Posted tagged ‘emerging markets’

NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Continue to stimulate growth through the ‘physical economy’

March 4, 2015

NEO-NATIONALISM’S PREMISES & CONTENTIONS / Continue to stimulate growth through the ‘physical economy’


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

This writer strongly argues that the greatest driver of the economy must be the ‘physical economy’. By ‘physical economy’ we refer to the combination of (a) agriculture, (b) manufacturing, (c) infrastructure, (d) transport and (e) science & technology (S&T) whose results further induce ‘production possibilities’ in the sectors a-d. An economy that is prematurely driven by the service sector, growing at the expense of the physical economy, will create imbalances in the long run, failing in the end to meet the needs of the population. A premature service-driven economy would be subject to manipulations by predatory financiers, who would do everything to destroy the national currencies and consequently the physical economy of the nation as well. An economy driven by derivatives and every kind of speculative pursuit is a ‘virtual economy’ such as what has dominated the USA since the era of Reaganomics.

I would hazard the thesis that our national economy moved to a service-driven phase prematurely. Look at all the fiasco after our ‘physical economy’ had rapidly declined in GDP contributions since the early 1990s, as the service economy advanced in its stead! Relatedly, the over-hyped Ramos-era ‘Philippines 2000’ economy was largely a ‘bubble economy’ driven by speculation and portfolio capital, and was more in kinship with the ‘virtual economy’ than any other one. We have not fully recovered from the bursting of that bubble, even as we are now threatened with another bursting of sorts—of the debt bubble, leading to fiscal crisis.

It pays to learn our lessons well from out of the immediate past experiences. And the clear message sent forth is: get back to the physical economy and re-stimulate the concerned sectors, while simultaneously perfect those services where we have proved to be competitive, e.g. pre-need sector, retail, restaurant/f&b. We should also strive to learn some key lessons from other countries’ positive experiences such as China’s, whose economy continues to grow enormously, and grow precisely because it is the physical economy that primarily drives it up and lead it—at an enormously rapid rate—towards development maturity, permitting China to outpace the USA’s economy on or before 2014 (using GDP Purchasing Power Parity indexing).

[From: Erle Frayne D. Argonza, “New Nationalism: Grandeur and Glory at Work!”. August 2004. For the Office of External Affairs – Political Cabinet Cluster, Office of the President, Malacaňan Palace.]


January 8, 2014



Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Global economic growth has shown a sputtering pattern over the last couples of years. The EU-USA-Japan 1st World corridor has particularly been the lackluster topguns, mired as they are in vicious cycles of recession, near zero growth, and ‘virtual economy’ strategies that only deepened their entrapment in the cul de sac they’re in.


Salving the global economic health since the opening yet of the new millennium are the Emerging Markets. Learning the lessons from the 1st World’s mistakes, the Emerging Markets instituted regulatory measures and related strategies that enabled them to build ‘firewall’ economies.


A ‘firewall’ economy is sealed from the global economic turmoils emanating from the 1st World countries. Remaining unaffected as such, they are able to sustain growth patterns that are impeccable manifestations of their trajectories of ‘virtuous circle’ of growth & development. Growing in unison, though at variance in total aggregate growth, they altogether keep the global economy afloat, thus saving many workers in the developing world from the devastating blows of market conflagrations which the 1st World countries are tragically situated.


Emerging Markets are largely 2nd World or Middle Income economies, a fact that many blind simpletons in their own backyards and the 1st World fail to see nor understand. Once an economy breaches the U.S. $1,000 per capita, it qualifies as 2nd World economy. Another criterion is the population composition: over half are in services and industries. Industrialization is, of course, rapid.


Emerging Markets are unique in that (a) each one of them has large populations and (b) very significantly large percentage of Middle Income earners among their people (i.e. family earning $6,000-$30,000). Large populations fulfill their labor needs at all times, and the total aggregate values of goods produced by such large populations make total national income consistently large, assuming sustained significant-to-high-level growth.


Top qualifiers that are recognized as ‘lead countries’ of the Emerging Markets are the BRIC:

  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • India
  • China


Following closely behind the BRIC are the Next 11, namely:

  • Bangladesh
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam


South Korea is the only odd one out, as it’s economy is already 1st World or ‘overdeveloped’ in stage. It is one of the Dragon Economies of East Asia that includes, to recall, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. It’s close ties to the Developing Countries or DCs, from which it came from, remains though, as exhibited by trade and cultural interactions with the DCs.


Other DCs that are smaller in populations, though nonetheless part of the developing world and contributors to global growth, are the Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Argentina, and Chile. Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore are engaged members of ASEAN that will unify into a common market next year, which will make the entire region a gigantic growth corridor that is indubitably among the world’s topguns.


To sum up the broad strategies of the Emerging Markets + Tiger & Dragon Economies that enabled ‘firewall’ against global turbulence, these are:

  • Putting breaks on predatory finance via monetary and capital controls.
  • Consistent, persistent, yet resilient reliance on the ‘physical economy’ as basis for wealth production—agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, transport & communications, science & technology—that are their domestic economic drivers.
  • Shoring up their Foreign Exchange Reserves at levels sufficient to effect elasticity against global turmoils and buy several months worth of imports.


Needless to say, the Emerging Markets will be graduating to 1st World economy status one by one across the coming decades. By 2030, their collective wealth put together will more than surpass the combined wealth of the EU-USA-Japan. Enabled to aid other developing countries move up the ladder of success, they are exemplars of ‘inclusive growth’ that hopefully will eradicate poverty across the globe well before 2050.


Contrast that to the ‘exclusive growth’ of the North 1st World (EU-USA-Japan) powers that industrialized and enriched themselves at the expense of the developing countries or DCs that the former encumbered via investments, trade, and aid. The Northern powers in particular have histories of destroying nations and populations via two (2) world wars and many more conflicts, or using coercive instruments disguised as “soft power” or maintaining “peace”.


As the Emerging Markets have been showing the way, new models of development are now available for the poorer DCs which the West/North just can’t destroy any longer via IMF austerity programs (IMF is a stooge institution of predatory financiers). Rest assured there will be wider breathing spaces for comfort & prosperity in the long run by the working peoples of both Emerging Markets (& DC allies) and those of the 1st World as well who seems to have been excluded from prosperity by their own greedy politicians and elites.


[Manila, 08 January 2014]


January 2, 2014



Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Gracious Day to you fellow global citizens!


“Young Man, Go East!” was John Naisbitt’s challenging call unto the youth of the west who are eager to search for opportunities in life. In the late 90s yet, he released his social forecast book Megatrends Asia, which sums up macro- trends happening in Asia that all point out to the compass of economic and cultural growth of the 21st millennium: East will be center of global development.


Futurologists or social forecasters from the West, beginning with Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee a century ago, forewarned the West of the eventual decline in the future. Toynbee used a cyclical wave model to show that a civilization or ‘high culture’ lasts only for 2,000 years, after which it will decline rapidly.


Indo-European ‘high cultures’ were nearing the end of that 2000-year cycle in the early 1900s, which prompted futurologists to write daring forecasts of what’s in store for the West in general. Though accordingly the West will sustain the momentum towards high levels of technological development, the overall civilizational maturity has been reached as was nearing the terminal end phase.


The American sociologist Daniel Bell followed up on the social forecasts in his brilliant discourses on the Post-Industrial society. Writing in the 1950s yet, upon seeing some Asian economies jettison their amazing industrial growth, predicted that the end of the Western prominence, both techno-economically and culturally, is already at hand. He daringly registered that the year 2013 will be the precise year of the civilizational shift.


It took yet younger social forecasters, notably Alvin Toffler and John Naisbitt, to follow up on the emerging global developments and observe the amazing rise of Asian ‘dragons’ and ‘tigers’. By the 1990s, both thinkers held the convergent opinion that Asia will be the trend-setter techno-economically and culturally in the forthcoming 21st century.


To complete the picture of global rise to prominence of Asia, Immanuel Wallerstein, then president of the American Sociological Society, explained in the late 1990s that civilization was actually moving towards the East by the 16th century yet. Tragically, the Western powers intervened to undercut that process, colonized the East via imperious methods of encumbrances, and ended what could have been a gargantuan awesome experience of East-led global development.


As Western imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism considerably declined by the latter part of the 20th century, so was the momentum of techno-economic, political, and cultural development propelled in the East.  By the latter years of the 1990s, there was no more doubting the predictions made by social forecasters that indeed the compass of civilization will soon move to the East.


Upon the catastrophic entrapment of the economies of Europe, USA, and Japan in short recessions that congealed into a Great Recession in 2007, the momentum was finally lost on the West. Japan was only partly saved due to its Asian location and trade positioning strategies, though its economy was flat since 1994 yet. By early 2008, Western global observers released their consensual evaluation that Asia already overtook the West in cutting edge technologies by the end of 2007.


By global observers I mean those coming from international magazines, thinktanks, and academe. The economic analysts of the Time Magazine, Far Eastern Economic Review, The Guardian, and Newsweek, for instance, came up with that very upbeat observation, as Asia was growing while the West was stagnating technologically and crashing down economically.


It’s now 2014 and many developments that boggle the mind did happen since 2007. As far as wealth production from the ‘physical economy’ is concerned, Asia is leading and showing the way towards keeping the global economy afloat. The West, on the other hand, is mired in ‘bubble economy’ or ‘virtual economy’ cul de sac, which promises only short-cycle growths that can burst again in the near future.


The power shift is now complete, though the shift doesn’t mean that the East will supplant the West in global importance. The Eastern mind thinks in terms of inclusive development, in contradistinction from the Western mind that is binary/dichotomous, zero-sum in practice, and pursues development at the expense of the small nations of East and South.


Western peoples better accustom themselves to the emerging reality and cease to be bellicose and hostile towards the Eastern peoples whom they pejoratively condescended upon for centuries as “monkeys” or “halfway between man and ape.” Civilization’s root word is ‘civility’, and that means if some nations become prosperous, so must all nations be some day, all marching together in a global ethos of goodwill and cooperation rather than destroying the weaker ones.


[Manila, 01 January, 2014]


December 9, 2013


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

[Note: The author is a political economist and social development consultant. The paper was delivered in a panel lecture at the Kamayan Forum, Kamayan Restaurant, Manila, 12 noon-2 pm, 19 November, 2004. See also:]

This paper advocates for an alternative framework regarding mineral resource extraction. It begins with the contention that mining must be considered as primarily a community undertaking, whether the community be national or local. As such, mining must necessarily depart from market-driven models of extraction, or from state-centered models of development, and proceed to a community-oriented or constituency-based engagement.

To be able to comprehend the theme of this paper, let me begin with a story. About four (4) years ago, a former university student of mine at the University of the Philippines Manila informed me that a mining engineer wished to establish a (mining) foothold in the Cordillera. Accordingly, the engineer heard about my mystical background, and was interested to know if there are indeed precious metals in the proposed project site. That is, the engineer expected me to communicate directly to the invisible elemental entities in the area and ask their permission to establish a mining project.

Not only that. Having heard about my background as a political economist, with diversified interest and studies in indigenous culture, the mining firm he represented wanted to know what acceptable methods to employ in flushing out the indigenous people residing in the area.

To cut the story short, I declined the offer, even as I registered my vehement opposition to the sordidly profit-oriented venture of this engineer. If mining has to prosper at all, it must begin with the reality that there are people who have been settled for many epochs in the area of extraction. A win-win solution to the mining problem must be executed, not by expelling the local residents but precisely by involving them in the venture.

Let me now share to you another story. In 1998, at the height of the Asian financial crisis, my consulting firm then, the Phoenixkonsult, contracted a project with a client. The project was about yellow clay extraction, with Bicol as the project site. In a small town in Bicol is found yellow clay, a rare material that has various industrial applications as well as aesthetic uses. Incidentally, the area also has some Aeta-related residents as well as marginal peasants.

Being then the board chair of the corporation, or being in a central position to direct the developmental strategies of the firm, I strongly proposed that the project involve the residents in a number of ways.

First of all, in the feasibility study preparation, the residents can be tapped as eco-scanners to identify possible sites where the material was highly concentrated. Also, the same residents will be constituted into a cooperative, properly trained in social entrepreneurship, and invited to be co-investors in the mining project through their cooperative. A third involvement would be to tap those residents who are physically capable enough as human resource for the extraction and production activities.

Such a scheme is what social scientists and development practitioners like myself refer to as tapping ‘social capital’. Mining should not just be regarded as investment capital, but should also consider the vast wealth of social networks—‘social capital’—that can wield tremendous powers of production. Studies in comparative political economy have shown that developmental pursuits that tapped ‘social capital’ ended up more appreciably better than those that failed to do so.

The development experiences of Brazil are particularly instructive. As documented by such social science luminaries as Peter Evans (see Evans’ works on ‘state-society synergy’), those projects in agriculture, irrigation and urban-based infrastructure and housing in Brazil where a state-civil society partnership was consistently used, turned out really good in results. On the other hand, those projects that were largely state-centered or market-driven and insulated from the community networks eventually faltered, as indicated by typical experiences in most Third World economies.

In today’s evolving global context, state-centered development has become ridiculously passé. In this old framework, the state performs the role of a ‘provider state’—giving out everything such as candies and shelter units to helpless people waiting for the ‘Santa Claus’ dole outs. Such a framework had proved to be disastrous in results. Not only did it reinforce a strong dependency syndrome among the people, it also led to vicious poverty instead of eradicating this malaise. It need not be stressed that much money went to the pocket of state officials and contracting firms’ managers through this old framework.

The new framework delimits the state’s role to that of an ‘enabler state’. In this framework, development efforts are properly the tasks of market players, who possess the investment capital, and civil society players, who possess the vast social networks of ‘social capital’. The state then builds the policy environment and strong institutions that can support and sustain various developmental efforts.

I strongly contend for a ‘social capital’ approach to mining. In this approach, the first thing to do is to recognize the institutional capacity building efforts of people who live in the areas of resource extraction. Stewardship agreements must be concurred between market players and community or social enterprises of the folks, with the state serving as a mediator or facilitator. I am very optimistic about the positive results of this scheme, compared to market-driven and state-centered approaches.

You see, when people, through their social enterprise groups, are motivated to co-direct development projects, the people themselves will do so much to zealously guard and monitor the entire project or enterprise venture. The bonus for indigenous peoples is that they have easy access to the spirit world, to the nature beings in the area (called ‘elementals’ by mystics), beings that can also be tapped to guard the project.

Now, go back to the cranky old models (market-driven and state-centered), and remove the indigenous peoples from the scene of a gargantuan development effort. What will you have?

It would be instructive to recall the Celophil and Chico dam projects, both Cordillera-based, that proceeded from the old frameworks. The disastrous offshoots of the projects became the fuel for insurgent groups, largely peopled by the I.P.s, to wage zealously bloody campaigns against the colossal projects.

There is no further reason today for the likes of the Celophil and Chico projects to be repeated. We must have learned lessons from their failures at this juncture. But it seems that those who now wish to revive a mining sector that has been in the doldrums for two (2) decades to go the route of Celophil and Chico.

I wish not to further highlight the folly of any idea today that wishes to pursue development by expelling people like they were deadly toxins. Many advocates of win/lose pursuits are well placed in government even as they dominate the corporate sector. They simply couldn’t see the folly behind their antiquated approaches, blinded as they are by greed.

As a final statement, let me declare that the framework elaborated in this brief paper is not an official policy framework of state. Rather, it is a policy framework that should be discussed among various quarters and social sectors, the state included. The state after all comprises of a plurality of framework trends operating in a vast array of bureaucratic mechanisms. There is no such thing today as a monolithic state with a singular framework dominating the policy environment. Rather, the state is a fluid field for contestation by various interest groups that are all aiming to influence the shaping of the policy environment.

But this I am optimistic about: if given a chance to prosper, a ‘social capital’ framework for mining will sell like very hot cake. I am very sure about this forecast. And may the communications enclaves allow this idea of ‘social capital’ for mining to germinate and percolate, because whether we like it or not this will be the direction of resource extraction in the foreseeable future. Bar it from crystallizing, and the result will be more resentments leading to more vicious insurgencies. Permit it to galvanize, and the whole nation becomes heroic in the eyes of the international community for setting new precedents. So, which option is the better choice?



May 26, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good news has played harmonious cords for the world’s emerging markets recently, as the World Bank released its most honest forecast that they will equalize wealth production with the richest nations by 2025. This wonderful forecast alone is very good news that is cause for celebration this early, as it means the era of hegemonism by the weathiest nations is coming to an end.

Richest nations often than not refer to the members of the OECD which has the G7 nations at the top. OECD economies, during their heydays, produced 60% of the world’s wealth, so you could just imagine their clout. They bullied developing economies no end, and they used the thuggish IMF as the institution to slam bang the poorer nations into submitting to their dictates of authority measures.

That era of OECD hooliganism is now drawing to a close, as the emerging markets make waves as growth drivers of the global economy. Emerging markets are those countries with (a) big populations, (b) growing consistently at a range of 5%-10% per annum, and (c) have a very significant numbers of families earning middle income range of U.S. $6,000-30,000 per annum.

Philippines, my beloved nation, has a population of past 94 Millions as of end of 2011, has been growing at an average of 5% for a decade now, and has 15% of its population at middle incomes (using the global middle-class yardstick). It is clearly among the emerging markets, and is a trend setter in the ASEAN together with the other emerging markets Indonesia and Vietnam.

Other trend-setting emerging markets across the globe are: China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Egypt, and Pakistan. Let’s cross our fingers that the likes of Bangla Desh and Nigeria will mutate into emerging markets very soon.

Taiwan, Singapore, and Hongkong do not qualify as ‘emerging’, as they are classified as ‘dragon economies’, besides they are already wealthy. Malaysia and Thailand have relatively small populations, so they don’t qualify as ‘emerging markets’ but are classified among the ‘tiger economies’.

The ASEAN is surely a fortunate region as it has Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam among its emerging economies, aside from wealthy Singapore, the ‘tigers’ Malaysia and Thailand, and small but wealthy Brunei. It is now recognized as a regional powerhouse, and will be a global economic power before this decade’s end.

Producing aggregate income of $1.8 Trillions as of end of 2010, which will double in 2016, ASEAN is surely bound to be a pillar of the global economy. China already reached that status, and India is on its way there too. Japan was the only economic global pillar in Asia by the 20th century, but that situation had radically altered as China surpassed it recently.

For the emerging economies of the world, bon voyage to your journeys to global acclaim and wealth!

[Philippines, 18 May 2011]
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February 16, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Let me continue to tackle the matter of glad tidings for my beloved Philippines. I feel the exuberance and optimism of fellow East Asians who wish to share the joy of the growing economies we have here with the rest of the world.

For this note, I will focus on the Philippine’s national income, an update particularly of the Gross Domestic Product or GDP and the Gross National Product or GNP. The Philippines is one of ten (10) members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, a grouping of cooperating nations that will integrate economically in 2015. PH’s growth pattern contributes in no small measures to ASEAN’s growing economic might.

In 2009 PH ended the year with a GDP of around PH P7.67 Trillions. Nominally, that translated to around U.S. $186 Billions. At that time, Net Factor Income from Abroad or NFIA, derived largely from overseas remittances and offshore operations, was around$17 Billions. GNP, which adds up the GDP and NFIA, totaled $203 Billions more or less for that year.

2009 was quite a bad year, as the Great Recession of the Northern economies affected PH by a lowering of the merchandise exports. GDP grew so minimally at a mere 1.5% that analysts thought it couldn’t rebound soon enough. The forecast for 2010 was around 5-6% growth range, already considered a very optimistic forecast.

2010 proved to be a relatively bountiful year for PH, as it grew 7.5% during the first three (3) quarters alone. Election spending pumped up the growth rate to a certain extent, while exports and imports grew up at fat sums as the Northern economies were able to re-absorb higher volumes of merchandise imports. The yearend growth could be at 7% more or less.

A figure of $13 Billion is therefore expectedly added to the old 2009 GDP, to yield a 2010 GDP figure of U.S.$199 Billions. NFIA, based on overseas remittances, ends up at $18 Billions, so the GNP for 2010 stands at a least figure of $ $217 Billions of nominal income.

Manufacturing and services are proving to be the most consistent growth drivers of PH economy on the production side. Agriculture turns out to have a weak performance carried over yet from the 2009 incidence of the strong typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

With infrastructures and energy gearing up for larger projects, the growth will be sustained at a very positive level, ranging in the area of 6-7% for 2011. Exports will be sustained at upscale rate, and so will be imports. So we expect excitement in PH growth for 2011. We just hope that agriculture will be able to catch up and breach the 5% growth target at least, then sustain it at that level for the long term.

Consumption-wise, domestic consumption has gone up at an appreciable trend for 2010. Overseas remittances continued to sustain driving up domestic consumption. Private consumption was at all-time high, which contributed to heated retail sales of past 10% and housing & realty continuing its dynamic trend. Government consumption is the one that needs catching up here, a sluggish pattern that is a carry over of past years’ trends yet.

Accordingly, PH garnered the 46th largest economy out of the 200+ nations worldwide in terms of nominal income. At that position, it is clear that PH is among the middle income countries, or that it is way out of the old ‘poor country’ status it had till the years 2002-‘03 when the middle income status was attained.

As the Northern economies are going through stagnation, it is best that PH should target higher growth rates and attain them decisively to be able to move up the ladder of prosperity. In a decade’s time, PH can facilely surpass the performance of European countries one after the other, till it can reach the level of Italy’s or France’s economy as early as 2025.

I am optimistic that in the long run, PH can breach the No. 30 largest economy worldwide. The momentum of growth and prosperity is already there, and a large labor force is proving great as harbinger of wealth production. A large population, with a rising middle class, is also contributing immensely to sustaining consumption in the long run.

As early as 2030, PH can be on the Top 25 economies and maybe even better. PH economy should better double every seven (7) years or so for a straight twenty-one (21) years to be able to make it to the top. When it does so, ASEAN’s aggregate income will surpass Japan’s and possibly the USA’s and EU’s. Let’s all look forward to seeing that day come in the future.

[Philippines, 12 February 2011]


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February 12, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Magandang gabi! Good evening from PH’s suburban boondocks!


The Philippines just conducted a census last year, 2010, and the result shows a sum total of 94 Million heads in the archipelago. The population growth of 2 Million heads per year is also indicated, showing an increase from the 1.7 Million heads annual increase ten in the year 2000 (when the last census was conducted).


The 2 Million annual growth is already a total result in itself. Accordingly, about 500,000 fetuses are aborted every year in the country, a figure that has alarmed population and health experts. Never mind if the national charter bans abortion, women who commit unwanted pregnancies simply decide to go abortion.


94 Million Filipinos, at a time of economic boom and rising incomes, is a cause for celebration. With a rising middle class at hand—who form the demand base of consumption-led growth—we expect a steadily growing number of Filipinos who comprise the family income bracket earning U.S. $6,000-$30,000 annually. 20 Million Pinoys are in that category today, which will expectedly rise in the next couples of years.


Thus, PH qualifies as an ‘emerging market’. It has first of all a large population, and millions of people falling within the middle class spenders with incomes ranging from U.S. $6,000 to $30,000. Many heads working and earning well translates into economic wellness for a country, so we should welcome this development.


Now, let us not forget the Overseas Filipinos or OFs who comprise an estimated 10 Million heads across 200 countries more or less. These OFs earn an aggregate income of U.S. $400 Billions annually, $20+ Billions of which is remitted to the Philippines as Net Factor Income from Abroad or NFIA. Of the $20+ Billions, only around $18 entered legally established channels of remittance annually.


That means the OFs remit 5% of their earnings to the motherland, and that is good enough. No matter what misery-inducing policies the global elites would slap Pinoys with via the World Bank-IMF-WTO Group, the most demonic being the austerity policies of the IMF, the Philippines can survive thanks to the OF remittances. Let the evil elites shackle PH with crippling low credit ratings and low entry of ‘smart money’ and investments by them, we will still survive thanks to the remittances and our own domestic investments.


The signs are pretty clear that fecundity, the capacity to give birth, is high among Filipinos. This for me is a cause for celebration. Let us sustain our high birthing capacity and increase the number of middle class people by the year, and we will all the more exude our economic and social power as a people.


Contrast that high fecundity to the trends in Japan and Russia, where their populations are falling by the year. Russia has been alarmed a decade ago yet about falling population, and identified the phenomenon as the top national security problem. Japan just began to experience a falling population, and this early look at how alarmed and panicked the Japanese stakeholders are of the consequence of diminishing population.


Not so for my beloved Philippines. We will be producing 2 Million+ Filipinos annually in the archipelago and overseas for many years to come yet, and we shall use the burgeoning population as leverage in negotiating with other nations and regions. The global oligarchs can no longer be fooling us at this time, whacking us with oppressive policies that produce deplorable conditions for our poor folks.


Abroad, our own Kabayans are now crystallizing a consciousness as an Overseas Filipino Nation, and I do welcome this progressive development. United by culture, language, and shared experience, the OF Nation will wield the stick to leverage vis a vis governments, market players, and interest groups in their host countries. They can no longer be fooled in the negotiating tables, much more enslaved and butchered like unwanted pests by sociopathic monsters without responding in a pro-active way.


Clearly, the days when White Americans sang “Brown monkeys have no tails” in the archipelago, a sordid racist song they popularized upon invading the Philippines, are over. The figure of 200 Million Pinoys can be breached by 2050, at a time when PH will be a wealthy nation, huge and wealthy to lead the ASEAN Union.


In sum, 104 Million Filipinos should be welcomed as good news. It is the leveraging power of Pinoys in the new era of Urban Philippines, whence 68% of Pinoys are residing in urban communities here.


[Philippines, 11 February 2011]




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January 14, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Let me continue with the reflections on my beloved Philippines’ economy. This effort is often part of my self-accepted duties to update myself and my compatriots about the state of the Philippine economy at the start of every year.

Just a week ago, I came across an article writ by one of the stock market columnists in the Philippine Daily Inquirer of PDI, that re-echoed an emerging perception in the international business community concerning the Philippine economy’s being ‘industrialized’ today. Coming from the business community itself, this evaluative perception is replete with many implications for the country. It bodes well for the country in fact.

I wish that the perception will resonate with greater power by the day so that those in academic and ideological circles will rethink their positions about the Philippine ‘mode of production’. As far as the Maoists are concerned, PH will always remain as semi-feudal/semi-colonial, backward, agrarian economy. Some academic circles will re-echo the same old worn out “PH is a service economy, with mixed economy features.”

This analyst still recalls very well the ‘mode of production’ debate that  reverberated the halls of the University of the Philippines in the 1980s. I graduated from this university in October 1980, then came back to take up graduate schooling in sociology from Nov. ‘83 to April ‘89, and so I was able to flow with the discussions and debates ensuing. The debate centered largely on whether the Philippines is semi-colonial/semi-feudal (Maoist) or capitalist mode (moderate Marxists, populists, social democrats).

By the mid-90s, the debate was already faltering and dying out. It was a dead debate when the year 2000 rang a sonorous beacon of the new millennium. But if you ask any of the competing ideological blocs today about their perceptions of Philippine reality, you will notice that they will churn out the same lines that they’ve been saying for decades.

As regards the perception that PH economy is a ‘service economy’, the criterion is largely based on what sector—agriculture & forestry? industry? services? –contribute the greatest to the gross domestic product or GDP. Since services contribute 55% to the GDP, then PH is a ‘service economy’.

That evaluative perception has a kindergarten undertone to it, as it relies on simplistic assumptions.  Just because the industrial sector, which churns out barely 30% (manufacturing + infrastructure combined) of the GDP, looks diminutive than services, doesn’t merit an economy to be judged as ‘services’ or ‘non-industrial’ economy.

To be fair to those opinion quarters who have their own paradigm that churn out specific evaluative judgements, the term ‘industrializing’ was used to label Philippine development since the 1980s. At one point, PH was included among the NIEs or ‘newly industrializing economies’, and so the reference point was industry more than services.

Let’s go back to the USA in the year 1900 when it was already adjudged as industrialized. Industries began to enable the imperialistic pursuits of the USA then, if you recall your history well. But at that time, agriculture was still employing over 90% of the workforce, and nary an evidence can be shown that industry had out-stripped agriculture at that juncture as the main contributor to the national income (today’s GDP) perentage-wise. Yet the USA was already adjudged as ‘industrial’ at that time!

If the criteria would be largely the (a) prevalence and (b) impact of capital goods or ‘reproducible goods’ industries, then the market players have clear evidences to show such increased prevalence and impact. Save for integrated steel and castings & forging industries, every vital capital goods are already being manufactured in PH today. Unless of course that the ‘services economy’ judges are blind to these developments.

The emerging perception and judgement about PH economy should be impetus enough to cause a re-tooling by the analysts and ‘best practices’ innovators. It would prove beneficial for everyone if coteries of opinion-makers, business executives and capitalists themselves would begin the ball rolling by publishing their emerging perception about the ‘emerging markets’ such as PH to be already ‘industrialized’.

As a related event, I just signaled the young Prof. John Ponsaran, head of the development studies program in the UP Manila, about the emerging perception. I once taught in the UP Manila’s department of social sciences, where development studies is niched, so I know the temper of the faculty there that goes for debating on anything under the sun. I hope the emerging perception will be tackled in that campus.   

[Philippines, 08 January 2011]


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November 19, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to you all! Solidarity greetings to all the Brazilians and South Americans!

Another leader of the Workers’ Party of Brazil just won the presidential polls. Lula da Silva’s former presidential aide, Lady Rousseff, is among the leaders of the socialist party in the rapidly surging emerging market, and will sit as the new chief exec soon after garnering the presidency in a closely fought presidential contest.

Already sick and tired of the globalization policies that only mired Brazil in poverty hovels, the voters decided to cast their vote for a second time around now. Not only that, Brazilians are also terribly sick of the militarism that encumbered the country closer to the ambit of the Anglo-American oligarchy and rendering it into a puppet of America amid unlimited tortures and deaths on anti-tyranny detractors.

As the latest electoral exercise had shown, an exercise that is buttressed by the economic surge of Brazil and its ballooning middle class, the route to sustained democracy and economic growth is the most longed for direction for the nation. Militarism is out and any return to worn out dictatorship is getting to be a remote possibility each day.

With the ascent to power of the socialists, the redistributive policies that ambitiously addressed poverty, hunger and unemployment were tried and tested in an erstwhile anti-populist country. A cash transfer program to the poorest of the poor achieved enormous mileage during Lula’s incumbency, a program that directly addressed the social equity problems that plagued Brazil since its independence from Portugal yet.

Globalization hit the underclasses so hard, with hyper-inflation in the 1990s driving prices up so madly that the poor laboring folks just can’t keep up with the spiraling cost of living. A similar incident also brewed so hot in neighboring Argentina, which saw the ascent of the Left there as a popular anti-globalization collective action.

Lula and the Workers’ Party rode abreast the rising tide of anti-globalization sentiments, with Lula ending up as the world’s most popular chief executive. Sweeping social policy reforms were instituted, supported by a dominant constituency. In almost no time at all, poverty and hunger were addressed and largely solved, and many Brazilian poor graduated to middle income status.

Lula thus left his office with a very memorable historic record of seeing Brazilians graduating to middle class due to his stewardship. Brazil has joined the select group of ‘emerging markets’, or those economies with large populations, a significant middle class, and growing at rapid rate.

Rousseff would most likely take Brazil to the next level, which is the institution of regulatory reforms that will bring Brazil closer to a ‘social market’ economy. A hybrid economy it will be, akin to China’s and Vietnam’s respective economies.

Whether Rousseff and aides will go for a full capital & monetary control policy regime remains to be seen though. What is clear, from a fiscal & monetary point of view, is that financial instruments will be further stretched to sustain the social equity efforts achieved by Rousseff’s predecessor.

On the political front, the new chief exec will be steward over a nation that will exert greater sovereignty and sustain the climb to regional power status. On the global political level, Brazil will be among those countries popularly called upon to constitute a new balance of power alongside the nascent Asian giants China and India.

Hopefully, through Rousseff’s auspices, a Brazil-Argentina binary power entity can stir Latin America away from flawed liberalization doctrines & policies towards stronger social policies, economy driven largely by domestic demand (strong middle class), and an independent and non-aligned Latin America that will stay closer with fellow developing countries.

Such a Latin America, to my mind, can move on to sustained high growth rates that will duplicate Asia’s growth patterns. Should Latin America join Asia in creating a broader zone of global growth drivers, the possible plunge of the global economy towards a ‘dark age’ due to the economic fiasco up North will be averted.

Let me extend my own kudos to Madame Rousseff and the voters who brought her to power. Congratulations and goodluck to your incumbency, Lady Rousseff!

[Philippines, 15 November 2010]







November 3, 2010

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Good day to my fellow global citizens!

The USA and European states have been raising the alarm bell recently of a China that has been manipulating its currency to undermine the economies of the former. That is the perception coming from the West, a perception that is dangerously warped, so let me share some reflective thoughts about the matter.

The Western Man, nay the White Man has been manifesting a shared abnormality of sorts: that of resorting to a ‘bogey man’ discourse in order to justify an invasion or destruction of another nation and its people. The malady lies at the very root of the collective psyche of the Western Man, and seems to be incurable.

‘Bogey man’ discourse means the Western Man has the penchant for looking for someone or some country to blame for its own defects. It is a case of collective projection of their defects on other peoples, whom they would then demonize without let up as part of a collective catharsis. The catharsis could then break up into a great war in the foreseeable future which will be conducted with sadistic passion that is no longer human but ‘demonic’.

Didn’t the West recently create Jihad terror groups that they used for some time in their campaign against their collective nemesis, the former Soviet Union? Then, eventually, the jihad movements became the very ‘bogey man’ targets of the Western Establishment to justify the destruction of nations and peoples, such as what they demonstrated versus Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not even contented with the anti-jihad rhetoric that the Western media had hyper-hyped, the Western Man has been into every Asia-bashing ‘bogey man’ discourse over the last five (5) years or so. The Japan-bashing discourse led to the humiliation of the Sony Corp owners and the inflammation of anti-West passions right inside Japan itself.

There also is the increasing resort to India-bashing rhetoric in the West, which has been coming at a time when Indians are being murdered by the hundreds every year in Australia (a Saxon nation). Indian investors and executives are the targets of media attacks and dis-information by the very same White oligarchic forces that have been salivating for a control of the ‘smart money’ coming from India.

At this juncture, the West with the USA as the lead force has been elevating to crescendo level the China-bashing discourse. Multiple issues are being highlighted by detractors, such as the Tibet issue, human rights issue, and the hyper-valuation of the yuan/renminbi.

As already shared by experts across the world, the economic malaise of the West is largely an internal malady.  Their very own economists, led by Joseph Stiglitz, have repeatedly pinpointed the structural defects of the economy, defects that are not being addressed properly as the Establishment has a different perception altogether (i.e. it is a cyclical problem).

In the late 90’s, I was among circles of political economist in the Philippines who foresaw the structural defects in Western/Northern economies. We forewarned the public of the coming failure of globalization and another depression that would hit both sides of the Atlantic.

Liberal economic reforms that began with the dropping of the gold standard yet (c ’72) and widened with the Reagan-Thatcher privatization initiatives, gave rise to the ‘virtual economy’ founded on predatory finance. The same predatory finance led to massive de-industrialization, agricultural decay, decline of S & T investments and new innovations, erosion of infrastructures, and neglect of transportation & communications. The latter sectors are the very foundations of the physical economy, the very ‘real economy’ that provides for jobs, social security, ‘safety caps’ for the masses, and long-term economic stability.

But predatory Western Establishment will have nothing to do with the facts, and will do everything to conceal the facts from the general public. The sociopathic elements, which sadly could afflict all of the key echelon people in the Establishment, are fascistically inclined to bamboozle and destroy every external polity and people that they can identify and project their defects unto.

So many peoples were already mass terminated and brutally killed on account of the same sociopathy of the Western Man. Just count how many hundreds of millions died due to the 1st and 2nd World Wars, add to the 37 millions that were killed due to America’s post-war military adventurisms.

The Western peoples should better forge a level of unity to solve problems by addressing the problems directly and reforming structural defects within their backyards. Nothing will be gained from flowing with their psychological defects that could lead to another round of mass terminations due to a global war that could explode soon.

[Philippines, 30 October 2010]







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]







July 28, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Let us continue our reflections about wonderful news that brighten up our day.

Going back to Chile, as it continues to celebrate the air of freedom beyond the Dark Age of the Pinochet regime, we have another news item concerning the boosting of S&T funding in the said emerging market.

Chile is proving itself as a model of development that is worth watching. See what’s going on in this exemplar country through its S&T prioritization as indicated by funds boosting.

Happy reading!

[23 July 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to the SciDev database news.]


Chile crea un fondo para becas en ciencia y tecnología

Paula Leighton

25 may 2008 | ES

La presidenta Michelle Bachelet durante su cuenta anual al país

Presidencia de la República de Chile

[SANTIAGO] Aumento en las becas para estudios de posgrado, fondos para equipamiento científico e incentivos para atraer a investigadores extranjeros son algunos de los anuncios que hizo la presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, en su cuenta pública anual (21 de mayo).

La mandataria destacó que su gobierno creará un fondo con US$6 mil millones para financiar un ambicioso programa de becas de posgrado y de formación en oficios tecnológicos de alta especialización, tanto en Chile como en el extranjero.

Dicho fondo permitirá que las mil becas de formación en universidades extranjeras destinadas para 2008 aumenten a 2.500 en 2009 y a 6.500 en 2012, anunció Bachelet.

Además, el próximo año 150 técnicos que se desempeñen en áreas prioritarias para el país accederán por primera vez a becas de perfeccionamiento en el extranjero, las que en 2010 aumentarán a 2.000.

Bachelet dijo que en 2009 también aumentarán las becas para maestrías y doctorados que se dictan en Chile y se entregarán 35 mil becas para estudios técnicos superiores. 

Otro anuncio fue un programa para atraer en dos años a al menos 100 científicos extranjeros, los que se desempeñarán en universidades regionales “en áreas donde aún no contamos con suficientes expertos nacionales”, señaló.

“Todos estos anuncios que contribuyen a que en Chile haya personas con mayor formación son muy bienvenidos, porque le dan valor agregado al país. Al mismo tiempo, es muy positivo que científicos extranjeros vengan y contribuyan a formar estudiantes y nuevos investigadores”, dijo a SciDev.Net Servet Martínez, presidente de la Academia Chilena de Ciencias.    

Para fortalecer los centros de investigación científica, Bachelet anunció también que  “durante los próximos dos años estableceremos un programa de equipamiento científico al que destinaremos US$30 millones”.

Finalmente, la mandataria se comprometió a entregar en 2009 treinta mil computadores de uso personal a escolares pobres académicamente destacados, implementar laboratorios móviles de computación para niños de educación primaria y apoyar la conectividad digital en 35 comunas del país.

Texto completo del mensaje presidencial de Michelle Bachelet


June 5, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Nepal is going through a ‘late nationalist’ revolution. Just like those states that experienced the birth pangs of nationhood, Nepal is expected to pass through the same thorny road.

For a long time in their lives, the Nepalese were accustomed to regarding their King as the sovereign of the land. The King was the unifying symbol of all aspects of life in the Kingdom, and this was already a step ahead of its former state.

To recall, Nepal for a very long time was an adjunct of the Bharata Empire. Bharata, the ancient name for India, held sway in both southern and central Asia for probably 3-4 thousands of years, beginning with the Rama Empire of the halcyon days of ancient civilization.

The Bharata Empire broke up later into two (2) sections, the north that comprised of the Yellow-skinned peoples, and the south that comprised of the Dark-skinned ones. Civil war, of a scale probably larger than the USA’s own civil war, broke out there in antiquity, the narrative told us in the texts of the Mahabharata or Great Bharata.

Later on the southern portion, which was to be the  Bharata proper, saw the migration of Aryans who added their imprint to life there. On the northeastern section of the re-carved empire was the prinzep of Nepal, which was home to spiritual masters who embodied there.

The same Nepal was later very much transformed from prinzep to Kingdom, which was already a step higher in the ladder of political institutionalization. Amid its integration into the British India, it stood its ground as a political unit, the precursor of a future nation.

Long as the gestation for nationhood may seem, one must appreciate the painstaking efforts of the Nepalese for creating their reality drawn from out of their own experience. Nationhood was never an external imposition, as it resulted from the political dynamics of emerging political forces there in the last four (4) decades or so.

Today, there is the challenge of transferring loyalty from the King to Nation. This is no easy step at all. The King is a living reality, felt and seen, while the Nation is too abstract a cultural being. It will take time for the 50+ ethnic groups in Nepal to realize that they together, to go by the logic of the Enlightenment, comprise the Nation.

So drastic were the changes that happened in Nepal, so revolutionary in fact. Political innovations are being instituted though not without an interim phase. That interim phase was the constitutional monarchy. Unfortunately, the monarch squandered that chance—for being a constitutive part of the modern nation—in the eyes of the modern political forces or parties and constituencies.

Having lost that chance, the monarch had to go, while the parties have to draft a new constitution and plan the economic development agenda of the nation. Note that all of the parties are socialist-leaning, an indication that Nepal is very impatient to try the secular path of political order by voting political leaders whose agenda seem to represent the audacity and will to go that way.

Nation-building takes a very long time to gestate. Nepalese and outside observers should expect maelstroms to burst forth during the next 100 years of the nation’s unfolding history. In the case of the USA, a clear 100 years from its birthing, the south seceded and a catastrophic continental war ensued to decide whether the Union should proceed to exist. The denouement was for the Union to stay.

In my own country, the Philippines, we’re still within our first 100 years after independence was gained in 1946. Look at all the political turbulence we’re going through as part of the dynamics of nationhood. We’re still well located in the context that breeds civil wars and rebellions.  

So let the discourse hold true for Nepal. The new nation must be given the chance to grow, the Nepalese handle their affairs and gain experiences and mature along the way.

[Writ 02 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]


May 12, 2008

Bro. Erle Frayne  Argonza

[Writ 11 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Rebellions and wars serve greed, the greed of oligarchs and moneybags who make money out of conflicts everywhere. Research findings have clearly indicated that during the 2nd World War, the industrial-financier elites of the West served both the Nazi-Fascists and Allied camps, precisely by arming and financing both. It doesn’t matter really what side wins, for in the end the oligarchs win the game.

When the navy officer Trillanes & company waged their failed mutiny a couple of years back, and repeated the fiasco last year, they stated clearly a fact that startled them. Per the accounts of some junior military officers, in some campaign sorties they were ordered by their higher officials to drop arms to the road area that was declared Muslim rebel zone or friendly to rebels. What was this game all about? Why should they drop arms to enemy zones?

The military rebels concluded that their superiors, who go all the way up to defense headquarters, were selling arms to the rebels. Likewise did they conclude that, with such evils going on (selling arms to rebels), it was impossible for the rebellions (Muslims, Maoist, jihadist terrorist) to ever cease at all. Both rebel and state officials have been raking profits from the war, the rebels need not find mainstream jobs as war provides them the bread and adventures, while state official fatten their purses with ordnance sales to their erstwhile enemies.

But the more startling find by the military rebels was that the network thread of the Philippine state officials led directly to Pentagon. Which aroused suspicion that the command for making hotspot troubles in the Philippines was directly coming from rouge forces in the USA, notably the neo-conservatives (Ramsfeld & company). Seeing this evil thread of conceit and greed, the Magdalo soldiers then made a call to arms to save the republic from snakes and demonic forces out to destroy the nation.

The astounding findings of the Magdalo forces leads us to ask to ask: does it really pay to stamp off rebellions through mediations by 3rd party peace-makers, when the real roots of conflicts remain unaddressed? Will rebellions and wars across the globe really cease at all when the oligarchic forces that fund, arm and profit from wars go unchecked in their greed and madness? Is it not the true case that all rebel forces for that matter were in fact constituted through the auspices of the same global oligarchy that has been manipulating food stocks and prices lately, acts that added flames to the already volatile peace situation everywhere?

All major ideological forces for that matter in this country as it is elsewhere have the hands of the global oligarchy  in their formation. Take the Maoist group (CPP-NPA) which was formed as the armed NPA met the new Communists (Jose Maria Sison-led) under the graces of a CIA agent, Ninoy Aquino. In the mid-1970s, as the Bangsamoro separatist rebellion was raging in Mindanao, its leader Nur Misuari was secretly brought to a house in a gated Makati village, where he talked to American agents, was promised support provided that, if the MNLF wins, Mindanao will be a major basing area for US military facilities. Even the MILF, which continues the armed Bangsamoro separatist war, cannot escape that observation of Americans getting involved somewhere in their campaigns, both in terms of arms support and information.

Worst of all, inside the CPP itself were operatives of the US CIA, a truism that eventually the Maoist hierarchy itself recognized. This led to the split in the Left and the bloody purging of ex-CPP cadres who were suspected of CIA connections. I myself received a confidential note from a former top-policy state advisor and international consultant, about the involvement of the Tabara & company CPP officials in receiving arms straight from US defense agents when Tabara was still with the CPP.

Last question that comes to mind is: why are Jose Maria Sison and his sub-alterns sitting prettily in Ultrecth (Netherlands), when they should be in the Philippine boondocks where their comrades are? Aren’t the Maoists being protected by unseen agents representing the interests of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchs, waiting in the wings for whatever the greedy elites have in mind for RP and the Reds?    

Unless oligarchism itself is stamped out, we’re going to have more rebel wars here in RP and elsewhere. Oligarchic madness is the root of global conflagrations, and stamping it out is not an easy thing to do. It will take the efforts of audacious, courageous patriots representing the interests of nation-states or entities whose creations began first of all with stamping out oligarchism in Europe from Westphalian time (1648) onwards. And that collective effort will be a protracted one.


April 28, 2008

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


[Writ 22 March 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]


In my meaty article on New Nationalism, I advanced fourteen (14) contentions in substantiation of what neo-nationalism is.


The first basic contention is that the nation-state can thrive and grow amid globalization. In other words, globalization shouldn’t lead to the destruction of nation-states. The trend since the start of massive implementation of liberal reforms leading to global integration of markets has been, in fact, the destruction of nation-states. This trend has to be stopped now.


There is really no reason to destroy the nations just so that our global community can be integrated. In the Philippine experience, nationalism has been a positive, progressive force that had united close to 100 ethno-linguistic communities. The Philippine nation had just lately crystallized, with a national identity now in shape though in moderate level, a phenomenon that took over 200 years to build.


There is no way that we can allow the massive destruction of nations today just in order to whet the appetites of the global oligarchy and their transnational corporations or TNCs for control over the world’s resources and labor. The conservation of nations must be a pre-requisite to building the ‘peace condition’ nationally and globally, guided by the principle of ‘dialogue of civilizations’.


On the other hand, amid the failings of globalization, we simply cannot go back to the past and destroy the integration efforts altogether. We can still move on towards a more progressive globalization that serves the interests of nations rather than the global oligarchy. Nations can derive benefits from integrated markets, we can’t overstress the risk-side of globalization at the expense of the benefit-side.


Somewhere along the line, the striving for stronger nations must cohere with the collective efforts for integrated markets. Later on, nations would compose an integrated political entity, the global state with its own global institutions.


Below is the excerpt from the New Nationalism article regarding the nation-state.


Strong nation can thrive & grow amid globalization.


The nation can continue to exist, even become strengthened, while it sails deep into the middle of the ocean of globalization. The two are not necessarily contradictory. Nationhood can continuously be pursued, patriotism can move ahead while paddling astride the powerful waves of globalization. For as earlier stated, globalization holds the promise of growth through the vast opportunities it has opened. Nations must strive to concur cooperation with other nations to extend the scope and limits of the opportunities, while at the same time build internal opportunities to further optimize inducements for investments.


Just recently, our entrepreneurs and professionals made waves through the international awards they respectively received, such as Tan Caktiong (top entrepreneur) and F. Palafox (the only ASEAN architect to make it to the world’s Top 200 architects), signifying the high level of competitiveness our compatriots are capable of achieving. Such sterling achievements surely inspire us to continue to strengthen nationhood and to forge new areas of cooperation and growth-inducing endeavors. While forces exist that work to tear the nation asunder, forces are likewise growing that lead to the nation’s strengthening. We should all work hard to make sure that the latter forces prevail, while neutralizing and diminishing the potencies of those forces that destroy nationhood.