What if They Went on Strike?
Graft and corruption is not the main ally of failed governance, but our failure to think— our refusal to embrace reason, individualism, and capitalism- our failure to defend the truth. The only logical result of this “failure of the mind” is a nation of freeloaders, of free-askers, and of ‘little dictators’…
I was a student journalist of our weekly campus organ when I observed that the country was losing more and more professionals each year. I remember writing a weekly column about the rising number of enrollees in almost all nursing schools in the country. Most of these students personally decided or, in some cases, were forced by their parents to enroll nursing not because of high domestic demand, but because of rising demand for more nursing professionals and caregivers abroad. Yes, our colleges and universities produce students who dream of finding greener pastures beyond our borders.
Can we blame them? The answer is NO!
The case of 25 Philippine Airlines pilots who left their work for bigger salaries abroad somehow reflects the continued nursing diaspora in the Philippines. Reality tells us that many professionals, engineers, scientists, teachers, accountants, IT specialists, nurses, and doctors are heading to foreign lands for more opportunities and high-paying jobs, leaving our cash-strapped government and private businesses struggling to find replacements.
In a report by the Agence France-Presse, the PAL pilots who simply shrugged for better job opportunities in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia would have in some cases nearly tripled their monthly pay. Currently, there are more than nine million Filipinos who work abroad, about one-tenth of the nation’s population of more than 90 million.
But instead of taking this ongoing exodus of Filipino intelligentsia to the West and elsewhere as a serious national problem and as a threat to our domestic economy, our career politicians try their best to cheat reality by embarking on a charade, such as their efforts to promote our overseas Filipino workers (OFW) as our new breed of national heroes owing to their billion-dollar remittances that keep our economy afloat. Yes, our Caesars fiddle while our country burns. Last year it was reported that OFWs sent home US$17.3 billion to their families or business and investment, comprising of more than 10 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP).
Brain drain is one of the striking, most grotesque manifestations of our failure of governance, most specifically the failure of our politicians to deal with both economic and political realities. This ‘failure of governance’, which is mainly due to our politicians’ lack or improper understanding of the proper role of government, of the proper concept of individual rights, and of the proper concept of free-market capitalism, is pushing this country towards statism and dictatorship.
I agree with some of our top economists and intellectuals who said that the many problems that we face today is due to what they call “failure of governance”, however, I strongly disagree with their crude evaluation. They defined “failure of governance” as the “inability to enforce an adherence to the demands of law and the lack of will to uphold the people’s lawful demands.”
In a joint statement signed by more than 40 Filipino economists, they said that the ‘failure of governance’ is the “main obstacle to the country’s long-run economic growth and ability to respond to the people’s most urgent needs.” There are two corollaries of this ‘failure of governance’ here: 1) economic problems and inefficiency, and 2) government’s inability to respond to people’s needs. The question now is: How should the government guarantee economic growth and how should it respond to people’s urgent needs? They did not elaborate. Instead, they came up with undefined platitudes and undigested solutions to the problem of ‘failure of governance.’ They said, “It is time the Philippines once more had a leader who embodies the spirit of heroism and integrity we share as Filipinos. We are convinced that Sen. Noynoy Aquino is that leader.”
They also stated the following: “The call for a higher standard of public ethics, therefore, is not some abstract moral preference—it is an imperative for survival and development. We believe that among the presidential candidates, Senator Aquino represents the best hope for such a change.”
Again, the proper answer to the focal question above— how should the government secure economic growth and how should it respond to people’s needs— is still hanging in the balance.
We have heard it before, when the country’s intellectuals and religious people expressed their strong indignation to the corruption anomalies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, that what this country needed was “moral revolution.” But what kind of moral revolution do we need?
According to the country’s top economists, the main ally of failed governance is large-scale corruption that has sapped the government’s ability to collect the proper taxes, distorted government spending priorities, and affected both the public and private sectors. The “bitter fruits” of failed governance, according to them, are “low growth, high poverty, big public deficits, and deep public cynicism.”
Yes, I agree with these so-called top economists and intellectuals on some points, but I do not believe that failed governance is the main problem and the source of all ills and evils in this country. The real problem that we all face today is not an economic catastrophe or a political crisis, but a moral crisis. And such a crisis is the by-product of the nation’s intellectual bankruptcy, which is the result of the dominant philosophies and ideologies that have conquered our universities, media institutions, and almost all intellectual circles. It is the Kantian, Platonian and Judeo-Christian philosophies, as well as Marxist ideologies, that set the intellectual trends of our country—and the only logical effect of this farce is intellectual bankruptcy, which is the main driver of ‘failed governance.’ There can be no ‘failed governance’ without its intellectual roots, and graft and corruption is simply one of the peripheral effects of this monstrosity.
I define ‘failed governance’ as the failure of our public leaders to properly deal with political and economic realities, which is the result of their failure to discover reason, individualism, and free-market capitalism.
Yes, I strongly disagree with the crude evaluation of our so-called top economists. Our government failed and continues to fail because freedom is being destroyed by our politicians, who are being backed by the people through their expressed approval or inaction. Our individual freedom is the first victim of our intellectual bankruptcy.
The symptoms of this intellectual bankruptcy can be seen everywhere today. We see young people, professors and intellectuals who proclaim that everybody has a right to education, health care, housing, pension, or almost every kind of public welfare. We see intellectuals who preach anti-capitalistic, collectivist and anti-reason ideas. They preach that we are our brothers’ keepers and that we must sacrifice our lives for the sake of the greater good. We see career politicians who shamelessly proclaim that it is their duty to serve the needs of the people. We see and hear professors and media personalities who urge the government to be our “nanny state.” We see protesters calling for more government services and goods. In short, we see more and more people calling on the government to inflate its scope of powers in order to serve people’s immediate needs. Yes, these are just a few symptoms of the nation’s intellectual bankruptcy that we continue to ignore.
Is this also what these top economists are advocating for? Is this how they want our nanny state to respond to “the people’s urgent needs?” Yet the question is: What are the people’s urgent needs? We have a group of public school students asking for a higher education subsidy. We have protesters calling on the government to allocate a higher budget for housing, food, transportation, and other public welfare. We see workers asking for higher wages. We see leftists and liberals who are urging the government to regulate the market and punish big companies simply because they are successful. Yes, this is the country’s intellectual climate: collectivism, statism, and sacrifice.
How should the government respond to the nation’s economic problems? President Noynoy Aquino declared that his government is preparing for the enactment of an antitrust law to address the so-called monopolistic practices in the business sector. But it seems that nobody is surprised when not one of these 46 economists expressed their opposition to the government’s plan. Their silence means Yes, they want an antitrust law enacted in the Philippines— and Yes, they want the government to regulate the economy.
However, I disagree that what we need is a higher standard of public ethics. What we, as a people, need is to discover morality. The code of ethics that we have today is the morality of altruism, which simply means selfless concern for the welfare of others. I consider altruism evil because of what we see all around us. We see the ongoing destruction of individual freedom all in the name of common good and social sacrifice. A very good example of this is the call of our young people on the government to fully guarantee their right to education by allocating a higher education subsidy. It is true that this ‘fiat’ right is guaranteed by our Constitution whose code of morality is altruism, but reality tells us that this statist scheme will certainly not permit this country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
No, the solution is not to urge the government to deal with corporate or business issues. The only key to economic growth is laissez-faire capitalism. That is, the government must leave the economy or the markets alone! The only proper function of the government is to protect individual rights and to guarantee economic freedom. Therefore I say that such a collective voice of the country’s top economists is simply one of the symptoms of the country’s intellectual bankruptcy. It is not economic freedom they want, but the perpetuation of government intervention into the economy.
The failure to defend reason, individualism, and capitalism has a very high price: the destruction of individual freedom and rights. Graft and corruption is not the main ally of failed governance, but our failure to think— our refusal to embrace reason, individualism, and capitalism— our failure to defend the truth. The only logical result of this “failure of the mind” is a nation of freeloaders, of free-askers, and of ‘little dictators’ (those who tell us how to live our lives, to obey, to surrender our will to our society, and to make a sacrifice for the sake of the greater good).
All economic crises in this country were created and caused by government intervention into the economy. There are so-called monopolies because of government grants, subsidies, partnership with private businesses, and because of political connections and cronyism. Cartels and monopolies will not exist in a free-market economy. This is the reason why the antitrust proposal of the Aquino administration is the result of their very failure to understand economic realities. An antitrust law is a negation of economic realities, most specifically the law of identity, which means A is A: free-market is economic freedom.
It is no longer a secret that lot of foreign businesses left the country because of its too intrusive economic policies, high corporate and individual income taxes, cronyism, graft and corruption, bribery, among others. Foreign investors also avoid the Philippines because of the country’s anti-business economic and political climate. However, the new administration seeks to up the degree of the country’s anti-business culture by enacting an antitrust law, which will punish successful companies in the country. This antitrust legislation is a good example of the nation’s intellectual bankruptcy, as it exposes the mediocrity and stupidity of our so-called political elites and intellectuals.
So long as we embrace the social concept of collectivism and the morality of altruism, our country will not survive. Since we live in a society of lemmings, the only form of strike by those who are still willing to think and who refuse to surrender their individuality to the collective mold of our self-sacrificing society is to SHRUG! A lot of professionals would like to live this country had they been given the chance. And if this semi-socialist nation fell into socialism, it is the most moral and most selfish duty of every thinking individual to leave this country behind and never look back.
- Special thanks to Richard Gleaves for the wonderful Galt Speech videos above.