Tuesday, 28 April 2009

For the Philippines or for the West?

Outside the Box
John Mangun

It all started back in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. I wrote shortly thereafter that President Arroyo “politely reminded the West that for the last 10 years they pursued polices that drove their economies into a black hole. Countries like the Philippines used that time to build themselves up. The President called for the West to include countries like the Philippines in all further global economic discussions so the West might learn some ‘helpful new ideas.’”

I wrote a week later in a column, “A conspiracy against the Philippines?” that suddenly all the foreign “experts” began reversing their opinions about the Philippines and economic-growth estimates were being revised downward by a staggering amount.

I will say this as plainly as I can: There is a determined effort by the West to downplay and diminish any positive economic aspects of countries like the Philippines.

What is happening is not simply propaganda. It is not an intellectual exercise. It is not simply the Western media being biased in their assessments of countries like the Philippines. These efforts to undermine nations like the Philippines may be subtle and covert, but it is nonetheless an all-out economic war.

The larger and predominately Western nations and economies have spent nearly 50 years subjecting the “Third World” to economic neocolonialism. From one-sided trade practices to encouraging improper and unnecessary lending to these countries through the International Monetary Fund, countries like the Philippines have been held in control.

Western banks have made billions of dollars by lending to the “underdeveloped” countries. And everything has been done to keep these nations less-developed to force them to rely on borrowing from the Western banks. Economic growth has been stifled at all costs to insure that investment capital would not flow out of the West.

Now that the wealth-creation of the West over that last 20 years has been shown to be all smoke and mirrors, and that those economies are crumbling, they cannot afford to see any capital flight to countries like the Philippines. And they will do everything in their power to stop it.

The USA, in particular, needs every foreign dollar it can find to be invested in its economy. Every dollar that flows to the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand or any place else is one less dollar to save the USA and Western European economies. Now think about this.

If you put your money in US government 90-day debt, you receive 0.10-percent interest. Buying a 90-day Philippine Treasury bill gives you an interest rate of 4.352 percent. You can make 430 times more interest in the Philippines. Where is any sensible person going to put their money? Outside the USA and Western Europe.

But they, the West, cannot let that happen. So they easily manipulate the price of the US dollar to scare investors into thinking that the only place for their money is in the “safe haven” of the United States.

At every opportunity, the “experts” highlight government budget deficits in countries like the Philippines, prompting fears of currency devaluation without ever noting facts like that Western government deficits are a far greater percentage of GDP than many countries like the Philippines.

They spread false information about bank and tax laws to strike fear that by investing in countries like the Philippines, people may be violating home-country financial regulations.

If the economic numbers cannot convince investors to stay away, maybe the threat of political turmoil will do the job. Already, the political trouble in Thailand is being linked to the economic crisis. Little mention is made that their political problems began long before the economic crisis. I guarantee that the negative rhetoric about Philippine politics will ratchet up higher every week as the May 2010 elections become closer.

The “experts” at the global financial institutions are hard at work looking for negatives about the Philippines. Tourism is supposed to be hurt this year, damaging the economy. Except that year-to-date arrivals are up 10 percent over 2008. Remittances are expected by the foreign experts to fall disastrously. Except that in January, they grew larger over 2008 and February’s numbers were even better.

In a week or so, the first-quarter 2009 economic numbers will be released. I guarantee, they will be above the foreign experts’ estimates. But no matter; the economic growth will not be good enough. The foreigners will say that the worst is yet to come. The foreign-funded local mouthpieces of the West will complain that the government is faking the data. You will see foreign funds moving out of the stock market and out of Philippine government debt.

You personally have a choice. You can easily join the economic war against the Philippines. Help the West and their economies by not expanding your local business. Buy dollars instead of pesos. Do not even consider investing in the Philippine stock market. Buy foreign products and not domestic.

Or you can make a decision that you stand on the side of the Philippines and do exactly the opposite.

The Philippines is alone and does not have any friends or allies in the Western governments and financial institutions. Our wealth gain is their wealth loss. That is the fact of this economic war and every member of this Filipino economy is a participant in that war, realize it or not. The only question is, are you economically fighting for the Philippines or against this country?

PSE stock-market information and technical-analysis tools were provided by CitisecOnline.com Inc. E-mail comments to mangun@email.com.


  1. Bravo! This article should have been published 50 years ago in an editorial. Reminds me of that booklet "Why Are We So Poor?"

    This should be put on a viral widget and freely resyndicated to all Philippine blogs.

  2. So true. Confirms what I suspected all along.