"PRIVATIZATION will lead us nowhere and will, in fact, decrease our economic growth and increase our poverty level," two researchers from the US who stayed in the Philippines long enough realizing that there is a need for massive paradigm shift.

Prof. John Cavanagh, director of the Institute of Policy Studies, and Dr. Robin Broad, a professor at the American University, said that after the world was hit by three major crises -- the global financial crisis, the global environmental crisis and the food crisis -- they realized that it is high time for the world, especially the 3rd world countries, to change its economic system.

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In a press conference entitled Alternatives to Neoliberalism organized by the Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao Inc. (Afrim), Cavanagh and Broad explained that neoliberalism is a paradigm that promoted macro-economic policies, trade liberalization and privatization, wherein the rules were set by institutions such as the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Cavanagh and Broad said that "we should stop following this paradigm." They further proposed that development can only be attained in the Philippines if big private companies will be given less hold on the economy.

Instead of privatization, they insisted that the government should be in control of the economy. "Privatization was preferred because the government is viewed as corrupt. Then again, there is also corruption in private companies," Broad said.

"Private companies (which run on neoliberal philosophies) work on less cost and greater profits. This should not be the case," Cavanagh added. He cited some examples in other countries wherein government-controlled economy yielded better results.

Cavanagh also said that the country should focus and maintain the agricultural sector. He said that farmers should employ organic farming as it benefits both the farmers and the consumers.

Cavanagh added that "we should improve on this area for the benefit of the Filipinos and not for the other nations." "Filipinos should aim to be less dependent on imports," Broad, for his part said. He added that "first, you should be able to feed your population."

The speakers of said forum have high expectations on the current administration.

"The present administration seems to be looking into this as a possible solution, and they seem serious about it," Afrim chair Wilfredo Rodriguez said.

"We hope that there would be a dramatic change in how things are being done in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao," he added.

The press conference Alternatives to Neoliberalism took place on July 22, at the Blue Chateau Room of Grand Men Seng Hotel.