Cars, plans, and bailouts

. . . is the topic of my latest Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld. Excerpts:

"However, the biggest difficulty I have with the bailout is that it serves as a horrendous justification for underperforming companies in poor countries like the Philippines. If the US auto bailout is given, watch out for our own local industries to ask for their own handouts from an already admittedly cash-starved government. And the problem with any government support here is the lack of monitoring systems involved, i.e., where will the money actually go? This is not the time to transfer taxes paid by poorer Filipinos and put them in the hands of wealthy but mediocre company owners.

The better thing to do is not to save the companies and just let them ride it out on their own. Either they innovate, improve, or go bankrupt. Definitely we have to care for the workers that will be displaced but not the wealthy that have mismanaged and let their companies go uncompetitive."


Economics and national interest

. . . is the topic of my latest Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld. Excerpt:

"I am a believer in liberalized trade and open economies. I believe in the benefit it brings to our people. I believe that we are a better country because of globalization and trade. However, the DoF actions exemplify exactly how erroneous, how wrong, our participation is in the global economy. For the system to work, no country should play the FOOL and each country should strive to protect its own interests, its own sovereign national interest. Our government’s duty is not to watch out for WTO compliance, that’s the job of other countries. If they say we’re not WTO compliant they have the burden of proving it. Our own government should not be acting as lawyers for other countries (although I must say that the lack of competent international lawyers may also have a hand in the present system or government mentality which obviously needs improving). The other countries, such as the US and France, will not be offended if we do this. In fact they’ll respect us even more because they themselves are always acting for their own country’s interests. Let us care for our own, our fellow Filipinos, because nobody else will."