Distribution of Monetary Capital and Purchasing Power

The current corruption investigations in my country have pained me.  Two military generals alone stole and laundered  about five hundred million pesos each from the national treasury.  Those funds were intended to modernize the Philippine military, hire and equipped Filipino soldiers, and pay well UN-assigned police forces in many global hot spots.  One million pesos or twenty thousand dollars are enough to pay two top-rated brain surgeons annually in my country.


Lately, I  have been entertaining the idea of distributing monetary capital and purchasing power directly to make every Filipino financially capable to produce and buy.  There are about one hundred million Filipinos according to the  national census data.   If each Filiino--from one-year old and over--is given ten million pesos each, I think poverty in my country will be solved. Babies will  have savings in the bank that will earn interests.  They can use them for their health, living expenses, and education in the future.  The old ones will surely become financially independent, and they will no longer rely on begging,  dole outs, and  their children's help.  Young adults will become entrepreneurs.  Those who are  already  entrepreneurs can expand their  businesses.  The rich ones can use the funds for their charitable foundations and environmental projects.


I  know this is a crazy idea, but the fact that one billion pesos went to only two generals and their families is way crazier.  I have been making models and calculating surpluses to study the eventual politico-economic and socio-cultural effects of my idea of distributing monetary capital and  purchasing power.  So far, I have found  three possible problems  related to inflation, labor, and immigration.  The economic scenario of having too much money but less goods and services is, indeed, scary.  I do not want to see Filipinos use peso bills as stove starters and toilet papers.  Also, if everyone can afford to hire and pay labor, there will be no laborers.  Another eventual result will be the immigration of illegal and legal foreign workers and the problems they will bring, considering the Philippine waters are not secured and most Chinese and Indian goods enter my country unchecked and untaxed.  


The Marxist and nationalist in me believes that the poor in the slums who usually have many children will benefit a lot  from this economic scheme.  More children means more money.   It makes sense to give them more as they have been poor for quite some time and radically changing  their lives will also change the physical landscape of the Philippines.  A Manila without street beggars, slums, and garbage mountains will no longer be a dream.  Doctors  who work as nurses in the US, engineers, as technicians in the Middle East, and teachers, as maids in Hongkong and Europe will come back to my country to restart their lives without compromising their professional skills and career interests.  This will mean new labor force with transferable knowledge and skills that will foster further development.  Imagine a Filipino-American professor at MIT will go back and teach in a university that needs an overhaul. Since students can now afford to pay their education, universities will have enough research funds to attract new sets of faculty.  If there are two hundred million Filipinos after reverse brain drain, five million pesos for each individual are still a lot in Philippine standards.


I told my folks, who love shutting down my ideas, about this one.  They found it very tantalizing.   Welfare systems and policies in my country have failed because of corruption, bureaucratic red tape, and inefficiency in distribution of minimal state dole outs, goods, and services that do not really have radical effects on unemployment, hunger, and poverty.  Directly  giving money to the people, I believe, will prevent malfeasance, misfeasance,  and nonfeasance in government.  This, I think, will  be the radical way to eradicate poverty, which is primarily caused by corruption, lack of economic opportunities, and mismanagement of wealth.


This idea will only work if gambling, drinking, and other expensive vices will be criminalized, so the people will not think of wasting their money on such financially wasteful activities.  There should also be a national ID biometric system to prevent corruption and ghost populations receiving funds.  A mass training in business planning, financial management, industrial skills, or technical manufacturing will also help.  Farmers, for example, can use their funds to modernize their farms and farming and increase their production outputs  Fishermen will no longer have the problem of spoilage as they can now put up fish canning factories that can mass-produce and export.


I know this post sounds dreamy, but when I think of the one billion stolen by the two generals being real, I become more determined that my idea is not a bad one and that it is feasible.  To prevent problems in economy, labor, and immigration, tempospatiality is needed.  Through it, monetary capital and purchasing power can be controlled and managed the way too many cars are in a narrow street.  Time and space are as important as money in economic development that aims to distribute wealth and democratize power derived from money.                                                      

Views: 112


You need to be a member of Open Anthropology Cooperative to add comments!

Comment by M Izabel on March 7, 2011 at 11:28pm

I actually did two sets of calculations: the one using 20 billion dollars based on documented investigation and another one based on 20 trillion dollars that is bloated and anecdotal considering the Marcoses alone have 500 cases against them involving stashed funds and properties. 


A start up fund of 100,000 pesos is already a lot in Philippine standards.  It should be the job of the Filipino social scientists to engineer the poor communities to engage in entrepreneurship and other productive activities if ever the ill-gotten wealth of the corrupt Filipinos are distributed as financial capital for the poor.


What is painful to me is that these cases have not been thoroughly investigated.  The government has been interested more on compromising and settling for less due to lack of legal funds to continue the Marcos cases for long.  Even the Aquinos have not been successful. I wish Swiss anthropologists would visit my country and check how most Filipinos live in poverty and act as the conscience of their government.  It would truly be the kind of anthropology I want to involve myself.

Comment by M Izabel on March 7, 2011 at 7:07am

"Now some elementary arithmetic. You propose not 1 but 10 million pesos or 200.000 dollars to each Philipino. Now you have to multiply 100.000.000 Philipinos x 200.000 dollars= 20 trillion dollars ( 20.000 000 000 000 ). This makes 45 times of the national debt of Greece that not any United Europe can ...delete. That means that capital is maybe something else than printing papers of 1000 dollars."


I  know this estimate is bloated because I based it on what have been talked about and circulated in the media in my country in contrast to the  20 billion dollars that has paper trails and has been investigated.  Whether  real or not, it has to be investigated.  Imelda Marcos said that her family's money in Citibank in New York alone is 1 trillion dollars. 



It may seem fictional but one thing is real: that  corruption is the root of poverty.





Comment by M Izabel on March 7, 2011 at 4:05am
I hope  you  did  not  think that I thought 10 million x 100 million is 1 billion.  I used a calculator.   The 1  billion pesos stolen by just two generals is to give you the gravity of corruption in my country.  There have been  more than a  hundred top  generals since the time  of  Marcos.  Currently,  5 generals  are  investigated and 1  committed suicide (so  we will never know  how  much he got).    And yes, this is just  for the military  scam.  There are rice scam, railway  scam, fertilizer scam,  education scam, casino  scam, and many more  that  still  have  to be  investigated.  The ten million pesos per individual calculation includes all estimated laundered money by corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and tax evaders since the  time of  Marcos.
Comment by M Izabel on March 7, 2011 at 3:19am

Thanks, Nikos.  My math is poor.   hehehe.  I was overwhelmed by too many zeroes.  Actually, I included all the estimated stashed billion dollars from the time of Marcos to our last corrupt president, Arroyo.  Marcos alone stole 5 to 10 billion dollars.



My calculation should have been:  (10,000,000 poor households x  P100,000) /  P50 ($1) = 20 billion dollars,which is still believable considering our  foreign  debt is 50  billion dollars.  


What I posted is a different calculation  for something  else.  Sorry.   I know this is very Philippines-specific, but in India,  for example,  "Indian black money" in  Swiss  banks is a current big issue.   I think it is anthropological to find out the effect of the immoral policies of the Swiss banks on the poverty in developing  countries.   

Comment by M Izabel on March 6, 2011 at 11:57pm
I think my statement on criminalizing gambling and drinking sounds totalizing.  It needs to be contextualized.  In the Philippines, even a five-year old can buy and consume alcohol, and number games are all over.  Maybe some aspects of gambling and drinking should be criminalized like the sale of alcohol to minors and the consumption of alcohol at certain times and places and the existence of underground gambling dens where minors are allowed to gamble.  Gambling and  drinking are the common problems that one can expect to encounter in studying the rural household economy in a  Philippine village.   Even such vices are related  to poverty.   Some poor just want  to get numb while others want to gamble what  little they have and rely on luck.  Everything, it seems, boils down to means of production.
Comment by M Izabel on March 6, 2011 at 9:08pm

Keith,  those are the laundered  funds that  have  paper  trails and can be taken back by the government.  Granting those are returned, the  funds, again, are susceptible to more corruption by higher officials unless they  are directly distributed to the people. 


My use of  "capital" is related to it being  an  important  factor in production.   I know money is not  considered a  factor of production,  but  capital  goods and services are acquired using financial capital.  The government does not  have to allocate funds for this scheme in the national  budget.


Philippine administration of laws and ordinances is messed  up.  One village even criminalizes the sale and  distribution of condoms.   The anthropology part of my post is the engineering of a society  that will aim to foster  entrepreneurship, production of wealth, and economic development.  Poor Filipinos can make food out of fish bones.  I  believe if given any form of capital,  they can do better.   All they need are means of production.

Comment by Keith Hart on March 6, 2011 at 7:51pm

Hi M. No harm in dreaming, but would you like to test the feasibility of your proposal against economics or do you think anyone can invent their own economics? Why call a money handout capital? Most people think of capital as a relationship, money used to make more money. Where does this handout come from? Does anyone lose out in order to make the money available or does it come free? Does the government just print it? What limits are there on the Philippine government doing what the King of Saudi Arabia just did?

Passing to your proposals for criminalization, do you think that laws can be made and enforced in a society by snapping ones fingers? There is a medium where the author can play God and make anything up. It is called fiction. But an author of fiction has to draw her readers in by relating possible scenarios to what we actually know.

I will not argue that this isn't anthropology or science or something like that. I would just like a little bit more work on making your fiction plausible. Then we might learn something from it.


OAC Press



© 2019   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service