PAMPANGA

Sula: It's the economists

IN THE run-up to the bureaucratic chaos precipitated by inflation, spiraling food prices and rice shortage, a UP economics professor was quoted as saying that the country's economists were like the suspects in Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express": all guilty. Other sectors from both sides of the fence have since jumped into the fray and started calling for the heads of the economists.

Well, this has been an open-and-shut case, not only in this country, but even in others, particularly the US. The only difference is that we seem to be more dense, or kapal-muks, or to be more kind, too slow to respond or react, which can be synonymous to the word disaster.

Why this hard and harsh beating of the economists?

Former President Bill Clinton beat former president George Bush with a simple campaign slogan: it's the economy stupid.

In short, economic issues can be knock-out punches in politics. That probably explains why Sen. Trillanes sees a possible wipe out of the administration's Senate slate in 2019. The administration must have realized the potential outcome it is doing every damage control possible, short of sacking the perceived culprits, pronto. Otherwise, it might get it in the chin.

But critics have point in blaming the economists for the fix we're in. Their forecast on inflation was way off the mark. What followed was nationwide shock, unpreparedness and mess of dystopian proportion. There was the ensuing blame game at the top of the heap. No one wanted to take the blame. Mea culpa was a hot potato. The most vulnerable became a pawn in the game. And the public, particularly, the poor were, and still are, at the receiving of their official ineptness.

Dismal, it is.

In college, I learned that economics is defined as a dismal science. And the economists? Following the definition, they could be dismal as well.

Form is function.

Making the economy more inclusive rather than exclusive has been the latest mantra of this administration. After all, the old-fashioned dogma that a rising tide lifts all boat did not work as expected. The economy grew by record-breaking rates, but the overarching result was the same: the rich kept getting richer while the poor kept getting poorer.

As it is, the objective has been achieved and no one will argue that it has not, only in the reverse. Everyone gets a hit by the effects of inflation and rising prices. The government is still undecided on whether the Train Law or some of its provisions will be suspended for the meantime.

In the Western economies, the current debate is on who is the better economist, the macroeconomist or the microeconomist.

Here, the debate is on who got it all wrong about the economy and why no one is not yet being fired, except for one who is not, by assignment is an economist but an agriculturist.

There is, indeed, some catching up to do with to do for our economists, and for our leaders to address the realities we face today.

In one of his plays, William Shakespeare called for the killing of all lawyers. I wonder why he spared the economists.


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