Carvajal: Maturity or bust

Break Point

“In its simplest form, trickle-down economics is the theory that by increasing the wealth of the rich, they will spend more money, which would trickle down towards society, leading to more wealth for all.” Finance Monthly, Economics 101 Series

When our legislators push to open up sectors of our economy to foreign ownership, they are counting on the above theory of trickle-down economics. Yet, the post-colonial economic situation of the majority of Filipinos has proven this theory to be a fallacy. The latter remain poor precisely because what flows down to them are just trickles that actually get even smaller in the midst of the downpour the elite minority gets.

The only way economic progress is going to be enjoyed by all is to do away with trickle-economics and replace it with an equitable system. But human nature being what it is, our leaders cannot conceivably be expected to do away with a system that provides the solid substratum to their exclusive wealth and power.

Only the masses, the majority, can get rid of trickle-economics. But how can they do it when the political system excludes them from any meaningful participation in government decision-making? How, when ruling political dynasties are not likely to wake up one day motivated to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

That brings us back to square one. People must push for officials to come up with a law implementing the constitutional anti-dynasty provision. Yet this needs a degree of maturity on the part of Filipinos. And our problem is we are all born, raised and educated within a culture that prefers obedience and dutifulness to independent critical thinking. Speaking up is not encouraged at home, in school, and in Church. In our culture, parents, teachers and priests know best. One only needs to do their bidding to succeed in life.

A mature person, according to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, is one that is guided by his reason and has his own convictions on life and lives by them. Accordingly, the immature is one who does not think for her/himself and instead lives her/his life on the unquestioned dictates of others like parents, teachers, priests, civil authorities, etc.

“Kant’s ideology is that people need to stop being afraid to express their thoughts and opinions in order to help society advance as a whole. This includes but is not limited to questioning the political, religious and military institutions.” Laurence Michelle Gilmore, University of Florida, A Commentary on Kant.

Again, political dynasties cannot be expected to rid us of the system that pours wealth on them but leaves mere trickles to flow down to the masses. It is thus imperative that the masses strive to achieve the maturity to speak up and work to change social reality according to their reasoned understanding of that reality. That or we go bust in our land of plenty, an immature people led by the nose by know-best civil, business, and religious lords.


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