Time to take a break from Bin Laden and his awesome death and go back to our regularly scheduled programming. In this article I would like to talk about corruption. It is one of our nations biggest problems. In fact whenever someone comes up with a plan to make the country prosper, it invariably ends up beginning with curbing corruption. I’m sure a quick search in yahoo will easily tell you how much money we are losing to it every year.
Time for the ISYW angle! How do we solve this problem? Surely there is an innovative way to deal with this. Well the answer is no actually. There isn’t. There are plenty of showpiece measures such as anti-graft drives, impeachment trials, etc. I am sure they flush out some of the worst offenders. But the gist of the situation is, our system is inherently flawed. Which makes it so that corruption is something we will always have to deal with. We would be better of focusing on other problems. Debt servicing, low employment, etc. I’m sure we can pick one out of the huge list of problems we have.
The main flaw in our system that keeps corruption around is simple. We do not pay enough to have officials that are not corrupt. Our president’s salary is 95000 a month. A CEO of a small multinational company would make something like two million a month. Look at the differential between the two. Then think about the complexity of the job put before them. Our president’s salary is listed as salary grade 33. With the other public officials getting paid even lower than he does. Then consider how much it would cost to actually get into office in the first place.
The system itself is set to fail. We are basically relying on the altruism of every single person in public office. We need every single one of them to pursue their positions out of their selfless love for country instead of any motive of self-interest, otherwise the system fails. Realistically, how many people are like that? How many would give up everything just to serve the country, at almost no pay? One out of our population? Two? Then we see that these people, who are precisely what the system is designed for could very well be kept out of it by the prohibitive cost of obtaining office. Even assuming they get it. How long will the altruism stay? Once they are beggared by the rising costs of living coupled with their low paying jobs.
Of course increasing political wages to the point where they would earn as much as their counterparts in the business sector is not a silver bullet. We could very well still choose people which are corrupt for office. But at least the system is set up so that people who are willing to work for both their own and the nation’s good are accommodated. A kind of guilt is also created. Wherein people who get paid this high amount officially have a obligation to do something to earn it. As opposed to the expectation of graft in our current system, because they don’t get paid enough to survive otherwise.
Sadly this will never get implemented in our country. We just have such a bad image of our politicians that we will not enact this. The reaction of everyone would be that they are already so corrupt. Why pay them more? Even if what you are doing really has nothing to do with the current politicians at hand. But rather setting it up so that we can attract a better breed of future politicians.
The only solution left to us is to ignore the problem. Yes sadly that is it. Instead we focus on performance. In essence you can be as corrupt as you want. Set your graft to as high as you think you are worth. But be sure that you are worth that much. Anti-corruption drives should not focus on the most corrupt. No. They should focus on the most incompetent. Then once they are gone they should focus on those with a high incompetence to corruption ratio. Basically under performers. Then drive them out. You will be left with a bunch of highly corrupt officials. In fact the whole government will probably be made up of them. But they will be crooked officials who perform all their functions to the best of their abilities. In essence we get what we pay for.
That’s pretty much it. Remember always expect everyone to act with their own self-interest foremost in their mind. If you take this into consideration and plan for it most systems you set up will work.
Filed under Policy, Politics
In honor of the recent People Power Revolution anniversary I thought it
proper to do a piece on nationalism. By “nationalism” though I don’t mean celebratinghow awesome it is to be Filipino (and it is) or how our heroes are great (and they are). Instead I will focus on how nationalism is actually hindering our growth and progress as a country. More specifically I want to show that it’sour misconception of the idea of nationalism that’s doing this.
Think about it. Really think about it. What ideas do our professors, commentators, and intellectuals espouse as nationalistic? One hundred percent ownership of Filipino’s for companies? Nationalistic. One hundred percent ownership for foreigners? Un-nationalistic. The Philippines claiming ownership of the Spratley Islands and risking a rising superpower’s ire? Patriotic! The Philippines giving up its claim in exchange for other concessions? That’s traitor talk! Americans out of the bases? Yes go Philippines! Americans staying in bases? Well anyone who suggests this is obviously bribed right? I’m not saying that our current crop of nationalistic ideas are unnationalistic but I do assert that it takes more than an underlying “screw you foreigner” motive for an idea to be nationalistic;that some ideas whichdon’t handicap expats may actually be more nationalistic than those that do. I’m convinced that throughout history our collective idea of what is nationalistic has become perverted into what is protectionist.
Nationalistic ideas at their very core are ideas that will benefit and promote the country. Ideas that no matter the ideological lean of their content will better us as a nation. Consider the original definition’s implications to those of this new one; no idea should be rejected at face value just because they happen to suggest helping foreigners in some shape, way, or form. Each idea should have their pro’s and con’s individually weighed critically. Those that pass; where pro’s outweigh the cons, should be considered nationalistic as they help our country. Those ideas that don’t shouldn’t. If this means that such controversial ideas such as one hundred percent foreign ownership of corporations or ownership of lands is considered nationalistic, then so be it. I’m not saying itnecessarily has to be, but if an impartial study dins it so…so be it.
Running a nation is a very complex endeavor. Each day our leaders are faced with thousands of decisions; each of them with a thousand possible courses of action. Locking out a certain subset of these choices, even if they are the most beneficial for our country, due to some misunderstood idea of nationalism hurts us as our leaders cannot pick the best and most efficient paths for fear of being called traitors. We already have enough disadvantages without further handicapping ourselves with a misguided mindset.
I hope this article reaches some people, it goes against plenty of what is taught in schools nowadays. The fact still remains that limiting our options due to artificial constraints inhibits our growth as a nation. I’ve already stated what my personal definition for a nationalistic idea is. I’d like to leave with my definition of what nationalism is. In my opinion it is “Doing whatever you have to do to make your nation great”