IN­CLU­SIVE GROWTH: THE ZOM­BIE IDEA THAT LIVES ON

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - Marlen Ronquillo

AF­TER Mr. Aquino made 24/7 pitches for in­clu­sive growth and failed mis­er­ably to dent the rich-poor di­vide, many had the ex­pec­ta­tion that Mr. Duterte would not use that bro­ken record. But Mr. Duterte did, in Danang of all places, in the con­text of an ad­dress to CEOs of the to mar­kets will make emerg­ing economies im­prove, which will then spread the gains all over, he said. That, he added, will economies.

It sounds good, in the­ory. But what about the prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion.

Let us as­sume that the Asia-Pa ap­plied Mr. Duterte’s ex­hor­ta­tion in their busi­ness mod­els. Emerg­ing economies like the Philip­pines, for a steady run of about from bet­ter ac­cess to global mar­kets. And the trade bar­ri­ers, from tar­iffs to phyto-san­i­tary re­quire­ments on agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from the emerg­ing mar­kets, have all but van­ished.

Will the Philippine poor get a boost in their in­comes and qual­ity of life from this fair and just op­er­a­tions of the re­gional mar­ket? No. The ex­panded PH econ­omy will be of no con­se­quence to those at will go to the usual sus­pects, the top 1 per­cent that nor­mally scoop up 60 per­cent of all in­come gains year in and year out. Af­ter the top 1 per­cent, the next 9 per­cent will econ­omy’s in­come gains. The rest? Nada. The GDP surge may be a spec­tac­u­lar one. Just the same it will have no mean­ing on the in­comes – and the lives – of the Every­man.

Only the crumbs will trick­le­down to the likes of me and my neigh­bors, who are at the bot­tom 90 per­cent. That is true uni­ver­sally. “Trickle- down“eco­nom­ics is a hoax like its “in­clu­sive growth” twin. And the best take on “trickle- down“eco­nom­ics had been writ­ten by Pope Fran­cis. This is the Pope’s view on the de­bunked the­ory.

“Some peo­ple con­tinue to de­fend trickle-down the­o­ries which as­sume that eco­nomic growth, en­cour­aged by the free mar­ket, will in­evitably suc­ceed in bring­ing about greater jus­tice and in­clu­sive­ness in the world. This opin­ion, by facts, ex­presses a crude and naïve trust in the good­ness of those wield­ing eco­nomic power and in the sacral­ized work­ings of the pre­vail­ing eco­nomic sys­tem.“

There is an­other Fran­cis ver­sion, the bet­ter and the lay­man’s ver­sion.

“The prom­ise was that when the glass was full, it would over hap­pens in­stead is that when the glass is full, it gets mag­i­cally big­ger, but noth­ing ever comes out for the poor.”

Sim­ply put, trickle-down is bunk. It has not worked and it will never work. The six years of Mr. Aquino pro­vide the em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence.

The av­er­age 6.2 growth rate un­der Mr. Aquino was ideal by re­gional stan­dards. But it had a lim­ited im­pact. It was the per­fect lift and gift to the top 1 per­cent. Un­der Mr. Aquino’s growth-ori­ented regime, a new cat­e­gory of the su­per- rich was cre­ated—those el­e­vated into the ex­alted cat­e­gory of “those-who­can- buy- a- small coun­try- rich.” The pe­ons re­mained pe­ons and noth­ing changed in the re­mote com­mu­ni­ties with 84 per­cent or 74 per­cent poverty rates.

Mr. Duterte’s pitch for in­clu­sive growth comes at a time when there is ba­sis for com­par­i­son and anal­y­sis – the news me­dia’s si­mul­ta­ne­ous ac­count­ing on the fourth year of the Yolanda sav­agery and the cor­po­rate earn­ings of the coun­try’s busi­ness giants.

The news sto­ries on the re­set­tle­ment side were very bleak: re­loca were barely oc­cu­pied and the gov­ern­ment has been en­gaged in a slow-mo­tion trans­fer of the su­per­ty­phoon vic­tims into these shabby hous­ing sites.

The mis­ery in the ty­phoon-

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