“Poverty” is such a BORING topic!

Considering that the Philippines has been poor for most of its history, it’s quite a wonder that “poverty” gets the inches and air time it does in the Philippines’ mainstream media and the rhetoric of its “activists”. It really isn’t news anymore. The effort to “analyse” Pinoy-style “poverty” is effort wasted as there really is nothing much to work with as far as any sort of “research” to unpack “poverty” goes.

Quite simply “poverty” is but a mere symptom of a more fundamental social failure — an historic habitual entering into commitments one is inherently incapable of honouring. That’s all been dissected to death here, so no need to go into further detail about that simple definition of an over-analysed biological condition.

Mainstream media have long been outed as mere mirrors of their owners’ business goal which is to deliver content profitably. Therein lies the mystery of the continued prevalence of poverty porn in mainstream media. Poverty is not newsworthy. It does not sell papers or reel in eyeballs or clicks. History books are all about the rich, powerful, and influential — the bold and the beautiful of our species.

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The poor are mere footnotes. That’s the confronting fact of the matter. We invest in the rich because the poor don’t yield returns. If there is one reason to invest in the poor, it is, at the very least, to ensure they don’t get hungry enough and desperate enough to start scaling the walls of our fortified gated communities or start getting into boats bound for the nearest First World country to cause “humanitarian” crises. Seen from a risk lens, the poor pose a small existential threat to civil society. Mitigation comes in the form of the “poverty alleviation” measures most modern societies apply today to control their numbers.

How do we solve the problem of the Philippines’ poor then? Consider first whether this is our problem to begin with. The “problem” has, in fact, been solved in principle by capitalism and the free market — the modern financial equivalent of the African savannah where our ancestors first learnt how to stand on two feet and compete for resources. What more beyond a system where all are free to compete can we possibly envision?

Seen under this light, all the “news” and “insight” on Philippine poverty that pepper our newspapers and news screens don’t pass the So What? Test. Short of doling out cold cash and food scraps to “the poor”, there really is not much further one can do to “help” them other than to show them the readily-evident pathway to helping themselves.

26 Replies to ““Poverty” is such a BORING topic!”

  1. Capitalism and free market has failed if the only way to help the poor is “to show them the readily-evident pathway to helping themselves”.
    benign0 is saying that “The “problem” has, in fact, been solved in principle by capitalism and the free market” – And I agree that it has been solved in principle; But I do not agree that it has been solved in practical [in the realm of reality] by capitalism and the free market. Otherwise there would not exist any socalled symptom which is poverty.
    benign0 is clearly clinging on to status quo – only because he is afraid that the alternative is the ways of socialism.

    1. Same can be said of communism. In principle, for the sake of “equality”, it makes sense to entrust ownership of the means of production to the state and rely on said state to distribute produce “equally” to the people.

      But as to the practical application of communism? History begs to differ.

  2. Nikola Tesla died poor because he refused to give in to people with special interests. Most probably, it was his life on the line and humanity’s progress versus those who wanted power in their hands.

    Or perhaps society wasn’t ready for that kind of civilization, but who knows…

  3. Then perhaps it’s about time you start to take notice of the bigger elephant in the room and join your comrades in GRP, Ramon Ortoll, Oman and Hector Gamboa, in discussing the more confronting issues at play by relevant active players.

    Ortoll, Oman and Gamboa are not shy about where they stand on issues.

    Never mind the irrelevance of the Kakampinks and the Yellows of yore.

    Though your “recall” series posts are fine but newer topics are better and more engaging.

    Just to name a few: the PBBM administration, the new Opposition of citizen Digong Duterte and his Maisug pro-chinese cabal, the West Philippine issue, Sara Duterte and the state of education under her and its relevant impact to the prospect of her becoming the future leader of the country.

    Still, in the end, it will be your decision so this is not an entitlement!

    1. No.9 If you don’t mind me asking: Why do you believe that the PBBM administration is a bigger elephant in the room than poverty? What is your criticism of it?

      1. Leadership is the only way the country gets out of poverty. This site loves to praise Singapore and we all know how they were lead. So again… discussing poverty is useless unless you have a leader making policies/laws to promote the end of poverty… which is not happening with BBM. The guy thought his sham of getting foreign investment was somehow impressive, yet it means nothing, and he has done nothing substantial since he has been in office.

        1. @Tim
          I see, then i will agree with guys…
          Then the questions arises: what kind of policies/laws to make in order to promote the end of poverty? And who fits the bill?

  4. Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership isn’t the only thing that made Singapore an asian economic miracle. Singapore’s economy is perfect for Singapore, it’s not necessarily perfect for the world.

    (Trivia: Singapore’s already a booming economy even long before Lee Kuan Yew took over. Had a setback during the second world war. Then it was rebuild again.)

    Only of those people amongst us who appreciate the lesson in the study of political geography understand its value and reason behind the relatioship between geography and its impact on state affairs including the economy and security.

    It’s funny how some people here marvel at the leadership style of Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore but vehemently refuse to allow any Filipino leader to apply that same kind of strong leadership here in the Philippines.

    Authoritarian governance of long reign of 58 years by a single family, with virtually no opposition, no rebellion, allowed Singapore to maximize its advantages while limiting its shortcomings.

    1. Filipino society votes for corrupt and incompetent politicians. Poverty is rampant in Philippines because it is a country where corruption is being rewarded and honesty is being punished.

      The problem is there is no Lee Kuan Yew in the Philippines, it is a country where honor is being punished. Benevolent dictatorship is extremely rare, rarer than even diamonds.

      Another problem in Philippines is political dynasties are rampant. Same family members holding different gov’t positions at the same time. Prime examples are the Marcos, Duterte and Tulfo families. A big problem with most political families here is they feel they’re entitled to the positions they’re holding and if they lose the elections, they get angry because they think they own the gov’t positions, they think it belongs only to their families.

      Another thing you have to consider is Filipino society hates intelligence and competence which is why they vote for incompetent candidates. Look at the senate, they treat senate hearings like court trials, but it’s just a court of public opinion which is why they use ad hominems there. How is this related to poverty? The senators waste tons of money and resources in conducting useless hearings, those can be used to improve the country instead of just grandstanding in senate hearings.

      Oh, Singapore was a third world country which is why Lee Kuan Yew has “From third world to first” book. Lee Kuan Yew is also intelligent and competent, and he is right when he said that only in the Philippines where the wife and children of a leader like Marcos Sr. were allowed to return in politics. They have President Marcos Jr., Senator Marcos, Congressman Marcos. I heard that PNoy is the worst Philippine president in this generation, but looks like Marcos Jr. has a possibility of taking that title away from him.

      1. “The problem is there is no Lee Kuan Yew in the Philippines.”

        Lee Kuan Yew is no superman. Neither he is the absolute solution nor the ultimate answer to every nation’s prosperity.

        If he is, why can’t other third world leaders just apply what he has done to Singapore and then magically transform themselves ‘from third world to first’?

        Lee Kuan Yew may be effective in Singapore (or Singapore is ideal for his kind of leadership) but what what gives you the idea he’ll still be just as effective if he is to rule another third world country on earth?

        1. I’m very well aware that Lee Kuan Yew is not superman. He is not perfect like every human being, but he’s intelligent, competent and and more importantly, he’s a problem solver. He’s far more honorable than current Philippine politicians will ever be. There’s no Lee Kuan Yew in the Philippines because Philippine society is horrible, corrupt and stupid. Philippine society doesn’t even hide the fact that people there reward corruption and punish honesty.

          Lee Kuan Yew had issues, but he’s far more competent and honorable than all the Philippine lawmakers, VP and even the president combined.

        2. @No Data:

          “Philippine society is horrible, corrupt and stupid.”

          Wasn’t it you who said that ad hominem is not allowed in an intelligent discussion?

          Well, it doesn’t take too much of an intelligence not to notice how your showy exaltation of Mr. LKY and Singapore is just short of your usual and habitual attempt at ‘identifying’ for validation. But wait, even without the evidential proof of any proper nor logical connection? Hmm, not smart.

          I read people here refer to this as KSP.

          Having no skin in the game there… no honor there, really, not intelligent.

          The vagaries of colonial thinking and attitude, I suppose, is one reason that promotes poverty in the Philippines. Typical arrogance and that lack of something that one can contribute to nation building. These type of characters just add to the national problem.

          Maybe you can try living in Singapore. You might like it there. It would be good for you and the country.

        3. @No Dice
          Ad hominem you say? There was already a recent study that Philippines’ average IQ is below average. Isn’t that stupid? Horrible and corrupt because according to a Filipino lawyer who livestreams in Youtube, corruption is being rewarded and honesty is being punished in the Philippines. A corrupt politician is rich and is feared. I agree with hin because the Philippines’ rating in the corruption perceptions index is horrible. Elected officials are reflections of voters. Look at those people who idolize Raffy Tulfo, they vote for him because of the money he “gives” to the poor and look at Erwin Tulfo’s failed DSWD cash aid distribution which ended with a stampede and recently, look at how many people marched to the BSP in hopes of getting free money. Many Filipinos ask for cash aid and fall for easy money scams because they’re greedy and stupid enough to fall for it. You don’t need to have 150+ IQ not to fall for those scams. Filipino society’s mindset is mendicant/beggar mentality that’s why their standards in voting is who about giving money to people.

          FallenAngel wrote his reasons why he’s not proud to be Filipino in his article. Does it mean he committed ad hominem too? His reasons are also the reason why I said Philippine society is horrible, corrupt and stupid.

          Koko Pimentel even attempted to guilt-trip the US, Japan and Western Europe by telling them to help the Philippines mitigate the effects of severe drought to prove that they’re true friends and not just after military interests. I say that they are not obligated to donate anything to the Philippines with little to nothing in return.

          I don’t dream of living in Singapore and I already said that Lee Kuan Yew wasn’t perfect, but he’s far more honorable than current Philippine politicians will ever be. None of Filipino politicians solve problems. The proof that Lee Kuan Yew is more competent than Filipino politicians is Singapore’s rise to first world.

          “Typical arrogance and that lack of something that can contribute to nation building”

          For the record, I am not obligated to help your country by offering solutions and I am not obligated to help your society solve your problems.

          One more thing. I still choose Singapore over Philippines because Singapore is far better than Philippines, a land of trash.

        4. “Ad hominem you say?”

          If that’s the case, then, No Data is horrible, corrupt and stupid.

          “I am not obligated to help your country by offering solutions and I am not obligated to help your society solve your problems.”

          No problem. You simply can’t!

          Having no real aptitude to speak of, no achievement, with zero expertise/talent, other than an inborn arrogance, how can someone with no natural ability to do something exceptional for the benefit of his society be expected to be obligated to help his own country?

          It’s easier for you to bandwagon on the achievement of others and claim an entitlement.

          Such a lazy and mendicant mentality… of a parasite KSP.

        5. “The proof that Lee Kuan Yew is more competent than Filipino politicians is Singapore’s rise to first world.”

          Though it can be perceived in that way, but, believe it or not, the truth remains, the proof of Lee Kuan Yew’s competence can be argued as far as Singapore only is concerned.

          I hope you understood the point.

        6. @No Dice now you’re throwing personal insults against me. You are arguing against me, but unable to counter my points, so you resort to ad hominem.

          I already cited the reasons why Philippine society is stupid. Is having a below average IQ smart? I even cited FallenAngel’s article and asked if he committed ad hominem too. Big reason why Philippine society is inferior and stupid is because they are horrible voters in general, no wonder they are being governed by inferiors. Look at the Philippine senate, it’s just a witch hunting ground now. Look at how Filipinos vote, they vote for officials who have pending cases and ex-convicts, they also vote for same political families. Even BBM belongs to a political dynasty, he has a senator sister and congressman son. Filipino voters also vote for re-electionists regardless of their credentials. Does honor even exist in the Philippines? Look at officials with pending cases, they still run for gov’t positions. In Japan, if a gov’t official gets exposed for corruption, he will resign and be too ashamed to face the people anymore. The kind of politicians Filipinos support have no honor and don’t know how to be ashamed when they do something wrong, they vote for politicians who think they’re gods and the list goes on why Philippine society is horrible and don’t deserve my respect.

          @Boom oh yeah? Philippine politics is a huge joke being ran by jesters. Lee Kuan Yew is a problem solver. I can’t even find a Filipino politician who solves problems.

        7. @No Dice
          It’s no use trying to convince No Data. This is what happens when you revolve your life around inverted Pinoy Pride.

        8. No Data sick concept of an imagined superiority is nothing more like that of the classic “crow perched on a carabao” thinking.

          He’s acting like the pseudo superior crow and considers the carabao as his inferior. Tsk, tsk…

          In truth, No Data’s habitual arrogance delivers NOTHING!

  5. Another reason why poverty is rampant in Philippines is because besides being horrible and stupid, Philippine society is also lazy, mendicant mentality is very rampant in the Philippines. Their standards on electing politicians is how much money those politicians give them yet they still wonder why they’re still poor. We all know that politicians who claim to be pro-poor are just lying through their teeth.

    1. @No Data
      So you only want to trashtalk about the country and the people… Thats typical arrogant and very snobbish. Are you sure you’re not a chinaman? 🙂 To be serious: No one is obligated to help. It’s common courteous and benevolent to help. I like to think that it’s humankindness to not feel obligated to help but are helping nevertheless. I do agree with you that filipinos are generally not intelligent. It’s a hard truth that they/we must face.

      1. Why should I respect a country governed by inferiors? I don’t respect inferiors. Why should to help an arrogant and corrupt society which punishes honesty and rewards corruption? What’s in it for me?

        1. @No Data
          You are a true arrogant snob. You don’t have to respect somebody to help them. The reward is to feel proud and feel good about yourself… the feeling of being a good guy.

          Maybe you fit the bill of suffering from superiority complex (just saying…).

        2. @No Dice help them? What will I get by helping Filipino society? Why should I help them for free? If ever I help them, I should get compensated for it. I forgot to say that I also hate and have no respect stupid people because stupidity is my pet peeve, and Philippines has low average IQ.

        3. @No Data
          Imagine being so arrogant that you have to paid to help someone in need.

          BenThere was right, you do have a superiority complex.

    2. Filipinos always frame their political arguments/positions within the context of who they are loyal to. The notion of an idea, argument, or position standing on the basis of logical merit seems to be alien to the Filipino mind.

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