though his policies were hijacked by neoliberalism

Rodrigo Duterte: Benevolent Dictator Icon

September 30, 2021

In Eastern philosophy, there is no such thing as an absolute good and bad. Instead, ‘good’ is anything that matches one’s True Nature, while ‘bad’ is anything that goes against it. This True Nature is called Tao by the Chinese and Dharma by the Indians.

Being in line or in-sync with one’s True Nature is called being ‘dharmic’, while being out of sync with it is called ‘adharmic’. Thus, the moral system derived from this prefers to classify things as dharmic or adharmic instead of good or bad.

Morality and happiness come from being dharmic, while immorality and misery come from being adharmic.

Comon examples of adharma are:

  • working in a job, career, or company that you don’t like
  • having a partner or spouse that doesn’t match your nature
  • eating unhealthy food that eventually leads to disease

This dharmic-adharmic moral system prefers to prevent early adharma and mismatches from brewing into evil and conflict. This is follows the rule that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and is similar to a car’s preventive maintenance to ensure good performance and long life.

Tire checking

Matching the Social Cycles

According to Socrates, the True Nature of society is to have four cycles:

  1. Democracy (Socratic* Liberalism)
  2. Tyranny (Dictatorship or Socratic Neoconservatism)
  3. Aristocracy (Enlightenment or Theocracy or Socratic Conservatism)
  4. Oligarchy (Socratic Neoliberalism)

*This is to emphasize a new definition, separate from American Liberalism, but more in line with Classical Liberalism

Social Cycles

Extra Info

In India, this was known as the four castes instead of cycles: Shudra, Ksattriya, Brahmin, Vaeshya In France, Montesquieu called these estates: Farmers, Church and Nobility, Merchants
Russia is composed only of slaves employed in agriculture [first estate] and slaves called ecclesiastics or the gentlemen lords of those slaves [second estate]. There is then nobody left for the third estate of mechanics and merchants.
After the French revolution, this became known as the Left Wing and Right Wing, with the peasants and merchants going to the Left and the nobility and the church going to the right. We match modern terminology with that of Socrates so that: - Socratic Liberal = Democrat (Peasants, Farmers, Employees) - Socratic Neocon = Tyrant (Imperialists, Dictators, Military) - Socratic Conservative = Aristocrat (Religious, Philosophical, Theocracy) - Socratic Neoliberal = (Oligarchy = Big Business, Speculators, Gamblers, Investors) This classification is more systematic than the left, far-left, centrist, right, far-right classification

The leaders should match the cycle that their society is in, so that their policies would match and create happiness. Civil war and recessions occur when the leaders are out of sync with their society.

According to our social cycles model *, the Philippines is currently in a tyranny cycle, to which a dictatorship is the best kind of leader. This explains why Duterte won by landslide in 2016 since the country transitioned into a tyranny cycle in 2014. This also explains:

  • why the Liberal Party was so popular in the past
  • why the liberal Otso Diretso lost so miserably in the last election
  • why it’s easy to predict that a pro-Duterte candidate will win in 2022, unless the votes become split.

*The rough equivalent of Cambridge Analytica to this is its psychographics and OCEAN model, just as Myers-Briggs has its E N T J classification. Our Medical Superphysics uses a 10-aspect model which we still have to name

The Policies of a Benevolent Dictator

As mayor, Duterte was referred to as ‘Tatay Digong’ by his constituents. As president, he prefers to be called ‘mayor’ instead of ‘president’.

Duterte

Unlike the other dictator called Marcos, Duterte did not impose martial law arbitrarily against the Communists, Muslims, the opposition, and the oligarchs. Instead, he:

  • used his police and military against Islamists in Marawi and drug dealers around the country.
  • entered talks with the Communists and gave disputed lands to the people of Mindanao
  • used his allies in the lower house to close ABSCBN, but not nationalize Maynilad or Manila Water
  • did not arbitarily dissolve senate when it (Gordon) accused him directly of corruption

While his political policies are dharmic, his economic policies are quite adharmic .

Dutertenomics

On one hand, Duterte promised to give a comfortable life to the poor, which is consistent with a benevolent nature. On the other hand, the rising prices from 2020 directly contradict this promise, since it makes life less comfortable.

To see where the contradiction occurs, we shall dissect his economic policy, known as Dutertenomics. Its most visible parts are:

  • TRAIN Law
  • Ease of business
  • Build Build Build
  • Land Distribution
  • Continuation of Pantawid Pamilya of Noynoy Aquino

Pantawid Pamilya is Conditional Cash Transfer which is a modified version of Universal Basic Income (UBI) which was implemented by Noynoy Aquino. This is a neoliberal policy* that helps development banks such as the World Bank more than the poor, by giving employment to the bank’s consultants. Likewise, tech startups lobby for UBI to give employment to themselves via blockchain and other fancy new technologies, even if there might be no added benefit for the poor.

*The non-neoliberal (liberal) financial way of poverty alleviation is called microfinance. The conservative way is welfare either by the state via social security or by religion via thites or forced donations.

Thus, Pantawid Pamilya is the first sign of policy inconsistency. Brazil’s version is Bolsa Familia which was discontinued after it was proven that it had little effect on alleviating poverty.

The original Dutertenomics itself is quite limited, so it also absorbed the NEDA* plan called Ambisyon Natin 2040. It was created by Arsenio Balisacan of the neoliberal Philippine Competition Commission during the administration of Noynoy Aquino.

*NEDA is the economic planning agency of the government. Ambisyon Natin 2040 is split into chunks called Philippine Development Plans, similar to Communist Five-Year Plans. The first plan is for 2017-2022. The next one is for 2023-2028.

Ambisyon Natin 2040 : Neoliberalism Under the Guise of Socialism

NEDA began this policy by interviewing 10,000 people around the nation, asking them what they and the country should achieve by 2040. Since the country is poor, then of course we can expect that the answers will reflect the shallow desires of poor people:

  • 79% want a comfortable life
  • 17% want a an affluent life

It revealed that the uneducated wanted to study:

  • teaching*
  • business administration
  • tourism
  • law

*Venezuela also spent a lot on teaching and social welfare through their Bolivarian programs, but is now dirt-poor. This is because we blindly expect teachers to teach the right things, not thinking that they could also teach the wrong things as well. This teaching of wrong things probably helped Maduro retain power, since governance and subordination are all based on opinion.

Unfortunately, these subjects also lead to low-value services and employment (in red). Few people want to study the difficult subjects that lead to high value employment (in green).

NEDA

Also alarming is the preference for cars over public transport such as buses and trains.

NEDA Train

NEDA then built policies around this data:

  • It added more road projects under the Build, Build, Build program instead of creating a proper state-owned bus system (Of course, NEDA, as a neoliberal agency, will never allow state-owned anything)
  • It emphasized tourism and hospitality
  • It ignored support for medical training and beefing up the healthcare system. Instead, it focused on the financial aspect of healthcare as health insurance through the Universal Healthcare Law
  • It focused on rice tariffication to allow imports in the guise of lowering food prices to benefit the poor. This is classic neoliberalism

As expected, these backfired when the unexpected pandemic hit:

  • The lockdowns prevented people from travelling and from using the new roads from Build Build Build
  • Tourism collapsed
  • The lack of support for medical training led to a shortage of nurses, which made universal healthcare act irrelevant
  • Rice tariffication led to agircultural imports that did not reduce rice prices, but instead destroyed local agriculture

The NEDA Flaw: A Reverse Kind of Survivorship Bias

The glaring error with the NEDA plan was that it created economic policy from interviews with the people. The problem is that a poor country like the Philippines will likely be full of poor people. If you ask poor people what they want, then you will get answers that will propagate the same poverty.

NEDA’s mistake is a kind of survivorship bias *.

*Basically, researchers in the UK in World War 2 observed that the returning British bombers had parts of their wings missing. The Americans wrongly advised that armor should be added to those parts. But Hungarian mathematician Abraham Wald argued the opposite, that armor should be added to the non-missing wing parts. The Americans were looking at the effect, while Wald was looking at the cause.

An easy proof of this bias is the national preference for subjects like teaching, lawyering, tourism, and business administration that lead to low value jobs. Are Germany, Japan, South Korea known for their teachers, lawyers, tourism, or accountants? No. They’re known for their advanced manfuacturing as Siemens, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi.

*Tito Sotto is correct in saying that the country already has too many lawyers. Yet, public policy does nothing to discourage law schools or to make the bar exam more selective and restrictive

Another proof is the preference for cars over public transport. Did Japan, France, and Singapore solve their public transportation by allowing cars as a public policy? No. In fact, they had the opposite policy which oppressed car owners with high taxes and built subways and shinkansen instead of freeways.

By implementing policies that are OPPOSITE of what poor people want, the Japanese, Singaporeans, French, and Germans are actually able to have a more COMFORTABLE life.

By implementing policies the poor people want, Venezuela and Brazil put themselves into poverty.

More Proof of Ignorance (Kabobohan) of Policymakers

NEDA policy builds a lot of roads to address the demand for cars. They never think that if their policy succeeds then more people will actually own cars. These cars will then flood the new roads to create new traffic jams! <!– and there will be traffic again – all the huge debt for Build Build Build would have been for little gain –>!

If policymakers just let people have their way, then the nation will degenerate quickly with everyone buying cars, flocking to easy jobs, and no one* doing the difficult or low-paying ones.

*This is seen in the lack of local vaccine manufacturing, simply because only a handful of people ever wanted to study virology

If everyone wants to be a singer, boxer, or online seller, then who will plant crops, build the power plants, do the medical services, or create vaccines?

If few people plant crops, build power plants, hospitals, and vaccines, then those goods and services will have a shortage.

If there is a shortage then their prices rise and there will be more Pharmally-style importation.

If their prices rise then life would not be comfortable, violating the very goal of the policy.

Thus, Ambisyon Natin 2040 naturally goes against itself without NEDA knowing it

Proof of this is the collapse of the economy in 2020 which NEDA says is expected to recover only after 10 long years. They blame the pandemic instead of themselves. This is absurd since the economy of other countries are not so badly affected. Even poor Cuba, heavily embargoed by the US, is able to make Covid vaccines simply because the government encouraged more people to study difficult subjects.

Ambisyon 2040 is still consistent with our earlier observation that local policymakers, whether liberal ‘dilawan’ or nationalist ’loyalista’, are ignorant of cause and effect . This ignorance seemed to begin in the early 1960s after the presidency of Magsaysay* and Garcia who still had the right policies.

*Magsaysay for example fought against the pro-American Bell Trade act, whereas Macapagal blindly accepted the pro-American decontrol policy of 1962. The decontrol destroyed local industrialization and allowed the country to get in debt with the IMF – a practice carried to perfection by Marcos and Latin American dictators

Evil Rice Tariffication

The Rice Tariffication Law is the single biggest mistake of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 of Ambisyon Natin. It began with the rice crisis of September 2018 as the rapid increase in the prices of rice. But this was a natural consequence of the increased taxes from the TRAIN tax reform which was supported by NEDA itself.

Asuab farmer

Instead of strengthening NFA* to deal with the crisis, the Senate and Lower House actually destroyed it through the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) in order to allow the importation of rice.

nfa wtf

NFA is the National Food Authority which is the government agency that buys and stores rice

The Masterminds of RTL were familiar names:

  • Cynthia Villar
  • Grace Poe
  • Joel Villanueva
  • Jose Panganiban
  • Kiko Pangilinan
  • Leila de Lima
  • Ralph Recto
  • Risa Hontiveros
  • Sharon Garin
  • Win Gatchalian
  • Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
According to our model, Duterte-Marcos is enough to stay in power without having to include neoliberal Arroyo (via Duque and Cusi) since the neoliberal cycle is finished. Had Duterte dropped Duque during the pandemic, his approval ratings would not have dipped in 2020 and 2021. Duterte's unnecessary reliance on Arroyo is proof of her genius

The lawmakers thought, that by removing quotas and imposing a tiny 35% tariff that went to local farmers, local rice production would increase as to reduce the price of rice.

In reality, the warehouses didn’t bother buying from scattered local producers* and instead bought in bulk from a single importer. Without buyers for local rice, the local farmers had a glut of unsold rice. This is similar to local carrots not finding a market because the market was already occupied by Chinese carrots which could be bought by warehouses easily in bulk.

*The error of the proponent of RTL was to apply equilibrium theory (1.5 mb pdf) on a basic seasonal necessity such as rice. This is the same error that liberalized California’s power industry as the energy spot-market, that led to their energy crisis. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo imported this scheme to create EPIRA that regularly brings power outages and price spikes.

Didn’t the lawmakers know that the secret to rice and agricultural self-sufficiency is for the government to control all parts of the chain from production, transportation, milling, warehousing, wholesaling, and even exporting?

Didn’t they know that this is what Vietnam does with state-owned Vinafood which allows them to export rice cheaply to the world?

Didn’t they know that Marcos replicated this with the NFA (milling), Food Terminal Inc as FTI (storage), and Kadiwa stores (retail) which allowed the country to export rice in the past?

Why did Duterte not veto this bill? Could it be because it was actually supported by his own NEDA which is infested with neoliberals?

Could it be because he was ignorant of food policy in the same way that he was ignorant about Covid response and so he had to rely on ‘health experts’ such as the IATF which had flip-flopping policies*?

*Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Bill 1573 “Pandemic and All-Hazards Prepareness Act” on September 5, 2013 but was ignored by the same despicable senate that made the Rice Tariffication Law

The Pandemic Will Make Neoliberalism Obsolete Eventually

Our social cycles model predicts that the pandemic will last a long time, yet NEDA and lawmakers are still acting like the old normal. They have not scrapped their old neoliberal ways and still think that market forces will somehow relieve the people of their suffering.

No it doesn’t and it will not. This is because market forces are based on selfish-interest, while the alleviation of the suffering of others is a selfless-interest. A person, policy, or system cannot be selfish and selfless at the same time!

Pharmally was able to buy Lamborghinis simply because it used the market forces of supply, demand, and financing to its private advantage, at the expense of a huge public debt which has to be paid by future generations.

In fact, the pandemic has proven that nationalized basics* via state-owned corporations are the way of the future, as proven by China and Singapore**.

*Healthcare, Power, Water, Telecoms, Public transportation

**Singapore has the best healthcare in the world, with 80% of its people using government-owned hospitals, and the rest using private hospitals like Raffles Medical

Only the close coordination of various essential services can create a society strong enough to weather the shocks from global warming caused by the selfish behavior of market forces. This close coordination can only be done by the government which is supposed to have the public interest.

Government management of mercantile projects like this requires orderly, vigilant, and parsimonious administration, like those in Venice and Amsterdam..The post office is properly a mercantile project. Its capital is not very big. There is no mystery in the business. The returns are certain and immediate.

The Wealth of Nations, Book 5

The people should avoid voting for those people who created the Rice Tariffication Law. A quick workaround would be to:

  • raise the tariffs to 700% like what Japan does, instead of the current 35% or 100%. Adam smith would call this ’taxation to the point of prohibition’
  • use the tax revenue to rebuild NFA, FTI, and Kadiwa into a state-owned corporation directly under the executive or as an independent consitutional body
  • remove neoliberals from policymaking that involves basic essentials. This would be more realistic if the NFA were a separate constitional body like the Comelec