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May 17, 2015
THE OLIGARCHY QUESTION

THE OLIGARCHY QUESTION

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

What should the nation do to the oligarchs? Remember that the constitution and strengthening of the nation-state, as clearly indicated by historical accounts, involved the class factor, to wit: the various middle and lower classes forged a united front to overthrow the trilateral alliance of the monarch-nobility-priesthood. Nationhood was and will always be a struggle against predatory oligarchs, as exemplified by the violent overthrow of the gentry (monarchy, priesthood/Church, nobility) to be able to advance the gains of the French Revolution. Likewise did the socialist revolutions in various countries resulted to the strengthening of the nation-state, a strengthening that was achieved precisely through the institutional decapitation of the oligarchy, the physical elimination of many of its members and the seizure of their assets.

 

In the Philippine case, the oligarchy is represented by (a) the landlord-capitalist oligarchs  and (b) the Catholic Church. The landlord-capitalists were the products of the commercial era of the 19th century up through the industrializing era of 20th centry, while the oligarchic Church exists as a carry-over from the feudal Hispanic era. On the one hand, the landlord-capitalists have begun to preach ‘corporate social responsibility’ coupled with Santa Claus dole-outs handed over to ‘shirtless folks’, many of whom are shanty residents. On the other hand, the Church has been preaching a ‘preferential option for the poor’ as mandated by the post-Vatican II doctrines, coupled with ‘basic ecclesial organizing’ among communities aimed at contributing to ‘social capital’ and empowerment. The question is, do such sets of actions coming from the oligarchy suffice to redistribute wealth and contribute to poverty alleviation?

 

The maximalist solution is the one offered by Old Nationalism as a response to the question. The domestic Bolsheviks, whom we count among nationalists in the Philippine setting, are particularly hot on seizing the assets of the landlord-capitalists (‘comprador class’ as the Maoists labeled them collectively) and declaring these under state control. But the same (old) nationalists are silent about Church wealth, which is so enormous it is clear that Church oligarchism is a factor contributing to the ailments of our society. Is it because the Church had contributed immensely to the growth of the Left, by way of the politicization of many bishops, clergy, religious and ministers along the Maoist/Marxist way, and by the utilization of Church convents for such purposes? So now it seems that a Left seizure of power, if ever, is a surefire guarantee for perpetuating Church oligarchism, while landlord-capitalist wealth gets seized and declared as state assets, if not as Communist Party assets.

 

Neo-nationalism may very well consider the minimalist solution to the question. Sequestering assets by the large-scale and jailing/exterminating oligarchs may only be fruitful in the short-run. But if the value-base of possessive individualism, greed and predatory practices, including usury and rent-seeking, are not eradicated, oligarchs will again appear in the future, thus returning us all to where we were before, as billionaire oligarchs are now appearing by the dozens in post-Bolshevik Russia. “If you can’t beat them, join them!” is likewise unsound, as this is tantamount to capitulation to oligarchism. The minimalist way begins by declaring that oligarchs, when presented with sound options, can participate in the development game. With the strengthening of institutions, they will also begin to exhibit more accountability and responsibility, by first exhibiting truthfulness in their tax declarations and payments, henceforth fattening the public purse no end.

 

The structural landscape is now changing, and oligarchs are compelled by the exigencies of the times to recognize the winds of change. Gone were the days when oligarchs were as powerful as Zeus and His Olympian Entourage who can never be prosecuted for their crimes, inclusive of crimes of extracting unjust rent from people’s purses without public consent. As the Meralco case demonstrates, erring oligarchs do go punished, or at least the erring firm cannot just engage in criminal acts without being penalized. When civil society is strong and every kind of public interest group vigilantly watches the oligarchs’ acts with zeal, the Olympian stance of greedy oligarchs receive stunning blows by way of court litigations. Meanwhile, oligarchs in localities who commit heinous crimes, such as that of a former mayor in Southern Luzon, got jailed for such crimes, something that was unimaginable in the past. Institutions of justice are now galvanizing, thanks in part to a vigilant civil society and the synergy concurred by the state with it.

 

I would now boldly declare a forecast that in the long run, transcendent values would permeate the private sphere so greatly, resulting to greater compassion and the return to simple lifestyles. Eventually, the oligarchs will voluntarily share an immense portion of their wealth to the people, through stock sharing schemes, donating large stockholdings to social enterprises, and funding the equity components or even the working capital of social enterprise ventures. Other more exemplary acts will be in the offing too, benign acts that are truly redistributive and not just rhetorical clichés of ‘corporate citizenship’.

 

Correspondingly, a more radical organizational culture will crystallize, such that, during times of crisis, Big Business will no longer have to downsize in order to continue to gain profits and declare dividends. Rather, the remedial step will be to cut down on the working hours and temporarily cut down on wages and pay scales, so that no one gets unemployed in the process. That is because the personnel are also co-owners of the physical assets. Furthermore, as already suggested earlier, new accounting systems will arise that will more than highlight human assets as the most important assets in the agency, thus eradicating notions of downsizing or expelling people during crisis periods. The ‘corporate citizen’ will therefore become a living organism, unlike today when the concept is simply a strategy to evade taxes by diverting profits to corporate foundations.

 

Should we follow the Bolshevik way, it means that eventually the local Bolsheviks would become the new oligarchs. The Communist Party becomes the all-powerful economic Santa Claus owning vast assets, while the branches of government controlled by the Party, such as the army and parliament, will also respectively own vast assets, utilized for earning profits that will fatten the purses not only of the said organizations but of their CEOs’ as well. And when market reforms will be undertaken as Bolshevik dirigism can no longer be sustained, new capitalist-landlord oligarchs will emerge, blessed by the all-powerful partocrats with the mandate to “let a thousand millionaires bloom!” As the party oligarchy and the new landlord-capitalists enrich their purses, multitudes will continue to live the lives of paupers, homeless and jobless, cared by no one other than by howling winds of uncertainties and stray dogs who keep them company. Surely, this maximalist route is not the most pro-active route to counterveil against oligarchism, but is in fact a most reactionary route, the stuff of outdated Victorian-era vampire formulas of sucking rent from out of the toiling folks. 

 

As to the Church assets, which will be luckily retained in the advent of a delusional Bolshevik victory, the key is the Bishopric. Bishops are the power-wielders of the Church, and are necessarily the biggest obstacles to change within the Church. “In the long run, we shall all be dead!” declared Keynes than, and such will be the state of the bishops: the Old World bishops will be dead soon, as new generation bishops take their place. Not only are the same Old World bishops—due precisely to their feudalistic, sexist and Victorian-era prudish (pretending) mindsets—the stewards of the vast assets of the Church, their ranks are also replete with narratives of sexual misconduct, corruption and every type of scandalous misconducts from cryptic figures. Hopefully, the new generation bishops will go beyond mouthing ‘preferential option’ discourses to uplift the poor, and move soon enough to redistribute the vast Church assets by proclaiming their utilization for developmental purposes. Such assets can be used to collateralize credit as well as for loans that should be offered at very low interest rates, thus converting the Church into a ‘white knight’ at last.

 

Meanwhile, the Old Nationalists who are still waving the insurrectionary flag can still recoup by joining the legal stream, as some entrenched leaders of communist front organizations are now doing. Their party groups can join political society, while their mass movements and NGOs will continue to operate as civil society groups, and become part, hopefully, of those forces that will popularize to our people the ‘rule of law’ and ‘rule of reason’, in other words become authentic modernizing forces. Such is a very welcome move by the insurrectos, and is in fact the forecast pathway for the concerned rebel forces.

 

 

[From: Erle Frayne D. Argonza, “New Nationalism: Grandeur and Glory at Work!”. August 2004.  For the Office of External Affairs – Political Cabinet Cluster, Office of the President, Malacaňan Palace.]

 


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LIGHTBODY ENABLES JOURNEYS FAR AND WIDE

LIGHTBODY ENABLES JOURNEYS FAR AND WIDE

 

IN FLIGHT (Poem 6)

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

I shall cross the oceans soon.

 

I shall bear the basking

Powers of the rain and moisture

Along the cruise

 

My inner self

Shall be cleansed.

 

I shall soar high to catch

The warm photons of the Sun

I shall then be assured

Of bright tomorrows.

 

My spirit will be endowed with boon

As I cross the oceans soon!

 

As I

Shall cross the oceans,

Cross the oceans

Soon! I

 

Shall!

[Writ. 22 Aug. 1987, Univ. of the Philippines, Quezon City, M.Manila.]

 

REFLECTION

Once you ascend spiritually, your Lightbody will be activated. Once done, you will be enabled to traverse spaces at speeds you’ve never imagined before.

As a young man I dreamt of traveling around the world as a social development specialist or ‘development worker’. I felt the great love to serve the peoples of the poorest countries and continents, and help empower the unshod and paupers of those lands. I visualized myself crossing oceans, through meditation practice.

By the time I reached 40, I began to see myself as the Eagle soaring high above the oceans, mountains, valleys, traveling wide swaths of territories. The Eagle is archetype for the mystic, and I re-awakened to my Master awareness by the age of 36. Though my ground level travel dreams were unfulfilled, my flights across wide swaths of oceans and continents were.

Upon the activation of the Lightbody Oversoul in 2008, I noticed an expanded travel across countries on Earth, with me alighting and meeting up with ascended beings in halls and palaces. The color of my visions attained a far more intensity and beauty. Thus, my dreams of travels across countries were fulfilled, even as I continue to travel there to meet my fellow Brothers and Sisters of Light, as well as to talk before seekers and starseeds using my same Lightbody.


Ra

 

April 2011


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May 8, 2015
NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Reform the international financial system

NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Reform the international financial system

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

The global financial system is indubitably a homestead of predatory financiers. Usury and global speculation, the masterpieces of financiers, are the enemies of nations. Usury in international finance is at an all-time high, raising questions about the legality and moral propriety of   current lending practices. Incidentally, the said financiers are the ones who exercise the clout within the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, whose chiefs have always been CEOs from the bank headquarters of the financiers. The said banks have always acted out as the marketing agents of financial cartels, even as many nations that have followed the austere ‘structural adjustments’ imposed by them have been reduced to paupers.

 

It is high time for ‘white knights’ to appear in global finance, lending money accordingly for developmental and investment purposes at very low interest rates (lower than 1.5% annually) and at very long-term payments (25-50 years). Such institutions are now beginning to appear, but creditors remain cautious about their moves. Such institutions are autonomous from the power orbits of the Western financial cartels, are well niched in Asia (e.g. China), and appear to be creditor-friendly.

 

The reform though should go beyond the ‘white knight’ route. We must actively participate in Asia’s establishment of its own monetary fund and a single-currency regime, and take a leading role if opportunities allow. It may prove beneficial yet to re-institute a regime of gold reserve standard, which should back up the Asian currency. This same monetary fund will then serve as the regional ‘white knight’ that will provide credit to nations in need in the region and continent. The actions will also accelerate the economic cum political integration of the ASEAN and the economic integration for the entire East Asia, steps that will further stabilize the national economies and continuously sustain their respective growth. Meanwhile, a regional currency can stabilize soon enough upon its launching, that it would be a difficult job for criminal financiers to manipulate it, such as the success of the ‘Euro’ now exhibits to the globe.

 

Still another key intervention measure is the control of predatory speculation through a ‘Tobin tax’ on cross-border currency and related purchases (J. Tobin’s proposal in the early 70s). A tax of 0.75% alone on the current cross-border exchanges, which amounts to $300 Trillions annually, would generate $2.25 Trillions. The said money will then be used to fund the operations of international organizations such as the United Nations, UNDP and authentic international NGOs for social development purposes. The money can also be used by ‘white knight’ financing institutions of international scale. This set of actions will then induce reforms in the other institutions, with chain reaction effects leading to declining speculation in the long run, as the oligarchic  bankers/financiers adjust their rates to more competitive rates in the face of challenges coming from global ‘white knights’.

 

 

[From: Erle Frayne D. Argonza, “New Nationalism: Grandeur and Glory at Work!”. August 2004.  For the Office of External Affairs – Political Cabinet Cluster, Office of the President, Malacaňan Palace.]

 


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May 6, 2015
NIRVANA MUST BE ACHIEVED IN SOCIAL CONTEXT

NIRVANA MUST BE ACHIEVED IN SOCIAL CONTEXT

 

IN FLIGHT (Poem 19)

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Here in the Pearl of the Orient

I’ve met you all of Earth’s social types:

Pauper and wealthy merchant

Fisherfolk, peasant and gentry

Countryfolk, villager and highlander

Craftsman, workingman, magnate, banker

Prostitute, gangster and policeman

Bishop, priest, nun, monk, minister and sinner

Pedagogue, manager and white-collar man

Sailor, bus driver and flyboy

Clerk, bartender and pedlar

Soldier and rebel warrior

Politician, publican and rabble rouser

Idiot, artist, athlete, genius.

 

Luck-struck! I feel like a star!

An opportuned social alchemist ceaselessly immersed

In all social spaces

Transmuted henceforth!

 

Rendered flexibly immortal to live and lead

In all imaginable shapes and spheres.

 

I shall fly so soon.

Scattered are your seeds over

Earth’s living zones

You ramparts of the planet.

[Writ. 30 Aug. 1987, Univ. of the Philippines, Quezon City, M.Manila.]

 

REFLECTION

 

In my book Libertosophy & Freethought, I declared the thesis that one must attain self-realization or moksha within a social context. Be where the people are, practice devotion to God by showing devotion to them too, and serve the helpless ones to alleviate their needs and impoverishment. Serve wholeheartedly, and do it in silence.

 

Ascension that is done in a social context I first termed then as ‘social alchemy’. At a latter time, I coined the term libertosophy to mean a paradigm of spiritual truths, knowledge, wisdom that is suited for an aspirant who moves in the sub-paths of service and enlightened power, such as the social activists of our time.

 

I never found appreciation for those monks in Tibet who were isolating themselves inside caves and seemingly meditating forever. On the contrary, I disdained such a practice. One need not be a monk in order to ascend and attain moksha, one can isolate the self by living alone in your urban flat, but do not delude yourself with attaining moksha by total isolation.

 

Be like the proverbial Prometheus, who brought Light to those in need, though you may be challenged by Desire and may buckle down at times (Desire symbolized by the Vulture that pecked Prometheus’ liver while he was tied on a rock). As Jesus urged us, feed the poor, give water to the thirsty. Bring for the Light of truth, knowledge, wisdom to those who are in need, that they too can find balance within them, develop inner peace, and find the Path to nirvana or salvation.

 

 

Ra

April 2011

 


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May 1, 2015
FORTIFY THY MIND WITH KNOWLEDGE

FORTIFY THY MIND WITH KNOWLEDGE


IN FLIGHT (Poem 28)

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Cross the boundaries

Of the vast fields of Knowledge.

Drink! Drink aplenty from the inexhaustible

Pool of Erudition!

 

The mind that is forever prepared

That which is decided to be

A chisel to carve out grandiose beauty

Out of blighted human commonwealths

Will never be seduced

By Ignorance

Whose villainous forces have

Erected quagmires that waylay

Unsuspecting victims.

 

Drink! Drink more from the inexhaustible

Pool of Erudition!

Your journey’s flight is about to make

Summons.

 

Knowledge makes every waylaid

Fetter by Ignorance

Impeccably passable.

[Writ. 07 Sept. 1987, Univ. of the Philippines, Quezon City, M.Manila.]

 

REFLECTION

The Teaching is very clear about the need for growing the knowledge repositories and capacities of a person, likewise to improve capabilities based on knowledge and tools. Science is the 5th Ray to the Divine, it responds to the need for building knowledge by the Aspirant, and it helps to sharpen one’s analytical and linguistic intelligence.

Even spiritual truths are packaged today as ‘spiritual science’, with both spiritual paradigms and technologies (tools, methods, practices). Both material and spiritual science perform very important roles in illuminating the Aspirant and in expanding the absorptive capacity for higher truths.

On a much higher level, an Aspirant must seek to uncover the core universal laws, find subsidiary expressions of them, and see relevant tools and practices derived from them. Self-knowledge is that aspect of knowledge that has to do with the inner self, and is of central import in the Path too.   

What is important to consider is that never take knowledge for its own sake. Knowledge should provide tools that can aid in self-understanding and grasping objective reality, tools that aid in self-realization. Knowledge for its own sake can lead one to the Dark Path, such as what befell those physicists who developed the Bomb in Alamogordo and dropped them on helpless women, children, aged folks in Japan.

 

Ra

April 2011


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Apr 25, 2015
NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Strengthen national banking and the monetary system

NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Strengthen national banking and the monetary system

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

 

Economic stability at all levels demands the strengthening of a national banking system, and concomitantly the strengthening of monetary system with sovereignty-backed parameters and rules. First and foremost of monetary missions is the re-assertion of the powers of the Constitution of the Republic over the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Needless to say, the country today faces a weak national bank, and necessarily a weak monetary system engendered by it. Sovereignty questions impede the effective operations of national banking in the country, as indicated by the excessive meddling of the International Monetary Fund, acting as agent of the global financial cartels, in the Bangko Sentral’s operations. The first step should be a thorough investigation by the Congress of the Republic to determine precisely who owns and controls the Bangko Sentral, and conduct related oversight functions to assess the entire consolidated assets of the said bank inclusive of unaccounted precious metals.

 

Should there be a need to institute maximum monetary controls, the national bank should be mandated by the Congress precisely to exercise such controls through a regime of currency controls, where found warranted. In no way should our national currency be subjected to attacks by predatory financier speculators, as what the latter have been doing from the mid-1997 onwards. Money is the lifeblood of the economy, and rendering our money under a regime of free exchange rates and free trade leaves us extremely vulnerable to the machinations of such greedy forces, further weakening our national economy. Monetary controls are the best antidotes to the ailment of a weak currency. Were it possible to revive a system of gold reserve standard, then let such a strategy be studied and enforced, to ensure stability in monetary concerns and the currency markets.

 

The interest rate controls should likewise continue, but the state must see to it that the rate regimes are within the bounds of sovereignty parameters, representing thereof the national interest and the subsidiary interests of the various social sectors. And, should conditions warrant, our national bank should be among the key initiators for constituting new supra-national institutions, such as an Asian Monetary Fund, thus signaling our participation in reforming the entire financial & monetary system (see below). Our involvement in an Asian Monetary Fund could be a fitful strategy to finally exit from the International Monetary Fund, further strengthening our national banking and monetary system.

 

 

[From: Erle Frayne D. Argonza, “New Nationalism: Grandeur and Glory at Work!”. August 2004.  For the Office of External Affairs – Political Cabinet Cluster, Office of the President, Malacaňan Palace.]

 


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Apr 5, 2015
MEDITATION (POEM)

MEDITATION (POEM)

 

IN FLIGHT (Poem 39)

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Let me in flight bear the tricky vogue

Of breathing. ‘Tis no plain engulfing of air

Deep into our bag breathers and then breath-out.

 

Breathe the air of Life!

Don’t ever breathe like one who’ll later walk

Like an intoxicated cockroach dazed.

Don’t ever breathe so un-artfully whence later

You’re cast down as a phlegmatic mammal.

 

Breathe the substance of Life!

That’s when the pumping is gentle

And rubbish air is smoothly expired

And when sweat cast off debris

In strenuous flexing of the muscles.

 

The mind thereafter is cleansed

As one’s probing make the answers

To myriad questions bend upon the inner screen.

 

Breathing is a key to many doors

That lead me to my destinations.

[Writ. 19 Sept. 1987, Univ. of the Philippines, Quezon City, M.Manila.]

 

REFLECTION

Meditate. Learn to meditate, let it be a focal science and tool in your spiritual sojourn. This is what the poem is all about.

I began to meditate during my college days yet, circa 1979 or so. At first my meditation schedules were irregular, but after a bout with malaria that almost got me dead in August 1982, I decided to meditate regularly. By 1983 I was meditating for an hour a day, with some days when I would have two (2) meditation schedules.

My brain cells were already dying out due to smoking and drinking before that, I could feel my thought process atrophy, and so I decided to meditate regularly. Aside from that, I went back to my studies, to take up masters of arts (sociology), and so my regular voluminous reading got me back on the road to a lively mind. Meditation helped me to stabilize my health and make a quantum leap in my mental acumen as well at a time when I was back in school.

By 1988, at the age of 30, I was ready to pass on the meditation tools to enthused seekers. So that was how long it took, from 80 through 88, before I can confidently begin Teaching tasks. Fast forward to 1994 when I ascended to mystic phase, and was a full guru thereafter. Fast forward to 2008, when I spiritually ascended to rishi or White Robe phase. How could have I evolved soul-wise without meditation?  

Ra

April 2011

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Mar 26, 2015
WRITEN ARTICULATION, MESSENGER TASK

WRITEN ARTICULATION, MESSENGER TASK

 

IN FLIGHT (Poem 37)

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

In my flight in the morrows

Pen and tongue I’ll muster

And share with fellows eager

To behold the notes of life

Notes of life that elevate

Them to their dreams’ heights at last.

 

Hopefully the notes I’ll share

Shall register as permanent memoriam

Ne’er as undeciphered letters written

On sea shores that waves soon wash away.

 

Allow the notes to linger even just

For a time like writings on granite walls

Even if the walls later choose to dishevel.

For the crux of the code is crucial:

That all men are brothers

Who can live together as One benign

Community.

[Writ. 17 Sept. 1987, Univ. of the Philippines, Quezon City, M.Manila.]

REFLECTION

A seeker and baktha (devotee) should never be remiss in learning the art and science of the ‘written word’. As the human mind grows, culture becomes more complex and advanced, thus the demand for written products will increase by many folds.

I recall as a mere adolescent that my own linguistic skills were rather lagging behind my science and analytical abilities. But I had the passion to write, and so did I strive very hard to master the written word. I wished to tell so much to fellowmen, wished to leave the imprints of my thoughts and inner wisdom through the written word, so I read voluminously aside from write promiscuously in order to master the written word.

If there is any model to look up to for this passion of mine, it is no other than Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero of my country the Philippines. Dr. Rizal wrote so promiscuously, he kept on communicating his thoughts, feelings, and wisdom through the pen. He left so many writings, that there is so much to write about him long after he was gone. I consider Rizal as my first guru in my country, and I’m so glad he left so many writings that are testaments to his wise teachings.

As a seeker graduates to a mystical Adept, the significance of the pen is even more exacerbated. So learning the pen well while one is still young pays off so much as will seeker can realize later. In today’s context where the internet has become a fact of life, the power of the pen is at its nadir.

Ra

April 2011


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NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Let ‘unbridled free trade’ give way to ‘fair trade’

NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Let ‘unbridled free trade’ give way to ‘fair trade’

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

 

In the international trade scene, the President had declared it emphatically: “no to unbridled free trade!” Fair trade should be the game in trade, not free trade. This does not mean a full return to protectionism, which proved counterproductive in the past. Protectionism had only served rent-seekers, who did not engage in full-scale S&T innovations that could have propelled us to advance in product development, achieving world-class standards in many of our articles of industry & trade quite early. Returning to a regime of protectionism is surely out of the question.

 

Permit articles of imports to come in, employ this strategy to meet ‘commodity security’ and keep prices at competitive rates, while minimizing the possibility of shocks. This should also challenge domestic market players to become more competitive, precisely by engaging in dynamic research & development or R&D, resulting to higher-level product innovations (intended for the domestic market). Meanwhile, continue to institute a regime of ‘safety nets’ and strengthen those that have already been erected. However, where ‘infantile enterprises’ are barely out of the take-off stage, e.g. petrochemicals and upstream steel, provide certain tariff protection, but set limits up to that point when dynamic R & D have made production more cost-efficient, permitting thereafter competitiveness in both the domestic and global market. The latest move of government to provide the greatest incentives on upstream steel, for instance, is a right move, as it will entice market forces to install our long-delayed integrated steelworks.

 

 

[From: Erle Frayne D. Argonza, “New Nationalism: Grandeur and Glory at Work!”. August 2004.  For the Office of External Affairs – Political Cabinet Cluster, Office of the President, Malacaňan Palace.]

 


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Mar 24, 2015
NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Generate wealth from both external and domestic markets

NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Generate wealth from both external and domestic markets

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

 

Various stakeholders in the past were divided along the question of what should be the driver of growth & development (demand-side discourse): the external, or internal market? The followers of the ‘externalists’ were the ones behind the export-oriented development strategy, whose rationalizations for massive exports were quite poor recycles of the mercantilist contention that wealth should be produced more from out of the external markets (colonies during the time of empires). The ‘internalists’ were the ones behind import-substitution strategies, whose rationalizations were poor photocopies of Keynesian demand-side formulations.

 

In today’s context, it is wiser to view both the external and domestic markets as synergistic spheres for accumulating national wealth and meeting head-on the demands for delivering welfare. The external market discourse can work only in circumstances where a domestic demand has failed to develop, which in our case was the pre-1990s economy. By the late 1990s, it was clear that a significant change had taken place on the demand side of our economy, as folks were buying a lot of articles of commerce at a time of crisis. The middle class population is rising relative to the entire population, whose households’ needs have become more differentiated and have leaped beyond the bounds of ‘rice-and-galunggong’ expenditures. Today, Filipino families purchase around fifty-three percentum (53%) of their household needs from supermarkets, malls and large retail centers, even as the wet markets and sari-sari stores are declining in importance. These changes are real, and we cannot be blind to them by continuing to harp on an export-driven growth.

 

We must then fast-track large-scale redistribution schemes, such as to witness the rise in purchasing powers of our own people. This cannot be done outright during the next three (3) years, as we face a fiscal dilemma of crisis proportions. But beyond 2007 lies new opportunity fields. The fiscal route to stabilization will have been solidly achieved by then, and the nation can embark on more ambitious endeavors aimed at increasing incomes, reducing unemployment and poverty and increasing domestic consumption.

 

As the domestic market catches up in stabilizing the economy and producing national wealth, stakeholders shouldn’t be remiss in improving the competitiveness of our export products. Our great advantage is that we have ample supplies of skilled labor, with wages still relatively low. The power sector is also quite rich in supply of electricity, even as new projects are now being planned to neutralize possible supply problems in the short run. Hopefully, power supply would stabilize and electricity cost would decrease, contributing thus to rendering our exportable articles more competitive enough. Save for capital goods and petroleum, large volumes of which our producers continue to import, the other factors of production are within our hands to control and manipulate, inclusive of rent and interest rate. It is hereby argued that, with such factors controllable enough, we can optimize conditions for rendering our exportable articles maximally competitive and continue to permit the external market to be a source of substantial wealth. What more if we produce all of our essential capital goods, thus further bringing down the cost of production, given that the price of other factor inputs also go down?

 

 

[From: Erle Frayne D. Argonza, “New Nationalism: Grandeur and Glory at Work!”. August 2004.  For the Office of External Affairs – Political Cabinet Cluster, Office of the President, Malacaňan Palace.]

 


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