Thursday, May 5, 2016

Adapt or perish

“‘Lucifer in the flesh . . . I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,’ said Mr. Boehner, who has made previous disparaging remarks about Mr. [Ted] Cruz in both public and private, though without comparing him directly to Satan.

‘If I have said 50 words in my life to John Boehner, I’d be surprised, and every one of them has consisted of pleasantries,’ Mr. Cruz told reporters, noting that he had never really worked with Mr. Boehner.

“And therein lies the problem. Mr. Boehner, who suffered as Mr. Cruz wooed rebellious House conservatives into a punishing government shutdown in 2013, saw Mr. Cruz as a self-aggrandizer who put himself above the institution of Congress and even the good of his party.” [Out of Office, Ex-Speaker John Boehner Gleefully Releases Mute Button, Carl Hulse, The New York Times, 28th Apr 2016.]

Juan de la Cruz may not be an ideologue but is he adaptable? Shutting down the government may be an extreme yet it is no different from “crab mentality” – that is, nothing happens, nothing moves forward, nothing is accomplished?

Because ideologues make judgments – yet even Francis would be quick to interject, “who am I to judge”? “Francis’ Message Calls on Church to Be Inclusive,” Jim Yardley and Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, 8th Apr 2016.

“Francis also makes clear the vision he wants local bishops and priests to follow: as a church that greets families with empathy and comfort rather than with unbending rules and rigid codes of conduct.”

Unbending and rigid, like our way of life? Consider its elements starting with parochial; followed by hierarchical, paternalistic, political patronage and dynasties, cronyism and oligarchy. Ergo: insular!

And an insular worldview explains why industry especially SMEs can’t craft a vision of global competitiveness – and why we resort to “pwede na ‘yan” like OFW remittances and the BPO industry.

Or assume that “Trade liberalization policies are often to the disadvantage of poor nations, who do not have the resources to be competitive.” [The gods of old and new, Christopher Ryan, 2 May 2016]

Even a small enterprise must have clarity: what its income streams must be; and translated in competitive products and/or services. Otherwise it’s in the wrong business. And David can beat Goliath. And why this blog was inspired by the writer's Eastern European friends – as recent as 13 years ago were an SME. And how they've become one of the EU's best has been chronicled in the blog. 

And where are we? “A czar, an action man, who will concentrate all his energies on one basic problem, is indeed needed in so many areas of our national life today. But it is in employment where the need is most critical today – in relation to the difficulties of working abroad, to job security, and most of all to poverty, among the many interrelated problems of our country today.” [A czar for traffic, for energy, for jobs, Manila Bulletin, 29th Apr 2016]

“For the country to develop, inclusive growth is crucial. Two of five rural folks . . . live in poverty compared to one out of eight urban folks. The causes of poverty are known . . . THE POOR performance of Philippine agriculture exports is a sad narrative. Expanding exports are key to agricultural growth and diversification . . . Over 33 years, Philippine agriculture exports posted the slowest growth at 3.2 percent a year as compared to Malaysia’s 5.9 percent, Thailand’s 7.2 percent, Indonesia’s 8.0 percent, and Vietnam’s 16.3 percent.” [Agri exports: Scorecard of presidents, Rolando T. Dy, MAPping the future,, 2nd May 2016.]

It’s worth repeating: “Over 33 years . . .” That is a generation we ceded and CCT is our response?

Are we mired in the “trivial many” that we miss the “vital few”? And why we continue to brew the perfect storm? And to mitigate our cacique hierarchical system and structure, in the name of compassion, we invoked paternalism and institutionalized the party-list system, for example? And like it or not, we enshrined crab mentality and put politics at the heart of the nation’s psyche instead of nation-building – and worse the tyranny of the minority aka vested interests? “The culprit behind political mess,” Bartolome C. Fernandez Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30th Apr 2016. [He is a former commissioner of the Commission on Audit.]

“The peculiarity [of our system] is that it allows the minority to rule over the majority. It will be, as it were, the case of a ‘majority of the few’ prevailing over the ‘minority of the many.’

“As I see it, our leaders in the political agencies of the government are much too preoccupied and obsessed with their political fortunes, most often at the expense of the people. The corroding effects of too much politics in our midst are being felt in practically all aspects of governance. Partisan politics is one of our weaknesses, above which we have yet to rise.”

It’s the 21st century. The greatness of man – his sense of purpose and the values that will crystallize his reason for being – has been demonstrated over the ages while Juan de la Cruz would still be a reactive yet an unadaptable creature?

For example, our inability and failure to prioritize is reflective of our shortsightedness? The evidence? Our infrastructure backwardness. Unfortunately we haven't developed leaders that can show us the way. Because of paternalism we pander – are expected to pander – and perpetuate crab mentality. And it opens the floodgates to influence peddling, political patronage and dynasties, crony capitalism and oligarchy. Should this be of interest to our social scientists – because we can’t continue with same old, same old?

“The countries that surround the Philippines have become the world's most famous showcases for the impact of culture on economic development. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore--all are short on natural resources, but all . . . have clawed their way up through hard study and hard work. Unfortunately for its people, the Philippines illustrates the contrary: that culture can make a naturally rich country poor . . . The culture in question is Filipino, but it has been heavily shaped by nearly a hundred years of the ‘Fil-Am relationship.' 

“[T]he basic explanation seems to be culture: in the one case a culture that brings out the productive best in the Koreans . . . Japanese . . . Thais, and in the other a culture that pulls many Filipinos toward their most self-destructive, self-defeating worst.” [A Damaged Culture: A New Philippines (?), James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly, 1st Nov 1987]

Have we as a people shared nation-building, a sense of community and the common good, to define who we are? Sadly, the elite class simply have no time for that? Like the 1-% of Wall Street?

To be adaptable demands internalizing a “growth mindset” – over a “fixed mindset”! “All the work that I have done in my life will be obsolete by the time I am 50.” [ video, recorded in 1994 when Steve Jobs was 39 years old] This is a field where one does not write a principia, which holds up for two hundred years . . .’”

In other words, even the person that created the world’s most valuable enterprise knew that those following him would have to adapt. Which should not be surprising given the human need that their products must respond to is a continuum. If he was acknowledged better than his predecessors, his successors would have to be even better – they have to be if extinction is untenable.

“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 . . . a “fixed mindset” rather than a “growth mindset.” [What you believe affects what you achieve, Bill Gates,, 7th Dec 2015]

Therein lies the problem of Juan de la Cruz? Are we more Catholic than the pope? Or how are we conducting ourselves in this presidential election? Are we contemplating of undoing our way of life? If we think that is untenable, try extinction? We can’t let every generation roll on and be unadaptable?

‘Crony capitalism’ under Marcos tyranny revisited, Satur C. Ocampo, The Philippine Star, 30th Apr 2016. “Do Bongbong’s rich backers in the ABC group remember how Marcos plundered state resources to line his pocket and those of his friends? The surviving cronies or their relatives and associates are eagerly awaiting vengeance if and when the dictator’s son manages to snatch the position.

“To remind readers of this column, and apprise those who may not have been aware of it, let’s revisit one aspect of the Marcos dictatorship’s numerous accountabilities that Bongbong says should be left to the judgment of history. I refer to crony capitalism – the business operations of Marcos’ close friends and collaborators, sustained by generous government loans and guarantees, and bailed out with state funds when they mismanaged themselves into financial trouble.

“The late Jaime V. Ongpin, then president of Benguet Corporation, coined the term ‘crony capitalism.’ He exposed and consistently opposed it in the campaign to end the Marcos dictatorship.

“Ongpin made an incisive case and call for action against the Marcos regime . . . ‘The Eleven MIPs’ (a.k.a. The Eleven Major Infuriating Problems), a jibe at Marcos’ Eleven Major Industrial Projects that never got implemented. [C]rony capitalism was one cause of the Philippine economy’s failure to grow. Should we risk having it revived?”

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

“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]

No comments:

Post a Comment