Neoliberal economics continues, but nationalist change still possible

Features Philippines Oct 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm

first-100-daysOn the Duterte admininstration’s economic direction in its first 100 days:

There is still much to be done for the Duterte administration to overcome the Philippine government’s stubborn adherence to old and discredited anti-Filipino neoliberalism. This overrides and is inconsistent with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s otherwise pro-poor and pro-Filipino pronouncements. This is also notwithstanding the welcome appointment of activists and progressives to important cabinet and other positions on agrarian reform, social welfare and development, labor and employment, anti-poverty, and the environment.

In particular, the 10-point economic agenda of the economic team still upholds the failed notion that creating the most profitable market conditions for big business, especially big foreign investors, is the best strategy for economic development. This is certainly the best strategy to increase foreign corporate and oligarch profits but it does not and can never deliver socioeconomic development for the poor majority. The recent experience under the old Aquino administration underscores this. The rapid economic growth greatly increased the wealth and profits of a few — but the historic crisis of joblessness worsened, covering unemployment and deteriorating quality of work, and tens of millions remain in crushing poverty. Agriculture and fisheries weakened while genuinely Filipino industry continued to decline.

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