Posted tagged ‘macro-economics’

SMITH-RICARDIAN ‘FREE TRADE’ JUSTIFIED SLAVE TRADE

September 9, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

To continue on the theme of laissez faire, a doctrine started by the French physiocrats and systematized further by the Scots, let it be known that the principle of ‘free trade’ generated by physiocracy was largely a doctrinal defense of slave trade. [Physiocrats were philosophers who focused on economic problems, while philosophes who focused on political, ethical, and epistemological problems.]  

I already elaborated in a previous briefer that Adam Smith was an ‘intellectual prostitute’ whose services were procured by the British East India Company, precisely for the purpose of crafting in theoretical form the ‘free trade’ doctrine that was to justify, though subtly, the slave trade of that historic juncture. I gained the information about this rather shady background of Smith from a fellow political economist, Butch Valdez, a Fellow in the defunct Independent Review circle of 1990s Manila.

The physiocrats were already quite sophisticated in their modeling of economic reality then existing, and from out of that physiocratic subculture emerged Adam Smith whose synthesis of the existing doctrines of his time produced the Wealth of Nations. In the same book and related philosophical writings, Smith discoursed both on micro and macroeconomics, explaining in physiocratic terms the source of national income (termed ‘wealth’ at that time) from out of domestic engagements by landlords, capitalists and laborers, as well as international operations notably those accruing from overseas colonies’ operations.

It was from the latter that David Ricardo, disciple of Smith, took off to articulate the principle of ‘comparative advantage’. In the writings of Ricardo, the discipline of political economy moved much closer to empirical science, a feat that I myself had come to admire. David Ricardo was hardly any ‘intellectual prostitute’ to reckon with, but rather was he a financier who engaged in the evolving bourse and speculative pursuits of his own time. But slave trade was very much alive during his time, and there could be no doubt on his part that his theory of international trade served in no small measure to justify the conduct of slave trade.

In my youth yet did I come to learn, from the likes of Alejandro ‘Ding’ Lichauco, a Harvard-schooled economist and corporate executive, that free trade couldn’t be enforced without imperialism. It was a perfect income-generating strategy for Britain particularly since this world power had an entire empire to manage. Absent that Empire, and free trade will collapse. (Ding Lichauco was later a leading Fellow of the Independent Review in the 1990s.)

However, it was only much later that I was able to connect free trade directly to slave trade practices, thanks to my Fellows in the Independent Review, notably Butch Valdez. Slave traders were legion around the years 1700-1850, or up to the decade preceding the US Civil War and China’s Taiping Rebellion, and at one time British traders alone owned over 20,000 ships plying the oceans to market African slaves. Within America, Portugal and Spain both engaged in the same trade, though including Indians aside from Blacks, often with the blessings of the Vatican. It was huge bucks, this slave trade, more so that the bourses began to factor slave availability and chattel quality in the valuation of certain cash crops, which then factored in the valuation of main stock trading articles and nascent insurance forms.

The very same slave traders had in their employ not only those early stock traders in London and elsewhere, but also lobby groups and journalists whose tasks included bribing legislators and bureaucrats to keep them blind about the noxious trading of human chattel. There was no way that slave trade could survive in a policy environment of high regulation, more so in a context of ‘activist state’ intervening so heavily in investment areas (dirigist development).

It was only in a state with least regulations did slave trade flourish, the only regulations it seems coming from God Almighty (who would punish the traders for their sins post mortem). But even God Almighty had a long-drawn policy of non-interventionism in the physical plane, a laissez faire attitude that favored the physiocrats and their notorious slave trader sponsors. As far as Earth was concerned, it was the oligarchs who are gods till now, and so they define which doctrine to advance at every turn of epochs, historic periods and cyclical episodes.

Since the slave traders then had to reckon with powerful mercantilist doctrinaires such as Colbert, whose writings influenced France’s intellectual and governance circles and US’ policy makers notably A. Hamilton, there was no way that slave trade would fail to catch the eyes of politicians and libertarian groups, and before long the same trading ‘best practices’ would be criminalized as malpractices. The same mercantilist policy makers, who were dirigists and regulationists, swarmed the Kings’ courts everywhere, who didn’t mince words in attacking slave trade and slandering the traders before the nobles and mediocre bureaucrats (who always needed some godfather thinkers as mentor-guides for their actions).  

That was why physiocracy failed to gain foothold in its own home ground of France, and had to be exported to the neighboring British Isle where it obtained further fertilization. Finally, upon the further expansion of the British Empire, physiocracy caught the eyes of the nobles, politicians and bureaucrats. At that moment of convergence of interests for laissez faire, Smith was already ripe for the picking, via the British East India Company, whose satisfactory work was vigorously propagandized by the coteries of doctrinal converts.

Smith gained not only fame but also great following, and among his followers emerged David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus. The works of Smith and his contemporaries, five to seven decades later, inspired another coterie of philosophers, the Classical Evolutionists (Darwin, Spencer, Morgan, Tylor, Frazer, etc), whose theories of ‘natural selection’ (Darwin’s) and/or ‘survival of the fittest’ (Spencer’s) were defended via the physiocratic principles of scarcity and competition.

With a fairly equal number of free market-free trade theorists at hand, promoted in public and private circles by an emerging financier class that was awash with money and enjoyed wide social networks among the elites, free trade came to challenge and demolish mercantilist doctrines in shock waves of mighty discourses. Needless to say, for a certain period, the slave traders celebrated to the highest heavens their shallow victory for seeing their candidate doctrine ascend the intellectual pinnacle, their intoxication behooving them into believing perhaps that they were Gods of Olympus, a deluded image inherited by their financier pedigrees of today.  

That was then. Till slavery in its old form eroded. Free trade declined at the inception of the 20th century, but was later revived by the Chicago school and its adherents. Are we then ready to slide back into another round of slavery? What would be the forms of slavery this time, if the old form refuses justification and public acceptance? Isn’t the trading of human labor overseas a mere disguise for slave labor? Isn’t the privatization of jails—currently being experimented in the USA—an undisguised slavery as the prisoners will be considered chattel of Big Business, the same corporate groups that fund the purses of ‘corporate social responsibility’?

I’d end this piece right here. A pleasant day to everyone.

[21 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]

ADAM SMITH: ‘INTELLECTUAL PROSTITUTE’ FOR BRITISH EAST INDIA & SLAVE TRADERS

September 8, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Amigos y Amigas, Buenos dias! Magandang umaga! Good morning!

The title of this briefer may come as a shock to all those who pretend to know Adam Smith and, more so, for those who revere Mr. Smith as a cult Icon. Just to clarify to everyone, being a political economist and ‘economic sociologist’, I hold Smith personally in high esteem as an intellectual, and this briefer is not meant to flaunt irreverence on this gentleman. Smith’s place in economic history is already granite rock, no matter if laissez faire or physiocracy has become obsolete before World War II yet.

The thing is, fact of all facts, contemporary thinkers such as those guys from the ‘Chicago school’, led by Nobel notable J. Friedman (weren’t there Nobel winners who were demented, nay demonic in mindset? E.g biologist Watson, who claimed that Blacks are genetically inferior in mental intelligence). The revival of laissez faire, as one can see, was responsible for flawed policy regimes that led to the series of short cycle crisis since the early 70s yet, and which is now leading finally to the Great Depression that will mark the death blow to liberal capitalism that is now on its terminal phase. From this point of time onwards, there can be no more return to laissez faire without bringing back humanity to a catastrophic Dark Age reminiscent of that demonic age of the Medieval Era when sanity fled humanity for nigh 200 year at least.

I used to be a Fellow of the Independent Review circle here in Manila, a circle of eminent and illustrious intellectuals and business leaders (I was the only humble fellow here in the 1990s).  Unfortunately, this group disbanded in 2002, due perhaps to methodological differences (I was active only till 2001 when I left for the USA for about a year). Entry to this group was by invitation, and that was how I got wind up of it: a female student of mine at the De La Salle University (DLSU Manila) had some of my articles (readings in class) read by his father, the Undersecretary Butch Valdez (Dept of Education) who in turn extended the invitation to the Independent Review circle thru her daughter.

Within the circle, it was Butch Valdez, the eminent Principal of the Valdez & Co that is one of the Philippines’ top auditing firms, who studied with intensity the physiocratic paradigm. He came across various readings about the life and works of Adam Smith, and wrote series of articles in the Independent Review (a journal-type magazine) in ‘97 and ‘98. Being among DLSU’s privileged coterie of most brilliant alumni, Valdez’s most revealing inquiry—Smith’s being a paid intellectual for the slave traders—did come as a shock to me, though it doesn’t shock me anymore that intellectuals do prostitute themselves before high paying clients (Antonio Gramsi and Edward Said devoted kilometric pages about intellectuals, both the ‘organic’ and the ‘autonomous’ types).

The research findings of Mr. Valdez concerning Mr. Smith can be summed up as follows:

·         Previous to the years before the ascent to eminence of Smith, slave trade and the British East India Co or BEIC were among the accepted economic modalities. Needless to say, the BEIC was engaged in the trading of slaves. [Actually, my research went beyond that, as the same BEIC was also engaged in the DRUG TRADE, in the opium trade, and had an army of its own separate yet from the King’s army.]

 

·         Physiocracy, which bannered ‘free enterprise’, was especially important for the BEIC and related monopolistic imperial groups since the paradigm promoted ‘free trade’ as well. Laissez faire was in a clash with mercantilism’s dirigist policy regime, remember, as it was also opposed to mercantilism’s promotion of industrialism even as laissez faire championed agriculturalism and the ulterior interests of the landlord class. Needless to say, physiocracy championed the cause of the gentry or big planter landlord and was scornful of the industrial class (in the Philippines there is nary a disjunction between ‘landlord’ and ‘industrial’ interests anyway, they are in conjunct.)

 

·         At that historic juncture when the British Empire was expanding and eclipsing its power, the BEIC desired to optimize its profits from out of diverse trading engagements, most of all for optimizing the slave trade. It need not belabored that slaves were tied up to colonial plantations, and plantation economy was the only modality permitted by the British Monarchy as the definitive economic formation for the ‘4th world’ peripheries (colonies). The BEIC engagements’ optimization can best be done by procuring the services of intellectual mercenaries who could articulate in sophistical vogue the very doctrinal expectations of the Lords of the BEIC Hierarchy  (a ‘Committee of 300’, per my research findings).

 

·         It was precisely at that juncture of expanded slave trade when the BEIC’s talent scouts eyed the services of a Scottish gentleman, named Adam Smith, who could fit into the mental Pied Piper prototype for BEIC enslavement pursuits.  It would be no wise to contend that Smith was a mental robot or ‘Manchurian Candidate’ controlled by overlords behind the scenes, for Smith was a man of his own mind, and up to the last instance he was indeed that ‘organic intellectual’ for the slave traders. He just couldn’t qualify as ‘independent intellectual’ though, for Smith was, in the yardsticks of the autonomous intellectuals, a ‘prostituted intellectual’ or ‘intellectual prostitute’.

The rest was history. Both the erudite and simpleton among the schooled populations of Earth know what Smith’s economic doctrine is all about. And many folks today are aware that the neo-liberal policy regime of the moment was a rehash of the same Smithian physiocracy.

I do wish that I could converse with Antonio Gramsci face-to-face today and request this noblesse thinker whether the term ‘intellectual prostitute’ is appropriate an inference for Adam Smith. I might have erred in judgement. Mr. Smith was a willing party to the enslavement, plunder and looting by the British oligarchs, and this ‘willing party to’ aspect may cancel out my inference altogether. Sous rapture, to quote Jacques Derrida.

At any rate, I have shared my notes, and thanks to the gentleman Butch Valdez for his inquiries shared to our circle. Thanks to Gramsci and Said too for their recondite peregrinations about intellectuals. Fellows, I hereby leave the inferential option to you, to decide whether Smith was indeed ‘intellectual prostitute’. Have a nice day!

[Writ 21 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]

RURAL POVERTY ALLEVIATION VIA WATER RESOURCES

August 24, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good day!

How do water resources alleviate rural poverty? What methods of intervention can be cited, and how did such intervention schemes impact on poverty alleviation? Could corruption have served as a facet of such intervention programs in developing economies?

Below is a study regarding approaches to rural poverty alleviation in Asia.

[11August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Approaches to rural poverty alleviation in developing Asia: role of water resources

Authors: Lipton,M.
Produced by: Poverty Research Unit, Sussex (2008)

Focusing on water resources and irrigation, this paper documents a talk by Michael Lipton exploring approaches to poverty alleviation in developing Asia. The talk discusses the findings of a recent paper ‘Pro-poor intervention strategies in irrigated agriculture in Asia: poverty in irrigated agriculture – realities, issues, and options with guidelines’. It looks at a number of topical issues such as irrigation in relation to access and global poverty, irrigation corruption, and sustainability.

The study discussed rests upon household surveys in 2001-2 in 26 major and medium canal irrigation systems (and adjoining rainfed areas) in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The surveys showed that in the rainfed areas, crop yields are typically half those in the adjoining irrigated areas, and that the landless in irrigated areas enjoy ‘much higher’ wage-rates and employment. Hence typically poverty incidence is 20-30 per cent higher in rainfed than adjoining canal-irrigated settings.

The speaker notes, however, that there are big differences, among and within systems, in irrigation’s efficiency, equity, and thus poverty impact. He asks, what determines the cost-effectiveness of irrigation as a sustainable remedy for poverty (a) in irrigated areas, (b) by spreading to new areas?

Key points include:

  1.  
    • whether management of water for farming is pro-poor depends on its sustainable impact on growth, stability and distribution of consumption, and of other indicators of well-being
    • the study gives strong evidence that more equal distribution of land and irrigation is not only pro-poor but also efficient
    • changes in incentives and institutions alone can bring rapid progress in solving most major problems of Asian canal irrigation, improving its economic efficiency and poverty impact
    • the main disincentive for aid to irrigation has been the growing doubt about side-effects: on health, on uncompensated land loss from new works (especially among indigenous populations), and on environmental sustainability
    • we need to look at the results of this project to examine the causes of collapse in irrigation investment, and about cost-effective, pro-poor ways to remedy that collapse

Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=38021&em=310708&sub=enviro

ASIA & PACIFIC UPDATES

August 12, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

Let’s see what we got across Asia and the Pacific recently, concerning development engagements, relief and humanitarian activities. Below are news captions about Australia, Bangladesh, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Japan, and Sri Lanka.

[31 July 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Asia & Pacific

 

 

Australia

A draft blueprint of Australia’s emissions trading scheme will include fuel, but is unlikely to recommend what the country’s key emissions cap should be. The blueprint’s government-backed architect, economist Ross Garnaut, is due July 4 to release a plan for how emissions trading could operate, likely suggesting that government force companies to bid for emissions permits at auction, a perceived failing of the EU scheme. But inflating already record-high petrol prices could fuel a backlash against the government’s pledge to cut emissions with a trading system by 2010. (Reuters)

Bangladesh

Obtaining food remains the biggest priority for Bangladeshi families living in areas still devastated by Cyclone Sidr last year, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said July 1, announcing it will continue its aid operations to the affected region. The next major harvest in the delta country is not due until November or December, and many households lack sufficient food reserves to last until then, according to a press release issued by WFP. (UN News Service)

Burma (Myanmar)

At least 7,000 cyclone survivors sheltering in three temporary camps in Laputta town, in the Irrawaddy delta, are under renewed pressure from the local authorities to return home, according to sources there. About 10,000 refugees are still living in Laputta’s five refugee camps, supported by local authorities and nongovernmental organizations. The 7,000 now urged to return to their home villages have been warned that unless they leave the camps they can expect no aid next month, said one local source. (ReliefWeb)

China

The UN expects China to be at the forefront of efforts to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, such as the global food crisis, climate change and the quest to slash poverty, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said July 1, calling on the Asian nation to step up its contribution in international affairs. Addressing students at the Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, at the start of the second leg of his East Asian tour, Ban said China is already playing an important role as a permanent member of the Security Council and as a growing contributor to peacekeeping and the UN budget. (UN News Service)

India

The Jammu and Kashmir state government should protect Parvez Imroz, an award-winning human rights lawyer who survived an armed attack on June 30 in Srinagar by alleged security forces members, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said July 1. The state government and Human Rights Commission should launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the attack and take criminal action against those responsible. “All members of the security forces found responsible, no matter how far up the chain of command, should be prosecuted,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. (HRW)

Indonesia

Indonesia’s anti-terrorism police unit has found assembled bombs and detained suspects during a raid on a house in Palembang in South Sumatra province, the national police spokesman said on June 2. The detentions came as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was visiting the area in the west of Indonesia on Sumatra Island. Earlier, Metro Television reported that seven suspects had been detained, but a police source involved in the raids told Reuters that more than seven were being held. (Reuters)

Mongolia

The president of Mongolia has declared a four-day state of emergency in the capital amid violent protests over claims the general election was rigged. Crowds torched the HQ of Mongolia’s governing party – the former Communists – and attacked a police station. Over 60 people were hurt – around half of them police – as officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon against stone-throwing protesters. The unrest went on into the night, with reports of bank robberies and looting. Rioters set fire to the Cultural Palace, home to a theater, museum and national art gallery in the capital, Ulan Bator. (BBC)

Nepal

Nepalese police have detained more than 40 Tibetan monks and nuns near the country’s border with Tibet. The group was planning to protest at China’s policies in their homeland. The demonstrators were halted several kilometers from the frontier after marching through the mountains from the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu. Tibetan exiles in Nepal have protested almost daily since China suppressed violent anti-government demonstrations in Tibet that broke out in March. (BBC)

North Korea (DPRK)

A new agreement between the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) paves the way for the agency to step up its food assistance to more than five million hungry people in the country. The agreement, which was signed on June 27, was hailed by WFP as a significant breakthrough in its long-standing efforts to ensure that all those in need of food aid in the DPRK are able to receive it. (UN News Service)

Japan

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Japanese leaders in Tokyo on June 30 and praised the “immense contribution” Japan has made to the work of the United Nations. Speaking to the press after meeting Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Ban said that “Japan should be proud of being ‘a peace-fostering nation’ and its commitment to multilateralism,” Ban added. “The Japanese people should know how much Japan’s global role is appreciated in the United Nations and worldwide.” (UN News Service)

North Korea (DPRK)

The UN World Food Program, which has warned of a humanitarian crisis in North Korea due to a food shortage, said on June 30 it reached a deal with Pyongyang to rapidly expand aid, and that a US ship carrying wheat had arrived. Flooding last year, higher commodity prices and political wrangling with major donor South Korea have pushed North Korea to a food shortfall similar to ones it faced about a decade ago when famine killed an estimated 1 million people. The WFP said the agreement it reached with the North will allow it to expand its operation, previously aimed at feeding 1.2 million people, to feed more than 5 million in the country of about 23 million. (Financial Times, UK)

Sri Lanka

For thousands of Sri Lankans without easy access to potable water, a low-tech filter has provided them with a convenient source of safe water, saving on fuel costs and cutting disease. The water filter was first mass-produced in Nicaragua and used in emergency relief operations. It is essentially a clay pot fortified with ground paddy husk and coated with colloidal silver that strains out virtually all harmful bacteria and parasites. The American Red Cross (ARC) began production of the clay filter in Sri Lanka in January 2007 and has distributed some 10,000 units so far. (IRIN)

 

AID FUNDS FOR AFRICA, ANYONE?

August 7, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Magandang araw! Good day!

Aid commitments to the south by the more developed economies of the North have been among the news trends recently. There is, for instance, the commitment of $25 Billion per year for the whole African continent, a commitment that hopefully won’t fly in the air as mere political promise.

A relevant news concerns IMF-World Bank actions about the matter.

[30 July 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to DevEx database news.

 

IMF, World Bank & IFI Round-Up

Leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations are set to backtrack on their landmark pledge at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to increase development aid to Africa to USD 25 billion a year. A draft communiqué obtained by the Financial Times, due to be issued at the group’s July summit in Hokkaido, Japan, shows leaders will commit to fulfilling “our commitments on [development aid] made at Gleneagles” – but fails to cite the target of USD 25 billion annually by 2010. This goal – which was repeated at last year’s G8 summit in Germany – was seen as an important boost for Africa. The ambitious plan was a cornerstone of former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s G8 presidency and championed by his successor, Gordon Brown.

Warning that rising food and oil prices pose a crisis for the world’s poor, Robert B. Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, is calling on President Bush and other leaders convening in Japan next week for the G8 summit meeting to make new aid commitments to avert starvation and instability in dozens of countries. Zoellick’s letter, obtained by NYT, came with a lengthy study of the impact of rising prices for food, fuel and commodities on the world’s poor. Zoellick said in his letter that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Food Program (WPF) had short-term needs of USD 10 billion. Zoellick’s letter calculates that, for the world’s 41 poorest countries, the combined impact of high food, fuel and other commodities is a ‘negative shock’ to their economies, reducing GDP by between 3 and 10 percent, causing ‘broken lives and stunted potential’ for millions.

The World Bank gave the go-ahead at a board meeting July 1 for the creation of a pair of global investment funds to back developing nations’ efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. The Climate Investment Funds, led by Japan, Britain and the US and to be administered by the World Bank, are expected to start with total initial funds of USD 5 billion and become operational by the end of the year, it said. The approval of the Clean Technology Fund and Strategic Climate Fund comes days before a summit of G8 in Hokkaido, Japan, on July 8 where climate change issues are on the agenda. ‘The G8 is likely to broadly support the establishment of the climate investment funds,’ Warren Evans, Director of the World Bank’s environment department, told reporters.

A new IMF study, looking at the impact of soaring oil and food costs, said many poor and developing countries will likely have to change their economic policies in response to soaring commodity prices, AFP reported. The IMF Food and Fuel Prices–Recent Developments, Macroeconomic Impact, and Policy Response report found that poor households are most affected by food price inflation and “warned that the share of undernourished (people) in developing countries could rise rapidly above the current 40 percent of total population.” Energy and food values are still rising and the IMF said its research suggests the “problem is worsening.”

The World Bank’s private sector arm has launched a new fund it hopes will unlock as much as USD 5 billion in infrastructure investment for the world’s poorest countries. As part of its drive to reach deeper into some of the most forbidding markets, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will use a pot of USD 100 million to cover the initial costs of power, logistics, and transport, ports and communications projects. Once a project is shown to be viable, it will be tendered to other investors, the Financial Times (UK) reported. Working with an initial partner, the IFC fund – known as InfraVentures – will cover start-up costs such as feasibility studies and legal fees. Half of its resources will be devoted to sub-Saharan Africa, with the remainder spread across Latin America and Asia.

RE-ECHOING ROOSEVELT’S ‘PHYSICAL ECONOMY’ SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL FINANCIAL COLLAPSE

July 27, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

My beloved country remembers the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt very well. It was his presidency that paved the way for preparing the Philippines as an independent state, by first granting the country the status of a commonwealth with its own constitution (1935 Constitution), and by permitting such domestic government to prepare the legislative measures and policy environment for a future independent state (granted independence in 1946).

Roosevelt’s regime also paved the way for the developmental paradigm that would propel the Philippines along the road to industrialization (we now term this as Import-Substitution Industrialization). The paradigm, based on the works of previous thinkers Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich von List, and the exemplar development policies of Abraham Lincoln, puts great stress on the ‘physical economy’ as the foundation for a prosperous and mighty economy in the long run.

Roosevelt further went on to cogitate that colonialism should fold up after the war, and that all former colonies must follow the road to development and prosperity, this being the road to genuine international peace and cooperation. The international doctrine of Roosevelt became the foundation for post-war cooperation, and buttressed the founding of the Bretton Woods agencies whose mandates were propelled precisely by the physical economy framework, the need for undertaking development in the former colonies, and the need to regulate national currencies via fixed exchange rate backed by the gold standard.

The current circumstance is now too remote from the ‘physical economy’ policy regime of the post-war era. Economic liberalization policies led to globalization and the galvanization of the ‘virtual economy’ based on predatory finance. The ‘virtual economy’ had led to de-industrialization, agricultural decay, decline of S&T, and deteriorating infrastructures in the most affected economies, and had fragmented developing states into ‘failed states’.

The global financial system created by the relentless liberalization of financial, fiscal and monetary policies across borders, had already collapsed and is beyond salvation using the present intervention tools that now seem to be burnt out tools altogether. A global conference must be convened most urgently to carve out a new financial architecture based on a ‘physical economy’ framework, and to decisively criminalize predatory finance.

Below is a press release of relevant notes on the global financial collapse, by the economist Lyndon LaRouche.

[27 July 2008, Quezon City, Metromanila. Thanks to the Executive Intelligence Review database news.]

 

LaRouche: Financial System Is Dead, Cannot Be Saved

July 13, 2008 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC).

With the U.S. and British financial press full of wild speculation about how the Bush Administration is going to intervene Monday morning, to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lyndon LaRouche today issued a sharp, preemptive warning: “The financial system is already dead. It cannot be saved.”

LaRouche expanded: “If any of the reports of a planned bailout of the two big mortgage lenders, by the Treasury Department or the Federal Reserve are true, I say, ‘Forget it.’ Any such efforts to delay the funeral of the present global financial and monetary system will only make matters worse. A bailout will cause an accelerated hyperinflationary explosion, far worse than the hyperinflation that hit Weimar Germany in the autumn of 1923. Back then,” LaRouche continued, “Germany had a gun pointed to its head. The gun was called the Versailles Treaty, and Germany had no choice. Today, the United States has a choice. I spelled out the choice in numerous recent locations.”

LaRouche cited his recent call for the Federal Reserve to immediately raise interest rates to 4 percent, as a stop-gap measure to prevent a massive flight of institutional capital from the banking system. He demanded that this move be accompanied by clear statements from the Fed that there will be no more Bear Stearns-style bailouts of the speculative bubble. Instead, the Fed will protect the chartered Federal and state banks, through bankruptcy reorganization, on the model of what Franklin Roosevelt did, when he first took office in March 1933, and faced the same kind of collapse of the banking system that we face now. “Only, today’s crisis is orders of magnitude worse,” LaRouche added, “due to the massive leveraging by the banks and other financial institutions.”

LaRouche warned that Bush Administration and Fed officials, like Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke, may be on an “ego trip—unwilling to admit that they have failed miserably. But the reality is that they, like the George W. Bush Administration, have failed, with wretched incompetence. For one thing, they failed to reverse the Alan Greenspan monster bubble, which is now blowing.”

LaRouche added that there is no way to even estimate the magnitude of the financial bubble, that has now blown. “The collapse of Fannie and Freddie means the end of the system. And that has already happened, and nothing can be done, within the rules of the current system, to solve that problem. We can keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac alive, but only through actions reforming the system, in terms echoing the precedents of President Franklin Roosevelt, that in ways appropiate for the actual conditions of today.

“The only alternative is to implement my three-step solution to the crisis,” LaRouche concluded. “If the so-called leadership in Washington is unwilling to do that, then this financial system, and, by extension, these United States, are finished. It may be a tough reality to swallow, but it is the only reality that there is.”

Lyndon LaRouche will be delivering an international webcast on Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). The webcast takes place on the first anniversary of LaRouche’s July 25, 2007 Washington, D.C. webcast address, in which he announced that the financial system had already crashed. Days later, the collapse of Countrywide, and other major mortgage lenders, and the blowout of Bear Stearns, illustrated that LaRouche was 100% correct.

OIL PRICES GOING DOWN FOR GOOD? TOO EARLY TO SAY!

July 25, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Good evening from Manila!

We Manilans were met this morning with the seemingly good news that oil price nose dived to $125 per barrel. As this news was released, we have just three (3) days before Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or GMA, will deliver her State-of-the-Nation Address or SONA.

With due respect to a fellow economist, the eminent world woman leader GM Arroyo should better not say lies comes Monday SONA that her actions on oil tax in Manila are responsible for bringing down global oil. Rather, her regime’s actions on state imports of rice immensely led to more speculation on the global commodities markets that indeed contributed in no small measure to raising the price of rice world-wide, actions that added pressures on oil prices to go up too.

Fellow Earthans, please look at the backyard of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the honorable King pledged before the UN Secretary General last month that the oil wells will pump out more stocks of the commodity so as to shore up the supplies by the month of July. It is now the tail end of July, and so it seems that the Midas touch of the KSA King has been creating sure-fire effects on gas prices.

The question worth asking is, will the latest decline in the price of oil be for good? Remember that the soaring prices of oil were largely caused by massive speculations in the spot markets, conducted by diverse financier groups. To a certain extent, the inflationary patterns in the grains prices also contributed to inflationary patterns in the oil sector.

There was the demand side that was cited as possible cause of the oil price decrease. The observed decline in the usage of oil by American consumers had accordingly factored into the equation, thus reducing oil price in global spot markets.

A simple multivariate analysis would show us that a combination of (a) supply side actions (KSA King’s ‘pump more oil’ policy) and (b) demand side behavior (Americans consume less oil) have (c) dampened speculative pressures and eased oil prices a bit. In other words, the predatory financiers were caught flat-footed by the double-whammy, even as some losing speculators are now hurting badly over the latest developments.

But do mark this: the financiers will strike back. The cyclone season is around, one can muse safely that cyclone devastations will induce short-term shocks on food, oil, and some non-durable commodities. Such eventualities could then induce pressures on cyclone-related or force majeure-coverage insurance, possibly impelling prices of the said commodities to go up from this month till November.

There also is the US federal campaign period coming, which will see inflationary spending from both parties as well as from the federal government as part of pump-priming measures. Such eventualities will altogether lead to new rounds of oil consumption in America, which will continue till the winter months.

No, definitely not, we are not at the tail end yet of oil hyper-inflation. This is the least that I can forecast for the moment.

[Writ 25 July 2008, Manila, Quezon City]

US WATCH: S & T CUTTING EDGE EROSION

July 22, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

 

As I’ve been stressing in previous articles, “it’s the economy” that count much as top agenda to be addressed by policy makers, bureaucrats and growth stakeholders in the USA. And this should be the primary concern of the political bigwigs when election comes by the end of the year.

 

A policy shift that will veer away America from the destructive flames of the ‘virtual economy’ founded on predatory finance, back to the ‘real economy’ based on tangible outputs in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructures, S & T, and transportation & communications.

 

This time around, do make reflections on the S&T facet of America’s economy and society. For over two (2) centuries the USA was a hallmark of development, precisely due to the ingenuity manifested by its entrepreneurs who built the mighty industrial economy. The S&T facet of production has been a well established fact-of-life in America, and I should stress that facet here means ‘cutting-edge’.

 

Without S&T cutting-edge, America would still be a backwoods economy today, much like some backwoods states there. But since the founding fathers of America laid down the foundations of growth and prosperity—foundations based on the ‘real economy’ or ‘physical economy’—and propelled by the collective will to drive relentlessly till the grand visions are achieved, America has risen meteorically to where it is: a mighty economic juggernaut, the object of high esteem by many nations.  

 

But when the ‘virtual economy’ began encroaching on every economic sector there, most specially after the collapse of the gold standard, gradually did the priority for developing S & T erode. Today that erosion is severely felt, as many analysts from the West have heralded the admission that Asia had already surpassed the essential technological cutting edge of the West as early as 2007 yet.

 

Let’s take solar technology for instance. Solar panel design had already reached maturity in California, home to solar energy development. The early take off of the industry there prompted the investors to immediately establish branches overseas, one of which is the Philippines. One leading company was so surprised that its Filipino engineers (Philippine-based) had already surpassed the innovation designs of their California counterparts (Americans) before the end of 2007 yet.

 

Now, as you go from one economic sector to another, most specially the productive sectors, and assess the cutting edge situation of technologies, then you can see the reality that America & EU (West) were already surpassed. It won’t take long before the wealth boosted by the Asian cutting edge will move up, making Asian regions surpass both the US and EU in terms of GDP.

 

Well, the other option is the ‘neo-con’ option: nuke all competitor nations back to the stone age. If you do so, say if you nuke the Philippines today which designs and produces ½ of the worlds Intel chips, think of the consequences. Nuke India, China, ASEAN, South Korea, come on demonic neo-cons! Enjoy your Nero madness with wild abandon!

 

I’d rest my case.

 

[07 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

US WATCH: INFRASTRUCTURE DECAY, NEEDS MASSIVE REDEVELOPMENT

July 19, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

A bridge has fallen, the Mississipi river flooded Orleans like some pathetic third world city, airports are too cramped up as they are incapable of containing the surge in passenger & cargo levels, the East Coast experienced the emergency shut down due to grid overload (causing massive blackout), railway tracks are thinning out and overall capacity is on downward trend, and more.

They seem to be unrelated, but for economists and sociologists the trends all tell the same story. Pieced up together, they indicate crumbling infrastructures. Not because the structural engineers of America are sloppy, and definitely not that the heavy equipment sector couldn’t provide quality machines to reinforce the burgeoning infrastructure need of the juggernaut US economy.

The true story is that, as the economy shifted to the ‘virtual economy’, there was the systematic abandonment of infrastructure as a priority for fiscal and budgetary allocations. “Leave that to the private sector!” was the slogan for infrastructure. Even the famed fast lanes of America are already being sold out one after the other to the highest bidders, financial speculators all led by the likes of Felix Rohatyn & partners, thanks to deregulation and liberalization.

The thing is, most of America’s major infrastructures—airports, wharfs, roads, bridges, dikes, dams, power distribution, and more public works—were built in the 50s and 60s yet, at the height of the post-war boom under the aegis of the New Deal. Such infrastructures now require massive renovation, with entire replacement for those decaying beyond salvaging.

Did the civil engineers of America speak about the matter clearly? They did, and they have been saying alarming things since the 1990s yet. At the height of the ‘bridge over troubled water’ fiasco, they came out with the report that ¼ of America’s roads and bridges needed major repairs and replacements as soon as possible.

The other sectors’ experts have spoken as well. In the airlines industry, no less than state officials have forewarned that if no renovations (toward expansion) will be done on airports in 10 years’ time, there will be major crisis in the airlines sector. The possibility of emerging markets overshooting the USA’s cutting edge in air transport delivery also looms ahead in the short run.

With no reversal of policies in sight, chances are that, in 20 years’ time, the USA will be an apocalyptic landscape of fallen bridges, impassable roads, rotten wharfs, fallen dikes and inoperable dams, rotten buildings left to nature, and forest cover claiming back once bustling cities.

Only a timely policy reversal can nip the apocalyptic future in the bud. That is, if the political bigwigs in the coming election—McCain and Obama—do their homework well, comprehend the problem deeply, and begin large-scale strategic solutions to colossal problems in infrastructures.

[Writ 06 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila.]  

US WATCH: AGRICULTURE DECAYS, BIOFUEL MATTERS MOST!

July 18, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Agriculture remains to be among the most protected sectors of the US economy. Enough to cause ceaseless chagrin on the members of the WTO, who have been demanding that the EU-USA-Japan trilateral belt better play by the rules and remove the trade barriers in agriculture.

But the overall alarming trend in America’s agriculture is the rapid shrinking of arable lands altogether. Lucky enough that America is blessed with millions of acres of arable land, but the liberalization of land use conversions affected this mighty economy strongly like in other countries. Prime agricultural lands are being transformed into commercial and residential lands, most specially those southern regions that practically fed the whole America for nigh centuries long.

Agriculture is following a general trend of economic decay. The historic practice of mono-cropping alone had already created havoc on the soil quality in many places across the US. Compounding the decay problem is the pressure by WTO members for the sector to bring down the trade barrier, thus possibly bringing in floods of cheap food imports from Europe and the south.

Just recently, the inflated marketability of biofuels led many a planter to shift to massive corn production, for the sole purpose of raking profits on alternative fuels. Of course, many hedge funds and enthused investors had cashed in on the biofuels craze, and news came out that even Bill Gates had invested in this ‘greenfield’ energy source.

Estimates put the amount of corn planted to biofuels as more than enough to feed over 110 million people. That’s a lot of mouths to feed for sure! But feeding mouths is hardly the priority in the US agriculture today, the core focus being the next round of looting on the consumers’ purse by driving food prices upwards both due to the biofuels craze and speculation on food stocks.

So, what say you, voters of America? Let’s just hope the political bigwigs contesting the presidency will indeed take the interest of ‘food security’ at its core. Failing to do so, America itself might end up with inflated food prices in the couples of years ahead, and believe it or not, the Depression era of seeing people without food on their plates may come back. The difference being that the Great Depression was only quite temporary, while this coming ‘food insecurity’ will be around for a very long time.

This brings to mind what the late John Meynard Keynes declared cryptically, “in the long run, we shall all be dead!”

[Writ 06 June 2008, Quezon City, MeroManila]

US WATCH: DE-INDUSTRIALIZATION

July 14, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

The public (in America) is of the broad position that the NAFTA was responsible for the folding up of many factories and the transfer of jobs to Mexico/South. This NAFTA-bashing has some validity to it, but the semi-economic integration alone with Mexico and Canada isn’t a sufficient reason for the bigger problem of de-industrialization.

Once robust and colossal, the industrial sector of the USA contributed over 50% of the Gross Domestic Product or GDP, and employed half the labor as well. As early as the mid-50s, the futuristic sociologist Daniel Bell already warned that the trend wouldn’t hold long enough, as the ‘post-industrial society’ was already knocking its doors on the USA. Not only that, he also forecast that by the 21st century, the center of global economic growth would be the Asia-Pacific, while labor would shift to the services sector.

Had the policy-makers heeded the warning of the likes of Bell then, and fine-tuned the ‘real economy’ principles of Franklin Roosevelt, the de-industrialization of America couldn’t have happened. By the early 1980s, Alvin Toffler added resounding echoes to the forecast of a post-industrial society, by adumbrating the  ‘3rd wave technology’ thesis. Such a thesis expounded that knowledge-intensive technologies would dominate post-industrial society, and will destroy institutions founded on old economic-ideological precepts notably liberal capitalism and socialism.

However, the neo-liberals led by Friedman and Hayek became the dominant Pied Pipers in shaping the public policy of America. All sectors of the economy soon became dog-eat-dog arena for private sector hegemony, leading to the ascent of the ‘virtual economy’ founded on predatory finance. Gradually did the ‘virtual economy’ wreck the classic industries of America, the most exemplary being the steel industry.

The tragic closure of Bethlehem Steel tells it all: that the ‘virtual economy’ has no interest in sustaining strategic industries or to develop their technological edge further. One after the other, manufacturing concerns were closed shop, dis-assembled and re-assembled in emerging markets where labor and factor inputs were cheaper. The ‘industrial belt’ of America—stretching from up New England down to the automotive & machine tool shops of the south—is rapidly evaporating.

The clear message for this year’s presidential poll in America is: resuscitate the industrial sector. Re-tool both the hardware, institutions and human resources to make them competitive again. Revive all the strategic reproducible industries (steel, machine tools, railways, automotive, shipping, airlines, etc.), or else face the specter of ‘third worldization’ of America. A tall order, but what choice does the USA have?

[Writ 06 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

US WATCH: ECONOMY’S REAL VALUE

July 11, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

 

Great and mighty is America’s economy! America can buy the whole earth and feed all the world’s people! Americans are the world’s wealthiest, they can buy any and all guys outside the borders!

 

What delusional arrogance from some demonic Pied Pipers! The USA’s GDP ended up at $12.5 Trillion last year, though some indicator massage could yield a higher figure of $13.5 Trillion (using Purchasing Power Parity or PPP). Measure this against the Gross World Product of GWP of $59 Trillion more or less, end of 2007. Estimates by experts is that the US contributes to 22% of the GWP, and ditto for the EU.

 

That figure of $12.5 Trillion, fellows, is simply the ‘nominal value’ of the US economy. Nominal and real are two different categories in economics. Granting that the ‘virtual economy’ based on financial speculation has been the one that raised values of commodities and services in the USA, the ‘nominal value’ is actually inflated, rendering the ‘real value’ at a much lower level.

 

Do recall when the stock market crashed in 2001. At that time, the psychological benchmark was 10,000 points at the Dow Jones. Each point in the Dow Jones then was approximately $1 Billion worth. A decline of 100 points means $100 Billion pared off from the economy, or at least the virtual economy. The stock market eventually crashed down to 7900+, which made my own hair rise with horror all over my body.

 

The stock market then stayed for a time at the 7,900-8,300 points, for couples of months, before it again steadily climbed. For simplification, let us use the figure of 8,000 points as the lowest level that the economy can crash down to, the rock bottom. That is around 77% of the 10,000+ benchmark more or less.

 

That figure, fellows, is the rough estimate of the ‘real value’ of the US economy. If we multiply 0.77 by $12.5 Billion, this yields $9.63 Billion. That’s the real figure, the real value, the real score of the US economy. If we convert this to PPP, this will rise a bit to $9.8 Billion more or less. The remaining balance of $3 Billion, to complete the $13.5B –PPP, is all ‘casino economy’ value, all speculative value and nothing more.

 

So now, going back to a previous question, where and how will the USA get funds to pay for $50 Trillion worth of debts? Do the electoral bigwigs in America possess with them the proper framework to comprehend and recommend practicable solutions to America’s ailing debt crisis and overall economic malaise?

 

I wish you American voters will do your own deep inquiries about the depth of your problems. The health of the global economy is being endangered by the impending US economic collapse, a fire that can easily burn out the EU as well (this fire had already begun there in fact). When both the EU and USA are in economic collapse or ‘fire function’, the entire global economy will catastrophically fall in deep quagmires.

 

[Writ 05 June 2008, Quezon City, Metromanila]

US WATCH: CAN THE USA PAY ITS DEBTS?

July 10, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

Just exactly at what level had the totality of US debts had reached is practically anybody’s guess. So complex is America’s financial system and the mess created by the ‘bubble economy’ over the last three (3) decades, that it takes an enormous amount of research efforts led by top economists and financial consultants to undertake.

One thing is clear though: whoever will be the USA’s next execs must never fail to measure, comprehend, and reverse the debt trends. The estimates today, using combined data from the Fed, the Bank for International Settlements or BiS, and independent researches would put the figure at $50 Trillion.

Measured against the GDP, which stood at around $12.5 Trillion more or less last year, indicates that America doesn’t have the money to pay debts at all, assuming that the bubble bursts and the economy crashes to depression level. Well, the burst began last year yet, the recession is now on, and we need to observe events more closely to determine whether a depression will be at hand.

To say that US savings will salve America’s debt problems is baloney. The savings rate is barely 1%, which accounts for the need for large doses of foreign direct investments and portfolios to cover up for the lack of investible savings. Compare this to East Asia’s average of 30% savings rate, which makes this region’s economy verdantly robust for years to come amid US-EU economic collapse.

On the other hand, to bank on gross international reserves as the source of salvation would likewise bring guffaws. America’s reserves could never exceed $90 Billion at any given time (in real value), which couldn’t even suffice to buy for 1 month’s imports. Compare this to East Asia’s reserves, which range from 4 months imports in RP’s case to at least a year’s for China’s.

So, let us repeat the question, where and how will the US source its funds for salving the debt crisis? What concrete steps will be taken to reverse the debt trap? Who among the political bigwigs in America today possesses the soundest theory and practice for solving the gargantuan debt crisis?

Those questions remain to be answered. Let us hope that the two bigwigs McCain and Obama will do their homework well. The electorates’ expectations are enormously high, and meeting those expectations using traditional, flawed approaches and practices would only endanger both the economic and political stability of this once mighty giant.

[Writ 05 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

US WATCH: THE ‘VIRTUAL ECONOMY’ WRECKED UNCLE SAM

July 9, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

So, fellows out there, whatever happened that the once mighty US economy—once contributing to 40% of Gross World Product (GWP)—is now drifting downwards, producing now just 22% of GWP?  That the EU would itself catch up with the USA and equally produces 22% of GWP, though EU’s money is bloodily mightier than Uncle Sam’s once mythical Dollar?

 

As a matter of realistic forecasting, if trends today would continue across the globe, Asia would overshadow both the US and EU, as follows: China will overtake each one of them by 2015; India, by 2022; ASEAN, by 2030.

 

While the US ‘real economy’ keeps on contracting (and the EU’s stagnates), the Asian economies are still expanding. 100 years ago the Western thinkers Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee already forecast so sharply the ‘decline of the West’, while Daniel Bell foresaw in the 1950s-60s the rise of Asia-Pacific and its overtaking of the US 60 years hence (2005-2015 period). No one listened to them.

 

If we all recall, in the 1930s the great statesman Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the ambitious New Deal. This program initiated gigantic growths in the ‘real economy’, solved unemployment, and led to high-growth and high-wage trends for sustained periods. By ‘real’ is meant the most productive sectors, namely: manufacturing/industry, agriculture, infrastructures, S&T, and transportation & communications.

 

By 1971, with enormous pressures from the financial cartels, the famed ‘gold standard’ was junked, the fixed exchange rate system was likewise junked in favor of ‘floating rate’, and after which serial liberalization of economic sectors and the bureaucracy went on in very radical fashion. This led eventually to the rise of the ‘virtual economy’ led by predatory finance, featuring hedge fund operations and ‘vulture funds’ to salve crisis-ridden financial enclaves more so overseas.

 

The ‘gambling economy’ based on speculation, conceit, lies, rather than based on the real value of consumable articles of trade, became the dominant modality in the USA. Debts and more debts piled up, since having no debt was moralized as bad behavior. Debs quadrupled in just a few decades, resulting to $5 Trillion worth of debts today.

 

How can an economy that churns out merely $12+ Trillion a year pay up for debts worth 4 times the GDP? It’s madness, blatant madness! The US economy is largely now a bubble, so gigantic that when it bursts, it can reveal the real flaws behind the ailments, and the weakness of the ‘real economy’ altogether.

 

The message to the next President & VP of the USA is to take down that ‘gambling economy’ or ‘virtual economy’ and quickly bring back the powerful ‘real economy’ in place. Failing to do that, Uncle Sam will be faced with many mass out-migrations beyond 2010, as true-blue Americans leave for more stable and promising jobs and businesses offshore. They’ve already began doing that in fact.

 

[Writ 05 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

PHILIPPINE ECONOMICS: BOP SURPLUS, INVESTMENT-HEALTHY

May 23, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

 

The Philippine macro-economic fundamentals remain alright, bright and positive.  So says the official report from the central bank. I myself opine in the affirmative regarding RP’s economic health.

 

The Philippines has been hit lately by inflationary waves in rice and petrol. These alone were sufficient to slow down growth a bit. But the factors behind these problems in grains and oil go beyond the domestic, they’re global and have to do more with the manipulations of financial speculators in the overseas markets. As a result, the overall inflation rate moved up.

 

The exact figures released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are: US $499 million for the month of April (08), and a total of $2.13 billion for the first four months of the year. Hefty sums! Not bad!

 

The fiscal situation is the one that is now being threatened by the volatilities in the rice and oil prices, or should we say spot markets overseas. The news about rice price being subsidized should the crisis worsen is surely a bad one, as it will crash down the ‘balanced budget’ target supposedly achievable at the end of the year.

 

Yet even that seemingly shaky fiscal situation isn’t sufficient a force to dampen the overall macro-economic health. The BOP surplus indicates the positive compass of the economy for the rest of the year, rendering this country a lucrative haven for investments from both domestic and overseas investors.

 

So, fellows out there, the Philippines is much in tune with the Asian growth trend amid the latest rounds of inflation and the problems in oil and grains. The prophets of gloom & doom better find something else to do, such as to bash the corrupt oligarchs, as the economy is within the right compass of growth.

 

[19 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]