Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Inequality 36, Adam Smith the poor

Last September, I have a brief email discussion with some friends and former classmates from UPSE in the 80s. A summary of those points:

1. On scale of economy -- PH economy has momentum mainly because of our big population. Our GDP size doubles about every two decades on average.

2. Poverty reduction, what to do -- Adam Smith the poor. Don’t give too many freebies, forever subsidies. But if the poor are industrious, government and NGOs also should not ask for too many permits, taxes, fees, penalties. There are 100 ways to be poor like being lazy, or work 1 day and then complain about work the next full day. Or people work 6-7 days a week but they also drink, party and/or gamble 6-7 nights a week and have zero savings. These are 101% sure formula for perpetual poverty.

3. "Ambisyon Natin 2040" by NEDA -- it's useful but it looks more like centrally-planned ambitions and hence, may not be attainable. Households and individuals' ambitions are different from bureaucrats and legislators' ambitions.

4.  Where are we headed -- I think towards more, bigger government. Take the RH law, condoms lang, govt and legislation pa? These can be done via civil society, corporate volunteerism.

5.  The "Marcos revival” -- this seems inevitable, as govt expands like amoeba, the amoeba will proliferate like Marcos big govt.

6. Is the PH hopeless? -- No. No country is hopeless, even N.Korea, Myanmar, Venezuela have hopes but the realization takes time. Something like 2 steps forward, 1 step backwards. I remember the first time I took a plane, I was 25 years old already. My eldest took her 1st plane ride at about 6 months, her 1st trip abroad at 1 yr 8 months, 2008. Things are improving fast in the private sector, government is only the drag.

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