Bizarre that a supposed “economist” like Winnie Monsod would highlight the notion of “evil” as the be-all-end-all core source of all of the Philippines’ troubles. In her latest Inquirer piece, Monsod writes a treatise on why “ordinary, so-called good, God-fearing people can move from good to evil”.
Monsod cites the notion of a “banality of evil” proposed by social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, author of the book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. On the back of that body of work, Monsod asserts that “evil” is a social affliction Filipinos have come to be conditioned to tolerate. As a result, Filipinos have turned their lot into a society where “ordinary people can commit acts that would otherwise be unthinkable”.
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Framed by this thinking, Monsod drops a bomb of a recommendation…
So, Reader, we are faced [with] three Paths: Path 1: Be an active perpetrator of evil in this country (and join some politicians we all know). Path 2: Do nothing, and let evil triumph, which is why the Philippines is where it is. Or, Path 3: Fight the evil.
Again, the word “fight”. What exactly should Filipinos “fight”? Beyond the nebulous notion of an “evil” that Filipinos are enjoined to “fight”, Monsod offers nothing tangible for Filipinos to either aim their paltiks at or define as a goal to aim for as they go about their day-to-day lives.
There is a vastly more important pathway Monsod leaves out — one she would have readily come up with instinctively as an economist had her mind not been hopelessly addled by the primitivist voodoo mentality ingrained in Philippine society. This pathway is none other than for Filipinos to achieve in tangible and measurable terms. The key to prosperity in these modern times lies in a capability, both at a collective and at an individual level, to contribute economic value to humanity. The pathway to achieving that is a lot more palpable to the human mind than the hocus-pocus references to “evil” that “thought leaders” like Monsod lazily infest the national discourse with.
Filipinos should strive not to “fight evil” but to make life better for humanity through the development of innovative solutions to real and tangible problems. These solutions should deliver outcomes that are measureable in concrete terms. How does one “win” against “evil”? The debate around the snowflakey answers to that nonsensical question will be open to pointless debate — because “evil” is not a technical problem.
Most of what ails the economy — what either impoverishes people or stunts investment and captial expansion — are technical problems that require technical skills to solve, for example. The trouble with Filipinos is they prefer to mull over non-technical issues like “evil” that only shamans presume to solve. And that is why no progress takes root in the Philippines — because Filipinos, under the “guidance” of people like Monsod, regard the solutions to technical problems as beyond the reach of their superstition-hobbled intellects.
Money is the most objective scorecard civilisation has devised to measure achievement. Perhaps Filipinos should begin their search for real pathways to progress by following where the money leads. An “economist” like Monsod ought to be one of the people one would reasonably expect to appreciate that cold reality the most.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.