Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Structure of Crisis, the Crisis of Structure

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Last year, I was invited as one of the speakers during the "Waging Peace in the Philippines Conference of 2009 - Advancing a Citizen’s Peace Agenda in 2010 and Beyond" held at the Social Development Complex Audio Visual Conference Center, Ateneo de Manila University on December 7-8, 2009. I specifically attended and participated on the plenary on Significant Issues for Peace in 2010, with Atty. Marvic Leonen, Dean of the UP College of Law, as my co-speaker.

The organization I was representing, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), was supposed to present on Climate Change, Global and National Crisis. Using existing data we culled from several government sources and presentations, this is the presentation I used. It begins with the then hot issue of Maguindanao massacre and then proceeds to discuss the structural causes of the confluence of crises we are facing. Check this out as a break from the optimism of the incoming Noynoy era:

View more presentations from jmmiraflor.

This is also to serve as a counterpoint on the 7.3% growth pronouncement earlier by the Palace, which has largely been criticized as merely base effect of the manufacturing drop at the peak of the global crisis. But just some facts and observations to add to the point:
  • It is an election year, one of the most expensive in fact in the history of the Philippines. While consumption indeed has been high, the net transfer will largely been from politicians (which means from the government, for how they became ultra-rich is already, a little too obvious) to the TV networks, or more likely, to Chinese companies which produced all those ground-war stuff (campaign paraphernalia, posters, etc.). The amount of redistribution (via vote-buying, etc.) has largely been limited by the phenomenon of a mass media-driven campaign. So while GDP may indeed have been boosted by transfers of wealth, it is merely one class taking money away from one pocket and putting it to another.
  • This is not a new pronouncement. Curiously, the 7.3-percent figure already came up two years ago. But if this quarters growth is largely base effect, the growth then was largely spending-led, with National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) stating that among the components of the GDP by expenditure share, it is Government Expenditure Consumption (GCE) which grew the highest, by 10.0% from 2006-2007 - reflective of substantial increase in the proposed national budget from P1.045 trillion in 2006 to P1.126 trillion in 2007, an increase of P81.31 billion or 7.8%.

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