Why spending big bucks on nice things is a better investment than throwing money at the poor

The recent success of the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and, for that matter, the overall multi-million dollar investment in hosting the Games proves a point. Filipinos, and people in general — rich or poor — love to see and experience nice things. This is the reason the half-witted argument of choice of communists — Why not spend the money helping the poor instead? — always falls flat on its face.

Reinstating the La Madre Filipina sculptures back at their original place at Manila’s Jones Bridge was a worthwhile project.
(Source @anjo_bagaoisan)

The Philippines is in the midst of a winning run both economically and culturally. More importantly, it is winning politically too as evident in the unprecedented solidarity seen in the way a huge majority of Filipinos get behind a popular president. There is opportunity in all that to expand the social and cultural capital of a society long obsessed with finding their place on the world stage.

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Communists argue in that easy populist space that makes a dishonest play at bald envy — that, say, investing lots of money to restore cultural relics like Manila’s Jones Bridge, the Metropolitan Theatre, and prestige endeavours like hosting this year’s Games — do not contribute to alleviating the misery of “the poor”. However, there is no pride in being poor, only shame. If poverty were truly a source of pride as these radicals make it out to be, then Filipinos do possess sound claim to pride in being Filipino. The unpopular truth, however, is that one can only be proud of real achievement. In the real world, achievement is measured with the amount of nice things one is able to exhibit. That’s just the way things are. It’s human nature and human beings are visual creatures.

The La Madre Filipina sculptures as they originally were: Cultural relics are important to connect Filipinos to their history and culture.

Indeed, throwing money at the poor may alleviate their plight, but only over the short term and only within a narrow window within which opportunities to invest the bonus cash properly will have been available. Alas, the vast majority of recipients of dole-outs remain poor — a fact not highlighted by leftist “activists” in their template protest rallies. Success, as manifested in nice things, on the other hand, inspires a broader swathe of society over a longer timeframe. This is why persistent symbols of success and beauty are important components of a society’s capital base. This is also why it is important to exact severe penalties on those who seek to destroy these and replace them with ugly artefacts associated with poverty.

Communist vandalism exhibits the crab mentality of a movement that encourages envy rather than inspiration.

It is heartening to see many projects being undertaken nowadays to build and restore things of beauty that inspire Filipinos to be a better people. This is certainly a better alternative to the poverty porn that had long characterised an obsolete Cold War ideology as well as that of a political narrative that ruled the last 30 years and was used to keep an entire people beholden to patriarchs and matriarchs of a rich oligarchic clan.

It’s time Filipinos embrace success and achievement as means to define themselves and ditch their Victim Mentality forever.

9 Replies to “Why spending big bucks on nice things is a better investment than throwing money at the poor”

  1. “…the poor will always be with you…” from Jesus Christ in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

    “Workers of the word unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains”… from the Communist Manifesto….

    The communists use the poor, to promote their “revolutionary political agendas”. However, after they are in power; they use the poor; and all of us , as their slaves and slaves of the states. The communist leaders live in luxurious way. While all of us, will be rationed with food and other basic necessities, just to keep us barely alive, tor work as their slaves.

    Any dissent, will be dealt accordingly. There will be “Gulags or Labor Camps”, whereby you will be worked to death…until your dissent will be extinguished. There will be re-education camps, whereby you will be indoctrinated of the communists ideas, and the greatness of Jo Ma Sison, or whoever the communist leaders will be…All our freedoms will be banned…the order of the Communist Supremo, like Jo Ma Sison will be the law of the land.

    Just look at Jo Ma Sison, who is in exile in Amsterdam, Holland. He is a multimillionaire. He lives like a king. While his NPA comrades, live like “rats” in the mountains.

    Restoring the symbols of our greatness is not wrong. Removing the falsehood of our history, like the EDSA coup d’ etat is good. The heroism and sainthood of the Aquinos must be removed. They are in our textbooks, taught to our children , to indoctrinate the next generation.

    We must remove the Victim Mentality in our mindset…we must put the Victor Mentality, and the Can Do mentality. First step, is to elect, good and competent leaders who can really lead …Remove the crooks, the incompetent and the corrupt !

  2. Throwing money at the poor certainly won’t help them because it’s always a short-term solution. If you throw money at them, will they use it properly? No, they often splurge, or use it irresponsibly in other ways (such as buy narcotics). Remember, some studies emphasize *empowering* the poor, and empower means helping them so that in the end, they can help themselves. Give them fish instead of teaching them to fish, they’ll keep asking for fish.

    1. That’s because many of their Commie comrads had died & executed during the Marcos Martial Law era & they demand justice for that one. I say that sooner or later they’ll become an endangered species because our ninja cops & soldiers would kill them literally! Yeah it’s a human rights violation but we don’t want those guys to spoil our country’s images & development brought about their pesky ideology with no great results.

      1. I actually studied in PUP and seeing the commie activists and their hypocrisy every time for almost 5 years made me realize they really are the scum in the Philippines. Whatever they accuse the government of, they do too and even more. The only difference is they have one of the media giants backing them, who by the way just like Mao Zedong and Pol Pot, is promoting poverty and making us believe that is true patriotism.

  3. I wish to contribute to the restoration of Manila. There’s so much of Old Manila heritage that has to be restored. The things that made our neighbors envious about our country more than century ago.

  4. Building monuments of greatness creates jobs. North Korea and the Philippines have the biggest outdoor stadium and indoor arena in the world, respectively. Just imagine how many poor folks were able to put bread on the table by laboring to complete and eventually maintain these humongous projects? Makes pro-poor sense to anyone with even half a brain still functioning. And yes, the more Imeldific the better.

  5. This is actually confirmed in a lot of international studies and experiences by experts around solving corruption. Just donating to charity is required, yes, but is nowhere near to solving the root causes of corruption itself. Here is a Ted Talks article for your interest in reading. May this information help inform you and add to the conversation. (https://ideas.ted.com/can-corruption-ever-be-eliminated-in-the-world-boss-tweed-and-napster-show-a-counterintuitive-path-forward/)

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