the onion

August 29, 2015

the Philippine economy is like a pyramid, instead of the onion it ideally should be:  there are few economically prosperous at the top.  A healthy middle-class, I think, should be our target for robustness.  Where more disposable income can ultimately lead to a conscious  decision  to spend more, I think growing economic inequality can stifle real growth.  That said, I think inequity is much more descriptive than inequality – discussions of equality are a much more slippery-slope and can be problematic.  Maintaining a minimum quality of life, like Maslow’s model, might be more achievable.

While it is a capitalist society and as anyone that played “going to market” can attest, the poor getting poorer, I believe, is not a sustainable model.  We need to allow for true social mobility.  While there is much more focus on getting to the “top”(which I don’t have any objections against), it might be more realistic to facilitate inclusion into the mythical middle-class.

They say the tide can raise all boats but I think specifics can make a huge difference.  I believe that the President’s salary can’t be flat but incentives-based:  their fortunes are directly tied with the country’s.  How the nation fares, so too does the leader’s fate.  I used to think that the key indicator was GDP but since “trickle-down economics” has clearly not worked in the Philippines, we need to explore a different model.   In the “Price of Inequality”. Stiglitz points out that incentives are sometimes counterproductive as evidenced by the recent GFC, that’s not to say that an alternative can’t be effective – I’m curious how Bhutan objectively measures Gross Domestic Happiness.

I’ve read parts of Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”.  It is food-for-thought but when we read we’ve got to be careful about cognitive bias:  there is a very real tendency to go for things which support your beliefs.  We need to hear the arguments from both sides in order to make an informed decision – we need to be able to temporarily put aside our own snap judgements.

I’m not an Economist by trade but a fan of Said’s amateurism.  I like how the root of amateur is love.  I’m very much aware of the old adage that a little information is a dangerous thing that is why I try to read as much as I can and consider other people’s opinion (when possible)


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