Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Stupidity or tyranny?

“IF the Arangkada Philippines blue-print of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC)—which set medium-term targets for investments and job generation when it was launched back in 2010—is to be made as basis, the Aquino administration was a resounding failure.

“Consider these: Arangkada’s foreign direct investment (FDI) target was an average of $7.5 billion a year from 2011 to 2015, while President Aquino was only able to deliver an average FDI haul of $3.9 billion. John D. Forbes, senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), knows the reason behind the failure.

“‘We targeted an average of $7.5 billion a year for a decade [to 2020] and have a total of about $20 billion for 2011-2015. But everything the JFC recommended to reach the target was not done,’ Forbes said in a text message.” [Aquino a failure if gauged vs JFC’s Arangkada targets,” Catherine Pillas, Business Mirror, 9th Feb 2016.]

We don’t see eye-to-eye with the JFC despite their efforts to bring the DTI/administration on board? Arangkada is not “inclusive”? It is driven by the 7 industry winners – only?  So the DTI separately developed 40 roadmaps with 32 apparently all done? In Pareto’s lingo, there is such a thing as the “vital few” versus the “trivial many” – or the 80-20 rule.

Which translates inclusive to “crab mentality” – it collapses under its own weight, the trivial many? And we end up accomplishing nil – why we can't move forward as a nation? And Metro Manila’s traffic is evidence # 1? When you’re sitting in traffic, think about it! Government can’t say “trivial many” to Juan de la Cruz – it’s insensitive? But that is why visionary and strategic leadership is called for. “Taking the people from where they are to where they have never been before” is what leadership is about.

If there is a “stupidity index” that comes with the global “competitiveness index,” would the conclusion be that the competitiveness index mirrors the stupidity index? Have we been doing the same thing over and over again and . . . ?

“[E]verything the JFC recommended to reach the target was not done.” And we repeat the vicious cycle with all the jokers wanting to be president when their inherent though not professed motivation is to keep our stupidity index at embarrassing levels? Because that is how tyranny works – guaranteed by their election funding and spending? That all our analysts say will bump up – and be good for – the economy? How to illustrate?

“Infrastructure projects undertaken by the private sector,” Page One, Business World, 9th Feb 2016. And the article can be summarized as follows: Over the 25-year period, 1990-2015, of the top ten participants, the total projects attributable to foreign-control would be a third while the balance of two-thirds would be Filipino. That’s within the foreign equity-rule limits of the Constitution – which is sacred!

The foreign interests are Indonesian (17%), Chinese (State Grid Xin Yuan Company Limited – 9%) and Japanese (Marubeni – 7%). Of course PLDT is labeled Philippines but it’s an open secret that it’s controlled by and part of the Salim group? While the Filipinos are: Lopez (24%), Ayala (17%), and Aboitiz, Coyiuto and Sy (all with 9%).

Despite martial law and all, including EDSA 1 & 2, the Lopez interests are still the envy of the elite class? And if Bongbong Marcos becomes president, we will be back to the good old days, the Marcos-Lopez era? Same-old, same-old? Have we accounted the Marcos loot yet? Will Bongbong want that kept safely away from Juan de la Cruz?

Do we want to ask the Romanians if a Ceausescu will ever make it as leader of their nation? Even the Arab Spring countries can learn from these people! After fumbling for 25 years, they elected one – a liberal from the country's ethnic German population – committed to crackdown on corruption and strengthen the rule of law. [The Telegraph, 22nd Dec 2014]

And back to the Constitution. Is tyranny built into the Philippine Constitution? Why would the elite class even want to tinker with it?

The world very recently woke up to the news of the passing of Justice Scalia (May he rest in peace!), who would perhaps hold that the US Constitution is sacred, being a strict constructionist. What about the Jews that invoked the 300 tenets to argue with Christ. What is man-made is sacred? Even Jefferson, one of the founding fathers tasked to write the Declaration of Independence and a strict constructionist, opted for “loose construction” in the Louisiana Purchase.

“Plato and Aristotle long ago described the behavior and methods of tyrants . . . The principal instruments employed by the tyrant are force, oppression, threats, and espionage, and, even today, the common weapons are terror, persecution, and intimidation. Yet it is often overlooked that modern mass dictatorships have also been able to achieve successes by such methods as deception, corruption, and social rewards. Massive propaganda and the whole educational system are geared to breeding a conforming man, toward whom a benevolent attitude is then displayed . . .” []

“Massive propaganda and the whole educational system are geared to breeding a conforming man, toward whom a benevolent attitude is then displayed.” Is that what Juan de la Cruz suffers from?

This blog has discussed “experiential teaching” that the private sector has adopted to overcome the shortcomings of the Western education system. Which to industry translated to the requisite skill-set of teamwork, communication (in a team environment) and critical thinking. How about ours?

And beyond that, how does PHL leapfrog to the 21st century? Do we want to stop to make “pa-pogi” – and step up to reality? Juan de la Cruz must be thankful for the traffic – we’re growing the economy?

“In a world where imperfection seems to be everywhere, the humble and the honest have a huge head start in spiritual matters and can readily find God in their most ordinary of lives. ‘To the poor in spirit the kingdom of heaven already belongs’ (Matthew 5:3), Jesus says in his emphatic opening line of the Sermon on the Mount.” [Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, 15th Feb 2016].

That’s the spirituality dimension of development. And the pragmatic? The writer spent the last few months in Sofia, Bucharest, New York and Singapore, among others, doing business reviews with his Eastern European friends. And these economic hubs would confirm what he has observed over decades: nowhere in the world would perfection rule. Ergo: we can compete against the best in the world! But not if we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome?

It is about cultivating talent not validating talent. It is the distinction between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Do we Pinoys want to figure that out so we don’t find ourselves like a fish out of water in the 21st century?

“Mindset first came to my attention a few years ago in a fascinating invention session on education . . . Dweck’s research had a big impact on our thinking that day. [Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006), by the Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck] And in the years since . . . helped my foundation colleagues and me understand more about the attitudes and habits that allow some students to persevere in school despite big challenges.” [What you believe affects what you achieve, Bill Gates,, 7th Dec 2015]

“Our genes influence our intelligence and talents, but these qualities are not fixed at birth. If you mistakenly believe that your capabilities derive from DNA and destiny, rather than practice and perseverance, then you operate with what Dweck calls a ‘fixed mindset’ rather than a ‘growth mindset.’ Our parents and teachers exert a big influence on which mindset we adopt—and that mindset, in turn, has a profound impact on how we learn and which paths we take in life.

“In experiment after experiment, Dweck has shown that the fixed mindset is a huge psychological roadblock—regardless of whether you feel you were blessed with talent or not. If you have the fixed mindset and believe you were blessed with raw talent, you tend to spend a lot of time trying to validate your ‘gift’ rather than cultivating it. To protect your self-identity as someone who’s super smart or gifted, you often steer clear of tough challenges that might jeopardize that identity . . . ‘From the point of view of the fixed mindset, effort is only for people with deficiencies…. If you’re considered a genius, a talent, or a natural—then you have a lot to lose. Effort can reduce you.’“

And could that be why we are where we are as a people – an economy or a nation? We would enter the real world from wherever and take along our résumé – and then assert our rank and its privileges? The evidence? Creativity, innovation and competitiveness are not synonymous to PH – and would explain why tyranny fills the void and defines us?

A December 2009 ADB publication matter-of-factly confirms: “Poverty and inequality in the Philippines remains a challenge. In the past four decades, the proportion of households living below the official poverty line has declined slowly and unevenly and poverty reduction has been much slow.” Translation: not much has been done to address the structural barriers to Philippine progress and development?

Would we want the Marcos-Lopez era back sooner than later, before Juan de la Cruz gathers the courage to change? In the meantime, we have a handful laughing their way to the bank – while we borrow money to address poverty? Would the “global competitiveness index” mirror the “stupidity index” if there is one?

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

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