Philippine economic nationalism
Not seeing that the power of taxation of the state is the true expression of national patrimony in economic matters, the framers of the 1935 Constitution introduced provisions on the use and disposition of land and natural resources vesting exclusive rights of exploitation to citizens. This also meant restricting foreign investments in public utilities. The provisions were not revised but even elaborated in subsequent revisions of the constitution. These provisions set a train of restrictive economic policies that helped to compound the mistakes of early industrialization policies. By tying the hands of future generations of Filipinos to deal with specific economic issues in their own time, the constitutional provisions provided barriers against solving economic problems with realism as called for by changing times and exigency. Judged as the most likely to succeed in the early years after independence among many East Asian economies, the Philippines became the economic laggard among a group of highly performing economies during the second half of the last century. The brand of economic nationalism that was fostered was exploitative and heavily protectionist in character. It built an economic and political framework that discouraged competition, enhanced monopolies and inefficiencies by nationals, inhibited the growth of international trade, and hence postponed by a large margin of time the growth of economic specialization based on comparative advantage. A new kind of nationalism based on principles of competition and comparative advantage is needed. This will be helped greatly by the removal of stringent constitutional provisions that affect foreign investments. An enlarged regional free trade within ASEAN and accession to the World Trade Organization are factors that will help to sustain this new ethos, which will strengthen economic and national aspirations.
Volume (Year): 45 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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