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."