Growth, corruption-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
THE assertion of a business leader that corruption, which has always been a bedfellow of most governments, whether democratic or totalitarian, is “not obstacle to development” as headlined in yesterday’s business page of this daily, is not a new belief. Economists and businessmen of note have, in the past, been saying that corruption in some way helps economic growth.
How does corruption benefit the nation’s development?
Not being an economist, I can only surmise that perhaps amassing financial capability to spread around generates movement of cash along “un-charted” and direction-less business investments.
Thus, a measure of sharing of funds somehow endows the people with a sort of buying power that makes the economy oscillate in unexpected ways. And so there is something good that somehow emerges from what we consider as truly bad.
But there is “a condition precedent” to this reality, and that is “if economic policies are in the right direction,” according to a professor at the University of Asia and Pacific. He said countries such as South Korea “emerged as a first world economy despite widespread corruption.”
The professor pointed out that “the current pork barrel scam is an opportunity for the Aquino administration to prove its sincerity in the fight against graft and corruption.”
This does not mean that we can or should abate corruption since, after all, something good could come out of it.
While I could agree that corruption somehow may act as catalyst to our economy, and spur it order to achieve a level of growth, it does not mean that the Philippine economy anchors its development to an accelerated state of corruption such that, even if a number of legislators and businessmen are implicated, will still be okay with us.
The projection is that by 2050, the Philippines will be the 16th largest economy, ahead of Indonesia, Austria, Argentina, and Egypt. This, of course would depend upon the reforms of the present Aquino administration.
The Philippine economy has to accelerate its growth rate in “gross domestic product (GDP) from seven to nine percent in the next ten years.”
Indeed, while economic analysts predicted for the second quarter this year a GDP growth of only 7.2 percent, what actually emerged was 7.5 percent, beating the analyst’s own median forecast.
The Philippines’ first quarter GDP growth was 7.8 percent. This reality was affirmed by the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), which said that “We remain the fastest growing economy among emerging economies in the Asean region.”
Actually, according to the Neda, the 7.5 percent GDP growth recorded for this second quarter of 2013, which is “the same as that of China,” surpasses the growth rates of our other neighbors in the Asian region.
In a way, whatever else people may say of this rather awkward reality of our having a sort of “corruption-driven” economic growth, we can glory from the fact that we made a decent thing out of a “bad” circumstance.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2013.