Philippines: Bongbong Marcos and the unintended consequences of the need to grow

 Beatrice E. Rangel
Beatrice Rangel

The electoral victory of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the late dictator Marcos in the Philippines, has been seen as a new defeat for the democratic forces. Indeed, despite his valiant fight against the abuses and authoritarianism of current President XXX Duterte, Leni Robredo failed to create a coalition of democratic forces capable of preventing authoritarian continuity in government. In my view however, this defeat is a prelude to a future victory.

The electoral process in the Philippines is an excellent learning ground for democratic forces worldwide. Because it clearly shows how the corporatist cultures inherited from the Spanish Middle Ages create extremely powerful groups of power that are not willing to stop benefiting from the multiple income-generating monopolies that have kept them in force for the last four centuries. Those power groups are not interested in establishing competition in politics or the economy. Because that means that they would have to dedicate themselves to creating wealth, a much more complex exercise and often with uncertain results in this globalized world.

So the power groups align themselves with whoever guarantees the perpetuation of a corporatist state. That state is the best income distribution mechanism known. The nation is organized into corporations such as business, labor, professional/intellectual, and military. Each corporation has a leading leadership, the leaders have access to the fruits of economic growth, the best public services and the best education. The rest of the population lives in a constant struggle for their rights to be recognised, for public services to be provided and for the labor market to be opened up to them. This system of privileges for the ruling classes dams up economic potential, preventing development.

In the Philippines, the zenith of this system has been represented by Duterte, but the dictatorship of the father of the current president-elect was no different. In both the human rights violations were massive; the scandalously notorious plundering of public goods and the evident little economic growth.

The young Marcos comes from another formation. Exile forced him to come into contact with the most advanced economy in the world and to make his first steps in business in that country. Therefore, he knows that economic freedom is essential to promote growth and achieve development. Hence, the young Marcos has indicated throughout his electoral campaign that the free market must be promoted. and reduce state interference in the lives of citizens. IF these affirmations materialized into a tangible reality through adequate public policies, the survival of corporatist institutions would have a fixed term. Because economic freedom will end up corroding its foundations. And it would be an unexpected way to achieve development. For while it’s true that young Marcos probably just wants to grow the size of the rent, freeing up the market may have unthinkable consequences for the future of the Philippines. Because to the extent that the economic forces are unleashed, they will corrode the foundations of corporatist institutions and open spaces for freedom. In the process, the libertarian forces would also be strengthened and perhaps in time the Philippines will become the most populous democracy in Asia. . Promise that neither India nor China holds. Because to the extent that the economic forces are unleashed, they will corrode the foundations of corporatist institutions and open spaces for freedom. In the process, the libertarian forces would also be strengthened and perhaps in time the Philippines will become the most populous democracy in Asia. . Promise that neither India nor China holds. Because to the extent that the economic forces are unleashed, they will corrode the foundations of corporatist institutions and open spaces for freedom. In the process, the libertarian forces would also be strengthened and perhaps in time the Philippines will become the most populous democracy in Asia. . Promise that neither India nor China holds.

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