Archive for June 3, 2011

ONE ASEAN: GET READY!

June 3, 2011

This article is republished to stress the contention for a stronger region of Southeast Asians.

ONE ASEAN: GET READY!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening! Magandang gabi!

The dark clouds of the electoral contests are now getting clearer in the Philippines. With our polls settled and our elected leaders about to begin their mandates, I’d now depart from election-related advocacies and move back to the international-global arenas.

I have written quite enormously about international political economy and subsidiary themes for over two (2) decades. Even my blogging has been consumed with peregrinations on the international arena. So let me go back to this arena, even as I now clarify that I am a strong advocate of One ASEAN.

As I’ve elucidated in my past writings (see 2007-08 articles), I perceive the ASEAN as the larger polity to which my own country will return in the future.

The Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the whole of island Southeast particularly, were largely creations of Western powers. They used to be part of the Majapahit Empire, the world’s wealthiest region before Western colonization fragmented it.

Being a strong believer in ASEAN unity, I am willing to shed off my hard-line Filipino nationalism and don the cloak of pan-ASEAN patriotism. Majapahit was the original nation to me and to those who resonate with the same worldview, and eager am I to see my country return to the Empire.

The Empire no longer bears that name today. Rather, it goes by the name of ASEAN, short for Association of Southeast Asian Nations. But it bears the same geo-political and geo-economic contours of the Empire before it fragmented.

A benevolent Empire it was, as it used the fiat of trade cooperation to get membership into the polity. That is, to be able to become a part of the Empire, concur trade with its nexus and prinzeps. This was a much different track from the typical military occupation used by other regional and world powers to expand their territorial confines.

If we reflect back on what our state players are doing here today, where they’re concurring agreements and treaties using the most civil means conceivable to get to a higher level of unity, the same means actually revives the consensus methods used by our peoples in antiquity. Today, no matter how diverse our political, economic, and cultural systems are, we are talking to each other here, which is reflective of a ‘dialogues of civilizations’ approach.

From state-to-state and civil society-to-civil society talks, let us move on to direct people-to-people talks in the region. People-to-people interactions precede people-to-people cooperations. I strongly contend that people-to-people cooperation should eventually be the base for state-to-state and civil society-to-civil society cooperation and no less.

State-to-state talks are quite slow in results, even if market players joined state actors to buttress the former stakeholders’ positions. In some areas of talks, such as those involving territories, snags are observed.

People-to-people interactions and cooperation will do much to accelerate state-to-state talks that get snagged for one reason or another. The same cooperation can also accelerate the building of a pan-ASEAN identity which should precede any writing of a general treaty that will unify the region at least economically.

People-to-people interactions have already been taking place in the region for almost 2000 years in fact. Western colonization may have diminished the scales of interactions for a long while, but that era of imperialism is much behind us now.

As states, market players, and civil society players are preparing for larger talks ahead, let us noble peoples of the region go ahead and expand the levels of talks to build greater mutual confidence, appreciation of each other’s cultures, and trust. Along the way, we have fellow Asians and global citizens who will support our efforts as true friends.

In any way we can, let us get to know each other better. Let’s set aside utilitarian gains (e.g. get to know Asean pals who can become network marketing partners) and interact based on a true call of our hearts, of our souls.

That way, we contribute to building our preparedness for the grand future coming. We just can’t be caught flat-footed, not knowing what’s going on in our larger backyard because we allowed state players to monopolize the talks.

Fellow ASEANians, let’s get ready!

[Philippines, 11 May 2010]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!
Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com
@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website:
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA: http://erleargonza.com

PH BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SURPLUS DOING GOOD!

June 3, 2011

PH BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SURPLUS DOING GOOD!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang araw! Good day!

Another great news from Asia’s emerging market Philippines has been ringing across economic sectors of late. This pertains to the end of April report of a net BOP (balance of payments) surplus of over $1 Billion.

The situation of a BOP surplus has been consistent since the begging of 2011 yet, thus rendering total BOP surplus at over $4 Billions. Add this BOP surplus to the strong peso, high foreign exchange reserves of $67.8 Billions, positive growth of over 5% for the 1st quarter, manageable debt burden (good fiscal health), and one can see a relatively good performing economy as far as macro-indicators are concerned.

The BOP surplus has been largely accounted for by the continuous inflows of foreign remittances by overseas Filipinos and the portfolio capital inflows. This hasn’t translated yet into transforming PH credit standing to A+ high credit grade, but so far so good. The credit standing has already been elevated to a notch in fact.

BOP measures the balance between inflows and outflows of capital, currency, and trade receipts. In the past, BOP deficits have been used by creditor institutions notably the IMF to bamboozle the country into submitting to harsh conditionalities. Now that BOP and other indices have been doing appreciably, the reason for creditors and investors to be stingy or cruel on the country has been reduced.

Since the country has been registering BOP surpluses for some time now, there is no more reason to be lackadaisical about reducing poverty and increasing the numbers of middle income earners. The graduation of around 32% poorer families in the CDE classes to middle income status (U.S. $5,000-$30,000 per annum) will make the country into a true economic powerhouse as an emerging market.

Today, merely 19% of our families fall within the middle income yardstick, and it had stagnated there for years now. Adding 32% to 19% yields 51% of total families at middle income, a status that Brazil attained during the noble Lula’s presidency yet. How much can the private sector can do what it can towards that end, using the gains of BOP surpluses and others, is the big challenge facing the market stakeholders.

[Philippines, 21 May 2011]
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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com
@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website:
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA: http://erleargonza.com

CLOSE DOWN THE IMF, IT’S A PREDATOR BANK!

June 3, 2011

CLOSE DOWN THE IMF, IT’S A PREDATOR BANK!

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The world watches as the director of the International Monetary Fund or IMF, Strauss-Kahn, was arrested for rape case. As the case proceeds, talks have been circulating concerning the reform of the IMF, with the option of enlarging the voting powers of the developing countries in it.

Reforming the IMF for this long-time development worker and analyst isn’t the option. Knowing the IMF as a harbinger of cruel austerity measures on debt-burdened member countries, the option for me is the closure of this inutile bank.

IMF conditionalities, imposed upon member countries that are on IMF programs via ‘letters of intent’, have resulted to appalling pauperism on the debt-burdened countries themselves. Studies done in the 1980s and 90s have shown that many countries put under the IMF programs declined in incomes to as low as half of their previous GDPs or gross domestic products.

The same studies have also shown that wherever the IMF made its presence so strong, more people slide down below the poverty line. Often than not, these were struggling developing countries or DCs such as the Philippines that have been under IMF programs for many decades. Today European countries such as Greece are among the IMF guinea pigs for austerity, and already wages were slashed by 30% as part of the austerity measures.

The IMF, in reality, is an ensurer for the stakes of global financiers whose have installed their puppet technocrats to the echelon of the bank. That it is always headed by a European, notably French, is testimony to the nature of the IMF as a criminal bank that legitimizes the lootings by European financier oligarchs of currencies and assets, legitimized via enforced liberalization, privatization, and deregulation policies.

It used to be the sole definer as to whether a DC can qualify for new rounds of IOUs from western creditors. The latter, acting as a syndicated group, would then compel debtors to pay the loans at unreasonably usurious rates, which alone guarantees that the same DC debtors will be so burdened with debts their fiscal health will falter for a long time to come.

Low fiscal health, high debts, and low foreign exchange reserves are then used as yardsticks by investors to decide against investing in the affected DCs. Those foreign companies that are already inside the DCs concerned, may decide against diversifying investments or even pull out their investments altogether.

Knowing the dire impacts of IMF programs on my own country, and likewise knowledgeable about IMF’s thuggish reversals of development trends in other countries, I can only but fume with contempt every time I think of this criminal organization. Not only should the IMF be foreclosed, its leaders should be criminalized and punished, while its assets be redistributed back to the member countries.

There is no room for this predatory bank in the new multipolar global economy emerging. Close it down before its too late that more countries will experience grinding poverty among its masses due to the predator’s policies.

[Philippines, 18 May 2011]
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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:
@MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com
@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com
@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website:
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA: http://erleargonza.com