GET REAL POST
We beg to differ.


A lot of Filipinos want to copy everything about the United States of America. From the form of government down to the style of music, Filipinos look to Uncle Sam for direction. For as long as everyone can remember, Filipinos have always viewed the home of our former colonizers as the land of milk and honey. Some even wish that the Philippines remained a U.S. state or territory rather than gained independence.

The U.S. is where everybody’s dreams can come true, as they say. But does that notion still apply to this day? If we are going to base it on the U.S. unemployment rate, the answer may be no. And unemployment is not the only problem facing the U.S. today. The rising unemployment rate is the result, it seems, of outdated policies mainly around key aspects of their foreign policy, economic policy and heath care policy. It looks like the America Filipinos have come to know is starting to crumble — a train wreck unfolding.

Not everyone knows that the key to longevity is to evolve. What works today or what used to work yesterday may not work tomorrow. Things change and if the society is unwilling to adapt to the changes, it will stagnate. And that is apparently what is happening to American society now. There are many Americans who are still in denial about America’s losing its grip on its influence on the rest of the world despite rising national debt and a currency in decline. And there are some Filipinos who are still under the illusion that we should emulate everything American. That thinking should be re-evaluated.

The Philippines is still an emerging society. We are in the best position to learn from other countries if only our policy makers are keen to take up this challenge. But if we are hell bent on copying the U.S., we should know which stars and which stripes we need and which ones we don’t need. To be exact, what we should do is to keep what is good and throw out what is bad about the American society we use as a role model. After all, America has been in the number one spot for a good reason. But something’s got to give with the way their policy makers are handling their situation. It seems as though the elite members of their society have sunk into a stupor.

Fareed Zakaria, in his essay in TIME magazine even blames too much democracy for putting U.S. politicians into a state of analysis paralysis. Here’s what he had to say:

It’s not that our democracy doesn’t work; it’s that it works only too well. American politics is now hyperresponsive to constituents’ interests. All those interests are dedicated to preserving the past rather than investing for the future.

I can’t help but see parallels with Philippine politics after reading that statement. Filipino politicians have always pandered to the masses. Hardly anyone wants to introduce unpopular legislation which could move the country forward but in the short-term could potentially upset the electorate. Politicians here and in the U.S. it seems cannot see beyond the next election.

How the West was won and lost

For a long time, the U.S. had been on the top spot in world ranking not just in terms of the economy but also in terms of innovation in technology, the arts and society. But globalization somehow leveled the playing field. Countries who nobody thought could rise above their dire circumstances are now playing their game.

I have read that there are five applications that other emerging countries have downloaded from America, which has helped them catch up really fast. To quote Harvard historian Niall Ferguson and author of the book, Civilization: The West and the Rest

“For 500 years the West patented six killer applications that set it apart. The first to download them was Japan. Over the last century, one Asian country after another has downloaded these killer apps–competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things are the secret sauce of Western civilization.”

It is quite obvious that the Philippines had only downloaded one application from the West and that is consumerism. Consumerism has always presented a double-edged sword in any economy. While consumerism is seen to be a key ingredient in the recovery of the U.S. economy, consumerism had likewise contributed to the country’s economic decline.

Furthermore, consumers who lost their jobs in the 2008 financial crisis also lost their ability to pay for their debts. A lot of Americans are now drowning in debt along with the Federal Reserve whose quick fix is to keep pumping more dollars into circulation just to keep up appearances of everything being ok. To quote a commentator from CNBC news:

The U.S. is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world,” he said. “The debts are going through the roof. Would you keep lending money to somebody who’s spending money and not doing anything about it? No you wouldn’t.”

It would be a mistake if the Philippines tried to emulate the way the Americans had managed their economy. It has become apparent that “this too shall NOT pass” that quickly, to build upon the old saying. Americans it seems have lost their ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off. How can the average American compete when the jobs are now offshore? There is not even a chance to showcase their so-called work ethic because they do not have any work to go to.

It was said that in the 1950s, the U.S. had a huge manufacturing base that provided jobs for millions of workers. Sadly, manufacturing is now just a small part of the economy because most of it had gone offshore. While in the Philippines, even though we never held any position of consequence as a manufacturing base in the past, our 1987 Constitution hinders us from taking one in the future because of its restriction on foreign ownership, which is why our economy has been stuck in reverse for decades.

Even in innovation, the U.S. is no longer a commanding lead in this area despite the strong sales of Apple products. Reports from two consulting firms that use hard measures such as spending on research, patents and venture funding as opposed to surveys find that the U.S. has dropped down to No. 8 and No. 6 respectively. The slide in ranking has got little to do with a lack of brilliant people and more to do with a lack of government funding. One of their biggest missteps is subsidizing consumption to pump up the economy without putting money in capability-building investments like education, science and technology. Countries like Germany, South Korea and China are doing the latter quite consciously to address their future.

U.S. form of government is unique to them

It is interesting to note that none of the countries in Asia that incorporated one form of Western approach or another into their own systems have actually applied America’s Presidential form of government — except for the Philippines. Unfortunately, when the Philippines copied the U.S. form of government, our forefathers didn’t really look into our own history, our own culture and how the electoral process will affect the outcome of the type of leaders we will likely end up with.

Like in my previous blog, what I’m trying to say is this: Western nations have a totally different culture. What works for them may not necessarily work for others. The American Presidential system, which the Philippines adopted, is one classic example of a system that simply does not work for our country and our culture because of our personality-based politics. Unfortunately, the electorate in the Philippines is too dumb to realize this, which is why we have been stuck with it since gaining our independence from the Americans.

Blogger Dindo Donato explained it well in his article, American Presidentialism is not applicable to the Philippines:

The presidential system of the United States is not applicable to the Philippines, because it arose out of a different setting and served a different purpose.

The American presidentialism arose out of the perception and judgment of their founding fathers that the colonies suffered from an abuse of the broad legislative and executive powers of the monarchy. Accordingly, upon the establishment of the United States of America independent of Britain, they purposely limited the power of the federal government, by separating the President from Congress, among other measures taken.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/separation_of_powers

In the Philippines, the problem was never about a strong and aggressive government. Rather, the problem has always been about a weak and timid government, unable or unwilling to promote the common good, whenever the people’s interests conflict with the vested interests of the entrenched oligarchy. It is observed that the oligarchy, comprised of a few closely knit and immensely affluent families, has managed to exert strong influence over the politics and economy of the country over the past seventy-five (75) years (since the 1935 Constitution). Thus, the premise and purpose of American presidentialism does not apply to the Philippines.

The blind and adulterated adoption of American presidentialism has only perpetuated the stranglehold of the oligarchy. Firstly, it weakens the capability of the government to enact and implement law reforms, because the President is separated from Congress, turning them against each other. Secondly, it weakens the capability of the common people to exercise representative democracy, because direct national elections (for President and the Senators) is inherently biased in favor of “rich” and “famous” candidates.

The revolutionaries who led the American Revolution in the 18th century were actually Americans rejecting the oligarchies common in aristocratic Europe at the time. Ironically, modern-day oligarchs are now controlling the U.S. economy today. U.S. mainstream media have been highly criticized for feeding the average American with propaganda in an effort to further mass-scale mind control. It could be that the reason why U.S. politicians are forced to pander too much to the electorate is because of the media, which chronicles and speculates on their every move. Unfortunately, the same thing is happening in the Philippines.

We don’t have to be stuck with a form of government that doesn’t work just because this is what our forefathers wanted us to have during their time. We need to look at what will work for us as a people and be open to the possibility of changing something even if it is too daunting a task. We need to constantly evolve otherwise our society will not grow.

Individuals need the government too

In my previous article, I discussed how Americans are proud individualists who want less government and more independent thought and action. They are of the belief that individualism is what made America great. However, it is my opinion that those who advocate for less government intervention like the members of the Tea Party movement are somewhat misguided. Of course they have a right to demonstrate against erroneous government policies but not all state intervention is wrong.

Indeed, the freedom to experiment and innovate is exactly what everyone needs. Unfortunately, the development of technological breakthroughs need huge amounts of government funding. Historically, every large-scale technological innovation in the U.S. received large-scale government assistance.

In his article about innovation, Fareed Zakaria emphasized the importance of government funding:

The ecosystem that encourages technological breakthroughs and their application does not develop in a vacuum. It requires great universities, vibrant companies that devote time and energy to research and — yes — large amounts of government funding. The latter may be a controversial topic in theory, but in practice, the rise of technology was clearly fueled by government. A multitude of technological innovations have been associated with the government, often with the military. Forget the steam engine (developed using cannon designs and technology) and take something as modern as the microchip. After it was invented in 1958 by Texas Instruments, the federal government bought virtually every microchip that firms could produce. [boldface added for emphasis]

The Breakthrough Institute reports in a paper that “NASA bought so many microchips that manufacturers were able to achieve huge improvements in the production process — so much so, in fact, that the price of the Apollo microchip fell from $1,000 per unit to between $20 and $30 per unit in the span of a couple years.” And then there is DARPA, the Defense Department’s venture-capital arm, which has had an astonishing string of successes, helping fund stealth technology, the beginnings of the global-positioning system and, most famously, the Internet.

In the rest of the world, the role of the state is not controversial. While Americans continue to debate whether government should have any role in fostering innovation, the fastest-growing economies are all busy using government policy to establish commanding leads in one industry after another. Google’s Schmidt points out that “the fact of the matter is, other countries are putting a lot more money into nurturing new industries than we are, and we are not going to win unless we do something like what they’re doing. South Korea is a classic example. Who would have thought that South Korea could become a major iron and steel and shipbuilding country in the world? But some 40 years ago, in their organized way, they decided those are the industries they were going to go after. And there is now increasing evidence that Chinese companies are beginning to do things that are innovative — often with government assistance.”

In other words, the proponents of less government wouldn’t even be complaining if the state intervention went to the right stuff. What they need to do is to rally the government to invest in their future.

In summary, the Philippines can learn a lot from the success and the failures of the U.S. The most important aspects of the U.S., which we as a people need to emulate, are the following:

1. Professional work ethic.
2. Abiding by the rule of law.
3. Investing in education, science, technology and infrastructure.
4. Opening up the economy.
5. Applying a form of government that will work.

It is the duty of every individual to demand change from our government where it is needed. We need to look beyond the U.S. to other countries and other societies that might offer alternative approaches to nation-building.

Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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58 Comments

  • Trosp says:

    A long post I would say.

    To nitpick:

    “A lot of Filipinos want to copy everything about the United States of America. From the form of government down to the style of music, Filipinos look to Uncle Sam for direction. For as long as everyone can remember, Filipinos have always viewed the home of our former colonizers as the land of milk and honey.”

    Those are not true.

    The western style has been a universal one. Even in Chicom or Russia or even Islamic countries, they’re adapting it.

    US form of government is republican and ours is democratic event though both are presidential systems. There is a distinction.

    “Some even wish that the Philippines remained a U.S. state or territory rather than gained independence”

    If that is so, Cabangbang could have won the presidential election. He was a presidential candidate long time ago who claimed that he has a membership of more than 50% of Filipinos who want the Philippines to be a US state.

    US unemployment rate is caused by Obama’s policy so ours should be a different one. Not unless you want to attribute it to Penoy’s governance.

    Fareed Zakaria and CNBC, are they credible to you? Jeez…

    BTW, in US, students loan has surpassed all other loans. You might also try googling home mortgages in US.

    • benjamin f. cardinez says:

      it is an attribute of u.s. “exceptionalism” that every other nation on earth is “copying it”, but never equaled. thus, it is always the object of envy, anger, even hatred even though it is always in the forefront in matters of foreign aid, charity, resistance to unwarranted aggressions, response to disaster with financial, material and personnel assistance. more often than not, u.s. gets the lion share of financial responsibility in international organizations such as the u.n. and nato. and what does it get from it? the shaft, more often than not.

      • Ilda says:

        @Bencard

        Could it be that they are over-committing themselves a bit? Their presence in other countries could be perceived as being aggressive and arrogant as well even if their intention is “good”. ;)

      • benjamin f. cardinez says:

        ilda, perceived only by the original aggressors or tyrants and their followers, against whom the u.s. is fighting on the side of freedom and true democracy. how could some nations bite the hands of their protector? i think because they succumb to the false propaganda and inflammatory rhetoric of their real oppressors, who were thwarted in their evil designs

      • Dindo Donato says:

        BenC, I acknowledge the concern or complaint that third world countries like the Philippines, impute motives of “imperialism” while at the same it gobbles up US aid. I will probably feel the same way if I were the US government.

        The imputation of motives is however not entirely baseless, sad to say. Based on human experience, I don’t believe anyone can truthfully claim that there is a such thing as a pure altruist state or government, such as the United States of America. All states are comprised of people. And when you have people, then it follows based on experience, that you will have a mix of good and bad people.

        If only the Philippines could do less of foreign aid, including US aid, this would have been ideal, so we stop hearing complaints about being ingrate. Filipinos obviously do not want to be called as “walang utang na loog.”

        Talking about the USA as a bastion of democracy, it is already on record that Obama apologized to Iran for interfering in its internal affairs (i.e. planning and supporting a coup back in the 50s[?]).

        I look forward to the day when CIA records are disclosed about it’s role, IF ANY, in the Hello Garci scandal (to implement regime change against Gloria Arroyo), as well as in the recent 2010 automated operated by Smartmatic. My only concern is that it might be 50 years down the road.

        Unless of course US citizens themselves demand immediate disclosure from their own government, to ensure that government really upholds democracy as it claims to do, and that government does not waste millions or billions in US taxpayer money funding foreign intervention in third world countries like the countries.

        This thing about the 2010 elections we call eFraud is NOT fiction. If you go by the law and the records, this is the ONLY elections in the entire history of the Republic of the Philippines where election returns at the precinct level are NOT signed by the board of election inspectors. Why? Because Comelec en banc told them so. I know this for a fact, because I’m now handling a pending petition with the Supreme Court to compel a people’s audit of the 2010 elections.

    • benign0 says:

      Trouble is, Pinoys are bad copycats. We copy the capsule but not the payload…

    • Ilda says:

      @Trosp:

      The western style has been a universal one. Even in Chicom or Russia or even Islamic countries, they’re adapting it.

      But there are more Filipinos in the U.S. than in any of those places you mentioned. And the U.S. is the first we call on to save our ass when we get in trouble.

      US form of government is republican and ours is democratic event though both are presidential systems. There is a distinction.

      Yeah, I know there is a distinction but it still doesn’t change the fact that our system doesn’t really work for us.

      If that is so, Cabangbang could have won the presidential election. He was a presidential candidate long time ago who claimed that he has a membership of more than 50% of Filipinos who want the Philippines to be a US state.

      I don’t know about that claim.

      US unemployment rate is caused by Obama’s policy so ours should be a different one. Not unless you want to attribute it to Penoy’s governance

      I agree, some of the blame falls on Obama now that he is in the White House. But it usually takes more than 3 years before the problem becomes obvious and affect everyone. So it is natural to assume that the previous administration should take the blame too.

      BTW, in US, students loan has surpassed all other loans. You might also try googling home mortgages in US.

      I really do hope that things will pick up for the U.S. soon. Their commitments are really over stretched. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if the media is just exaggerating the news.

      Fareed Zakaria and CNBC, are they credible to you? Jeez…

      Point me to where you get your sources. ;)

      • benjamin f. cardinez says:

        obama’s ultra-liberal/leftist orientation and policies worsened u.s.’ economic woes. records show that foreign debt increased by 5 trillion in his watch, while unemployment rate more than doubled. the unabated public spending is grinding the country to the ground, with no end in sight. after almost 3 years in power, obama cannot justifiably keep blaming bush for his debacles. ronald reagan inherited a troubled economy from jimmy carter but he (reagan) just did the right thing and brought u.s.a. to one of its most prosperous periods in history.

        the same economic distress are currently happening in countries that subscribed to the tax & spend, redistribute-wealth liberal agenda, e.g. iceland, greece, u.k., germany, spain, portugal, italy, the netherlands, etc. this is the same mindset that toppled the former ussr that virtually wiped out communism (but not the communists who adopted various names such as “progressives” “socialists”, “collectivists”, etc.)

      • Trosp says:

        @Ilda

        Snippet from http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/02/14/fareed-zakaria-bush-tax-cuts-largest-part-budget-deficit

        ZAKARIA: “So, after emphatically espousing the view that Congress has got to come together and tackle the deficit, Paulson and his partner in the hot seat cannot muster the courage to suggest letting the tax cuts expire.

        Now, please understand that the Bush tax cuts are the single largest part of the black hole that is the federal budget deficit. Letting them expire would take rates back to where they were under Bill Clinton, when the economy grew very robustly. And cutting the deficit without any tax increases would require massive cuts in middle class programs that would never pass.

        Now, remember, neither Paulson nor Greenspan is currently in elected office, or even unelected office. They don’t need to pander, and yet they do. That is a symbol of Washington. Even they can’t muster the courage of their convictions to say, “Yes, we have to increase some taxes in the face of deficits larger than at any point since World War II.”

        And if these two men, with nothing to lose, can’t bring themselves to even say it, how can we expect elected politicians to actually do it? For shame.”

        According to the Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters:

        “Actually, the shame is all Zakaria’s, for the ignorance on display was astounding.

        In fiscal 2000 before the Bush tax cuts, our government brought in $2.025 trillion in unified revenues while spending $1.789 trillion. Seven years later, before the recession hit, we received $2.568 trillion, a 27 percent increase. BUT, our expenditures rose to $2.729 trillion, a 53 percent rise.

        What this means is that our spending grew at TWICE THE RATE as tax receipts.

        And Zakaria and his ilk blame deficits on tax cuts!

        To further illustrate the stupidity on display, even with tax cuts, receipts grew faster than the rate of inflation. BUT, if our elected officials would have kept spending to the rate of inflation during this period, our outlays in 2007 would have totaled $2.154 trillion resulting in a surplus of $414 billion!

        Now, let’s look at what a recession and an almost unprecedented explosion in expenditures has done.

        In 2009, we brought in $2.105 trillion in tax receipts. Bear in mind that even with a recession this was still greater than BEFORE the Bush tax cuts were implemented. BUT, we spent $3.517 trillion, or 97 percent more than BEFORE the Bush tax cuts.

        If spending had been kept at the level of inflation during this period, outlays would have been $2.229 trillion producing a deficit of only $124 billion INSTEAD of the $1.413 trillion we generated.

        As such, the next time someone tells you our current budget woes are all because of Bush’s tax cuts, remind them that we’re spending twice as much as we did back then with expenditures actually having grown at four times the rate of inflation…but don’t hold your breath they’ll understand your point.”

        • Ilda says:

          @Trosp

          One says that taxes should have been increased to address the deficit. The other says it wasn’t necessary. I guess who you agree with depends on your income bracket. I’m not sure how the tax system works there.
          But there is no denying that apart from the financial crisis, the “almost unprecedented explosion in expenditures has done” a lot of damage to the economy.

          And I can understand why the American taxpayers are unhappy about where their money is going. I would complain too if my taxes just went to fund a war that I did not approve of. The government needs to invest in the future and the future includes funding education, innovation and rebuilding their manufacturing sector. It really depends on where they want to go.

          I expect Philippine politicians to be stuck in a rut because they are not known for analysing things properly but it is so surprising to read about the U.S. politicians being on the same boat.

      • Trosp says:

        As for CNBC –

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/04/23/industry-us-generalelectric-idUKTRE53M0CO20090423

        Snippet:

        “Just before GE re-elected board members, company brass were hit with questions from shareholders critical of an alleged leftward political slant at the MSNBC cable network, part of the industrial giant’s media division, NBC Universal.”

      • Joe America says:

        Trosp,

        Tax cuts alone were not the villain behind the 9 trillion deficit President Bush ran up, funding two wars outside the budget was the bigger culprit. Normally, when you want to improve profitability, you manage expenses down and revenue up. President Bush did exactly the opposite.

        • jack says:

          George W. Bush was, is and always will be a moron. He had no business being president of the U.S. It appeared that the 2000 election was rigged. And it remains a mystery how such a monumental failure, could gain re-election.

      • Trosp says:

        Ajoe A

        “Tax cuts alone were not the villain behind the 9 trillion deficit President Bush ran up, funding two wars outside the budget was the bigger culprit. Normally, when you want to improve profitability, you manage expenses down and revenue up. President Bush did exactly the opposite.”

        How about giving the blog readers some computations or calculations or numbers on how you have arrived with that kind of comment.

      • Joe America says:

        Trosp. Google it, or dig around some. You can do that as well as me.

      • Trosp says:

        @Joe A

        I’ve googled it before calling your attention to it. I find nothing that’s why I’m asking you for your numbers.

        How about this one –

        http://tinyurl.com/27cxql6

        Fareed Zakaria’s claim:

        “All of the Bush tax cuts were unaffordable. They were an irresponsible act of hubris enacted during an economic boom.”

        But according to Noel Sheppard:

        “The Bush tax cuts were enacted during an economic boom? Honestly, on what planet does this man live?

        The first of these cuts was implemented in the summer of 2001 while the economy was still in the recession that began in March of that year.

        As Zakaria clearly has forgotten, the economy began collapsing as the tech stock bubble imploded in 2000 and Americans saw their wealth plummet in a devastating bear market that didn’t end until March 2003.

        That Zakaria misrepresented this in his piece was a clear example of media malpractice.”

    • jo says:

      My comment in all of these discussions is very simple. Just read your Bible and you will know why it is happening now. It says; everything will come to an end and what we see now is just the signs of the beginning of the end. Before the world comes to an end, there will be great famines and great tribulations will be experienced.The unfathomable events in our world like global crises will be seen and clearly understood in the foretold of the bible. Hope, you will get something from this..

    • nieves godinez says:

      “US unemployment is caused by Obama policies!” An incredibly ignorant statement, where the hell do you hail from?

    • Dindo Donato says:

      Trosp, let me share my inputs. Both the US and the Philippines have republican and democratic elements. Thus, in the biparty system, one party is called Republican, and the other party Democratic. Republican means that government is by means of “representatives” or by elected representatives. Democratic means that government is by direct action of the people, i.e. when the constitution requires a plebiscite or referendum for the approval of certain actions.

      If I’m not mistaken, it’s I think in Switzerland where so many government actions are done by direct democracy. Nonetheless, they still have government representatives because the people themselves cannot be expected to do this all the time.

  • Orion says:

    Superb article, Ilda! :)

    • Ilda says:

      Thanks!

      • Dindo Donato says:

        Hi Ilda, for the content of your article, I would have wanted to say “kudos” earlier, except that some might say there’s a conflict of interest because of the excerpt. LOL. Anyway, “kudos” nonetheless. This is a happy surprise. I didn’t think you also had this interest.

        The only thing that concerns me now, as far as GRP articles are concerned, is how do we get this information to as wide an audience as possible, to make at least a “dent” on the territory of mainstreadm mass media.

        • Ilda says:

          Hi Dindo

          Haha…thanks!

          I didn’t realise that you didn’t know about this article. I thought the linkback would have given you notification. Feel free to share it to your FB forum. For now it is the only way we can get a bit of exposure.

          Yes, I would love to see us change into a parliamentary system. I hope we can get more attention.

  • Hyden Toro says:

    “What may be food to you; can be poison to me”; stated a good friend of mine. We imitated everything from the Americans; including their mistakes…we have different culture and social hierarchies…we have Feudalism…America had slavery…America had also expanded itself, thru its belief of “Manifest Destiny”…other words, for Imperialsm. America has US $12 Trillion Debt, at present…
    If you look at history; Empires come and go…some thru invasion; but mostly by Rot within…
    The Philippines is rotten to the core; and that is what our political leaders cannot see, or refuse to see…

  • MKDL Studios says:

    I think Japan, Germany, and Spain, although they were viewed as “enemies” in our past history (Japan and Germany as the Axis Powers of the Second World War; Spain as our former colonizer), they’ve got a government more efficient that the United States.

    Today’s generation of those people have gotten over and learned from the transgressions that have tarnished the reputation of their civilizations.

    • Br0man17 says:

      Efficiency depends on the size of the country, the only reason why their government works because of their small land mass and population whereas the US is formed by separate states including the influx of immigrants and current residence in the US. Now here is the thing, if the US were to adopt a government that is similar to Japan or Germany, it would not be sufficient. The uses a form of constitutional government which incorporates political parties that control government action, however these actions are determined by representative democracy. Although government in those countries may be better, the US allows more flexibility from the Constitution and conjunction to the 27 amendments which can be added if ever a problem occurs.

  • anon says:

    Since the days when the country was regarded as a rising star, it has gone through periods as problem child, cash cow, lame duck, and now basket case.

    Innovators were replaced by dictators and plunderers and now incompetents.

    Companies would rather divest than invest.

    The country operates as a fiefdom without freedom

    Without competition monopolies thrive whilst creativity dies

    Independence has been replaced by co-dependence and democracy has given way to autocracy.

    steal and copy. always taking the short term easiedt route and holding out the begging bowl without and sense of failure that it cannot manage its own affairs

    • benign0 says:

      In short, it’s just a human cesspool today. A place that at best gets routinely overlooked and at worst gets stepped on by others on the way towards some place more attractive.

    • Ilda says:

      Hi anon!

      Independence has been replaced by co-dependence and democracy has given way to autocracy.

      Sad observation but true. It didn’t happen overnight though and it shouldn’t be permanent. We can fix it by doing our duty to report every single problem that needs fixing. Filipinos need to make their public servants work for them.

  • Joe America says:

    Very provoking article. I’ll have more comment later, but I think you assume the US WANTS to be top dog globally, as a power monger. I personally am tired of it, for it is costly, as Secretary of Defense Gates points out in slapping NATO upside the head (the US funds 70% of a great deal of incompetency, as shown in the unharmonious and poorly led NATO effort in Libya). As in World War I and II, the US gets dragged in reluctantly then uses its productive and military might to right great wrongs, and because no one else has the moxie or courage to step up afterwards, remains the great defender of freedom globally. Then gets battered by the envious.

    On this bit, I agree wholeheartedly with Ben.

    • Ilda says:

      I guess the U.S. need to review their foreign policy then. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It might be time to pass the buck to someone else.

      • benjamin f. cardinez says:

        the question is who, ilda? can you imagine china bearing the brunt of u.n.’s overhead, or fighting to keep the taliban out of afhganistan, or the iranian/syrian and al qaida out of iraq, or lead nato as virtual policeman of the world? nobody gave america the power. they earned it the old-fashioned way – by being exceptional in virtually everything.

        • Mike Tomelden says:

          Pinoys are children, basically, insasmuch as children haven’t learned how to act in civilized society, but who act out all the naked and embarassing whims and desires their ids without thought of either propriety or consequence. Entitled dillitantes. I grew up in a society (the US) that demanded us to become lone wolves, to gather our own food, build shelters for ourselves, and provide clothing on our backs. We lived the hard lives which gave us backbones for survival. To do this, we had to learn how to work hard, follow rules, educate ourselves, and agreeing with others on how best to run a country.

  • Joe America says:

    On your main point, the Philippines ought not to try to replicate US governance, I agree 100%. It is none of my foreign business, but I personally muse that the Philippines could use a corporate structure, one step short of dictator, where the Board of Directors (Senate, sans House) advises and has the capacity to overrule, but the executive office is given great latitude to act. The Philippines needs to act. It does not need to get sucked into the worst of American governance, bitter backbiting debate that disregards public well-being and arrives at an unfortunate lock-down paralysis on critical issues (like the budget and debt). Philippine governance needs to throw irrelevant but powerful forces such as the Catholic Church and assorted wealthy oligarchs aside and chart a path to modernization, productivity, and a greater cherishing of its physical riches. A part of the cherishing it needs to do is to prevent its own peoples from breeding the nation into oblivion, or an unsustainable economic position (where the creation of new jobs can’t keep pace with hordes of screaming, hungry mouths).

    As to debate about Obama and Bush, the ugly part of the American system is also its beauty. The Bens and the Joe’s of the world are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, and in between are a lot of sensible, educated, good-hearted people who do their best at the polls. Over the long term, the values upon which the US is based hold sway and the short term problems get dealt with through the grinding mechanisms of free speech and elections, the pushes and pulls by which balance is inevitably found.

    Your view that the US is now on a path to becoming a failing state I fear looks too hard at a few current events as symptoms or maybe even a serious disease, but the prognosis that it is fatal overlooks the health and germ-fighting powers of the overall body. The US has come through rough economic cycles before (oils shocks of the 70’s, interest rates of 14% in the 80’s and higher unemployment than now exists). Perhaps you youngsters don’t have this perspective.

    The greater problem I think is outside the US, specifically in Europe, where too many economies are tottering.

    The US situation is serious and will take time to work through because so much wealth was lost during the housing collapse. Given the struggles Japan has faced since going through something similar, maybe the US will be a long time regaining its feet, and by then, China will be the top economic dog.

    But even if the US should fade in worldly might, as great empires are inclined to do, wow, what a delightful ride for those of us so blessed, so graced, to live there during its rise as a vibrant, technologically gifted, morally well-principled nation. Somehow, I think it will always be a vibrant place and generally well-principled.

    • Ilda says:

      Your view that the US is now on a path to becoming a failing state I fear looks too hard at a few current events as symptoms or maybe even a serious disease, but the prognosis that it is fatal overlooks the health and germ-fighting powers of the overall body. The US has come through rough economic cycles before (oils shocks of the 70’s, interest rates of 14% in the 80’s and higher unemployment than now exists). Perhaps you youngsters don’t have this perspective.

      Unless they revive their manufacturing sector, it will be hard to rebuild the economy based on consumption and spending alone.

      You are indeed, lucky to have lived through such exciting times.

      • Joe America says:

        Indeed, the decline in manufacturing is troubling, but maybe overplayed. Companies such as GE and Ford are manufacturing outside the United States. The low-wage employment goes there and the high-value component, tech based, comes largely from the US. The industries that will power the US for the next few decades are not nuts and bolts and welding, but application of computers and gene-work to the powering and preservation of an excellent way of life.

        The greater threat is the descent of debate into sound bites and deceits (like the birther controversy) that dumbs down America and puts it on the path of endless digression. It paralyzes progress when indeed there are important achievements needed (debt reduction).

    • benjamin f. cardinez says:

      @joe america. i’m not about ready to write a requiem to america anytime soon. let’s just say america is in the “valley” right now but will begin to climb to its peak again come november 2012, when it will have an opportunity to reclaim its glitter as the “shining city on the hill”.

      we cannot persist with failed ideas that have been proven wrong again and again, all over the world. even marx realized towards the end of his life that his ideas of collectivism and wealth redistribution were flawed and bound to fail. he overlooked the fact that man needs the challenge to EXCEL in a free, healthy and productive competition with his fellowmen.

      • Ilda says:

        I really hope that things will get better soon. It’s time for every American citizen to do their duty. :)

        • Mike Tomelden says:

          The idea of a cultural crossroad is what makes America intriguing. They gather the best minds, educate them (further if necessary) and welcome their ideas into the fold, thus creating a vibrant marketplace of ideas, eg tech, aerospace, etc. This is a mark of an evolutionary process not present in China. Germany has just began pooling young Europeans into their fold by offering scholarships and residency. America became what it is today because it is a cultural melting pot that nurtured ideas. But in any society, there will always be a group trying its best to push its ideas and ideals on the rest. This is what is occurring in America today. Special interests from all sectors vying for supremacy. All else are merely trappings in the contest for dominance. American business is still economically dynamic, albeit the lack of a trickle effect. But America has seen its share of highs and lows. Most of what is being discussed today is current, no one seems to be looking back at history to see that America has this ability to rebound: it is its very resilliency that has kept it successful. China does not have it and so did the USSR. Give America time to recover.

      • Joe America says:

        agreed, Ben, although it was excessive free market capitalism that helped bring the US to its economic knees, via unregulated financial instruments and poor risk assessment tied to mortgages. So too much of anything is a bad idea.

    • benign0 says:

      Wasn’t the U.S. in a similar situation back in the 70’s and 90’s? Back then, as I recall, it was Japan that was rising as its main challenger to the top spot. The U.S. auto industry was under threat from the Japanese juggernaut at the time which was clobbering it in both quality and price.

      But then the U.S., as it always does, innovated its way out of the bind and got its cars back in fighting form and back up to the challenge of competing with Japan. It also went on to blaze trails again in tech and science.

      In short, the U.S. gets beat every now and then. But it does have a track record of picking up the pieces and getting back in the ring. Which is not to say that it will necessarily be able to do that again this time. Just saying that it did it a few times before.

      Perhaps it is a wake up call to a population made complacent by their Media and made averse to change and risk by their own affluence. It’s easier to have faith in a society that has a history of pulling itself together in the past. I can’t say the same for the Philippines though. America’s “valley” (as Bencard puts it) is the Philippines’ business-as-usual.

      • Benjamin F. Cardinez says:

        i can’t agree with you more, benigno. there are some in the world today who are salivating at the prospect of america’s decline and fall. a power like america can only be destroyed from within, when its people abandon the ideals that made it so. contrary to what you hinted at (“averse to change”), americans are not afraid to try and experiment even to the extent of entrusting its leadership to untested and inexperienced candidates with questionable ideology. but once confronted with proof of their mistake, rectifying it is not so hard for americans to do.

        contrast that with filipinos who would, generally, vote for the same scoundrels and nincompoop “trapos” again and again, and help them build political dynasties to rule the nation perpetually to their own detriment.

        • Ilda says:

          a power like america can only be destroyed from within, when its people abandon the ideals that made it so.

          This is true. I hope the celebrity culture will not eat up the American society.

        • jack says:

          America was destroyed from within. The W. Bush administration should be held responsible.

    • Dindo Donato says:

      Joe America, glad to see that your input of the form of government appears to be in the same direction as ours. The only difference is that while your input has a small group (i.e. senate) as the oversight, our advocacy has a bigger group (i.e. house) as the oversight. Simply put, our advocacy is for parliamentary system. It is structurally stronger because executive and legislative powers are fused in one body. The chief executive has no choice but to implement what the bigger body wants. Otherwise, the chief executive will be out of a job (i.e. vote of no confidence).

  • anon says:

    “integrity is the entry ticket to business and politics – if you dont have it in your bones, then you shouldn’t be allowed on the field”
    Jack welch
    ceo general

    I tell my clients –
    listen carefully to pre-empt problems,

    think creatively to generate solutions,

    communicate effectively to engender support,

    act decisively to prevent escalation

    implement effectively to achieve results

    promote the champions, sack the lemons

    Such principles and practices would appear to be absent in the current administration which demonstrates little understanding of the concepts of quality management, continuous improvement, creative problem solving, customer service and mass communications

    Some simple steps
    1.Publish goals and targets
    2. Identify key performance indicators (KPI’s)
    3.Report progress clearly concisely and regularly
    4.Let the facts speak for themselves
    5.Let cabinet secs explain their results and outline plans
    6.Provide briefing packs
    7.Keep websites up to date – they are a joke at present.
    8. Engage in serious debate and discussion
    9.Serve the people not self-interests
    10. Employ professionals and restructure the incompetent comms group
    11. Strive for excellence and a culture of quality and continuous improvement.
    12. Innovation and competition is the key to jobs and growth
    13. Show leadership qualities.
    14. Teamwork.
    15. Taskforces.
    16. Keep promises
    17. Dont sweat the small stuff
    18. establish clarity of vision values and strategy.

  • Du Hasst Mesh says:

    Brilliant! I applaud you, madame.

    While I do deplore commenting and not adding information of value, I must express my approval of this article. It seems like this should be the frontpage of any form of media. Okay, I’m exaggerating for a bit, but only because it’s true. :)

  • jet says:

    Excellent! can i share this in Facebook? i hope wouldn’t mind.

  • Allan says:

    @Trosp
    “US unemployment rate is caused by Obama’s policy so ours should be a different one. Not unless you want to attribute it to Penoy’s governance.”

    There’s a precedence why the US unemployment rate is high, prior to Obama’s term US is already going to recession because of the childish GW Bush, infairness to Obama.

    There’s no such thing as a full-proof system or form of gov’t. In my point of view, the main problem of the PHL is the Filipinos itself. Whatever form or system of Gov’t. that PHL will adopt will not work if the Filipinos will not change for the better.

    One concrete example, simple traffic rules of STOP & GO, some or most of our countrymen cannot even follow or blatantly ignoring it totally.

    “The blind and adulterated adoption of American presidentialism has only perpetuated the stranglehold of the oligarchy. Firstly, it weakens the capability of the government to enact and implement law reforms, because the President is separated from Congress, turning them against each other. Secondly, it weakens the capability of the common people to exercise representative democracy, because direct national elections (for President and the Senators) is inherently biased in favor of “rich” and “famous” candidates.”

    We cannot deny the fact that Politics are for rich, famous and influential. It’s a closest thing to impossible to become a politician if you don’t have money & influence and you’re infamous.

    If ever PHL will adopt a new form/system of Gov’t. then what would that be? Hopefully, if ever this happens we will see new faces on our gov’t as well as these “politicians”, otherwise, we will be in the same situation right now. We changed the system and the people who are directing or running the system is the same people who cannot run the current system correctly.

    PEACE!

    • Ilda says:

      @Allan

      Thanks for reading my article. I have another one for you to read if you are still interested. It is in line with what you are trying to say:

      Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow even simple guidelines

    • Dindo Donato says:

      Allan, you are right in that system change by itself will do no good, if there is no corresponding culture change in the people. Both must be done.

      There are however certain changes in the system which also help in causing changes in attitudes, mindsets and culture. This is what we see as “systemic change” in the process of electing public officials.

      In this alternative way of electing national goverment officials, which in essence is the parliamentary way, we believe we have a better chance of screening those who would otherwise win out of sheer popularity even without any track record of performance whatsoever, and end up with someone who has a real track record of performance.

      May I interest you on the following articles which try to explain why “indirect” (or localized) elections, may be less prone to oligarch and mass media manipulation, as compared to “direct” nationwide elections at large.

      http://deszr.com/download/ideszr.indirect_elections.14_november_2010.pdf

      http://deszr.com/download/ideszr.unicameral_parliamentarism.14_november_2010.pdf

      If you are more familiar with the US presidential system, rather than the Phil presidential system or to parliamentary systems in general, the following article attempts to explain our point in another way.

      http://www.deszr.com/download/ideszr.electoral_college.09_january_2010.pdf

      There are those who argue that local areas are likewise governed by the local rich. Yes, that’s correct, but they’re nowhere in the league of national oligarchs who control the national agenda.

      Besides, the scheme of “indirect” elections can also be applied at the provincial, city or municipal level.

  • uggs says:

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  • lighthouse says:

    Great article Ilda! Hindi ko pinapalampas ang mga articles mo. Sana mabasa ito ng mas maramihang tao. Lalo na yon mga tao sa Pinas.

  • lighthouse says:

    Definitely the power is shifting somewhere.

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