Sunday, March 4, 2012


Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, in commenting on the government’s quest for a ‘fair mining’ policy, was quoted as saying that the executive was considering
various models and alternatives in the hope that this can be done so that all the interests of the different sectors are addressed.

But if you take a look at the “various models” on the table, they’re always about pitting one group against another (e.g. ‘pro-mining’ cronies vs. ‘anti-mining’ NGOs), hoping each group compromises their positions to the appeasement of all.

What you will NOT find is a ‘model’ that challenges the idea that government has to be involved. Why seek ‘fair mining’ via an EO in the first place?

[A]n enormous and exceedingly wasteful apparatus of para-government has grown up, consisting of trade associations, trade unions and professional organizations, designed primarily to divert as much as possible of the stream of governmental favour to their members... 

Political parties in these conditions become in fact little more than coalitions of organized interests whose actions are determined by the inherent logic of their mechanics rather than by any general principles or ideals on which they are agreed...

Who indeed would pretend that in modern times the democratic legislatures have granted all the special subsidies, privileges and other benefits which so many special interests enjoy because they regard these demands as just?  

That A be protected against the competition of cheap imports and B against being undercut by a less highly trained operator, C against a reduction in his wages, and D against the loss of his job is not in the general interest, however much the advocates of such a measure pretend that this is so.  

And it is not chiefly because the voters are convinced that it is in the general interest but because they want the support of those who make these demands that they are in turn prepared to support their demands.

In short, it is the seeking of government intervention itself that creates social conflict.


Belief in government encapsulates the worst in us; not just the will to violence, but the detachment or handwashing in doing so. We tag ‘the people,’ the collective greater than its parts, as culprit, or rather, as legitimate agent of such violent means to some supposedly noble end, e.g. saving the forests.

Entrepreneur, or crony?
Yet in spite of such detachment to the cruelties we perpetuate, we feel helpless in ‘making a difference.’ “I’m just one voter.” We imagine that, if only government ‘truly’ represented us, government would actually be effective. The possibility of reducing government or eradicating government altogether is not in the cards.


We’re like a deranged killer. It’s not our fault we murder people, it’s “the voices’.” If only we can somehow overpower these voices, the killings will end!

And that’s what the government-as-solution mentality is: it’s about going after the voices, not once questioning if these voices have any external reality, or are to be heeded at all.

Of course, once we do become aware that it is precisely government that breeds social conflict, we need a replacement paradigm. It might astonish us to find that the dreaded ‘free market’ is this true alternative to corruption and poverty.

This is where a genuine effort to educate one’s self comes in. For references, you can start with a couple of my previous entries:

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