, Filipino moral courage”
  1. NHerrera says:


    Joe, you have done an extraordinary and persistent job in your blog together with your “buddies.” It has done little, if any, to stop the bleeding.


    Joe and your staunch supporters: remain calm and do not respond to the provocation.

    Inhale deeply; exhale. Do so three times.


    • We have no accountability for remaking the Philippines, only for sharing ideas. People in leadership, or with a platform that reaches the masses, have the ability to stop the bleeding. Heydarian has that platform and uses it to critique those who would like to see the Constitution applied as if it meant something.

      • karlgarcia says:

        He deleted our exchange in FB, but it is stilli in my head that he said that it would be idiocy to call him DDS, what followed s almost something like this:
        I did not call you DDS, are you calling me an idiot?
        Then he said that he was not referring to my idiocy then he apologized and I toldd him to have a nice day after accepting the apology.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for that Heydarian snapshot of the day, karl. I wish my memory is still as good as yours.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Again, you are so humble NH, I bet you still have the formulae, postulates, theorems,and what have you embedded in your brain and your heart.

      • NHerrera says:

        Okay, that explained, I can have my second cup of coffee.

        Share away!

      • For so many, the Constitution is like Grace Poe’s oath before the USA: just the motions.

        Hard to trust those with that kind of mentality. Here today, somewhere else tomorrow.

        • Yes, I believe that to be accurate, and as I noted to Grace, the ability to project back, forward, and outward is constrained with the focus being me and here and now. This was evidenced by a 10,000 bike ride protesting the motorcycle laws mandating larger plates. Yet the Yellows can’t generate a march of 1,000 people to save democracy.

  2. chemrock says:

    Filipino exceptionalism is the ability to forget painful lessons of history.

    • There is that, yes. The resilience, and then going back for more punishment.

      • Grace Reyes says:

        I think it would be more appropriate to call it masochism and enjoying self-harm. I mean, how could anyone who’ve “been there, done that” and experienced the negative outcomes would want some more? I just have to scratch my head. 🤣

        • Maybe they believe in fear only?

          “..A datu’s hold onto power was enhanced by the people’s popular belief of the datu’s arcane knowledge of pangkukulam or pambabarang, a type of black magic that allegedly harms the datu’s enemies.

          William Henry Scott (1994) listed some of the most feared supernatural powers of the datu. Ropok was a curse that allowed the datu to control and enslave the mind of any person. Bosong was another type of dark magic that caused swelling in a person’s intestines. Panlus was a spear that also caused intense swelling in the victim who steps over it. Kaykay was believed to be a highly advanced form of dark magic that allowed the datu to pierce his enemy just by pointing at him or her from a distance. Hokhok, the most feared among the datu’s powers, was believed to cause instant death just by the datu’s touch or breath..”

        • I think a huge part of the population has never been there (they are young), and is basically uneducated about the way citizens SHOULD engage in building a nation. Projecting forward, backward, and outward is not a strength. They rely on government to do whatever government does, and collect their pay every election.

        • edgar lores says:

          Masochism. Self-harm. Filipino behavior does border on mental illness.

          It is significant that three of us see the exceptionalism as negative:

          o Chemrock — historical amnesia
          o Irineo — master/slave syndrome
          o Me — Rule of power & servility to foreign powers

          It’s like:

          o We are slaves because we forget
          o And we forget because of our apathy and sycophancy
          o And we serve our domestic masters who want to preserve their entitlements
          o And our domestic masters are kept in power not only by us but by a concentric ring of protective sycophants (in the Cabinet, in Congress, in the Judiciary, in the city/provincial hierarchy, in the armed forces, and in news and social media) who form layers of different entitlements
          o And our domestic masters are in turn slaves to foreign masters who want to enrich themselves through our efforts and want to seize our nation’s wealth

          We do not value independence and self-reliance. The last virtue is deplored by our religions.

      • Grace Reyes says:

        I think it would be more appropriate to call it masochism and enjoying self-harm. I mean, how could anyone who’ve “been there, done that” and experienced the negative outcomes would want some more? I just have to scratch my head. 🤣

    • popoy says:

      To learn and not forget the lessons of anything the multitudes must be present; the very few bastards who were present to bend and distort history and won against those present few who died to straighten it will surely pay but only time will tell when exceptions shall be overruled by the larger population.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. Powerful.

    2. The delineation of the main issue – the Rule of Law vs. the Rule of Power — could not be clearer.

    3. I will redefine Philippine exceptionalism in a different way and in a negative way. It can be simply stated as the Rule of Power. This exceptionalism was born of Spanish colonization and has been nurtured through successive waves of misrule, not least by ourselves.

    4. What is the Rule of Power? By negation, it can be defined as what the Rule of Law is not.

    3.1. The exceptionalism may not be unique in that other countries also do not follow the Rule of Law. But our exceptionalism is perhaps different now in that our deviancy is at the behest of a foreign power to which our government has completely succumbed.

    3.2. Can there be anything more disgusting than voluntary servility to a contemptuous master?

    4. If the Rule of Law is the Constitution, just laws and fair justice, open government, and accountability, then the Rule of Power is the opposite of these. Which would be:

    o Non-observation of the Constitution
    o Unjust laws and the perpetration of injustice
    o Secretive government
    o Lack of accountability

    4.1. It is not difficult to find examples of these exceptions. There should be no need to elaborate.

    5. If the Philippines had a Special Counsel, would he find there was collusion between China and Duterte to win the 2016 presidential election, to preside over the dismemberment of the Republic, and to mortgage the country’s future to China?

    5.1. My answer would be indubitable yes.

    6. If Duterte is the current reality of Philippine exceptionalism, then Candidate Bong Go is the projection of that reality into the future. Should he win a seat in the Senate, then — with the aid of unpatriotic weaklings such as Poe, Angara, and the like — the continued servility of the Filipino people is assured for at least the next 3 years.

    7. It is to be hoped that someone strong and patriotic, like Trillanes, ascends to the Malacañang in 2022. Then, like Mahathir, he may cancel the onerous loans for which the nation’s patrimony is being held to ransom.

    P.S. Superb photo by the way.

    • Yes, I accept your determination on Philippine exceptionalism as being truer to what actually is, versus what a lot of elite wanted it to be in 1987. To a great extent, I am arguing an ideal, not reality. The Philippines is exceptional at dealing in power and wealth for a few families and their primary enablers and leaving slops for the masses. Meanwhile, the masses are adoring the power mongering and trying it now and then in their own little worlds. If that indeed is the dynamic, the happiness and friendliness can be seen as just a game, as is everything else, because it is really quite a manipulative, immoral exceptionalism.

      • As for 2022, I have a hard time seeing relief coming. I think, with a captured Senate, Federalism will be rushed through and sold to voters as Bong Go was sold, and the Philippines will officially become realms of the dynasties. Duterte has Mindanao, northern Luzon, and central Luzon on his team and he’s working diligently on Cebu and the Bicol region to oust his enemies there. The dynasties will comply with China and the nation will be too weak to object. You’ll be fine. You’re down under. I’ll be fine, I’ll blend in or leave. But it will not be a kind place for anyone in the way, or for the common Filipino, who will be laborers and maids. Even the lawyers will just be order takers.

  4. Gemino H. Abad says:

    A country is only as strong as her people’s memory.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    Filipino exceptionalism, is taking exception on many things.
    I had an argument with my old man, because of GRPesque pinoy kasi comments. I told him that if I can tell someone I do not know not to call Filipinos stupid then I can also tell you that. Well I just walked out to avoid further hurting and regretful words.

  6. Filipino exceptionalism is follow your master:

    1) Spanish: pretend to follow Catholic religion, including prayers with nice words.

    2) American: pretend to have a democracy, including a Constitution with nice words.

    3) Chinese: give the master his due profit, otherwise no nice words needed anymore.

    The fools who believed the nice words of 1 and 2 ever meant shit fight to survive nowadays.

    Too cynical? I still hope to be proven wrong. Rote obedience has bred perfect worker ants.

    • Now I wonder, how long will it take until someone says this of the Chinese? The relevant paragraphs are striking:

      ..Since then, for more than three hundred years, we have supported the race of Legaspi most bountifully; we have allowed them to live lavishly and grow fat, even if we ourselves suffered deprivation and hunger. We have expended our wealth, blood and even our lives in defending them, even against our fellow countrymen who refused to submit to their rule; and we have fought the Chinese and the Dutch who tried to take Katagalugan from them.

      Now, after all this, after everything we have done, what benefits have we seen bestowed upon our Country? Do we see them fulfilling their side of the contract which we ourselves fulfilled with sacrifices? We see nothing but treachery as a reward for our favors..

      ..Reason shows that we cannot expect anything but more and more suffering, more and more treachery, more and more insults, more and more enslavement. Reason tells us not to waste our time waiting for the promised prosperity that will never arrive. Reason tells us that we must rely upon ourselves alone and never entrust our livelihood to anybody else. Reason tells us to be one in sentiment, one in thought, and one in purpose so that we may have the strength in confronting the evil that reigns in our Country.

      Now is the time that the light of truth must shine; now is the time for us to make it known that we have our own feelings, have honor, have self-respect and solidarity. Now is the time to start spreading the noble and great teachings that will rend asunder the thick curtain that obfuscates our minds; now is the time for the Tagalogs to know the sources of their misfortunes. This day we must realize that every step we take is taking us closer to the brink of the abyss of death that our enemies have dug to ensnare us.

      And so! Oh compatriots! Let us dispel the blindness from our intellects; let us resolutely dedicate our strength to the triumph of our true and mighty cause, the prosperity and peace of our native land.

      (emphasis mine. One man got it back then.)

  7. Sup says:

    Moral is ”Why drink water if there is wine?”

    ”COA orders return of P8.17M in MWSS execs’ ‘excessive’ meal allowances ”

  8. Micha says:

    Meanwhile, the Mueller probe is a dud. Broke the hearts of Democrats and mainstream media like WaPo, NYT, and CNN.

    In both the Philippines and the US of A we have con men and veritable liars for president and yet so-called civil society don’t seem to know how to counter the narratives of these motherfuckers.

    In the pages of TSOH we kept on blaming the poor stupid Filipinos.

    The guardians of US exceptionalism kept on blaming the Russians.

    Both are terribly wrong.

    • Good morning, Micha. Starting the day with a little good cheer, I see. Always happy to have these honorable pages smeared with some good old drunken sailor dirtmouth. Spice, you know. Literary drama to keep the university kids who read here keyed to what the real world is like.

      • ps, most readers don’t know, but The Society of Honor has been a part of two university student projects during recent months. One was a study of satire and another an examination of political blogs in the Philippines. Now you know.

      • NHerrera says:

        We live in interesting times indeed.

        Has the “deluge” come or are we worldwide just in this deep dark part of the cycle of human journey? We humans better move fast or we never get to the sunshine side because the effects of global warming overwhelm — this climate change also man made.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    In relation to Irineo’s enumeration on consumerism,mining,etc, Cielito Habito says that the Filipinos are exceptionally gifted in Natural Resources,. That was before consumerism and mining, overfishing, etc.

  10. popoy says:

    My lament as octogenarian is my inability
    To read prodigiously the written screen
    Of political media masquerading as social media
    Aging ears, failing eyesight, fragile memory
    All help to miscomprehend lots of
    Intellectual eche bucheche.

    Like the words exception, exceptional, exceptionalism
    A twist and turn of the odd man out, of the albino
    Among the color rainbow like a white among the blacks;
    The dwarf among giants, the imbecile among idiots.

    To be exceptional refers not to the many among one
    Thieves among an honest man, Imbeciles among a genius
    The crocodiles among a dolphin; to be exceptional
    Is to be different from many others like Trillanes is
    to the rest of the senators.

    God—if I may conjecture—always favor exceptions;
    The few good from the many bad.
    If on the Second Coming God decides only
    To have only one people to populate the earth and
    If Filipinos and Americans are the only two exceptions
    Of all the races or peoples of the world,
    God will consider from the two
    a really easy choice.

    Now pray tell me why; mortal sinner
    That I am to say Filipinos’ the choice
    As sole earthmen after the second coming.
    why, WHY? Exceptionalism, THAT’S WHY.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Onli in da Pilipins.

    • Yes, exceptionalism means the exception, and certainly few nations . . . or maybe none . . . have the twisted history and social fabric of the Philippines, with 114 different languages, less those that have gone extinct over the past 10 years, quite a lonely result when you think about the passing of that last man or woman. No nation seems to have less drive for national well-being derived from an internal yearning to be free and sovereign as a HUMAN PERSON within a well-run, protective government.

      • popoy says:

        Now pray tell me why; mortal sinner
        That I am I’m saying Filipinos’ the choice
        As sole earthmen after the second coming.
        why, WHY? Exceptionalism, THAT’S WHY.

        For implausible reasons most likely but the intent is not to negativize JoeAm’s piece or the pros and cons of the perorations but to simply share the eche bucheche of an octogenarian experience; I have been around so to speak even only to a few countries but may be to hundreds of villages; not even a few times or once with billionaires entertainers and businessmen; but had enough exposure to people of color and the colorless; black or white who aren’t seen in a rainbow; anywhere I went or had been and was asked: are you Chinese? Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese? No, no, I am Filipino and immediately I see that twinkle in the eyes of the curious; not once did I see disgust or fear in their faces; to be Filipino to the inquisitive breaks the ice and perhaps the best conversation piece; ALL foreigners I have met in those many decades of my life can only, perhaps out of politeness are neutral, never negative of Filipinos, even when the topic touches the insatiable greed of our corrupt leaders; to know thyself, myself as Filipino is to boastfully beproud even of our imperfections like we are VERY tribal but we rarely or never have murderous tribal fighting, everywhere we work or reside like big Cities like the Big Apple, Hollywood’s LA or Capone’s Chicago we are proud to have tribal clubs and organizations that compete but never kill each other; we are all cultural minorities despite religion and economic status; we have warts as big as cockroaches but we are never lethal threats to other races; we think and behave we are not racist; we intermarry with colored and the colorless and people whose epidermis are the mild colors of the rainbow; we can be world class in sports; we can be universal in matters of feminine beauty but never in male or female ugliness; we neglect but don’t discriminate our aborigines; we have hundreds of languages but we are not Babelious; we have twenty years insurgency because we have not killed all the insurgents; our ethos proves FLM, Filipino Lives Matter in theory and practice may be 90% of the way, 99% of the time; cowardice may have stalked some of us but because of the WWII Bataan debacle and the death march, WWII warrior Douglas McArthur remarked: Give me 10 thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world; a lady journo said: our OFWs are everywhere subtly conquering the working world; and when I saw and heard high income multi-racial, mix-race compassionate singers sing We Are the World, I thought Filipinos should be singing that fittingly not because of the dollars they can give but because of the way they take care of themselves; Filipinos might be sleeping in the pancitan but they are not bothered by ubiquitous nightmares; any Filipino like me can beat our breast with pride and sincerity with a short paragraph like this long one.

        • Ahahahaha, you crack me up with short paragraphs like that long one. Your wit is as sharp as your razor “we neglect but don’t discriminate against aborigines”, and other enlightenments which I can imagine roll off your mind like water over the falls. Indeed, there are exceptionalities among the exceptional. I note the morning “wet hair look” among the local women, signifying they are considerate enough to be clean and too efficient or poor to bother with a hair dryer. I think it is cool. Also the umbrellas in the sunshine, ladies only, reflecting sense and sensibility to a lighter look.

  11. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    A no nonsense PM of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, acts in the immediate wake of the terror attack in Christchurch in which 50 died and scores injured. She towers in my esteem compared to tiny Trump.

    I like this article:


    I find this musing by Dani Rodrik as an eye-opener:

    But the deeper problem is a structural one that goes beyond what firms can do on their own. Developed and developing countries alike are suffering today from a growing mismatch between the structure of production and the structure of the labor force. Production is becoming increasingly skill-intensive while the bulk of the labor force remains low-skilled. This generates a gap between the types of jobs that are created and the types of workers the country has.

    Technology and globalization have conspired to widen that gap, with manufacturing and services becoming increasingly automated and digitized. While new technologies could have benefited low-skilled workers in principle, in practice technological progress has been largely labor-replacing. In addition, global trade and investment flows, and global value chains in particular, have homogenized production techniques around the world, making it very difficult for poorer countries to compete in world markets without adopting skill- and capital-intensive techniques similar to those of the advanced economies.

    The result is the intensification of economic dualism. Every economy in the world today is divided between an advanced segment, typically globally integrated, employing a minority of the labor force, and a low-productivity segment that absorbs the bulk of the workforce, often at low wages and under poor conditions. The shares of the two segments may differ: developed countries obviously have a greater preponderance of highly productive firms. But, qualitatively, the picture looks quite similar in rich and poor countries – and produces the same patterns of inequality, exclusion, and political polarization.

    • That is a very interesting profiling of what is happening to the work force with automation coming in. The Philippines falls naturally to the low-wage work-force. Even the BPO industry, which has a technology platform, is said to be threatened by full automation for a lot of the call servicing work. Machine driven intelligence is enormously impressive. I type my search requests, my son speaks them. He gets better results, faster. Farming is becoming more efficient and automated. I don’t think anyone, not even the Aquino Administration, has done what I would call environmental assessment of future job demands to figure out how to get in front of the waves as they gather.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Acemoglu and Rodrik aee Turkey’s gift to man kind.

      As far as AI, in every threat there is an opportunity.
      I don’t think AI can replace chefs, waiters, truck drivers, farners here in the Philippines but still the call centers can still leave a few for those who insust to talk to a human.
      ok time to drop a link.

  13. Filipinos trying to be neutral is often also related with the attitude of some who try not to offend anyone – Grace Poe is an example.

    My father’s view of Rizal is clearer to me now – he sees him as kind of like Heydarian is today.

    Still don’t think I quite agree with that though.

    • Hmmmm, that would diminish Rizal. I think he was more principled rather than objective attached to nothing but self promotion.

      • Rizal was trying to convince the Spanish to give Filipinos more rights, while Bonifacio saw no chance for that left. That did cause some to see Rizal as a fence-sitter, but that I think isn’t true.

        The only true similarity between Rizal and Heydarian is the touch of vanity.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Speaking of bring afraid to offend.
      I was afraid to tell Joe, not to call every dissenter trolls, Duterte enablers, etc even if the reasons are valid.
      But as my pop said he is entitled to state facts, maybe if that Is the case then fine.

      After a bitter exchange, the bitterness can be removed gradually by turning it into sweet sour, when the frustrations are removed the sour is removed then we can all toast to a sweet wine, but be careful not to turn the sweetness Into sweet nothings.

      • Well, that is good advice. To me, a troll is a person with a vested interest that contributes to the problem rather than engaging in a forthright effort to solve it. The more sophisticated trolls can hardly be recognized, they are so good. But they are effective, with those seeking to diminish Mar Roxas among the best. LCX was too often a troll who was interested in the argument for the sake of arguing, and then defending it, for the sake of defending it. He was at his best when he deployed his considerable intellect to figure out a good way forward. Heydarian is the same, to me. I can’t find a consistent ideological thread to grab hold of to see his writings as a cohesive collection of intelligence working toward anything. Today, he is promoting China, tomorrow rallying about the Constitution, the next day, defending Duterte, the next day pointing out the flaws of Duterte. If his ideological thread were pro-Constitution, he would not be defending China for her gross attack on Philippine sovereignty and rule of law. And he would reconcile over 20,000 deaths, outside of due process, with support for Duterte.

        • And he certainly would not be launching a bitter name-calling rant against ‘elitist’ yellows.

          • karlgarcia says:

            In the short amount of time spent with him on FB, I told him that I personally hate the DDS and Yellow labeling, then he apologized.

            I paraphrase him:
            FYI, it is idiocy(for the yellows) to call me DDS.
            Let us move on from Heydarian, until …..I don’t know, the next few …..

            • Well, in my missionary work, I am a troll, and today on Twitter I am trolling middle-grounders. He wrote an article yesterday, but I didn’t read it and am disinclined to look for it. It detracts from my trolling time . . .

              • karlgarcia says:

                According to his bookie only Mar Roxas will make it to the magic 12.
                He mentioned some of the Otso Diretso, but after saying only Mar has a chance.
                What about Bam?

              • Bam is spending too much energy on social media and not making a dent in the mass market that does not admire the Aquino name. My bookie says he will end up fifteenth, at most. But Sal is a six pack to the wind and may be deemed unreliable after three bottles.

        • I’m not like Heydarian, Joe.

          1. I would have never lost my cool, always polite and professional, when arguing big or small issues. Though always with passion.

          2. and, I don’t want to run for public office in the 3rd world.

          but in your future interactions with Heydarian focus on #2. you guys can still nudge him your way , so listen to Vicara‘s take on him on the Heydarian thread, he is a political animal (still a baby, but same-same specie).

          LCX was too often a troll who was interested in the argument for the sake of arguing, and then defending it, for the sake of defending it. He was at his best when he deployed his considerable intellect to figure out a good way forward.

          Will take this as compliment, Joe. Thanks!

          • I meant it as a compliment. Doesn’t let you off the hook though.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Hey pal LCX, try limitting the exchange to three iterations on the third, check if it is not going anywhere, if it is not, then move on, I do not mean look for another target or mark, I mean move on to the next issue.
            And your idea of not agreeing to disagree is a bad idea, methinks.

            I hope that you get out of the woods soon, look for a river or a creek, if your gps is not working.
            Or use bread crumbs, but the birds might eat them.

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