Filipinos do not know it yet but dynasties may actually be good for the country

It’s been glaringly obvious that the Philippines is a feudal society and has been ruled by dynasties since time immemorial. Dynasties, after all, are essential in a society renowned for its Heritage of Smallness. Nick Joaquin in that seminal essay observed:

However far we go back in our history it’s the small we find–the nipa hut, the barangay, the petty kingship, the slight tillage, the tingi trade. All our artifacts are miniatures and so is our folk literature, which is mostly proverbs, or dogmas in miniature. About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces–and even that grandeur shrinks, on scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts (like a colony of ant hills) rather than one grand labor following one grand design.


[Photo courtesy Yahoo! News.]

Indeed, without our oligarchs’ predisposition to accumulating immense wealth by mobilising the Philippines’ vast labour pool to develop and harvest the country’s rich natural resources at scales that are way beyond the reach of the smallness of the typical Filipino’s mind, aspirations, and ambition, the Philippines today will still be a subsistence hunter and gathering barter economy.

It is common knowledge that most Philippine oligarchs, taipans, and industrialists are descended from immigrants coming from societies with long track records of success in the risky businesses of global trade, exploration, and conquest — Chinese traders, Spanish and American adventurers, and Indian money lenders. It was these people who brought in experience in the building of large scale stuff, whether they be complex organisations, production techniques, and multinational logistics, transport and supply chains. Contrast to that Joaquin’s take on native Filipinos and “our native aversion to the large venture, the big risk, the bold extensive enterprise.”

In short, the Philippines needs its dynasties and their collective ability to do big time stuff — the sorts of world-class things that native Filipinos, left to their devices, may never have gotten around to building.

So what then are we to make of this current thinking amongst the chattering classes that Philippine dynasties need to be dismantled? Well, it depends on what ordinary non-dynastic Filipinos have to offer as an alternative. Back in the 70’s and up to the mid- to late-80s, the rallying cry of the Philippine activist fiesta, for example, was that Filipinos needed to be free and democratic to prosper. So the antithesis of that aspiration was then made out to be President Ferdinand Marcos who represented the stuff about Philippine politics that needed to be dismantled. That happened in 1986 and since then, Filipinos were supposedly “free” and “democratic”. And yet the question of whether that “freedom” and “democracy” was actually achieved in the Philippines remains a debatable notion to this day what with the creative ways some people continue to apply to game the system and the hollow-headed manner with which the electorate plays ball with them every single election.

Did a transition from authoritarianism to democracy really change the Philippines at a fundamental level?

I hear nothing but head-scratching…

Now we find people like former UP president Jose Abueva asserting that dynasties are a threat to democracy. Are they, really? Even while the question of whether democracy is really delivering results where they matter to ordinary Filipinos remains unresolved, Abueva uses “democracy” to underpin the So What? test we subject the notion of dynasties to. Thus:

So what if dynasties are “a threat” to democracy?

Considering that democracy’s benefit to ordinary Filipinos is, by itself, debatable to begin with, why then should we worry if dynasties (if we are to believe our “activists” when they tell us they are baaaadddd) are a “threat” to it?

England itself as well as much of Europe (and, for that matter, much the world from which the most excellent societies emerged from today) were ruled by dynasties. They built the wondrous structures and developed the vast systems that made their countries great. The architectural wonders of Italy that millions of tourists gawk at every year, for example, were built by warlords, avaricious popes, and wealthy aristocrats all motivated by lust for power, vanity, and addiction to conquest. In England, as I mentioned a while back, the politics and power plays amongst its dynastic rulers pretty much make up the stuff of its written history with the quaint sufferings of the peasantry serving as mere footnotes.

In all ironies, it was only when the peasantry — the English masses — were wiped out by disease that their true power actually emerged. A series of epidemics known as the “Black Death” that swept across Europe over the latter half of the fourteenth century decimated its human population. In England, a population of 6 million was almost halved by the pestilence. The aftermath of that devastation yielded an interesting outcome, however. Peter Ackroyd, in his book The History of England – Foundation describes what happened…

Yet the pestilence had slow but permanent effects on English society. The shortage of labour [as a result of the population decline] had the immediate result of increasing both the level of wages and the chances of employment. The phenomenon of the landless or impoverished peasant wholly disappeared. But the rising demands of the working people who had survived, their worth now doubled by the epidemic, provoked a reaction from the landowners and magnates. The knights of the shires, in particular, perceived a threat to good order.

An Ordinance of Labourers was passed by a parliament in 1349, forbidding employers to pay more for labour than they had before the pestilence. The same Act deemed that it was illegal for an unemployed man to refuse work. The measures were not realistic. Many workers and their families could simply move to another district and to a more generous employer who was willing to ignore the law. Some migrated to towns, for example, where there was great demand for manual labourers such as masons and carpenters. A ploughman might become a tiler. More than enough work was available.

[…]

Many younger people now possessed their own holdings of land. And the best land did not remain vacant for long. There had once been too many farmers and labourers working too little soil, but now they were dispersed over the countryside.

Indeed, Abueva himself seems quite aware of what the real issue is in the Philippine setting today…

The rapid expansion of our electorate, consisting of more and more poor people, insecure and dependent voters, and increasing political competition have increased the cost of campaigning and incumbency for the political leaders acting as patrons of their constituents.

Our continuing semifeudal society and premodern political culture shape our dysfunctional elections, political parties, presidential form of government and unitary system of national-local government relations.

Unfortunately, like most Filipinos brought up on the notion that rich and powerful people left to their devices will necessarily do the right thing as far as the “greater good” is concerned, Abueva fails to see the wisdom in that little snippet he wrote. Instead his call is directed towards Philippine legislators to do, this “right thing” that runs counter to all their personal interests — to enact that much-vaunted “anti-dynasty” law.

Good luck with that. As English history has shown, the oligarchy will not change unless there is a clear and present threat to their personal wealth and power. Only Filipinos can provide that threat. But the power to do so comes at a cost.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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57 Comments on "Filipinos do not know it yet but dynasties may actually be good for the country"

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Legati
Guest

It is okay as long as The Ruling Class lop their own for breaking their own Royal Laws…..;-)

dapitan
Guest

Gloria did that in the 2004 and 2007 elections. Unfortunately for her, she is now paying for her crimes.

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

Sorry troll. But the charges on her supposed crimes in the 2004 elections are dropped because of insufficient evidence.

Now YOU are paying for your own crimes. And what’s that? LIBEL! 😀

dapitan
Guest

kahit na madrop yan marami pa susunod. Gusto mo ba ulit idikta ko sayo mga kaanumalyahan nya?

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

@dapitan: E bakit si Gloria lang? GET EVERYBODY. No bias whatsoever.

NagpapakaTANGA ka lang. 😛

Johnny Derp
Guest

Dapwetan, ilang beses mo na ipinost yang walang kwentang listahan mo. Halata ka nang nauubusan ng mapost. Sarap talaga maging TANGA no?

Michelle
Guest

CGMA’s worst yet is the Maguindanao massacre. How this monsters acquired enormous wealth, power and weapons of sophistication enough to equip (three) army battalions is one for the demon, can’t grasp one bit I’m sorry guys.

dapitan
Guest

As long as President Noy and the people he is supporting are leading, good governance remains. Unlike the former, they werent good because of the mere fact that their corruption cases can fill up an over 9000 square meter warehouse.

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

TROLL. 😛

There is no good governance with INCOMPETENCE, mind you. So you’re gonna sacrifice the economy and improving the lives of millions of Filipinos just for that goal?

Good governance my a$$. 😛

dapitan
Guest
1). Bangsamoro framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. 2). The prevailing Good Governance continues to be recognized and praised by World Leaders – Australian Prime Minister, U.S. President, World Bank President, the Lord Mayor of London; Transparency International, U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp and U.S. based (130- nation member) Open Governance Partnership (OGP) which honored the Philippines with a chair in their select 8-nation Steering Committee last Sept., 2011. 3). Accountability. Making public servants account for their Betrayals of the Public Trust. On May 29, 2012 we saw the removal of the Chief Justice for non… Read more »
DaidoKatsumi
Guest

Just give me a link, not some copy-pasting BS.

You’re totally losing your credibility since this is all from the biased media.

I can even list a few things if I want to. All I know is that good governance can’t make a good economy and can’t even feed millions of hungry Filipinos.

Don’t you get my drift?

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

1. The Bangsamoro agreement is still a framework, not final. Apparently, many powerful forces have opposed it, partcularly Nur Misuari.

2. You’re talking about good governance yet never explained on why it was ranked 138th in WB Ease of Doing Business report.

3. Um, there is no accountability with wrong procedures and railroaded processes. So it’s a farce.

I can even name a few. But don’t you think it’s just a waste of time? Oh yeah, CCTs didn’t help because many are still hungry. Wait, you want free lunch?

Sorry if I’m not drinking the Yellow Kool aide like you do. SUPER TANGA. 😛

Johnny Derp
Guest

Yes, that is STILL incompetent and you are still a stupid MORON.

ChinoF
Member

Wow, mostly fixups and trying to recover from the mistakes it made, while blaming the previous administration for those mistakes.

Libertas
Guest
A schizophrenic society run by a bi-polar president from a corrupt clan without the benefit of a decent education. i.e. a train wreck in progress. Self interest without personal values or any class/style, just thugs with stolen money/land. As a non-achiever, lazy, and a reluctant president p-noy is proving to be the worst – the runt of the litter. But a useful puppet for the chinese mafia in makati business club and uncle cojuangco. The system/divide which has been created is fundamentally in line with chinese thinking of one party rule by the elite who have legal impunity, control of… Read more »
dapitan
Guest

President Pnoy is not corrupt, sya pa nga ang lumalaban at kumukontra dito. ito nga ang dahilan kung bakit siya nanalo bilang presidente ng Pilipinas! Mga utak wangwang talaga.

Libertas
Guest

i can assure you p-noy is corrupt and lacking in moral integrity.
and since i studied ethics at oxford then i can be classified as an expert witness/observer.

dapitan
Guest

he is not corrupt. Wala syang kaso na patungkol sa corruption. At kailanmay d sya makakasuhan!

Johnny Derp
Guest

Akala mo lang yan dapwetan. Pagbumaba sa pwesto ang inutil mong pangulo, sangkaterbang kaso an haharapin niya pero ang kaibahan nga lang…. Malakas ang kaso laban sa kanya hindi minadali o mahina tulad ng mga kaso kay gloria.

DaidoKatsumi
Guest
IKAW ang utak wangwang because you’re missing the point. PNoy wasn’t corrupt? He was. He has the biggest pork barrel ever than most presidents. In case you don’t notice, pork barrel is one of the roots of corruption in the legislative. Oh, you’re not shocked about it? Yes, it’s ok for you because of course not since the incompetent individual has not done anything bad and is compensating himself as a proud member of the Aquino family and taking his rightful place in the government. And why is he and his family getting away with incident of Hacienda Luisita? So… Read more »
dapitan
Guest

at least alam ni Pnoy gamitin ang pondo nya. Wala naman balitang nagnakaw sya diba? Si Arroyo ang marami at dapat itong imbestigahan isa isa

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

@dapitan: Right because for one to be corrupt they have to outwardly admit it. Thus if you did commit into corruption and did not admit to it to the government, you technically are scoot free.

And right on using his funds; just to bribe the Congress to get what he wants. Just like the Corona impeachment case. 😀

NagpapakaTANGA ka na naman.

Suibon
Guest

You bickersons confuse me.

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

@Suibon: I’m not bickering after all. It seems you’re whining about putting away one corrupt official yet never looked on the full lengths of the corruption.

Most people don’t get it.

Libertas
Guest

I obviously have higher standards than you or p-noy.
Sham/broken election promises – all 102 of them
Pork barrel for bribery of congress/senate
Interfering in legislature
Lying about selling porsche
Not being honest about being gay/bi-sexual
His role in hacienda luisita massacre
Protection of corrupt cabinet members
Puno fiasco
Wanting to extend DARP
etc. Etc

Suibon
Guest

I haven’t seen or heard of a politician who fulfilled all his election promises and became a saint by doing so.

Mercury
Guest

What do you know about ‘corruption’? There are many forms of corruption. It didn’t stop at pilfering the taxpayer’s money alone, but also in incompetence and a lot more. 🙂

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

@dapitan

LOL! You are really a funny troll. Explain why Grace Padaca was never arrested. Why did BS Aquino donate tax payer’s money for her bail? Why did BS Aquino exonerate her by trying to influence the court? Explain the recent anomalies revealed by COA during his watch. Explain why his KKKKK can do no wrong. Just the tip of the iceberg.

Suibon
Guest

‘As a non-achiever, lazy, and a reluctant president p-noy is proving to be the worst – the runt of the litter.’

Apparently Wikipedia tells me that he studied in Ateneo and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. I’m not belittling you or anything, but that slur hit me from out of nowhere, and I was thus forced to respond.

Libertas
Guest

exactly
ateneo is not even in top 500 universities with no world renowned visiting professors. hardly harvard/LSE etc.
a sad reflection on the standard of education and level of iq – country average 86 – so universities not exactly challenging or a hotbed of new thinking

Suibon
Guest

Fair enough, but you have to realize that your statement still stands as an exaggeration, given that contrary to your slur, the current president has achieved distinction, even if not exactly a world-class one.

dapitan
Guest

hindi importante ang school background sa good governance. Ang kailangan ay dedikasyon, sipag at talino at na kay Pnoy yon

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

@dapitan: TANGA. 😛

PNoy have never passed ANY law in his 6 years term as a senator. Good governance doesn’t equal to progress after all.

TANGA. 😛

TaengGorbachev
Guest

@dapitan/Arell-Anus
School background is indeed important, an elementary dropout is useless as a leader, since his brains are primitive. But then again, your god is from Ateneo! However, you still laud VIRTUE as important and not brains. You praise a person only for morals. Morals do not feed the people.

“Seek the wicked, destroy the virtuous.” – Shang Yang

Johnny Derp
Guest

@dapwetan

“hindi importante ang school background sa good governance”

So are you implying that you don’t need smarts to run a government??? Wow, you really are a stupid one aren’t ya?

“Ang kailangan ay dedikasyon, sipag at talino at na kay Pnoy yon”

So far, you have already been proven wrong. Noy isn’t even smart or hard working, in fact he is the opposite.

domo
Guest

@vincensus ignoramus: Who do you think your precious pwesident is? The likes of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? Yes those I’ve mentioned are college dropouts (and yes their products sometimes kinda suck) but unlike your moronic “god” they always use their brains very wisely. Epic fail dumkopf. Now where is that straight jacket? Guys help me tie this fool from hands to feet. He/she needs to be sent on a mental hospital very badly.

Libertas
Guest

The new country manager of ibm made an interesting, and worrying comment in a recent interview.
She said that all blogs in philippines are now being monitored and analysed ( using STAIRS technology i imagine which they first developed and uk govt used in 70’s).
Adding ” we can then change the mind set of individuals” !!
No doubt ibm have big contract out of the intelligence fund.
And another part of the control strategy for internet.

dapitan
Guest

that was i believe DURING arroyos term

DaidoKatsumi
Guest

And not before Arroyo’s term?

Proud to be a MORON, right?

Libertas
Guest

it was in an interview last week by winhoffer.
it is an ongoing project now
try to be aware of things before you comment
and not show ignorance.

Suibon
Guest
‘So what if dynasties are “a threat” to democracy? Considering that democracy’s benefit to ordinary Filipinos is, by itself, debatable to begin with, why then should we worry if dynasties (if we are to believe our “activists” when they tell us they are baaaadddd) are a “threat” to it?’ Because even our brand of democracy, for all its faults and for all its failures and for all its smallness, is still better than wading through the uncharted waters of trusting the familiar dynasties to lift us — not just their families but the whole nation, and not just from an… Read more »
Libertas
Guest

@dapitan
Maybe u r one of those at the end of the govt/ibm propaganda assembly line – sending out inane comments to blogs/posts which are flagged with key words in various text algorithms.
a room full of caradang’s trolls
You clearly dont have thoughts/opinions of you own but just seem to replicate motherhood statements or something produced for you to copy and paste. How sad.
And a waste of my time other than to expose your simplicity, duplicity, and lack of intellect or integrity.

Johnny Derp
Guest

@libertas

Nah, Dapwetan is just a moron without any clue on how to be an effective troll. Asa lang kasi siya sa walang kwentang propaganda na binibigay ng boss niyang si carandang. Post ng post, walang kahit anong epekto. Pagnahaharap sa hamon, linilihis niya ang topic. Pag ang topic sa blog post ay tungkol sa ibang bagay, magpopost nanaman siya ng hindi related sa isyu. Pag related naman ang isyu sa boss niya, napipikon at naasar talo. No matter what dapwetan does, he still won’t win any arguments against us.

Amir Al Bahr
Guest
Interesting to note that in Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was different from his predecessors as prime minister in that he was a commoner – he was not a member of the aristocracy or any prominent political or religious family at that time. Although widely criticized as an outspoken critic of the West and as being akin to a dictator, he is also known as the one who started Malaysia on the road to modernization, and one who was brave enough to tell the Malays to their faces just how flawed their culture and mindset are. The question is, after our… Read more »
Suibon
Guest
‘The question is, after our failed experiment, 26 years in the making, with “democracy”, is there anyone among the common tao here in the Philippines who can rise to political prominence in a similar way to Mahathir, and outline a vision radically different from the current status quo?’ So far? None — the best and brightest among us either emigrate or stay only to plunder whatever else there is to be plundered, while the poorer and lesser are ripe for picking, ready to be slaughtered at the altar of pure greed. If someone from the ‘common tao’ as you say… Read more »
Noysucks
Guest

But then, if a Mahathir-like figure will rise up here in the Philippines (which I’d obviously doubt will happen) and also tell Filipinos straight in their face about their flawed culture, then Flips will go gaga again ‘cuz their “Pinoy Prayd” has been lambasted yet again. Worse yet, these same people failed trapos might take advantage of it and use the ignoramuses against him.

Legati
Guest

Nangpucha na yang listahan ng Basurero!

Hyden Toro
Guest

So, we vote for the whole family, instead of the person. Including : Katulong, yayas, drivers, etc…What an idiot , we are…

PHguy
Guest

dapitan like Fishball and Co. are amusingly omnipresent on most articles. Guys, let’s keep it cool and don’t feed the trolls. They’d never falter with whatever argument you throw back at them because either they’re that delusional as any squatter-minded Pinoy out there or they’re testing your extent. Once you don’t mind them, they’d get tired of their futile efforts in the long run.

Johnny Derp
Guest

We just need to give them enough rope to hang themselves with. Their posts are full of lies like their balding boss in malacanang. I don’t think the trolls would bother this blog anymore if ALL of their ip addresses are banned permanently.

Dustin
Guest

Political dynasty is a proof that politics is family business!!!

Danny
Guest
Considering the current mindset of majority of Filipinos political dynasty would only flourish more in the years to come until perhaps some miracle happens that would awaken them from their delusions of “contended” lifestyle or perhaps they are literally slaves to these few political families. In the current Filipino culture there is no clear line which defines right and wrong. To them the context of right can be some of the these few examples: what could feed them in their next meal, relieve their call of nature (piss) even anywhere, sing with their karaoke so loud that it could be… Read more »
anonymous
Guest

Dynasties is not a threat to Democracy, it is harmful to common tao.

Dynasties doesnt work either

Didnt work in Egypt

Failed in China and Japan etc…

I dont see how it is going to be good for the Philippines. Remember the Ampatuan Massacre?

monk
Guest

Not good because the economy has been growing.

Michelle
Guest
If there’s ever a thing of accomplishments past or present-day, peace efforts by whatever deferment or stay in the implementation, befool or just make them the realm, work on it make them possible of what needs we really should be aspiring for to be the least, people who need to live in peace in Mindanao is mine to be joyful about. Meaning, no more killings. If this is not nice then what is? The Bangsamoro ‘framework’ is fine by me as a practicing Catholic, because we used to live in total harmony before. Restoring them shouldn’t be surprising for us… Read more »
Michelle
Guest
Research my colleagues and I did for my outfit however poignantly could not bode well with idea of families in political dynasties as any to help ease up the nation’s squalid economy. This system the country is adopting patronize family in ‘dynasty rule’ controlling politics in the country is actually the impediment why we remain ‘the sick man of Asia’. Control of our country’s wealth and politics beholden to just the few elite will bury as deeper in misery owing to unrestrained farming out of government borrowings to few of this rich people and stashing them abroad invested in the… Read more »
Mark
Guest

This author has no clue. Time has change. Due to advance education and technology, people are more smarter than these oligarch. If u look at American slavery, if blacks did not gain independence during the era of slavery, we would not have a George crum, Joseph Dickinson, Patricia bath or a barrack Obama. This is the same concept in the Philippines!