Posted tagged ‘physical economy’


July 24, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang gabi! Good evening!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Philippines, 21 July 2010]








November 6, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

From my highland nest in Manila goes Big Kudos to Barack Obama & US Democrats!

My first elation has to do with the fact that Obama represents my generation of ‘post-industrial babies’, comprising of those aged 55 and younger. Obama represents a broader worldwide trend of leaders who are veering away from intolerant/polarized values towards one of ‘tolerance for difference’. My  generation is the first among the emerging ‘global citizens’, and I could hardly wait to see various sectors worldwide taken over by the most competent and enlightened ones among us, as exemplified by Obama’s take  of the US presidency.

Another source of elation is the fact that Obama is a Black man, the first one ever elected as president in America. His victory sends a clear signal to many countries across the globe—dominated by Whites as majority populace—that the time for change has come. Just across the border, in Mexico, the citizens are still accustomed to choosing a White Man as president: White, and Male. Quite a bit further, down south in Argentina, it’s still White country there, and I wish the minority Colored people or Colorados will get to be Chief Executive, whether they are male or female.

Finally, a source of euphoria over Obama’s victory is his being funded largely by the people’s purses. True, there were fund donations from the wealthy families, but to say that their pockets constituted the cutting edge funding would be to disregard those aggregates of monies that in-flowed to Obama’s campaign coffers from out of ‘couples of dollar bills’ donations from the workers & middle classes. I would dare say that the people’s purses comprised the cutting edge in funding, for the 1st TIME, which has many governance implications for Obama’s Team.

There are certain sociopathic elements in America, represented by the perennial Democrat candidate Lyndon LaRouche, who have been peddling the allegation that George Soros, through his subaltern Felix Rohatyn, were behind the bulk of funds for Obama. In some other articles published early this year, LaRouche kept on peddling the noxious allegation that Mafia groups were behind Obama’s making as a politician, and that, ipso facto, his funding would come largely from the same criminal rings.

Were it not for LaRouche’s sociopathic and fascistic tendencies, I should really find many of the facts and thoughts that he generated as worth our reflections. Let us challenge the likes of LaRouche to come out with evidences, and file criminal charges in proper channels such as the US Senate, and they better desist from further slanderous and libelous accusations against a political team that is outside of their poll choices.

The people’s purse option, let me repeat, has deep governance implications. It is indicative, first of all, of the immense constituency participation during the polls, which clearly created for them (people) a status as co-partner of the Obama Team. Second, the people’s purse option gave the clear mandate to the Obama Team, comprising largely of noblesse technocrats, that it can exercise a ‘relative autonomy’ from diverse interest groups particularly the financier-technocratic-military elites.

I would prefer to see the Obama victory as a ‘14th Brumaire of the US Technocracy’, which is a very laudable feat, precisely as a result of that people purse option. 14th Brumaire refers to that moment in history when Louis Bonaparte declared a coup d’etat in France, a grand act of defiance against the oligarchy that enabled him to exercise ‘relative autonomy’ from the latter. The governance implication of such an act is that the Strong Man was able craft and enforced policy initiatives, unhampered by the pestering demands of ensconced elites.

Obama won his coup equivalent by way of the electoral path, with aid from a vibrant electoral constituency and allied politicians who also buttressed his victory with additional seats in both houses of the US Congress. With solid grounds of support from both the people and the legislative allies, Obama has been practically offered the policy initiative on a golden platter by the electoral heaven of social contract. And the good image exuded by this Team was that of a change-directing Technocracy rather than that of a rambunctious Pedagogue of dangerously perverse hoi polloi.     

With such a grand opportunity of mandate, the Obama Team is enabled to re-engineer the policy environment of America on its initiatives. Lobby groups and ‘whispering mafias’ representing the elites do not have a business making demands on this Team, and must be kept at bay, in practice more than in words as promised by Obama.

The Obama Team should also use this ‘14th Brumaire’ mandate to begin a long process of healing. The healing work is quite complex, as it entails tasks both on the domestic and international fronts. This healing can begin by the shift in tact from that of the previous hawkishness of the neo-conservatives to the dovish aura of Wilson-Roosevelt-Kennedy greats.

For my own country, Obama should not forget the 1 Million+ Filipinos who died during America’s invasion of the nascent republic, many of whom died as ‘collateral damage’ of a genocidal campaign. White House and Congress should better release their respective statements of apology to my nation, dubbed as populated by “brown monkeys with no tails” by the White combatants (T. Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People). Coupled with this is the return of the Balangiga Bells that were  looted by the US Army after leveling the town of Balangiga in Samar province, with all town folks butchered and all visible structures burned to the ground (ibid).

Obama must also remember the 1 Million+ Filipinos who died during World War II, or who died defending the interest of America in the Far East. Many of the living veterans of that war are waiting for their additional just subsidies, their bones now almost disabled from mobility. World War II was never our war, but was one among the world powers’, and look at what the cruelties and genocidal butchers our people got from defending America here.

Authentic healing will take several decades to undertake. But there is no harm involved by beginning the process now. The Native Americans and Colorados of the USA are expectant, and so are those peoples who suffered from America’s imperialistic adventurisms overseas. Begin the healing now, and put a final end to the USA as Empire.

The Obama electoral coup is total, his technocratic Team’s autonomy ensured. He cannot fail to deliver results as expected, and he must translate that ‘relative autonomy’ into more solid healing and prosperity feats. His massive constituencies must help the Team in this colossal task, to ensure galvanization par excellence, rather than just wait passively for results.

Cheers! Kudos to the Obama Team! Mabuhay!

[Writ 06 November 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]


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.


July 24, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza y Delago

The final feature of the US ‘real economy’ worth featuring is transportation & communications. This is among the most productive sectors that produce real wealth, contrasted to the ‘casino economy’ of predatory finance that produces wealth from out of wealth itself, producing really nothing worth our value. Broad as it is, let me focus on the transport sector.


Time was when the railway industry took off, inducing growth as soon as the railways hit the West. The continental divide among the US states was bridged quickly, intra-trade exponentially increased. Soon enough, foreign trade also increased in leaps and bounds as maritime shipping grew and matured quickly, making US articles of trade be exported to all corners of the planet.


Trains, ships, airplanes, automotives, trucks, heavy equipment, tractors, and other state-of-the art prototypes came out of America’s workshops to propel growth not only in the US but in other countries as well. “Made in the USA” products became household words everywhere, including my Wild Wild West province of Cagayan in Northern Philippines, precisely due to the miracle of the transport sector that was broadly a facet of the ‘real economy’ of America. I was a child in the 1960s and early 70s when the “Made in the USA” was chic and almost a cult-level cliché.


That era now is now consigned to the dustbins of a remote past. Sure, America still produces state-of-the art transport prototypes. But look, railways have stagnated (is there a mag-lev there now?), automotives are shrinking by the day (laying off and displacing thousands of top quality industrial technicians), while the cutting edge technology for almost all prototypes, save for military transport, have already been surpassed by Asia.


McCain and Obama should better do their homework and understand the catastrophic future that awaits America if the transport sector remains neglected and ceaselessly ravaged inch-by-inch by the infernal fires of predatory finance. The policy makers there better salve the ailing sector quickly, and get back those laid-off topnotch industrial technicians to work before they lose every iota of motivation to even get involved in the sector they grew up with but which rejected them (how traumatic!).


If there’s any sector to begin with, it’s railways. Better renovate the railways, and establish maglevs in all the major continental routes of the US. And quickly take the initiative to establish cross-border maglevs with Canada and Mexico. Later, establish maglevs connecting Alaska with Russia via Siberia, thus connecting US to the Asian land mass.


Sorry for sounding ‘interventionist’, fellows in America. We Asians are as concerned with your economy as you are, and we would want your economic leadership to again rise to the fore. If America does that, other nations will then move on, propelled by growth in the ‘real economy’ because America is doing so. Failing to do that, the economic baton will transfer to Asia, and it will crash our hearts to see our fellow Earthans of America sinking in esteem by the day, because of their collapsing prosperity.


We are all siblings on Earth, this is certain, that’s why we share words of wisdom about your economic conditions. May you finally have a reform-oriented President comes this coming electoral contest.


[Writ 07 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]


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]


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]


July 7, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

The US presidential polls are approaching. The Democrat Party nomination was recently concluded, and there goes the polls.

As an observer of ‘US reality’, I’d candidly say that if there’s anything most worrisome in the US right now, it’s the economy. Without the pejorative ‘stupid’ by the way, I leave that to Bill Clinton’s spin doctors.

Whoever wins, and whoever would be vice president, this tandem of statesmen (hopefully) will have to go about moving heaven and earth to salve the ailing economy. The ailment is not just a structural one that will be resolved with some palliatives.

First of all is the recession. There is no more denying about this fact. The more that the fed and monetary officials would deny information, the greater the amount of suspicion, the greater the legitimacy question. It was good that finally, there was the admission about the sad state of the economy.

Now, folks, most especially you American voters out there, the recession may not be the end of the downspin yet. Watch out, for the recession could well slide into depression. A 6-quarter period of sustained depression (which means a contraction below the established average, or below zero growth) could be the final blow to the long-drawn drift towards the total collapse of the once-mighty US economy.

Look at the signs of the times, Joe! After World War II, the US produced 40% of the Gross World Product or GWP. It’s now down to 22%. The EU, by integrating their economies, produce a similar aggregate of 22% of GWP. The trend is still of a downward drift, including the EU’s, over the years, not an upward lift.

As to what has been causing the downward drift, let’s take those matters slowly in quite chewable fashion. For now, it’s clear to this observer that “it’s the economy” and not the war or parochial sectoral matters such as immigration, gender, more autonomy for states and cities, and so on.

[Writ 05 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]