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.