Egalitarian | Dictatorship and development

AGAIN we take a look at the Philippines as a paradox; a country with educated and creative people endowed with natural resources but continuously wallow in poverty. Neighboring countries in proximate Asia and in other places can provide a model for growth consistent with culture and sensitivities of local traditions.

There is for one, that of Japan. The Japanese growth model espouses social and family cohesion known as the keiretsu model. This model addresses the problem of “endo” for once a person is employed; the person is employed for a lifetime. The company takes care of its workers like family members. No wonder even at the lowest, the workers stick with the company. Also, given that the company treats their workers as a family, any achievement of the lowliest calls for a celebration of the whole organization. A senior leader takes pride on the success of the junior officer under his guidance. The keiretsu or the lifetime employment proved to be very effective. This is evident in the economic miracle Japan experienced. The citizens take the mindset of the country’s welfare, the community’s welfare, ahead of personal welfare.

For the young in spirit, South Korea is a country of many inspirations either in music or in fashion. This country can teach us also an economic model which is founded in crony-like politico-economic setup. The chaebols is an economic model where the government partners with the innovative and visionary citizens. The chaebols are rich families who were given large amount of money and latitude of government support for them to innovate, produce products and technologies to improve industries. The agreement is that after the industries expand, the company must hire South Koreans as workers. The working South Koreans have to buy the products that their own industries produce. The formula is simple, give the private sector support for enterprise, let the people work, then let them buy their own products. No leakage from the domestic economy. The chaebols started the economic dynamo of the country’s development. Not too far is Malaysia.

Then there is also the economic model of the Malaysia the bumipetras. The bumipetras are the rich native Malaysian family conglomerates. In the 70’s the Malaysian government introduced a policy to favor them, in matters of education and investment support. The intention was to create a generation of leaders, innovators, visionaries to lead the country. The country did not simply offer free education in 1970, it created an elite generation which can truly lead the country. Significantly, the bumipetras created jobs, improved education and stem entrepreneurship as a result of this Rawlsian justice lens.

Singapore, after separating from Malaysia in 1965 and with no significant physical resource to rely on, developed a trade-oriented economy focusing on the resources of other countries. It initiated a wide housing program and robust education to ensure quality of living of its citizens. As a result, it was able to attract foreign direct investments. The first that the Singaporeans did is to put the house in order. It was a strong leadership based on the rule of law. A violator is sure to be punished; no one can muster around justice.

To put in perspective, the success ingredients used by other countries can also be used in the Philippines. The first ingredient is the certainty of rules and laws. The success recipe for the Philippines includes building useful transportation infrastructure, market competition, strong export orientation, openness to technology and for foreign direct investment, and strong leadership. Japan owe much from Hirohito, South Korea from President Park, Singapore from Lee Kuan Yew, Malaysia owe much from Abdul Razak Hussein who created an elite who could lead their country in the coming generations. This generation has the potential to maximize strong leadership under the current administration. As a nation, what is needed for this country to start moving forward is to toe the line. In this case, Bam Aquino is wrong that this country needs no dictator, this country really needs one. A benevolent dictator to steer the ship we call Philippines.

Posted in Opinion