The recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) hosted by the Philippines became another occasion for the BS Aquino regime to boast of the country’s supposed economic revival under his watch.
The storyline propagated by Aquino’s communication team to every newspaper and media outlet is simple. President BS Aquino’s anti-corruption drive and good governance has resulted to economic development as attested by rising gross domestic product and credit rating.
A marvelous! Fantastic! Magical! Philippine miracle! This is an achievement worthy of a P71 million confab by world leaders and foreign capitalists worth.
Never mind that relief goods rot in warehouses instead of reaching hundreds of thousands of Typhoon Yolanda victims who continue to suffer from the government’s criminal negligence 6 months after the world’s strongest typhoon in history struck the country.
Or that poverty, landlessness, low wages, unemployment, soaring prices, and lack of access to education, health, and other social services remain rampant.
It is business as usual as the ruling elites further open up the country to foreign monopoly capital with more doses of the all-too-familiar neoliberal recipes of privatization, deregulation, and denationalization.
This is the Philippine miracle which required the walling up of slums and the violent dispersal of protest actions to miraculously erase poverty and dissent. It is a miracle that only big business, big landlords, and big bureaucrats enjoy.
But the deceptive language they use to legitimize this state of affairs has become more sophisticated and twisted than ever.
We now have “inclusive growth” instead of the much-abused “trickle down effect” to describe the same framework which claims that the exploitative deeds of big business is really good for the toiling masses.
The opening up of the public sectors, especially the social services, to private profit-making constitutes “public-private partnerships.”
The pushing down of workers’ wages, contractualization, and violation of workers’ rights in general are all under the heading of “labor flexibilization.”
Corporate encroachment of local communities to pave way for the plunder of natural resources or access to cheaper labor is a form of “bottoms-up approach” to development.
The endless drive for profit and capital accumulation is all about “poverty reduction.”
Military forces violently suppressing people’s resistance against mining, logging, agri-business, and other monopoly capitalist interests is simply “peace and development” work at the “grassroots level.”
And the Priority Assistance Development Fund is abolished but discretionary lump sum funds remain intact and are diverted to line agencies for use by administration allies as paperless Congressional pork barrel.
Which are all not really new given the way capitalism has itself become obscured behind the innocuous term of the free market economy. Hidden behind the images of commodity exchange is a system founded on the exploitation of wage workers by capitalists who owns the means of production.
Imperialism as the monopoly stage of capitalism takes the screen name “globalization” while the backward peripheral countries exploited by imperialist ones are called “developing countries.”
Funds given by the imperial powers to their client states with strings attached are dubbed “foreign aid” for “development assistance.”
And the poor are not anymore victims of an unjust system but “survivors” of the twists and turns of an unfathomable wheel of fortune ran by the Godlike invisible hand of the market.
But all this triumphalist talk of a Philippine miracle is bound to evaporate as soon as the infusion of foreign speculative capital in the country slows down with the world capitalist system plunging further into a deeper crisis.
As the present economic bubble bursts, what has long been kept hidden in plain sight will take center stage. The ruling classes will be compelled by the reality of crisis to recycle other ways to legitimize the ruling order. By that time, they will need more than just public relations gimmicks to secure their rule.