Warnings we didn’t heed 10 years ago
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-10-05

The eminent Professor Emmanuel Q. Yap has been quoted several times in this column. To me, Prof. Yap — founder of the People’s Patriotic Movement among other noteworthy undertakings — is one of the finest resource persons for enlightenment on what and who really brought our country to our present sorry state.

A US Foreign Policy Adviser for Asia-Pacific, former US Navy Cincpac (Commander in Chief for the Pacific) Admiral Ron Hays (now retired), once described Prof. Yap as a “Philippine national treasure.”

Many of those who offer us history lessons and political analyses today would appear as mere charlatans when one hears what Prof. Yap has to say. That’s because many of these so-called historians and political analysts merely provide trivia and data but cannot connect the dots.

For today’s column, I’d like to reproduce relevant portions — early warnings actually — that Prof. Yap expressed 10 years ago in his article in the May-June 1998 issue of The Independent Review. Prof. Yap wrote this at a time when many still held romantic notions about Globalization and the free market policies being promoted by the Globalists.

Inhumane, sanguinary policies

By Prof. Emmanuel Q. Yap

“A powerful reaction against the evil effects of Globalization policies is developing all over the world today. Globalization, which is predominantly characterized by so-called free untrammeled market systems, removal of protection for national currencies, privatization, deregulation, withdrawal of government planning and authority on the economy, decimation of the value of citizenship, exposure of developing agricultural and manufacturing enterprises of weak nations to the destructive onslaught of dumping of surpluses and sunset industries from developed economies — all of these cause so much misery, deprivation, and social distortions in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

No ugly social fact can better dramatize the evils and stupidity of globalization policies than the ever-widening chasm between the rich and the poor, which the Jesuit intellectual Bishop Xavier Gorostiaga of Nicaragua describes as 80% of the world’s wealth being owned and controlled by only 20% of its population, while only 20% of the world’s wealth benefit the greater 80% of the population. The most horrifying reality of the statistics is the datum that 20% of the world’s population lives so miserably with only 1.4% of the world’s wealth, a terrible condition of human destitution accompanied by hunger and famine, widespread ignorance, homelessness, high rates of infant mortality and hopelessness.

Globalization policies which actually evolved from earlier free market, free trade policies and imposed by the stronger economic interests upon the weaker nations, especially the so-called Third World countries, have pushed the whole world economy today on the verge of a global depression which can be more devastating than the 1929 Depression.

The world today is perilously back to the crisis situation where it was from 1920 to the advent of World War II. That world then was dominated by free trade capitalist policies. The supremacy and implementations of those policies created exclusivistic and antagonistic contradictions among the world capitalist powers themselves that had to be settled by a world war which annihilated tens of millions of people, including women and children and the old.

The inhumane and sanguinary features of free trade, free market policies are well described in the UNDP 1996 Hoffman Lectures by the well-known political economist Robert L. Kuttner, where he stated in truthful scholarly fashion that free trade, free market policies, which today are called Globalization policies, caused the collapse of the European economy in the 1920s, caused the Great Depression of 1929 and caused World War II in the 1940s between the Axis Powers and the Allied Powers.

The economic conflict of those horrible decades was so intense that the capitalist powers led by the United States, Great Britain and France, in order to save themselves from social, political and economic disaster, found it utterly necessary to enter into alliance with the Communist, Socialist and Nationalist forces all over the world. Thus, we saw how Roosevelt and Churchill, the capitalist leaders, became close allies of Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Ho Chi Minh, the socialist leaders against Germany, Japan and Italy.

The truth is, free market, free trade or Globalization policies or the “economics of the survival of the fittest” are stupid aberrations which serve only the interests of the rich and powerful and only temporarily, never permanently. We say “stupid” and “temporarily,” because, as history clearly teaches, with such policies prevailing, the rich and powerful at some point had to go for each other’s throats in order to survive, as demonstrated in the historical lessons of economic collapse, depression and war in the period from 1920 to 1945.

There can never be permanent free market or systems of free competition. The logic of the free market is precisely to destroy the market, because if the market is not regulated by government, that so-called free market will produce monopolies, duopolies and oligopolies so powerful that they will swallow the government up; if not produce blatant gangsterism and all sorts of Mafiosi of the highest order.

The German economic philosopher Wolfgang Sachs argues in his book The Developing Dictionary “that the only thing worse than the failure of this massive global development experiment would be its success. For even at its optimum performance level, the long term benefits go only to a tiny minority of people who sit at the hub of the process and to a slightly larger minority that can retain an economic connection to it, while the rest of humanity is left groping for fewer jobs and less land, living in violent societies on a ravaged planet. The only boats that will be lifted are those of the owners and managers of the process; the rest of us will be on the beach, “facing the rising tide.”

And that is where the peoples of the world are in today. The great tragedy is that the world economy is back to the general condition of economic conflict of the same powers that collided in World War II and back to the same pitfalls of global depression. Against this international backdrop is our little country brought into the vortex of Globalization economics where our agricultural and manufacturing sectors are left to the mercies of powerful external economies against whom they have no power to compete, because our political leaders by and large have led this country to a state of dependency on foreign interests and gave preferences to the consumption of foreign products to the detriment of our productive potentials. An ugly aspect of this dependency is that so much money is expended on foreign luxury and non-essential imports, which otherwise could have been used to capitalize the development of domestic manufacturing.” (End of quoted portion)

Per Prof. Yap, “Presidents Quirino, Garcia and Marcos tried to promote economic nationalism in their governance. President Quirino pushed planned socially-oriented industrialization and President Garcia followed suit with his Filipino First Policy.” It is not surprising that Presidents Quirino and Garcia were undermined by the US and were defeated in their re-election bids.

Sadly, our other Presidents — “Roxas, Magsaysay, Macapagal, Aquino and Ramos followed the path of Globalist free trade economics,” Prof. Yap added.

I doubt if Joseph Estrada even knew what Globalization was all about. In the case of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, she was the sponsor of the Senate Bill that ushered us into Globalization.

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