(Note: this is my panel talk at the 4th Pacific Rim Policy Exchange, Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, Australia, September 29, 2010. The powerpoint presentation of this will be uploaded at www.minimalgovernment.net)
Introduction about the Philippines.
• Current population 94 million, 12th biggest in the world
• Population growth 1.8 million/year. Creating an equiv. of one Singapore (4.5M) every 2 years and 6 mos.
• Land area 30 million hectares, archipelago of 7,100 islands and islets
• Only Asian country colonized by Spain (about 370 years) and the US (about 43 years), then Japan during WW2.
• Only predominantly Catholic country in Asia.
• North is Hong Kong capitalism, just 1:45 hrs by plane. South is Singapore capitalism, just 3:20 by plane.
• But the Philippine government is learning more statism from the UN and foreign aid bodies than these 2 dynamic economies.
Advancing the free market ideas and the philosophy of individual freedom is a tough act to do these days. Many people enjoy the freedom of voluntary exchange, the many free online networking like facebook, google, youtube, blogger and twitter, that enhance individual expression and individual freedom, all of which are products of competition under capitalism. And yet people lambast capitalism and glorify its “death” with the recent global financial turmoil. And so they justify if not advocate, for greater government intervention, regulation and taxation, to “correct market failures” and save the poor.
But how blind can they be with various government failures? Government corruption, wastes and robbery is a never-ending issue in many countries, especially in poorer ones like the Philippines. We’ve had “People Power revolution” in 1986 to kick out a dictator and its corrupt government, we’ve had several administrations after that and until today, corruption remains a topic of conversation and frustration by many people, including those who benefit from it.
The attitude of many people about capitalism and the free market is similar to their attitude and belief in “man-made warming”. When it’s hot, dry and there is prolonged drought, it is due to man-made global warming and climate change. When it’s cold, wet and there is prolonged rains and bitter winter, still it is due to man-made global warming and climate change. Whatever climate a country or continent has, it is due to man-made warming. It is religion, it is based on faith and belief, not on hard data and endless scientific discoveries. So believers of such man-made warming religion support governments to institute more environmental regulations, more energy taxation, more climate bureaucracies, more expensive global climate talks. Their appetite for global ecological central planning is endless.
And so because many people attack the free market even if they benefit from it, they casually cite market failure as if market solutions do not exist, and they are blind or silent to endless government failures and they advocate even more government intervention to solve previous government failures, our task as advocates of more individual freedom, of free market and free trade, just gets bigger and bigger.
It is important to explain to the public the irony of their attitude, and the dangers of heavy state intervention and coercion in our lives.
On our part in the Philippines, these are some of the things we do, me in particular.
1. Our website, www.minimalgovernment.net, updated weekly, featuring free market writers and bloggers in the Philippines and some from Asia. We give some of their latest articles with direct links to their sites or blogs.
2. I regularly update my blog, http://funwithgovernment.blogspot.com, with new articles everyday on average. I just posted two papers about this conference and Sydney yesterday and this morning.
3.I write a weekly column in an online magazine, www.thelobbyist.biz, my column there is entitled "Back to Personal Responsibility" to highlight the need for people
4. Writing another weekly column in a weekend tabloid, People's Brigada News, circulated in two southern cities of Metro Manila. It has a weekly circulation of 5,000 copies.
5. Posting my articles or linking important free market articles in my facebook status (I have nearly 950 fb friends) and engage some guys to a discussion or brief debate. If no one engages me in a debate and I'm in a mood to look for one, I check the status of some friends and duel them in their facebook status if they post some statist and anti-market remarks. In most cases, I have "terrorized" some of my friends that they do not post topics in their fb status that they think I will come and debate them anytime. This helps reduce the noise and propaganda of some statists.
6. Commenting on others' postings on twitter. I am new to twitter and have few followers there, so I just watch for other people's tweets and engage them in brief counter-arguments if necessary. I have frontally challenged Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund - Philippines about warmin g, and none of them will engage me.
7. Challenging friends or other members of my variious discussion yahoogroups (I belong to about 6) on different topics. Many of the short papers in my blog are lifted and expanded versions of my discussions and debates from my various yahoogroups.
8. Becoming a guest speaker in some talks and lectures in Manila. Last year, I gave about 15 talks as main speaker, mostly on the subject of climate alarmism.
9. Attending some seminars and conferences and challenge in the open forum some speakers who talked statist arguments and remarks.
10. Sending occasional oped papers in some newspapers in Manila on certain topics.
Lesson: Keep exposing the evils of statism and socialism.