Saturday, November 28, 2015

BWorld 28, Economic freedom in Asia

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last November 25, 2015.

Humanity’s material progress and cultural development is made possible largely due to the freedom of people to initiate innovations that did not exist before and their freedom to buy and sell extra output and services produced by themselves and other people.

In short, economic freedom and freedom to trade are among the cornerstones of human progress. Remove this freedom and innovation and ingenuity will largely be curtailed and human misery and underdevelopment will result.

These are other related issues were tackled in the two-day Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia) Conferences 2015, here at Taj Tashi hotel in Thimpu, capital city of Bhutan. The event’s theme is “Economic freedom as a way to happiness” and the main sponsors are EFN Asia, QED Group, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF).

QED is a private, independent think tank and consulting firm based in Thimphu while FNF is a German political foundation tasked to help conduct economic and political education around the globe about the merits of classical liberalism, lean state, and increased market competition.

EFN Asia was born in 1998 during a conference in Manila discussing how more economic freedom and less government interventions could have anticipated and minimized the financial turmoil that occurred during the “Asian financial crisis” of 1997-1998. Since then, EFN Asia conferences are held yearly in different big cities in the region.

How is economic freedom measured and quantified? Which countries are the most free and least free in economic innovation? What are the implications of such scoring and ranking in economic freedom of countries and economies?

These and related questions are answered by the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) annual reports, produced by Fraser Institute in Canada, in partnership with FNF (Germany).

The EFW is measured by getting the scores (0 to 10, zero is totally unfree and 10 is full economic freedom) of countries covered on five areas: (1) Size of government, (2) Legal system and property rights, (3) Sound money, (4) Freedom to trade internationally, and (5) Regulation.

As a result, countries with big governments and high taxes get low scores in area (1); countries with highly corrupt legal systems and unstable property rights protection will get low scores in area (2); countries that have high inflation rates and make it difficult for their citizens to own and use other currencies will get low scores in area (3); countries that have low import tariffs, have few non-tariff barriers will get high scores in area (4); and countries with less restrictions and regulations in credit, hiring of labor and few business permits and compliance costs will get high scores in area (5).

The composite score for the five areas covered is generated and countries are ranked from highest to lowest. For Asia, here are some results. (See table)

For many years now, Hong Kong and Singapore are recognized as the two freest economies in the world. They have small and few taxes, their governments enforce the rule of law, and protect property rights. Since they have low or zero import tariff, it is easy and less costly for their exporters and importers to buy and sell goods abroad, and so on. Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea try to follow these policies set by the two freest economies.

The Philippines has been ranking modestly in the 60th to 70th positions in the three years above. It gets high scores in area (1) as it does not have too many transfers and subsidies, have few government enterprises. But the Philippines gets low score in area (2) with scores of only 3 to 4 in sub-areas Judicial independence and impartial courts, other sub-areas.

That presents a big challenge for the Philippine government (and other Asian governments too) and civil society organizations -- nongovernment organizations, media, academe, professional organizations, church groups, and so on: Control or minimize corruption and bribery by having rule of law: the law applies equally; no one is exempted and no one can grant an exemption to penalties set by the laws.

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the head of Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc., and a Fellow of the South East Asia Network for Development (SEANET). Both think tanks are members of EFN Asia.

Free Trade 57, Growth, IPRI 2015 and the TPP

Two weeks ago, I attended the launching of  the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2015 Report in Kuala Lumpur, then I also gave a short presentation on IPR and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

I showed portions of Dr. Ramon Clarete (University of the Philippines School of Economics, UPSE) paper during the UPSE-Ayala forum, Going Regional: Which Mega Trade Deals Should the Philippines Join? last February 2015.

He used the Gravity model of trade in estimating the level of bilateral exports or imports between two trading partners.

* Dependent variable: flow of trade between and among countries studied

* Independent or explanatory variables, their expected signs or relationships: GDP (+), population (+), dist. between two countries (-), commonality of language (+), shared borders (+), landlocked state (-).

* In addition, TPP and RCEP indicators or dummy variables are introduced: (a) TB1, 1 if both trading countries are TPP or RCEP members, 0 otherwise, (b) TB2, 1 if exporting country is a TPP or RCEP member, 0 otherwise; (c) TB3, 1 if importing country is a TPP or RCEP member, 0 otherwise. For overlapping memberships, a dummy variable where TPP*RCEP =1 if both trading partners are members of the two trade blocs.

And here are some results.

Then I briefly discussed my article in BusinessWorld that day, Property rights protection in APEC economies. Then I discussed the IPR on medicines aspect of the TPP.

And showed actual texts in the TPP agreement....

Below, from left: Lorenzo Montanari, Exec. Dir. of the Property Rights Alliance (PRA); Dr. Sary Levy, author of IPRI 2015, and Wan Saiful Wan Jan, CEO of IDEAS and Director, SEANET.

Concluding Notes:

1. Joining the TPP has more gains than pains for member-countries, especially in exports and overall GDP expansion.

2. IPR health provisions in TPP are not scary, they do not reduce access to cheaper generic drugs. Existing TRIPS flexibilities are maintained.

3. It seems that the generic pharma lobby + the anti-capitalism, anti-globalization NGOs created more noise and fear than what the TPPA actually provides.

4. There is more to fear in government taxation of medicines, in mandatory drug price discounts and price controls, than IPR protection.

“IPR create incentives for businesses to invest in ideas, to develop new products, and to earn a profit from the sale of those products. This in turn leads to improved customer satisfaction, improved profitability, and greater employment opportunities.”
– Prof. Sinclair Davidson, RMIT Univ. (Econ Dept.), Melbourne, Australia.

The full presentation is posted here.

See also:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

EFN Asia 53, Successful Conference 2015 has ended

Yesterday, the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Conference 2015 has ended. Reposting below some of the tweets under #efnasia2015, other tweets.

@efnasia  @meinardus giving Welcoming Address 

‏@QEDBhutan  "Freedom is a condition for happiness..." H E Kwon Tae-shin delivering keynote at #efnasia2015

@rdieckhoff  Kwon Tae-Shin's keynote stresses need for limited AND strong governments

@parthjshah  Discussion on Buddhism n econ freedom. And we judge morality of action by outcomes or intentions? 

@subodhtweet  Speed Dating #efnasia2015. An innovative way to get to know each other in large groups. interesting!!

@meinardus  You need growth, you cannot redistribute your way to poverty reduction, argues Dr Sethaput

@meinardus  Authoritarianism per se doesn't deliver. What does deliver is economic freedom, it's the core to poverty reduction, Najaf  Khan

@QEDBhutan  A human being is not just a happiness machine...there are other dimensions to being human - " Fred McMahon

‏@meinardus   Presenting UN data, @FraserInstitute Fred Mac Mahon says: Nations with least economic freedom are also least happy.

@QEDBhutan  Making the world your market- place is the key to prosperity here in Bhutan - Fred McMahon 

@subodhtweet  @QEDBhutan is the latest member to the Economic Freedom Network, announced Fred McMohan, Fraser Institute

@Kellerhoff  Phub Tshering, SecGen #Bhutan Chamber of Commerce: With freedom comes innovation 

@QEDBhutan  According to a CBS study, men are happier than women and, on the whole, framers are the unhappiest- Sunil Rasaily
Development in Bhutan is nuanced, and we need to be aware of this. - Sunil Rasaily

@QEDBhutan  Dasho Sonam P Wangdi delivering remarks after launching the EFW 2015 Report - Bhutan Edition

@meinardus  Economic damage done to #Nepal through the #India embargo several times bigger than that caused by #earthquake

‏@Kellerhoff  @robsitoula #southasia needs to improve foreign relations, in #Nepal we have a political crisis

‏@QEDBhutan  Yes, Bhutan is landlocked but so is Switzerland. Why can't Bhutan be another Switzerland ?  - Peter Wong 

‏@Kellerhoff  @peterwongbi #efnasia2015 #HongKong came out stronger out of each crisis. Just take bitter pill prescribed by Hayek

@meinardus  Democratic dividend: As politics in #India became more competitive economic growth has picked up, @barunmitra

@meinardus   Negative impact of intolerance: a country that restricts freedom of speech eventually also limits economic freedom  @barunmitra

@meinardus  Strong appeal by @barunmitra to promoters of economic #freedom to pay more attention to "real world of politics

@Kellerhoff  Economic Freedom and inclusive growth #efnasia2015 with @tomgpalmer @parthjshah @wansaiful @razeensally

@IDEASMalaysia  @wansaiful sharing Msia's experience on the panel for econ freedom & inclusive development @ #efnasia2015 in Bhutan.

@acorn  "People have died from poverty, but so far as we know, no one has died from inequality" - @tomgpalmer #efnasia2015

@QEDBhutan  "There are many poor counties with rich people. What we want is rich countries ... " Dr Tom Palmer 

‏@Armin_"Freedom is happiness" @QEDBhutan & @FNFreiheit closing #efnasia2015  in #Bhutan 

All photos above taken from tweets and fb.
Thanks for the opportunity to attend this great event, EFN Asia.

See also:
EFN Asia 49, Conference 2015 in Bhutan, September 15, 2015 
EFN Asia 50, New network member, Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, September 25, 2015 
EFN Asia 51, Draft program, Day 1 of Conference 2015, November 05, 2015 
EFN Asia 52, The 5 fishbowls of economic freedom in Asia, November 20, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

BWorld 27, The rich getting richer, the poor getting middle class

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last November 19, 2015.

There are plenty of papers circulating and arguing that the increased integration of the Philippines into the regional and global economy will result in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. How true is this statement?

Has the Philippines’ membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) improved the lives of its ordinary citizens?

Without going through the long and technical procedures in typical academic papers, this paper will check certain data and parameters to see if the above statement is true or not.

Four sets of data in two tables will be used: (a) infant and toddler mortality rate, (b) life expectancy, (c) unemployment rate, and (d) mobile phones and Web connectivity.

Here is the simple process: If people are getting poorer, or the degree of poverty today remains the same as a decade ago, then (a) there will be more or the same rates of infant and toddler deaths, (b) life expectancy remains the same as people in different age brackets die at the same rate as a decade ago, and so on. (See Table 1) 

From these numbers, the verdict is that the health and safety of Filipinos is improving, not worsening, over the past one and a half decades. There are fewer deaths among newly-born infants and toddlers; and Filipinos are living longer, meaning there are fewer deaths per age bracket on average. Those are the good news.

The bad news is that Philippine records are lower than those of its neighbors in East Asia except in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. And this is where most of the pessimistic and critical comments are coming from: they emphasize the higher ratio of infant and toddler deaths in the Philippines compared to its neighbors and are silent or deliberately hiding the fact the good news mentioned above.

We now verify the same question with another set of data. (See Table 2)

If it’s true that unemployment and poverty rates in the Philippines are so high -- people quoting data from IBON Foundation and the Social Weather Stations surveys indicating a 25% joblessness rate -- then people would be so poor as to stop buying mobile phones and forego access to the Web. Is this happening?

Again, to the disappointment of the pessimists, the answer is No, on two counts. (1) No, the unemployment rate in the Philippines based on International Labor Organization and internationally-recognized official definitions is not 25% or 20% or 15%, but less than 7%. And (2) No, poverty is not worsening because millions of Filipinos can now afford to buy mobile phones and pay for Internet subscription, things that are far from the usual “basic needs” of humanity which are food, clothing, and shelter.

Overall, data for the Philippines and other Southeast Asian and East Asian economies that are members or non-members of APEC point to the fact that the rich are getting richer, and the poor are not getting poorer, but moving into the middle class.

Freeing markets on health care, entrepreneurship, telecommunications and many other sectors will allow the poor to have better access to information, from better ways to do rice, chicken and fish farming, to building stronger houses, shops and buildings.

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the President of Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc. and a Fellow of the South East Asia Network for Development (SEANET).

See also:
BWorld 23, ASEAN trade bureaucracies and Doing Business 2016 Report, November 07, 2015 

BWorld 24, Traffic and Newton's 3 laws of motion, November 12, 2015 

BWorld 25, Feed in tariff means expensive electricity, November 14, 2015 

BWorld 26, IPRI 2015 in APEC economies, November 19, 2015

Energy 49, Malaysia's and Singapore's bright nights and nat gas power

I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last Sunday-Tuesday, for the IPRI 2015 launching + other visits arranged by IDEAS and SEANET. It was my second visit in KL this year, I was there last April for another SEANET event.

My 5+pm return MAS flight to Manila (arrival should have been 9:20pm) on Tuesday was cancelled, should be due to additional APEC security measures in Manila. I needed to go back home, so IDEAS got a new ticket for me, KL-SG-Mla via SG Air. Left KL Tuesday at 9:45pm, left SG at 12:20am, Manila by 4:30am.

So, I was able to see KL and suburbs at night from the air as I took the window seat. Again, like what I saw in Thailand last month when I arrived Bangkok at midnight (see Thailand's bright nights and nat gas power), Malaysia has a wide, huge area of well-lighted roads, houses and buildings.

This photo I got from the web, not from my camera. It shows KL center and suburbs. The dark areas are the many urban forest in KL.

The bright and well-lighted areas go beyond KL and suburbs. Stretched to other urban centers further down, to Johor and other cities bordering with Singapore.

Below, Singapore at night; again, this photo I got from the web, not from my camera. It simply captures the well-lighted city-state, from the shorelines to other sides.

I am glad that like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore do not believe in mandatory switch to unreliable, intermittent wind and solar power made "cheaper" only because of various subsidies. They rely on the old, dependable coal and  natural gas, for their electricity needs.

In 2012, these countries and economies were dependent on the following energy sources:

Thailand: 20% coal + 70.3% nat gas + 1.5% oil = 91.8% fossil fuel.
Malaysia: 41.5% coal + 46.6% nat gas + 4.5% oil = 92.6% fossil fuel.
Singapore: 84.3% nat gas + 13% oil = 95.3% fossil fuel.

Indonesia: 48.7% coal + 23.2% nat gas + 16.7% oil = 88.6% fossil fuel.
Vietnam: 17.9% coal + 35.8% nat gas + 2.7% oil = 56.4% fossil fuel.
Philippines: 38.8% coal + 26.9% nat gas + 5.8% oil = 71.5% fossil fuel.

Hong Kong: 70.3% coal + 27.3% nat gas + 2.1% oil = 99.7% fossil fuel.
S. Korea: 44.8% coal + 20.9% nat gas + 4.0% oil = 69.7% fossil fuel.
China: 75.8% coal + 1.8% nat gas and oil = 77.6% fossil fuel.

Source: ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2015, Table 6.1

So when people say they dislike or hate fossil fuels yet also dislike or hate frequent brownouts and expensive electricity, they proudly and openly exhibit their hypocrisy and double talk.

In one fb thread of a friend, he commented that during the APEC meetings, US President Obama posed climate change (CC) as a challenge that government and business leaders must take action.

I commented that the main reason why we have electricity in M.Manila for the APEC and similar events, the reason why many people can do fb and attack "man-made" CC, is because of those power plants that run on fossil fuels.  Frequent brownouts and candles are NOT nice to "save the planet." Watch more fires because of more candles. Watch more crimes and road accidents because of dark streets.

There are many people who advocate or support the "anti-fossil fuel movement." We can assume that they have no car or motorcycle, that they do not take a jeepney or taxi or bus, does not ride an airplane -- ALL of these run on fossil fuel.

The anti-fossil fuel movement is notorious for hypocrisy and double talk. The Paris meeting in less than two weeks will have thousands of petroleum-bashing planet saviours who reach Paris via fossil fuel-fed planes and cars.

CC is natural, it is nature-made, not man-made. It is cyclical, warming-cooling-warming-cooling, endless cycle, not "unprecedented". CC is true, it happened in the past even if humans did not even ride a bicycle or invented shoes. It is happening now, and it will happen in the future.

As I told my friend in the past, climate alarmis, ss("it is man-made, period!") will never be interested in dialogues or even debates. The big ones and leaders are interested only in climate money, something like $100B a year, or $500B a year, or $5 trillion a year, take your pick. The non-big ones are interested only in spreading alarmism.

The Pope, ahh, when he came to Manila, his plane was using water, or it was being towed by hundreds of witches on flying brooms or carpets.

See also:

Friday, November 20, 2015

EFN Asia 52, The 5 fishbowls of economic freedom in Asia

The two-days Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia conference 2015 in Bhutan is just 3 days away. Among the important activities on Day 1 is the dynamic discussion on Economic Freedom and Happiness: Five Fishbowls.

The term "fishbowl" is taken from the seating arrangement of participants: listeners form a circle in the centre of which sit the discussants. 

Each fishbowl will have six persons at the centre: 1 expert, 1 moderator, 1 rapporteur, and 3 “open” resource persons. The listeners form a circle. The first 3 persons never leave their positions while the 3 open resource persons can, they can be replaced by some listeners who want to speak, upon the permission of the moderator for orderly allocation of time and discussions in case there are debates.

I have not attended this type of discussion before, it looks challenging and exciting. 

The five fishbowl topics are also the five areas that constitute the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) scoring, and "Happiness" is added to each fishbowl topic. Here are the topics and the facilitators that day:

1. Size of government: expenditures, taxes, and enterprises and Happiness

Expert: Muntasir Mamun Iqbal, Lecturer, North South University, Bangladesh
Moderator: Ruben Dieckhoff, Regional Project Manager, FNF Regional Office South Asia
Rapporteur: Akash Shrestha, Senior Research Office, Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation, Nepal.

2. Legal structure and security of property rights and Happiness

Expert: Muntasir Mamun Iqbal, Director, Takshila Foundation, India
Moderator: Subodh Kumar Agarwal, Programmes Executive, FNF Regional Office South Asia
Rapporteur: Sreya Majumder, Executive, Energy, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) (TBC)

3. Access to sound money and Happiness

Expert: Nonoy Oplas, President, Minimal Government Thinkers Inc., The Philippines
Moderator: Moritz Klein-Brockhoff, Resident Rep. Indonesia, Project Director Malaysia, FNF
Rapporteur: Yu Suhyeon, Programme Officer, FNF Korea

4. Freedom to trade internationally and Happiness

Expert: Prof. Eric Gartzke, Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego, USA
Moderator: Olaf Kellerhoff, Head of Asia Department and Human Rights, FNF Head Office
Rapporteur: Khim Sophanna, Programme Manager, FNF Cambodia

5. Regulation of credit, labor, and business and Happiness

Experts: Suwanchai Lohawatanakul, President, Institute of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Thailand
Moderators: Armin Reinartz, Regional Project Manager, FNF Regional Office South East and East Asia
Rapporteur: Sorasak Phaengkote, Student, Thammasat University, Thailand

Below, from left to right:
1st row: Muntasir Mamun Iqbal, Muntasir Mamun Iqbal, me.
2nd row: Eric, Gartzke, Suwanchai Lohawatanakul.
3rd row: Ruben Dieckhoff, Subodh Kumar Agarwal, Olaf Kellerhoff.
4th row: Moritz Klein-Brockhoff, Armin Reinartz.

Excited to see Bhutan, and experience the fishbowl discussion. Both for the first time.

See also:
EFN Asia 48: Report on "Free Market Environmentalism", May 29, 2015 

EFN Asia 49, Conference 2015 in Bhutan, September 15, 2015 
EFN Asia 50, New network member, Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, September 25, 2015 
EFN Asia 51, Draft program, Day 1 of Conference 2015, November 05, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BWorld 26, IPRI 2015 in APEC economies

* This is my column in BusinessWorld last Monday, November 16, 2015.

KUALA LUMPUR -- The protection of property rights and promulgation of the rule of law are the cornerstones of peace and order in society. When such property rights are removed and unprotected, society can quickly degenerate into chaos and disorder. For instance, your house or car is also somebody else’s house and car, and he/she can take and occupy it anytime, anywhere.

Measuring property rights protection across many countries has been done by the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), a network of 74 independent, nongovernment, and market-oriented think tanks from 57 countries around the world and is based in Washington, D.C.
PRA produces the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) annual reports, which is a measurement of how governments in the countries covered promulgate the rule of law and protect property rights, public and private, physical and non-physical or intellectual.

The IPRI 2015 Report is launched today here at Park Royal Hotel in the capital city of Malaysia. The event is jointly sponsored by the PRA and the South East Asia Network for Development, which is a regional project of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs in Malaysia.

The event’s theme is “Protection of Property Rights, Economic Growth, and the TPP.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is included in the theme because of its recent approval by the original 12 member-countries including Malaysia. TPP of course will not be implemented unless each member-country ratifies the agreement.

IPRI is derived by getting the score (one to 10, 10 being the highest) of each country covered in three major areas:

1 Legal and Political Environment (LP), which includes judicial independence, rule of law, control of corruption and political stability;

2 Physical Property Rights (PPR), which includes registration and protection of physical properties, and access to loans; and

3 Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which includes protection of IPRs, in particular patents and copyrights.

As a result, countries with high scores in two or all three of these areas will have a high IPRI score and global rank.

In the 2015 Report, the top 10 from 1st to 10th places are: Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, Canada, and Netherlands.

For this piece, the focus will be on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member-countries that are covered in the IPRI annual reports. Only 19 countries are in this table because Brunei was not included in the IPRI 2014 and 2015 Reports while Papua New Guinea was never included in all IPRI reports, past and present. (See Table)

APEC countries that were not included in the 2014 Report because of some incomplete data were given this observation in that report:

1 Philippines: Between 2010 and 2014, the Philippines IPRI score increased by +2.9%. In 2014 IPRI increased by +0.2 due to slight increases in all components. LP increased by +0.2 points due to all four of its items increasing in 2014. In particular, item Political Stability improved by +22.7% between 2013 and 2014.

2 South Korea: Over the 2010-2014 period of analysis, the South Korea IPRI score fluctuated around the value of 6.3. PPR data is missing from the analysis completely and IPR is missing for 2010 and 2011... In general, the overall IPRI value for South Korea is good and stable.

The Philippines’ jump in global rank from 77th in 2013 to 65th in 2015 is somehow impressive despite the flat score of 5.1 and 5.0, respectively. The reason for the big jump is because many countries have suffered significant decline in their scores from 2014 to 2015.

Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-6 that are also APEC members and covered in this annual report, there is a mixture of results over the years. The bad news is that (a) the gap in overall score between high-ranked Singapore and low-ranked Vietnam was very wide, with the average score of the former almost twice that of the latter; (b) Thailand and Vietnam suffered significant declines in scores and global rank, both falling by at least 19 notches in ranking from 2014 to 2015; and (c) Indonesia global rank also fell significantly from 59th in 2014 to 70th in 2015.

The good news is that Singapore and Malaysia have managed to retain their high scores and global ranking.

The results of this annual study should prod the governments of the Philippines and other East Asian economies to remember the main function, the raison d’ĂȘtre or reason for existence, of governments: to enforce the rule of law, the protection of the citizens’ right to life (against aggressors), right to private property (against thieves and destroyers of properties), and right to liberty (against bullies and despots).

There is a positive relationship between economic development and economic freedom, and the strength of property rights protection. Civil society leaders should keep reminding governments of this reality, and dissuade the latter from enacting and implementing various programs that directly or indirectly erode the respect of private property. 

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the President of Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc., which is one of the 74 think tank-members of PRA. He is also a SEANET Fellow.

See also:
BWorld 22, WESM, PEMC and search for competitive electricity prices, November 05, 2015 
BWorld 23, ASEAN trade bureaucracies and Doing Business 2016 Report, November 07, 2015 

BWorld 24, Traffic and Newton's 3 laws of motion, November 12, 2015 

BWorld 25, Feed in tariff means expensive electricity, November 14, 2015

Inequality 26, Pew survey result on support for free market, July 27, 2015 
Inequality 27, ADR Institute forum on poverty and growth, August 18, 2015

Inequality 28, IBON and sensational analysis

IBON Foundation maintains its sensational and not-so-deep research, nice on graphics but shallow on comparative numbers. I am referring to these 3 infographics they produced and sent to local media. A friend sent this to me to get my reaction, I said that I will blog my comments.

IBON naman, sana man lang utak agila or lawin, wag naman utak maya :-)

On point #1, decline in Agri/GDP ratio means more agri jobs lost. Weird. 
Even socialist Vietnam and China, more developed Thailand and Malaysia, have shrinking share of Agri/GDP ratio. It's the natural progression of societies. Overall productivity across countries keeps rising, thanks to scientific innovation and market competition. We will need less rural labor, other inputs, to feed an ever-rising population.

The same point re decline in manufacturing/GDP ratio, leading to more manufacturing jobs lost. Decline in ratio is not automatically bad as other sub-sectors in the industry sector, services sector, have absorbed excess labor from manufacturing as the latter uses more machines and robots. 

On point #3, the number of poor people have increased. Well, the definition  of "poor" is evolving. Until a few years ago, it was earning $1/day/person or less, now it's around $1.5/day/person. Before, the poor were riding cows or horses, now they ride motorcycles or buy 2nd/3rd-hand cars or jeeps. Before, the poor were using smoke signals to send a message, now they have fb and twitter on their cheap smart phones.

 Source of 2 tables:  ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2015.

Since 30+ years ago, and possibly 20 or 30 years from now, IBON reports and will only report the ugly, the uglier and ugliest about the PH economy. Kasi hindi pa tayo socialist Philippines eh, so things are bad and ugly and depressing. :-)

See also: