The Biggest Economic Problem

In the US, both the chairman of Federal Reserve and politicians agree that unemployment is the biggest economic problem. The winnable candidate therefore in this upcoming election in November is the one who can create and increase the number of jobs. However, according to a recent telephone survey, the public think differently. They are now economically informed. For them, inflation is the biggest economic problem.

Here in South Korea, my impression as a result of brief observation is that the people are aware about the external source of their national economic crisis even though inflation is not particularly identified. Despite my failure to understand the language, I am surprised to see the face of Bernanke appearing on mainstream news. In the Korea Herald, an English newspaper, I also keep on encountering economic news, which are almost similar to what I have been reading in the web. Also, when I borrowed books from the public library here in Gwacheon, South Korea, I appreciate that economic professors like Sunhyuk Kim and Doh Chull Shin of Seoul National University Press are aware about the external source of the Korean economic crisis. I am referring to Economic Crisis and Dual Transition in Korea: A Case Study in Comparative Perspective.

In the Philippines, in my opinion, we cannot see such kind of awareness. It is, as if, you need to come out from the country to see its economic reality. A Filipina teaching here in South Korea asked me a question if there is still hope for the Philippines. I told her, “Yes, there is hope provided that we have Filipino politicians with qualities of statesmanship, knowledge, and courage to reform the Philippine monetary system.” Unfortunately, at present we cannot find such breed of politician.

Our people feel the economic pressure, but they fail to identify the real cause of the problem. Many are still looking for political changes as their only hope.

I do not doubt the vital role of the politicians for the country to experience economic reform. However, I think nothing will happen if we will passively wait for initiative coming from them.  It is more proper to expect financial and economic reform from the intellectual community – educators, religious leaders, journalists, and bloggers. Such an intellectual movement will create economically educated masses that will provide the necessary base to pressure legislators to pass bills on monetary and financial reform.

I am still praying and looking for a public servant whose advocacy focuses on monetary reforms just like what Ron Paul has been doing in the US. Kindly inform me if you happen to encounter one.

Grace and peace!

The Price of Economic Ignorance

In May 24, 2012, Peter Schiff issued a serious warning about the condition of US economy in his article, The Real Crash. I think the impact of such a crash is not only confined in the US economic shore, but would certainly affect the entire global economy. Schiff emphasized:

“When the government’s delaying tactic, which involves continuous debt accumulation and money printing is no longer tenable, the dollar could collapse, borrowing costs and consumer prices could soar and the U.S. economy could implode. That’s the real crash that I was warning about, and the one we all need to be worried about now.”

You can read the whole article here…

Collectivism and the Internet

 I remember one time reading a web document claiming that our present generation is confronting a serious ideological problem different from previous generations. That document describes this ideological problem as the conflict between collectivism and individualism.

The Danger of Collectivism

G. Edward Griffin understands collectivism as the idea that upholds the significance of the state over an individual and if necessary, an individual is to be sacrificed on the altar of the greater good for the greater number of people. This is the existing dominant idea that governs the mind of the politicians, the media, the professional economists, and the public. Akin to this idea is the belief in the “divinity” of the government. The government is expected to solve all our problems – economic, political, and sociological.

The prevalence of the foregoing idea makes the government a huge “magnet” that attracts predatory class of people, says Griffin. This people know how to use the law for their own ends. They fight terrorism, they fight global warming, and they can come up with all types of just causes serving as disguises to continue their tight hold on the helm of power.

Control of the Internet

We are told that the flow of information in the web is threatening the predators’ hold to power. The Internet is the greatest tool an individual has to educate himself about what is really going on in the world. Powerful entities dislike such flow of information and that is why early this year, we witnessed an intense struggle between those who want to censor the Internet and those who advocate freedom of expression. Some would even claim that the control over the Internet will ultimately determine the fight for personal liberty.

The recent cyber crime law in the Philippines is a recent example of such an attack on personal liberty. Criticizing such threat to freedom, Paul Tassi claims that there are lawmakers who want to regulate something that they do not fully understand. He even implies that such law is actually a “web tyranny” and has no place in a country exercising good governance. A writer on GMA News expressed the same idea and designated the law as “digital martial law” and enumerated ten frightening things about this law.

As a result of the above law, I notice several reactions among netizens in their comments on blogs and social networks. There is a mixture of fear and defiance. Some would resort to just saying “nice things” about the government in sarcastic tone. Others would start their comments with negation followed by numerous anomalies saying that such and such politician did not commit those wrongdoings. If you plainly read the comment, it appears logical and as if nothing negative has been said. But discerning readers know what is really going on. There is an increased animosity and anger against those who intended to suppress freedom of expression in the web.

We know that the people behind PIPA and SOPA will not stop until they achieve their ends. Netizens and freedom lovers need to be vigilant in fighting for their right to express their thoughts. Commenting on the health of the Internet, G. Edward Griffin is alarmed about ongoing talk both in the national and international level to control the Internet. Describing the subtlety of such an attack on personal liberty, Griffin said:

“They use all these good excuses – they want to stop child pornography, they say there’s cyber terrorism and all these good things they want to control – but you and I know what they really want to control is our personal communication, and the rest of that is just an excuse. They want to clamp down on the Internet so it’s no longer a vehicle for people like me to express my views. So I am worried about the future health of the Internet and I just hope more people will come and defend the Internet against these attacks, which we know are coming.”

Personal Response

The tension between collectivism and individualism is most evident in economic and political arena. To my mind, philosophy has its own terms expressing similar tension. It is the conflict between the one and many. In religion, we also face similar struggle. There are those who believe only in one God and others uphold the plurality of gods. In Christian theology, it is claimed that the tension between the one and many, collectivism, and individualism, unity and diversity, singularity and plurality, universal and particulars, are all resolved in the teaching of the Bible on the Tri-Unity of God.

In the Bible, we find in the Triune God that both singularity and plurality are equally ultimate. And since the Triune God is the Creator of all things, His creation including man and nature reflect this foundational nature of God in time.

Sin distorts the relationship between one and many. In political and economic terms, this would mean exalting collectivism as the ultimate ideal at the expense of individualism. It could also manifest as an act of absolutizing individual freedom and rejecting the legitimate existence of the state. Both tendencies are wrong. In their proper places, we affirm both.

Sources:

Interview with Edward Griffin at the Daily Bell

The Philippines Passes a Cybercrime Prevention Act that Makes SOPA Look Reasonable

Digital Martial Law: 10 scary things about the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012