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Why nations fail: A book you ought to read!

Last Saturday Dec.8, there was a forum on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill held at the Social Hall of the Sacred Heart Parish and there were three panelists, Dr. Lourdes Chan, a lawyer, and Fr. Ramon Echica. As it turned out, these panelists only showed their true colors… that they are rabid pro-RH Bill. Reading the report emailed to me by one of the participants, it was very clear that the forum was a feeble attempt to sway the audience to embrace the RH Bill. Luckily most of the audience where pro-lifers.

Even the priest, Fr. Echica made excuses saying that he was not representing the Cebu Catholic Church or the Magisterium. What a lame excuse for a priest. Fr. Echica is a man of the cloth and therefore a servant of God. He cannot therefore say that he is a separate and distinct from the Catholic Church that ordained him as priest. Once a priest, always a priest. 

What was horrifying was when Fr. Echica pointed out that “Jesus Christ was compassionate to the poor and compassion is above the law. Compassion should be our main reason why the RH bill is good.” At this point, allow me to repeat that famous quote by Edmund Burke, “All that is required for evil to flourish in the world is for good men to do nothing!” If today as predicted by the Blessed Virgin Mary (today we celebrate the solemnity of the Our Lady of Guadalupe) that “the smoke of Satan has entered the church” it is due to the fact that the Catholic Clergy do nothing when one of their flock sows confusion with the members of the Catholic Church.

Many Charismatic groups have been observing Fr. Echica in the last ten years and he hasn’t changed a bit. He seems to be anti-clergy and showed an uncanny arrogance according to one member of the Task Force for Life (TFFL). If the Cebu Archdiocese continues to allow him to preach and teach his misguided thoughts in the Seminary, then you better believe that he will create a generation of future priests with disobedient minds.

Meanwhile, today, the House of Representatives will finally put the controversial RH Bill into a vote. Again at this point, we can only pray and implore God’s help to stop this bill, which even Fr. Echica knows that this is an effort to curb the population of the Philippines. The economic consequences of the RH Bill will devastate our future economy, just like what’s happening in Japan today. This is why Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew already made his “Mea culpa” and publicly admitted that Singapore made a mistake in reducing its population growth 20-years ago.

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Pundits and academicians in Metro Manila are agog over the arrival last week of the authors of the book launched only last March entitled “Why Nations Fail.” I already wrote an article about this book last Dec.1 in the Philippine Star, but I haven’t written it here because of so much distraction. The authors, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson spoke before a Forum entitled “Why Nations Fail and the Philippine Case”.

If only I had known earlier that these authors would be at the Manila Intercon, I would have flown there to attend it. This forum was hosted by the Harvard Alumni Association, the Makati Business Club, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Foundation of Economic Freedom (FEF) and the World Bank.

As I said, we already wrote about this book last December 1  and both authors from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came up with a common ground that the key difference between successful and failing countries is the type of institutions that governs it, whether these political and economic are “inclusive” or “extractive”.

Both authors also agree “Man made political and economic institutions spell economic success or failure—not history or culture or even natural resources. Successful and rich nations have “inclusive” economic institutions that “enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skill” and provide state support in terms of public services and regulation.

Inclusive economic institutions support markets that are open to new entrants. These are more conducive to economic growth that extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few. These enforce entry barriers and regulations that prevent the effective functioning of markets.

Thus nations fail when their political and economic institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power in the hands of the elite few—the lucky cronies—without constraints—without checks and balances, without the rule of law.” How I wish we had the time to discuss it further. Let me just say that the Philippine Senate is an example of this “exclusive clique.” Where no other Filipinos could ever hope to join that exclusive political club.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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