Archive for the ‘international business’ category

EUROPE & AMERICA ON DOWNWARD SLIDE TO 3RD WORLD ECONOMIES

January 15, 2016

EUROPE & AMERICA ON DOWNWARD SLIDE TO 3RD WORLD ECONOMIES

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Magandang gabi! Good evening!

 

It’s dusk time as I write, and this dusk at a time of intensifying monsoon rains seems to bode images of a grim future for the West at large. The European Union or EU members and the USA, the gigantic pillars of the global economy, are particularly in dire straits as they have entered the zone of flat growth and perpetual recession.

 

As already tackled by me in diverse articles, the East is surging forward bringing life to the global economy as a whole. In contrast, the West is spiraling downwards, and the strategies their stakeholders are putting into place to arrest the downslide are at best palliative. As the East continues to surge upward, the West continues to stagnate and decay.

 

After World War II, both Europe and America embarked on massive infrastructures and heated industrialization that saw both economies dominating the global economy’s wealth production. The result of that was an OECD producing 60% of Gross World Product or GWP for some decades (today that’s down to 40% of GWP and will still go down).

 

That was the situation back then. By the 1990s, the situation had been badly reversed as a result of liberal economic policies instituted in the previous decade (80s). The rise of a ‘virtual economy’ dominated by predatory finance was instrumental in the West’s massive de-industrialization, decay of relatively unattended infrastructures, decline in science & technology research, and neglect of the transport sector (only Japan & Germany were actively pursuing maglev railways).

 

By the early 1990s yet, certain experts among economists and sociologists in America began echoing alarming notes about the possible downslide of the USA into a 3rd world country should the economic decay, such as that of relatively unattended infrastructures, be allowed to continue till past 2010s.

 

In the late 1990s, my own circle of political economists in Manila (Sunday Kapihan/Independent Review) saw such a possibility ourselves as we consolidated the data made available to us thanks to the internet. By 1998 all fellows of our circle were convinced of the catastrophic direction that the USA and Europe were plunging themselves into, which could begin with a depression past 2005 and a thirdworldization by 2010s (both have been hit by recession this decade as a matter of fact).

 

When Katrina struck the USA and when those floods struck Europe just a few years back, and the same free market policies stubbornly remained in place, I knew the downslide would turn out to be irreversible. The fate of New Orleans, with its residents lining up for food akin to a depressed city, revealed an appallingly decayed 3rd world city inside the USA which, to my mind, is but a fractional tip of a gigantic iceberg that are America’s decaying cities on the way to 3rd world infamy.

 

If, for instance, just about 55% of the top 700 cities of the USA will be so badly decayed by 2015 and be declared as 3rd world or ‘developing cities’, then we know more or less that America had catastrophically seen its worst state. With 97% of U.S. population living in cities (urban), likewise will the whole of the USA be declared as a ‘developing economy’ as early as 2015.

 

That is, again, if the destructive ‘virtual economy’ policies will not be taken down and reversed sweepingly. As I’ve declared in previous articles before (when Obama was still campaigning for the presidency), America must quickly return to a New Deal-type policy regime: interventionist, with great stress on revivifying infrastructures, revitalizing transport R&D (railways, shipping, etc), upscaling science & technology investments (including rockets), returning heavy industries (revive steel and many dead manufactures), and ensuring agricultural productivity.

 

Europe is not far behind such near-catastrophic downslide of the USA, just to remind our friends in Europe and the globe. Decisively institute interventionist policies in the continent, regulate the financial-banking sectors (criminalize predatory finance), and revivify social policy that were hallmarks of a once strong and mighty European economy.

 

And there’s no better time to act then now. Failure to act soon, by stubbornly instituting the palliatives (e.g. bailing out failing big banks, semi-regulating stock exchange), will be the best sure-fire formula to see a rapid thirdworldization of the West.

 

Before long, some messianic mad leaders in both continents would be drum-beating their being “stubbed behind the back” and generate new Hitlers and Bonapartes in their backyards. Act now, Western peoples, to avoid this eventuality from ever taking place at all.

 

[Philippines, 21 July 2010]

 

EUROPE & AMERICA ON DOWNWARD SLIDE TO 3RD WORLD ECONOMIES

January 15, 2016

EUROPE & AMERICA ON DOWNWARD SLIDE TO 3RD WORLD ECONOMIES

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Magandang gabi! Good evening!

 

It’s dusk time as I write, and this dusk at a time of intensifying monsoon rains seems to bode images of a grim future for the West at large. The European Union or EU members and the USA, the gigantic pillars of the global economy, are particularly in dire straits as they have entered the zone of flat growth and perpetual recession.

 

As already tackled by me in diverse articles, the East is surging forward bringing life to the global economy as a whole. In contrast, the West is spiraling downwards, and the strategies their stakeholders are putting into place to arrest the downslide are at best palliative. As the East continues to surge upward, the West continues to stagnate and decay.

 

After World War II, both Europe and America embarked on massive infrastructures and heated industrialization that saw both economies dominating the global economy’s wealth production. The result of that was an OECD producing 60% of Gross World Product or GWP for some decades (today that’s down to 40% of GWP and will still go down).

 

That was the situation back then. By the 1990s, the situation had been badly reversed as a result of liberal economic policies instituted in the previous decade (80s). The rise of a ‘virtual economy’ dominated by predatory finance was instrumental in the West’s massive de-industrialization, decay of relatively unattended infrastructures, decline in science & technology research, and neglect of the transport sector (only Japan & Germany were actively pursuing maglev railways).

 

By the early 1990s yet, certain experts among economists and sociologists in America began echoing alarming notes about the possible downslide of the USA into a 3rd world country should the economic decay, such as that of relatively unattended infrastructures, be allowed to continue till past 2010s.

 

In the late 1990s, my own circle of political economists in Manila (Sunday Kapihan/Independent Review) saw such a possibility ourselves as we consolidated the data made available to us thanks to the internet. By 1998 all fellows of our circle were convinced of the catastrophic direction that the USA and Europe were plunging themselves into, which could begin with a depression past 2005 and a thirdworldization by 2010s (both have been hit by recession this decade as a matter of fact).

 

When Katrina struck the USA and when those floods struck Europe just a few years back, and the same free market policies stubbornly remained in place, I knew the downslide would turn out to be irreversible. The fate of New Orleans, with its residents lining up for food akin to a depressed city, revealed an appallingly decayed 3rd world city inside the USA which, to my mind, is but a fractional tip of a gigantic iceberg that are America’s decaying cities on the way to 3rd world infamy.

 

If, for instance, just about 55% of the top 700 cities of the USA will be so badly decayed by 2015 and be declared as 3rd world or ‘developing cities’, then we know more or less that America had catastrophically seen its worst state. With 97% of U.S. population living in cities (urban), likewise will the whole of the USA be declared as a ‘developing economy’ as early as 2015.

 

That is, again, if the destructive ‘virtual economy’ policies will not be taken down and reversed sweepingly. As I’ve declared in previous articles before (when Obama was still campaigning for the presidency), America must quickly return to a New Deal-type policy regime: interventionist, with great stress on revivifying infrastructures, revitalizing transport R&D (railways, shipping, etc), upscaling science & technology investments (including rockets), returning heavy industries (revive steel and many dead manufactures), and ensuring agricultural productivity.

 

Europe is not far behind such near-catastrophic downslide of the USA, just to remind our friends in Europe and the globe. Decisively institute interventionist policies in the continent, regulate the financial-banking sectors (criminalize predatory finance), and revivify social policy that were hallmarks of a once strong and mighty European economy.

 

And there’s no better time to act then now. Failure to act soon, by stubbornly instituting the palliatives (e.g. bailing out failing big banks, semi-regulating stock exchange), will be the best sure-fire formula to see a rapid thirdworldization of the West.

 

Before long, some messianic mad leaders in both continents would be drum-beating their being “stubbed behind the back” and generate new Hitlers and Bonapartes in their backyards. Act now, Western peoples, to avoid this eventuality from ever taking place at all.

 

[Philippines, 21 July 2010]

 

EUROPE & AMERICA ON DOWNWARD SLIDE TO 3RD WORLD ECONOMIES

January 15, 2016

EUROPE & AMERICA ON DOWNWARD SLIDE TO 3RD WORLD ECONOMIES

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Magandang gabi! Good evening!

 

It’s dusk time as I write, and this dusk at a time of intensifying monsoon rains seems to bode images of a grim future for the West at large. The European Union or EU members and the USA, the gigantic pillars of the global economy, are particularly in dire straits as they have entered the zone of flat growth and perpetual recession.

 

As already tackled by me in diverse articles, the East is surging forward bringing life to the global economy as a whole. In contrast, the West is spiraling downwards, and the strategies their stakeholders are putting into place to arrest the downslide are at best palliative. As the East continues to surge upward, the West continues to stagnate and decay.

 

After World War II, both Europe and America embarked on massive infrastructures and heated industrialization that saw both economies dominating the global economy’s wealth production. The result of that was an OECD producing 60% of Gross World Product or GWP for some decades (today that’s down to 40% of GWP and will still go down).

 

That was the situation back then. By the 1990s, the situation had been badly reversed as a result of liberal economic policies instituted in the previous decade (80s). The rise of a ‘virtual economy’ dominated by predatory finance was instrumental in the West’s massive de-industrialization, decay of relatively unattended infrastructures, decline in science & technology research, and neglect of the transport sector (only Japan & Germany were actively pursuing maglev railways).

 

By the early 1990s yet, certain experts among economists and sociologists in America began echoing alarming notes about the possible downslide of the USA into a 3rd world country should the economic decay, such as that of relatively unattended infrastructures, be allowed to continue till past 2010s.

 

In the late 1990s, my own circle of political economists in Manila (Sunday Kapihan/Independent Review) saw such a possibility ourselves as we consolidated the data made available to us thanks to the internet. By 1998 all fellows of our circle were convinced of the catastrophic direction that the USA and Europe were plunging themselves into, which could begin with a depression past 2005 and a thirdworldization by 2010s (both have been hit by recession this decade as a matter of fact).

 

When Katrina struck the USA and when those floods struck Europe just a few years back, and the same free market policies stubbornly remained in place, I knew the downslide would turn out to be irreversible. The fate of New Orleans, with its residents lining up for food akin to a depressed city, revealed an appallingly decayed 3rd world city inside the USA which, to my mind, is but a fractional tip of a gigantic iceberg that are America’s decaying cities on the way to 3rd world infamy.

 

If, for instance, just about 55% of the top 700 cities of the USA will be so badly decayed by 2015 and be declared as 3rd world or ‘developing cities’, then we know more or less that America had catastrophically seen its worst state. With 97% of U.S. population living in cities (urban), likewise will the whole of the USA be declared as a ‘developing economy’ as early as 2015.

 

That is, again, if the destructive ‘virtual economy’ policies will not be taken down and reversed sweepingly. As I’ve declared in previous articles before (when Obama was still campaigning for the presidency), America must quickly return to a New Deal-type policy regime: interventionist, with great stress on revivifying infrastructures, revitalizing transport R&D (railways, shipping, etc), upscaling science & technology investments (including rockets), returning heavy industries (revive steel and many dead manufactures), and ensuring agricultural productivity.

 

Europe is not far behind such near-catastrophic downslide of the USA, just to remind our friends in Europe and the globe. Decisively institute interventionist policies in the continent, regulate the financial-banking sectors (criminalize predatory finance), and revivify social policy that were hallmarks of a once strong and mighty European economy.

 

And there’s no better time to act then now. Failure to act soon, by stubbornly instituting the palliatives (e.g. bailing out failing big banks, semi-regulating stock exchange), will be the best sure-fire formula to see a rapid thirdworldization of the West.

 

Before long, some messianic mad leaders in both continents would be drum-beating their being “stubbed behind the back” and generate new Hitlers and Bonapartes in their backyards. Act now, Western peoples, to avoid this eventuality from ever taking place at all.

 

[Philippines, 21 July 2010]

 

ONE ASEAN: GET READY!

December 5, 2015

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!

 

[Writ – Philippines, 11 May 2010. E. Argonza is adept at international political economy. He was a graduate student of former ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Wilfrido Villacorta, PhD. He has published various articles on the subject, as well as a book on global trade regime.]

WEST MARKETS SHRINK, ASIANS’ RISE AND OVERTAKE WEST SOON

November 26, 2015

WEST MARKETS SHRINK, ASIANS’ RISE AND OVERTAKE WEST SOON

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Good evening from the Pearl of the Orient!

 

The International Monetary Fund or IMF has been quite bullish lately about Asian growth. It had forecast East Asia’s average growth at past 7% for this year, and shares an equally positive growth trend for RP at 5.5%-6%. Just what could be the implications of the growth trends on the global economy and the West?

 

As Asia expands, the West (Europe, USA, Canada, Japan) contracts. The trend will not change much over the next five (5) years, so let’s see where the East and West are headed for in the foreseeable future.

 

In early 2008 yet, the economists and financial analysts of the West (or North) were of the opinion that the technological cutting edge of the West was already breached by Asia by the end of 2007 yet. Remember that 2007 was the beginning of a new cycle of recession for the West which began in the USA with the implosion of the realty bubble.

 

Given that the Western economies are flat on their back growth-wise, and their toxic bubble economies have given them only virtual economy results (read: inflated values not based on real production but on speculation), there is ample reason to forecast that they will be mired in problems of saving their ailing banks, financial-monetary systems, and providing sovereign guarantees to their capitalists at the expense of taxpayers and infusing investments in the physical economy. This is now matter of fact, as we can clearly see.

 

Western economies have suffered from the ill effects of continuous de-industrialization for decades, of being remiss in their own infrastructures (USA seems to be the worst in infrastructure decay), and deteriorating investments in science & technology. From being a producer economy, Western economy generally has become a parasitical ‘eater economy’ that stands on no clear foundation other than financial quicksand.

 

In contrast, the Eastern economies have steadily built their strategic industries across the decades, reinforced their infrastructure expenditures and projects, and invested in science & technology. The Eastern economy generally has therefore been role-playing as ‘producer economy’ worth the emulation of other developing economies worldwide.

 

Result: by 2007, at the downspin year of a recessionary West, the East overtook the West in terms of cutting-edge technologies. To qualify, the technologies we refer to are those life-inducing technologies, not those death & destruction technologies that the West has clear edge till these days.

 

I still remember what my nationalist colleagues in the Sunday Kapihan that we then held every Sunday at the Sulo Hotel in Manila: the West knows nothing but perfect its Armaments. Dr. Emmanuel Yap, an economist who finished his PhD at Harvard University, was the most vocal about that emphasis on the death & destruction focus of Western innovations.

 

To continue, the added forecast that I’d share at this moment is this: from the years 2007 through 2015, Western markets will contract by at least 30%. That means their own consuming public will spend less and less across a 9-year stretch, until the consumption pattern will settle down by 2016 or so. Real GDP (gross domestic product) will radically decline during the period, shrinking by as much as 30%-40% contrasted to their 2006 levels (the last of the best years of the West).

 

In contrast, the Eastern markets will expand by at least 100% during the period. The giants China and India will go farther than that, with China expanding by as much as 200% during the same period. That means the middle income earners in the East will continue to rise by the year and consume more products by the year, even travel more overseas year by year.

 

Result: China will clearly overtake the shrunken economies of EU and USA by end of 2015. India may follow suit, at around the years 2020-2025. The last would be ASEAN, which will overtake the West by 2025-2030 period.

 

Once a region overtakes others technology-wise, it will just be a matter of time before the same innovator region will overtake the rest wealth-wise. Technologies—physical technologies, biotechnologies, social technologies, medical technologies—are precisely the cutting edge practices that will enable one region to overtake others across the globe.

 

The bad news for the West is this: if their own states and markets will fail to solve their ailing problems in infrastructures and reverse de-industrialization, they will pathetically go down as 3rd world or ‘developing economies’ past 2020. No less than their own economists warned of this possibility in the early 1990s yet, and sadly no one paid attention to them in their own backyards. City after city in the USA and EU will immerse in urban decay, becoming 3rd world cities in the process.

 

My mother just retired from New York where she migrated since the 80s yet. She decided to come home back to the Philippines, and visited the Libis & Cubao areas of Quezon City/Manila suburb pronto upon her arrival. She was so deeply enchanted by the esthetic beauty of the architectures and planning in those mixed land use zones, while she complained of the dilapidated buildings and nauseating smells of cinema theatres in downtown Manhattan.

 

Those observations are signs of the times indeed. In just a year from now, the Pagcor City will rise in Manila, housing the world’s tallest tower. Burj Dubai, Petronas Twin Towers, and Taipei 101 are already similar hallmarks in other Asian cities, signifying the power shift from East to West.

 

The message is hereby brought to the West’s peoples: shift back from virtual reality to physical reality, from the virtual economy to the real economy. We Asians will help you along the way, as we’ve already been doing through our colossal treasuries investments, direct foreign investments, and quality Asian expatriates in your backyards that have been saving your collapsing economies from rapid decay.

 

 

[Philippines, 13 July 2012]

WILL ZAIBATSU OFFENSIVE BE ACCOMPANIED BY NEW JAPANESE MILITARISM?

November 11, 2014

WILL ZAIBATSU OFFENSIVE BE ACCOMPANIED BY NEW JAPANESE MILITARISM?
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

In a previous article, this writer articulated the success of the Japanese Zaibatsu offensive. As one ought to realize, the success of the Zaibatsu offensive came at the expense of other markets, notably the North’s. Intellectually bankrupt as they are, the policy makers and technocrats of the North never foresaw the catastrophic consequences of predatory policies more so those concerning finance that came from their Japanese partners.

Today, Zaibatsus are well prepositioned across the globe, and it doesn’t matter anymore whether their headquarters will still be based in Japan. They have already fanned out beyond their boundaries, thanks to gullible states and market players in host countries that aren’t equipped to read the psyche of their Japanese partners. Japanese market presenters carry the mien of humble partners who bow in deep respect before you during business meetings, so who could ever suspect the rather cold-blooded nature of such gestures.

What the world must observe with greater focus these days, when global fascism is rising, is the resurgence of Japanese militarism. It may come in the form of ultra-nationalism, or ultra-conservatism, and may have nothing of the ‘Hail Emperor’ mantra of the previous Empire. But seeing the rise of predatory Zaibatsus, focused observers can never miss out on the possibility that the economic offensive may be accompanied, at some juncture of global economic crisis, by a very resurgent militarism.

Japan was very badly isolated during and after the 2nd World War, and till the early 1970s its moves at extending cooperation came with enormous suspicion, more so from the Asians whose countries were “burned down to the ground” by invading Japanese military forces. There surely was a colossal repackaging of Japan’s image, from wartime arrogance to new era peace-loving and humble advocate. To prove their sincerity, they even crafted their new constitution such that offensive forces were banned and only defensive military forces allowed.

No one ever heard of Japan getting involved in the arms race for many decades, and till these days the mindsets of somnambulistic folks tend to regard the Japan of the present as the peacenik country of post-war yesteryears. Even my old folks, who suffered miserably from the cruelties of Japanese forces during the war, have come to forgive Japan, though they still harbor the pains during moments of reminiscing.

The peacenik image is a product of its own context, this one must be reminded about. Japan was in high growth for many decades, than it matured onwards till it reached consumer society proportions around the 1980s. Then came the ‘globalization’ voodoo economics, and the rest was history.

That was then. The situation now is different. The global economy is crashing down, the plunge still hasn’t ceased, and the EU-USA experts just couldn’t learn from Japan’s ‘bailout’ mistakes. As the economy falters, anxieties arise within a country, and tensions across borders will increase. Superstition and groupthought (fascism) are rising, and before long we will see the fireworks of another world war ensued in the hottest spots of the globe.

EU-USA (West) and Japan (East), which comprise the pillars of the global economy, are now on the decline. If we study the behavior of their peoples well, whenever they experience severe crises, they undertake wars as strategy to release or canalize collective anxieties. They identify a Bogey Man (e.g. Nazi’s identified the Jews, North Americans identified the Southern slave owners during the US civil war,…), and then transfer their internal anxieties and defects on the Bogey Man, and war ensues.

Such economic pillars just seem unable to manage their decline without taking down others. This is classic binary mindset, destructive and demonic. Such mindset is responsible for using nuclear arms, regarding the casualties on their perceived enemies thereafter as mere statistics. And East Asia better prepare for the eventuality that this mindset will become dominant again in Japan in the short run.

Demented minds in Japan have two (2) bogey men today: (a) North Koreans and (b) Chinese. As this is happening, events have already shown the preparedness of Japan to mobilize its troops for missions outside the borders (e.g. Iraq war). Japan also possesses the technical capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction such as nukes and probably the Tesla Earthquake Machine or TEM.

Intelligence reports have it that Japan is capable of constructing WMDs and manufacturing new series military vehicles (e.g. aircraft carriers) in just less than a year upon call to action. We wouldn’t be surprised if we receive further intelligence information that such WMDs and vehicles are in fact already in place, needing supplementation in quantities and troop mobilizations.

It need not be overstressed that Zaibatsus are awash with money to fund militaristic or Banzai offensives for sustained periods. They already demonstrated this, during the Gulf War and Iraq War, when their coffers coughed up large sums by the tens of billions of dollars to pay the bills for the offensives while the USA provided the main attack hardware and human ‘warm bodies’ (like they were the Hessian Troops of the global
oligarchs).

If ever that the USA-EU would fall into a state of totalitarian governance (police state, fascism), and Japan would follow along that direction, then chances are high that the North Atlantic Alliance (USA-EU) and Japan would form a new Axis Powers alliance. The North Atlantic powers would constitute the Western flank, while Japan would comprise the Eastern flank of the alliance.

It will be déjà vu for sure. If indeed such is the direction. Peace advocates still have time to scuttle new treaties up north that could redound to concentrating enormous powers in central governments that are undisguised fascist police states. There is still time, but time is now short.

Before long, Japanese slogans of Banzai! will be heard again across the Pacific. Just by hearing it, or reading it on the papers and TV, many middle class Asians will die of heart attacks. Let us just hope that it will only be a slogan of marginalized mad people in Japan and nothing more.

[Philippines, 15 November 2008]
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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR): CORPORATE DEODORANT OF ‘LATE’ CAPITALISM

October 20, 2014

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR): CORPORATE DEODORANT OF ‘LATE’ CAPITALISM
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon from Manila!

The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines’ most brilliant and deviously cunning chief executive, was so elated one day during his tyrannical incumbency. The reason for the unusual elation was this: his soldiers captured Bernabe Buscayno, the first national head of the Maoist insurgent group New People’s Army or NPA, who was a prized catch for the strong man. After some military interrogation, Buscayno was directed to be brought to the presidential palace to face Marcos, who at one point in the encounter, asked Buscayno for a remark. Obliging like a school boy, Buscayno replied that “no matter how evil a person can be, s/he can still be transformed into a good person.”

The enormously witty man Marcos was dumbfounded by the witty remark from the Maoist rebel, for that comment made its mark so clear: Marcos is evil, yet he can still be reformed. Probably pissed off by the stubborn rebel, who never the least conceded to defeat so as to bow in obeisance in recognition of the chief executive, Marcos made sure that Buscayno will suffer miserably inside the prison cell.

You see, I cited that story of Buscayno, as a matter of reflecting on the rationale behind Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. Buscayno, who has been active in the cooperative movement in the Philippines after his release from prison in 1986 (the year Marcos was overthrown), could very well repeat his witty line when asked about CSR, with a curt reply that “CSR, no matter what evil may be behind it, can be reformed.”

Asians put greater stress on ‘becoming’ as a category more than ‘being’ (Westerner’s granite category), that is why we Asians are inclined to see positive reformations of things or beings whose evils may be irredeemable. And this I can say of CSR: it is an ideological deodorant for Big Business greed, but somehow it can be reformed. To use Organization Development language, it can be ‘re-engineered’.

CSR is already a re-engineering of philanthropy in fact, and belongs squarely to ‘late’ capitalism. Old fogey philanthropy operated with a Victorian underpinning: I possess the money, and you recipient are a Beggar who came to me. You are lucky enough because I am giving you part of my purse, for I have none reserved for you folks save for the theatres, performers and socialite circles thay may the better be served by my extra monies for posterity’s sake. …

Well, Big Business was able to re-engineer its image precisely by reformatting old-fogey philanthropy (which was a reformatted version of medieval charity of the pretentious church Orders or ‘corporations’). CSR appropriated the ‘social development’ practices (social technologies) of NGOs and peoples’ organizations or POs, stressed the supposedly core element of ‘compassion’, and voila! CSR was born! How effable, how sweet, how infinitely Angelic and Godly is this ‘new way’ of helping people by the Gods of Corporate World! Hail capitalism! Hail beneficent Gods!

Deodorant, pure deodorant! Take a look at Lucio Tan, who at one time was the top landlord-capitalist oligarch in the Philippines. A one-time Marcos crony, Tan made enormous fortunes from Marcos’ time to the present, probably with start-up capital coming from the dictator’s purse (but which Tan refuses to admit in public). Tan’s fortunes made him land in the Fortune 500 (world’s richest), yet he was also found wanting in the manner of paying taxes. His unpaid taxes may be worth P80 Billion (almost $2 Billion) today, and is still growing, yet not a single cent was paid to the state by this notorious oligarch for those ‘tax evasion’ cases…Yet Tan has captured the eyes of fund recipients from his CSR give-away items, even as he is fondly regarded as an angelic patron by the same armies of beggar recipients. (Beggar here means not the literal beggar, but the condescending image of oligarchs on recipients: filthy Eaters, ‘useless eaters’).

Capitalism is a system that is founded on greed and hoarding, and no sagely or wise personage, or the most evolved beings could ever rationalize capitalism as a system that will sustain the drive towards Nirvana or represents the final liberation of humans from their subhumanizing hovels of dense life. Besides, this current phase of capitalism—‘late’ capitalism—is now DEAD, and the dead system is rapidly crashing down. Only those materialistic ‘eaters’ whose perceptions are as delimited as their own astigmatic perceptions of reality principles can ever justify that capitalism is still working, for the reality we have today is that of ‘virtual economy’ of the most perverted, evil greed of all.

If CSR would have to survive the times, as ‘late’ capitalism is now DEAD, then now is the time to refurbish its image. Because its life is deeply embedded in the corporate purses, this image-change is hard to imagine at all. But being of the Asian-yogic way of life, being a mystic and development expert at the same time (though now in the twilight of social development engagements), I wish to give CSR a chance and see it grow along the trajectory of the hereafter that was declared by Buscayno: transformed from ‘evil’ to ‘good’.

I’d end this piece by clarifying to you a reality we know among mystics: demons can also return to the Path of Light. Yes, Fellows, those Belzeebub abominations, those Asuras or Demonyos, those Diaboli, or whatever term you may use for the same species of evil demented beings, many of those abominations have already returned to the state-of-balance and are now taking the Path of Light back to the Almighty I Am Presence (God)! Yes! CSR can!

[Philippines, 28 August 2008]