Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why is RP's political system attracting all sorts of sleazy characters?

“Politics lures sociopaths, expert warns,” says an August 6 2007 PDI front page story. No wonder why our politics is so corrupt. But don’t you ever ask why indeed we tend to attract sleazy characters in our political system? I answered this question a few months ago:

“At the heart of the corruption problem is the way wealth is created here.

The dominant mode [of wealth creation] in the Philippines, is rent-seeking which, according to political economist Anne Krueger, means deriving uncompensated value from society through the manipulation of the economic environment either through influencing government policies, rules and regulations, or just plain graft and corruption.Rent-seekers in this context are those who accumulate wealth simply through access to political power, manipulating it to yield “infant industry” protection, high tariff walls against competitors, monopoly privileges, special import privileges, fiscal incentives (tax holidays), and access to government budget allocation for public procurement activities. Elected politicians and bureaucrats at all levels get their share of the booty simply by facilitating those sleazy transactions. While these people get rich, the economy suffers as the kind of business and economic transactions that they perform, while squeezing value from society through extra-economic means, contribute nothing productive to its development. Instead of spending money on research and development, innovative technologies, and the training of manpower, they would rather buy the bureaucracy to get things done. So we have in our midst an alliance of groups profiting from the nexus between wealth creation and the political system. Since the Spanish times, the powers that be designed the State and its related institutions to strengthen this rotten nexus. In turn, it has been attracting all sorts of rogues.”
You remove political intervention in economic decisions and you can see that “public service” will only attract two types of persons, either statesmen or masochists, and that will be for the good of the country.


sparks said...

Is this the same Anne Krueger of the IMF? Isn't she just an economist?

Dave Llorito said...

all i know is that she is an economist.