Posted tagged ‘East Asia’

CHRYSANTHEMUM: JAPAN’S HUMAN FACE POST-CATASTROPHE

April 4, 2011

CHRYSANTHEMUM: JAPAN’S HUMAN FACE POST-CATASTROPHE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening from the suburbs west of Manila!

Japan has begun to go back to normal life weeks after the catastrophe of quake-tsunami-nuke crash triad slammed Honshu and broke the hearts of Amaterasu’s scions. Amid the colossal maelstrom and seemingly ceaseless damages wrought, we observed the calm and sobriety displayed by the Japanese, a behavior that was exemplary to say the least.

We outsider-sympathizers were indubitably impressed, more so as nary a rampant looting was exhibited at all as the catastrophe was building up and damages kept on accumulating. Let me say this myself: kudos to you Japanese people for your calm and indomitable courage amidst deep troubles!

Let me call the aspect of Japanese behavior exhibited amid maelstroms as the ‘chrysanthemum complex’. By ‘complex’ we refer to the sociological term for an agglomeration of traits that would constitute a coherent behavior pattern. ‘Chrysanthemum’ is an excellent signifier for that exemplary side of the Japanese culture template that was responsible for the calm, absence of massive looting, cooperation, synergy.

The question is: do Japanese exhibit such behavior at all times, across diverse historic epochs? Or, is it a behavioral complex that had evolved across time, reinforced by a post-war pacifism that sedated the future generations to never again engage in demonic holocausts that the Emperor’s militaristic followers unleashed on Asians and Pacific islanders?

A follow up question is: can the ‘chrysanthemum complex’ be exhibited if the catastrophic events would happen on a relentless, sustained basis for a certain period of time? This question arises, as the latest catastrophe was only a short-term one, though there are still aftershocks past the Reichter 6 magnitude till these days.

Let me sum up the guide question as follows: is the ‘chrysanthemum complex’ a conjunctural manifestation (valid only during a very short-term crisis) or a historical complex (sustainable even under extreme collective duress or force majeure)? Conjunctural stresses on the ‘synchronicity’ principle behind the phenomenon, while historical stresses the ‘causality’ principle across a time continuum.

This is my own note for our fellow global citizens: let us not be over-conclusive about the ‘chrysanthemum complex’. Let us go on and express platitudes to the highest heavens, thanking the Japanese profusely for the exemplary behavior exhibited amid the catastrophe. But we can and should never be totally inferential to the point that we would regard the short-term behavior complex as a permanent one.

There is another facet to Japanese cultural complex, and I will treat this in another digest article. Meantime, like the rest of the global citizens, let me bask in the regenerative energies radiated to the planet by the ‘chrysanthemum complex’.

[Philippines, 02 April 2011]

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JAPAN GOLD RICH, POST-CATASTROPHE RECOVERY QUICK

March 24, 2011

JAPAN GOLD RICH, POST-CATASTROPHE RECOVERY QUICK

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon from the Philippine highlands!

Japan did suffer miserably from the catastrophe of a double-whammy temblor cum tsunami that walloped it recently. Deaths are now in the thousands, damage to property at past $183 Billion or 3.6% of its $5 Trillion GDP, citizens’ morale is badly eroded (more so that nuke fallout is imminent, aftershocks that followed), and the graphic images of the tragically affected areas are surreal scary.

Naturally, people will opine that Japan’s economy will be recessionary this very year of 2011. Many overseas workers are now leaving Japan, and most likely won’t return there, adding salt to the wounds the Japanese economy had sustained. It’s a doomsday scenario that both layman and experts do picture right now. Little do people see the positive things that can happen a year after the catastrophe.

It seems that among topgun experts, only the former economic secretary, Cielito Habito (who is now professor at the Ateneo University), sees the positive side to the catastrophe. He forecasts an infrastructure boom that will follow from the negative event, citing what happened to Japan after the powerful 1995 quake that flattened Kobe. Accordingly, Japan’s GDP rose by 3% after the Kobe quake, a good performance in a decade of near zero percent growth.

I do agree with Prof. Ciel Habito about the boom post-catastrophe scenario. True, there will be recession this year 2011, as it will take some time before the geological situation there will stabilize. And it will take some more months to craft a recovery program not just for the northeast Japan but for the entire nation. But next year will be a boom year, when the recovery program will already be in full effect.

What many people are least knowledgeable about is the fact that Japan is awash with gold. Even without external help, Japan will be able to quickly recover from the damaging impact of the catastrophe. But acts of goodwill, such as external aid offered, should never be underestimated or ignored, and most likely the Japanese will accept the boons coming from its friends and allies which will run by the billons of dollars.

The famed gold treasures of Japan were acquired by the Imperial government during World War II yet. Recall that Japanese forces scoured Asia for the treasures during the hot days of that war. The Imperial forces than hauled the huge cargoes of gold to its home base, the total volume of which could easily run by the millions of tons of gold bullions.

Due to incessant bombing operations by the Allied forces during the war, part of the gold was forced to be secreted inside underground bunkers in the Philippines. The Philippine gold cache was salivated upon by the West’s oligarchs, and they did what they can to unearth some of them. Dictator Marcos proved smarter than the others, even as he unearthed part of the gold and deposited them in the islands and overseas (via chain of foundations that were later dismantled, thus leaving no traces of the treasures).

Just the same, couples of million tons of the gold were able to reach Japan. That colossal hoard was partly responsible for the quick recovery of Japan after World War II. Your guess is as good as mine that part of the same hoard will be used for the quick recovery of Japan after the Reichter 9 temblor and tsunami.

So good are the Japanese engineers at tunneling and bunker construction, technologies that they perfected during the war yet. Their prowess dwarfs those of Hitler’s experts, and that prowess was used to build underground bunkers in Japan to secure the gold hoard. Between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku are tunnels that run through both land formations, deep down underground, safe from the prying eyes of would-be international looters such as cabal of financiers led by the Houses of Rothschild and Windsor.

Chances are that ready-made contingency bunkers are available to transfer the remaining hoard after the quake struck Honshu and moved it 2.5 meters away from its former location. More so that Japan’s secret service had unwind of the Tesla Earthquake Machine type of WMD (used by the rouge Aum cult to flatten Kobe), thus leading to the hatching of contingency plans in the event that hostile forces will pound Honshu or Shikoku with the same machine that could be tantamount to treasures lost forever.

Global observers should better get ready then for the sudden surge of Japan next year, or maybe as early as the latter part of this year. Part of the gold will be released surreptitiously to securitize big projects. For as long as the same hoard will remain in huge amounts, hostile forces should cease from plotting economically damaging catastrophes on the Japanese nation, as the treasures will be available to make its people rise like the phoenix.

[Philippines, 16 March 2011]

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JAPAN QUAKED ANEW BY TESLA WMD!

March 15, 2011

ASEAN BETTER LAUNCH THE ASIAN MONETARY FUND NOW!

November 23, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Buoyed up by the positive economic performances and regional integration efforts of ASEAN member-states, let me ensue with the ASEAN agenda, and articulate this time the matter of the Asian Monetary Fund or AMF. What makes the urgency of constituting the AMF even more exigent is the recent pronouncement made by the Asian Development Bank or ADB about the same theme: launch the AMF now!

The idea of an Asian Monetary Fund actually began with the late strong man Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. Awash with colossal hoards  of gold, Marcos vouched for the creation of an Asian Monetary Fund that shall function as monetary stabilizer, steward of an Asian currency, and financer of bold development projects.

As per note from some of his own former close supporters (they were my fellow economists in the Independent Review, c. 1998 to 2000), Marcos was very eager to back up (securitize) the Asian currency with his very own gold hoards (they amount to hundreds of trillions of US. $ today).

It was too bad that Marcos had downside images among the global financiers, who conspired behind the scenes to overthrow him. They never liked the idea of an AMF that will compete with their stooge thug bank International Monetary Fund, and they were salivating to control his gold hoards. The Trilateral Commision in fact undertook steps toward aiding the process of social turbulence to unfold in the Philippines, turbulence that eventually overthrew the dictator.

It took some time before the AMF idea would resurface. The opportunity for resurfacing came with the Asian financial meltdown of 1997. That crisis saw the region’s currencies attacked by an insidious cabal of Western oligarchic financiers fronted by George Soros, who all rested happy from their criminal currency attacks that fattened their coffers by the trillions of dollars.

Thus came the technocratic and public policy responses to the crisis of that time, with the Asian Monetary Fund idea floating to the surface as a viable option. Necessarily, the stabilization of currencies will come with the institution of an Asian currency, which came alongside the AMF idea.

It then took many years of haggling and bargaining before a continental resolution was finally signed into a sort of a memorandum of undertaking. To recall, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives (Philippines), Hon. De Venecia, took much pains to legwork Asian leaders into finally signing the concordat and presenting the same to the Philippine state leaders for immediate action after accomplishing his mission.

This time around, it is the Asian Development Bank that has taken the cudgels for pushing for the urgent institution of the AMF. As articulated in a previous article, the ADB is among the continental institutions that can aid in launching an ASEAN central bank (circa 2015) as well as an Asian Monetary Fund.

Since the ASEAN is the most actively engaged regional formation among Asians, it is the most logical body that can facilitate the launching of the AMF. Its country members could easily role play the core membership of the AMF, with the quid pro quo that the latter will aid ASEAN in forming its regional central bank comes 2015.

As early as the late 90s yet, this analyst was very highly supportive of the institution of an AMF and Asian currency. The launching of the currency alone will catalyze the stabilization of monetary-fiscal environments, and can even out the very uneven cost of living situations across countries.

AMF would surely be of great help to insulating Asia’s emerging markets versus the destructive undercurrents of the economic crises of North America, Europe, and Japan. It can likewise aid enormously in regional trading efforts, precisely by securitizing and/of directly financing the pioneering and expansion efforts of exporters.

I would, however, add a caveat to the AMF’s formation: securitize the operations via a gold reserve standard or equivalent. The eradication of the gold standard in 1971 is among the factors behind monetary-financial instabilities and emergence of criminal financial predators over the last four (4) decades, predators that were responsible for de-industrialization, agricultural decay, and economic decline altogether.

The launching of the AMF shouldn’t be delayed a day longer. The global economic roof is collapsing due to the structural defects of the northern economies, and so as a measure of mitigation the region’s own economies be insulated from that crash through launching of the AMF, buffering financial collapse via collective money reserves for contingency uses, and instituting the Asian currency very soon.

To re-echo the theme: there is no better time to constitute the AMF than now. Act now, before it is too late!

[Philippines, 17 November 2010] 

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

ASEAN ADOPTS RP’S NAUTICAL HIGHWAY

November 21, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to you all! Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

Let me return to the ASEAN, after delivering my kudos to Latin Americans and Brazilians over the presidential victory of the socialist Madam Rousseff there. How I wish that the ASEANians can emulate the audacious social policies of Brazil under the stewardship of the outgoing leader Lula and incoming Rousseff.

For the good news, the information has already been disseminated that the entire ASEAN is adopting the ‘nautical highway’ program of the Philippines. Accordingly, the planning stage for a regional nautical highway is now under way, with the program most likely implemented way before the 2015 economic integration here.

A brilliant idea, the nautical highway concept was actually hatched by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the previous president of the Philippines. A technocrat-politician, Arroyo surely found a remedy to the sluggish and inefficient transit of people and cargo across the seas in the archipelago.

To recall, Arroyo was an economist and academic before she joined government. As president of the country, she achieved the feat of solving the fiscal problems and doubling national income within a 9-year span. The Philippines finally graduated to middle-income country status during Macapagal’s incumbency.

Infrastructures also expanded by many folds during Arroyo’s incumbency. Roads, wharves, airports, levees, dams, and diverse public works benefited immensely from the boom years of her aegis. Within the context of the transport infrastructure programs did Arroyo conceptualize the RORO (roll on-roll off) nautical highway.

Executed with very high success levels, the nautical highway proceeded to deliver the expected result of accelerating the transit of people and goods across the seas. The RORO also brought down the cost of ship transportation, hence engendering a more mobile poor folks who could nil afford long distance travels.

As already elucidated in a previous article, it would be excellent if the nautical highway would be interlinked with a forthcoming regional railway. More excellent if the nautical highway, roads, railways, and airports would be interlinked in such an exquisite design of transport hubs.

ASEAN-wide planning takes a longer time than national planning, as there would be a preference for consultative process in the planning exercise. Let’s just hope that the planning phase won’t take longer than 1 & ½ years at the most, with the final output passing through a last grassroots or community hearing for discussions and feedbacks.

That means that as early as 2012, the regional RORO will be implemented. Infrastructure, technology, and logistical support will need to be installed and/or allotted by the 1st quarter of 2012 to ensure fast implementation of the program.

With the program implemented, hopefully the poor folks in the coastal areas won’t have to travel to islands of other countries by risky motored banca or canoes. The RORO ships would bring down risks, travel costs, and make travels very comfortable for poor folks and monied middle class alike.

This analyst highly appreciates the latest ASEAN collaborative efforts for building a regional nautical highway. May the planning, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation of the future program come forth with stunning success.

[Philippines, 16 November 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

CHINA’S 3-GORGES DAM: DAMNING ECO-FASCIST CATASTR0PHE DISCOURSE

September 25, 2010

CHINA’S 3-GORGES DAM: DAMNING ECO-FASCIST CATASTR0PHE DISCOURSE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good morning to all ye global citizens! Goodwill and peace to you!

For this day I chose to peregrinate on the 3-Gorges Dam of China, a project that cost a whopping $23 Billion to build. The eco-fascist detractors of the project raised the specter of catastrophe that could result from a collapse of the dam infrastructure, so maybe its time to reflect about the giant energy project.

I just arrived from overseas assignment in 2002 when I had the opportunity to discuss the 3-Gorges dam in my social science classes in Manila. At that time, I was offered a Director post in a think-tank of the Augustinian sisters, a stint that gave me opportunity to mine enormous data about the latest development engagements nationally and globally. I also taught as lecturer while directing research, which surely offered me a privileged position to reflect about global issues.

Being one who has been involved in the planning works on ambitious development projects (e.g. industrial estate/free trade zone, economic support projects for marginal sectors worth hundreds of millions of dollars) as a practitioner, I was truly appreciative of the efforts of China’s state to tame the Yangtze and tap its power-packed waters for electrification, irrigation, and subsidiary purposes. Though environmentally-driven myself, I am not wont to deliver satirical and destructive remarks about such a project as the 3-Gorges Dam that can benefit a greater section of China’s population and economy.

There are always negative trade-offs to any big endeavor, such as the displacement of 1.4 million folks along the reservoir area of the dam. What project of such a stature in the world doesn’t have a downside to it anyway? The downsides are the ones highlighted the most by paid hacksters of the West’s financier oligarchs, notably the political greenies whose obsessive-compulsive reflexes are unmatched anywhere in the world.

The USA had its own taste of baptism of fire from destructive commentators when the FD Roosevelt regime built the Hoover Dam. A pioneering infrastructure and energy project during its own time, the project received enormous media detractions that were paid by Nazi  oligarchs in the homeland who, not to say the least, owned and controlled America’s giant media outfits (they own media till these days). The detractors did everything in the books in fact to destroy FDR for his innovative New Deal measures that included massive infrastructures as pump priming tool to take out America from the Great Depression towards recovery and prosperity.

As one can see, the Hoover Dam stood the test of time, and it remains as one of the marvels of America’s public works. It is too early to say about what can happen to the 3-Gorges Dam, but it has parallelisms to the Hoover Dam and other ambitious infrastructure projects of the New Deal heydays, projects that the predatory financiers in America couldn’t play their hands with as they are primarily state-sponsored.

Understandly, the West’s financiers can not benefit directly from projects initiated by China’s government, even as it is now too late for destructive Western forces to take down China’s economy through massive looting of the financial markets the way they’ve done to their own domestic economies in the EU and USA. So they employ those civil society groups that receive funds from the financiers’ ‘corporate social responsibility’ coffers, with the expectation that the activist funds recipients would drum up the destructive impacts of projects they cannot control such as the 3-Gorges Dam.

In the event of heavy rainfalls however, there is reason to keep watch over the waters’ possible exceeding the 175-meter limit of the dam’s reservoir. As shown by our own precedents in the Philippines, the dam’s administrators used the contingency tool of releasing parts of the waters before the same could ever do damage on the dam through an overflow that could trigger a catastrophic burst of the infrastructure.

With decades of hydraulics experience behind our local experts here, this much I can say: so far so good! True, there were casualties who suffered from the inundations caused by the contingency releases of the rising floodwaters. But no single dam ever burst catastrophically yet, a catastrophe that could have resulted to higher casualties of at least a couple of millions of folks.

It’s now the start of the ‘ember’ months, and so far we are witness to the 3-Gorges Dam standing tall. So far so good! There are still three (3) more months to hurdle before the storms will bring heavy rainfalls, but so far the indications are the dam administrators can manage the hydraulic flows efficaciously.

If there is any message I can deliver to the eco-fascist blabbermouths, they should spread themselves across the world’s continents and plant trees in the de-forested boondocks. This behavior would be truly exemplary, as it will show that sociopathic groups and persons can also exhibit productive behavior during times of crisis.

[Philippines, 15 September 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]

LUISITA ESTATE, HACIENDAS: ANACHRONISM IN POST-INDUSTRIALIZING PHILIPPINES

July 5, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang araw! Good day!

It’s the 1st of July, the first day of official reporting by the newly elected political leaders of the country led by President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III. Riding astride the air of optimism induced by the new leadership, let me say more notes then about my homeland.

Let me shift to landlordism as this phenomenon seems to have remained unscathed by the ‘scorched earth’ flames of modernization and post-industrial growth. Our newly elected president here, ‘Noynoy’ Aquino, is a scion of the oligarchic family of Cojuancos and is an heir to the 11,000-hectare Luisita Estate in Tarlac province.

I still recall that in the late 1990s, as a graduate student of development studies in De La Salle University-Manila, I underwent the course on constitutionalism and development. I tasked myself to review the constitutions of thirty-five (35) countries, with the aim of unearthing and extracting the theme of agrarian reform from them.

To my amazement, most of the countries I researched on, including Taiwan, Korea, and many developing states, clearly emblazoned in their national charter the theme of agrarian reform. The impeccable intention was to declare land reform as a determinative development policy. The landlords should be enticed to divest from their rural estates and channel their new investments to birthing strategic industries.

I did write a paper on the topic, which my professor, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta (former undersecretary of ASEAN, delegate to the 1986 Constitutional Convention), appreciated very well. The research also enlightened me more about the urgency of decisively implementing agrarian reform in the Philippines that barely made it to the passing mark of successful land reform programs.

Almost a quarter of a century after the new charter was signed and ratified by our citizens, and after the consequent legislation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, many large feudal estates still abound. They seem to remain untouched by the law, as if they are autonomous mini-states in a nation that is rapidly urbanizing along mixed industrial and service economy growth trajectory.

Let’s take the case of the Luisita estate. In 2006 yet, the Agrarian Reform department decided that a total of 6,453 of Luisita should be apportioned to the farmworkers. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court blocked the implementation of the decision as it issued a Temporary Restraining Order or TRO that stopped the implementation. A TRO should be in effect only for a maximum of 30 days, yet years have elapsed and it is still in place.

Other large estates are similarly situated as Luisita. For instance, there are the Yulo estate in Laguna and the Pedro Roxas estate in Batangas. I still recall that way back in 1998, I was among consultants who helped agrarian reform beneficiaries of a 500-hectare piece of Roxas estate (out of total 30,000 hectares) in their capacity-building and productivity boosting. The same beneficiaries asked me if I knew anybody from the Agoncillo clan that owned a total of 30,000 hectares of estates…

There are more such huge estates to count. And truly, I am overwhelmed by their gargantuan sizes that are enough to build huge mega-cities such as Singapore or Manila. I could almost puke at the mere mention of their names, and puke much more when I learn about their vast sizes and the slave-driving management styles of their owners that have led to appalling living conditions for the farmworkers.

RP’s population was 66% urban and 34% rural as of end of 2009. Urban population is moving up by 2% every year, while rural population is moving down by the same figure. By 2016, the next presidential election year, urban population will already be at least 80% urban and rural population down to 20%. What are haciendas for in an urban Philippines, one may ask.

Furthermore, RP’s labor force is now past 50% service sector and 15% industrial sector, with barely 34% left to fend for our farms and fisheries. Agriculture now contributes to merely 15% of the GDP, while services comprises a whopping 60% or so (the rest is industries). Tourism, which forms past 10% of GDP today, will most likely surpass agriculture as a contributor to national income by 2016.

Now that brings us back to the question: what are feudal estates doing in an urban-to-suburban Philippines with a rapidly post-industrializing economy? Strange anachronism! All we need to do is follow the footsteps of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China to realize that such estates must be released from feudal yokes so as to carve out a win-win growth path between the small planters and their former overlords-turned-entrepreneurs.

When I registered my vote for the ratification of the charter in 1986, I already made up my mind to see that all such estates be transformed to high productivity enclaves beginning with their subjection to the reform program. All the landlords should quickly divest from such landholdings and move their investments in industries and services.

I stand pat on that decision, and will be on standby to help out those agrarian beneficiaries who seek professional help for improving their farm production and quality of life. And I welcome a Philippines that will someday move towards the space age, thanks for a willful departure from an anachronistic feudalism of past dark ages.

[Philippines, 01 July 2010]

[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com,

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com]