Friday, August 31, 2012


We can see how Marxian governments are in the way politicians can exchange their roles amongst themselves, without regard for the specializations involved. One term as a congressmen, then mayor, then governor, etc.: whatever allows them to stay in power.

It is the same with the recent rigodon after the passing of former Naga City mayor Jesse Robredo, who last served as Local Government secretary. For no given explanation, Mar Roxas is taking Robredo’s place, and Jun Abaya is taking Mar’s place as DoTC secretary.

I’m fairly sure that in deciding this, they figured being Robredo’s replacement would be more impressive in running for senator in 2013 (and for VP/President in 2016). It has nothing to do with Roxas’s nor Abaya’s talents.

Who is whom? Does not matter.
Their grief at Robredo’s death was quite evident, but this does not make their decisions any more sensible, or agreeable.

This exchangeability of partymates is similar to Karl Marx’s vision of how proletarians would be able to take on this job, and another that job, as the planners see fit. The fact that it is somewhat contradictory to “from each according to his ability” just goes to show how confused Marxian thinking is.

In free society, on the other hand, a division of labor occurs in recognition of the varying specializations of individuals, whether as labors or entrepreneurs. And there is no single person (‘czar’) in charge of a whole industry, but rather competitors seeking to gain consumer favor, which results in higher-quality goods and services than monopolies. In the division of labor, one may not have one’s ideal job, or even have a shit job, but this system is still ideal to them as consumers. 

All throughout these market processes, there is no grand ‘plan’ providing for all, except in the most figurative manner that decentralized systems tend to be more responsive to people’s needs and wants than if decisions were left to policymakers who go by their intuitions as to what constitutes some ‘public good.’

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


First Raffy Nantes. And now, Jesse Robredo, whose plane crashed three days ago off Masbate. The Liberal Party has had its share of tragedies, and quite coincidentally, Robredo’s body was discovered on this 29th anniversary of another LP stalwart Ninoy Aquino.

I hate hearing about these things, just by virtue of common human empathy. And I truly believe that Robredo was a more-or-less honest guy whose little dirty politicking was minimal compared to most other bureaucrats.

But I have an ulterior reason for wishing the safety and good health of these politicians whose policies are destroying our lives each day.

(Note: I’m just as bummed out as an anybody could be about this, which might not be apparent in the following paragraphs.)

If Noynoy! Aquino gets killed, I will never hear the end of his saintliness and heroism. That would be truly dreadful. His name will be invoked in the launching of whatever new government ‘pro-poor’ program, e.g. “P-Noy cared so much about the poor, that he would have wanted to have seen Responsible Parenthood passed.”

We don’t need this pedestalizing of people and their stupid ideas. Their programs should be seen as failures, in spite of their sincere intentions. Having the policymakers die creates daydreams of what could have been, which only perpetuates more problems by government.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have mixed feelings about the viral video of a certain Robert Blair Carabuena slapping an MMDA traffic enforcer. On the one hand, physical attacks or the threat of such are no civilized means of settling conflicts. We keep this in mind in the case of Carabuena, a private individual, but also in the case of governments, who have no right to take money from people against their will, no matter how institutionalized the system of theft/taxation.

On the other hand, the MMDA, being an agency of our thieving Philippine government, has no legitimacy. Even if most people don’t realize it, the MMDA has no more right to control roads than the national government or local governments have. Anything other than private property has a limbo-like status. The only reason I don’t go around beating red lights is because the government delusion is so prominent among fellow motorists as to be dangerous to counter. It’s basically the same logic as not trying to escape kidnappers who have the guns to keep you in place, or who have fellow hostages’ Stockholm sentiments to thwart your plans.


Yet people such as the slapped MMDA enforcer are too naïve to deserve to be treated so shamefully. As far as his brain can conceive, he’s just doing his job. To paraphrase Nietzsche, we could not blame agents of the state for the calamity of millennia. Hell, everyone but one in my immediate family, me included, is or was a government employee; I don’t think anyone who knows us would consider us culpable of any crime, much less deserving of a form of treatment that goes counter to the principles of liberty (being initiated force upon).

So what must one do, if, like me, they recognize the state for the manifestation of short-sighted savagery that it is, without douche-ily treating its stormtroopers like dispensable inhumanoids? Say, what if, I was pulled over by an MMDA enforcer for a non-aggressive act such as bringing a ‘bawal’ car on its ‘bawal’ day? Or if I clearly saw that there were no cars around, which made a U-Turn or counterflow totally safe?


What I would do is FUCK ’EM. Not literally. I mean, to ignore them as much as possible. If they wave at you to pull over, just go on your merry way, or make a gesture brushing them off like, “Not interested,” like you would some real-estate vendor handing brochures at the mall.

Fuck ’em. If they get on a motorcycle after you, you can just go on driving as you do, without speeding dangerously in evasion. Beep nice and short if they get in your way at the next traffic light.

The only time to stop is if the ones chasing you are cops with guns. Otherwise, enforcers are not going to go through the trouble of filing a report of your plate number and whatnot. Or at least, I doubt it.

And if all else fails, play the sympathy card: “Boss, taeng-tae na ako.”

Note: I only have these rules of not submitting to authority because roads, being state-controlled, are nobody’s property, and my behavior in them is not violative of anyone’s rights, in any actual meaningful legal sense. I would be less inclined to break a one-way rule if it were private property, because there’s a person, a private owner, whose rules are to be respected. It’s not the same with government roads, which, contrary to anyone’s assertions, are not of “the people”; they’re merely controlled by politicians. But these politicians have no legitimacy in a free society where one voter’s choice does not necessarily bind another by violence or the threat thereof. 


Anti-RH Bill folk may think they scored a little victory with Senator Tito Sotto’s tears upon recounting the death of his five-month-old son almost four decades ago, but to me it just goes to show what depths these politicians plunge to get their way.

I am not insinuating any vested interests behind Sotto’s stance on the issue, but I would say that, if garnering points with the public mattered, the Sotto incident would ultimately be a step backward.


Apart from the appeal-to-pity aspect of it, there’s the possible hypocrisy involved. If some girls start coming out to the public, revealing themselves to be his mistresses for whom contraceptives were used, wouldn’t that make him all the more ridiculous? I don’t suggest this out of left field; a pro-RH friend of mine who would know about the comings and goings in the Senate made such insinuations, which makes one think din.


Second, and this is more important, Sotto is talking about contraception of 37 years ago. 1975 for God’s sake. Imagine people crying about how their houses burned down when light bulbs were first sold, or how the first cars’ brakes led to people’s deaths. As with any other product, the technology behind contraceptives would have improved in the past four decades ’diba. Not to say that they’re totally safe at present, as risks would undoubtedly remain, but let’s not forget the time aspect for what Sotto grieves.


Of course, I think the RH Bill is complete nonsense that will make things worse in the contraceptives industry and the economy in general. But that doesn’t justify grabbing on to anything one thinks will support the case against such poorly-thought legislation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Come on, Onyok, come back
and prove Get Real Philippines
wrong by bagging a silver!

Get Real Philippines is composed mainly of folks who like to practice elitism for elitism’s sake, but who have no decent understanding of problems in the Philippines, or social problems in general. The writers are content to bitch and feel-all brilliant about themselves.

Take this take by ‘Gogs’ on the 2012 Olympics, where members of the Philippine contingent failed to get a gold. He blames such a poor performance on, “obviously,” certain ‘Filipino’ attitudes of cutting corners. A brilliant commenter adds by citing “bahala na” and “pwede na” as exemplifying of the Filipino. Quite original. As you can see, there is no effort at explanation or digging deeper; it is left for us to assume that Filipinos are just inherently pathetic scum.

What Gogs doesn’t get is his false causality. It isn’t because of certain traits as perceived in Filipinos that Filipinos couldn’t compete in international sports events. It’s that economic conditions are so bad so as to make the focus on sports development impractical. 

And it is in such poverty that likewise poor mentalities and attitudes as cited in the article thrive, and towards which ‘intellectuals’ like Gogs yearn to feel superior.

Contrary to the notion that some people are just shittier than others, much of the self-perpetuating poor mentalities can be traced to the destruction and diminution of capital that politics and imperialism work on people, widening the rich-poor divide whether in the Philippines, in Africa, or even in supposedly developed states as those in America.


I am of the blasphemous minority opinion that the 2012 US Olympic basketball team is better, maybe not by much, than the 1992 Dream Team. Not to say I like these players more than those of before: Bird and Jordan are my all-time favorites.

Perhaps basketball was a more physical game back then, and hussle-wise, the 2012 team is inferior. But that’s not all there is to the game. If you look at the 1992 team, most couldn’t shoot as well as the current Olympic squad.

I guess a lot of the reason why the Dream Team of 1992 is hailed as the greatest ever is the crystallization that nostalgia creates. Time has yet to lend an air of legend to the current players, regardless of their already remarkable achievements. And it’s hard to root for a team that doesn’t have Jordan in it.


How can I claim the current crop of players is better, in spite of their average point spread of only seven against their opponents, compared to the Dream Team’s 27?

Standards of basketball have risen, and talent has further decentralized globally since 1992. Hence the pronounced difficulty of this team to acquire its Gold.

You could no longer restrict the creation of a ‘dream team’ to within the US, as was done 20 years ago. An actual 2012 dream team including the talents of players in foreign Olympic teams would sweep the 1992 USA team.

But the comparison between teams is somewhat unfair. A good part of the reason why standards have risen is the increased popularization of basketball in the wake of Barcelona ’92 and the excitement generated by the Jordan-led Olympic team.


The reason I’m even writing about this in my political blog is because it illustrates the beauty of borderless competition and decentralization in raising standards, whether of basketball, beauty or living in general.

In the thought of to-morrow there is a power to upheave all thy creed… and marshal thee to a heaven which no epic dream has yet depicted. Every man is not so much a workman in the world, as he is a suggestion of that he should be. Men walk as prophecies of the next age. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Circles’ [my italics]

Monday, August 13, 2012


In this blog, I’ve sometimes invoked Darth Vader’s “Search your feelings, you know it to be true,” after making my arguments against some idiotic idea, an idea usually involving the state. This is in recognition that much of people’s inability to dismiss their wrong opinions in the face of right ones, is psychological. No one in their right mind could actually believe that violence and conflict can be the basis of social order.


In things of which I have strong opinions, in particular music and especially politics, I know I’m right.

When faced with truth, a battle rages in my intellectual opponent’s head. However, as I pwn the statist's puny, puerile arguments, their vanity may get the best of them, resisting a healthy change in opinion.

But people, no matter how wrong-headed and slow, have just enough reason to feel in their gut a suspicion that I am right. Suggesting for them to search their feelings opens them to their latent sense of reason, just enough for them to doubt their wrong beliefs, sometimes for a moment... but perhaps sometimes for good.

By encouraging them to be emotionally honest, I hope for them to acknowledge their petty ‘reasons’ for resisting the logic and meaningfulness of my position, and once the emotional barriers are down, replaced by relief in casting off a flawed paradigm, they can be on their way to a sounder system of thinking. Succumbing to their feelings might allow for enough of a nudge to snap them out of their completely messed up framework.


Not to say that I subscribe to Darth Vader’s idea of anybody or a father-son duo ruling a galaxy.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Fervency = Justness?

This year, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of one of the most overrated (but still great) films ever, ‘Casablanca’ (1942). Its blend of humor, romance and action has apparently riveted audiences in ways totally unexpected while the film was being made.

It remains probably the most quotable of movies to date. Off the top of my head, “We’ll always have Paris,” “Play it Sam,” something about problems of three people not being worth a hill of beans in this crazy world, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” “The beginning of a beautiful friendship”… and on and on. But let’s face it, like practically all of wartime flicks, it was war propaganda, and appalling in that respect.

Ayaw magpatalo!


The single worst moment of the film was when the Germans were playing their anthem in Rick’s Café Américain. In what was meant to appear courageous and inspiring, the café clients, beginning with resistance leader Victor Laszlo, then sing the French anthem ‘La Marseillaise’ to drown out the German voices.

The French here were proxying for the Americans, it being French Morocco, but the message of loyalty to country was nonetheless being thrust down the viewer’s throat. As if it’s so admirable to be enslaved by one government rather than another!


What makes ‘La Marseillaise’ anymore noble than ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles’ (in the film, they’re actually playing another anthem, ‘Die wacht am Rein’)? Even Morocco for God’s sake was a French colony; these people in power all have the same idea of dominating other peoples, of course with the same litany of buzzwords such as ‘liberty’ and national glory. And people actually compete to be associated with governments?!

Never mind the fact that the French government was in complicity with the Nazis in sending French Jews to their deaths. Or that the movie’s Captain Renault, for all his comic relief, was just as much a deutschbag, pun initially not intended.

All governments are oppressors, and they love war; the only difference is the degree of love for war, the amount of resources for such war, and the particular conquests in mind.


I know it sounds like I hate ‘Casablanca,’ but it’s actually quite funny and fun. As with other WWII-period flicks from WB and MGM, you have to turn a blind eye to the bending over by Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer to the US war machine.

Monday, August 6, 2012


1. That’s life

Oh well, it’s just several billion pesos of damage. Compared to the over-2-trillion pesos wasted every year henceforth via the national budget, this ‘responsible parenthood’ machine is peanuts.

If, however, you use contraceptives for whatever reason, e.g. water balloons, you can expect prices to rise, and for access to diminish. And the poor will eventually be even worse off with regard to contraceptives than unlucky you. Read why here.

2. Economic ignorance ― I don’t know, and I don’t care that I don’t know

Most feel so strongly, and are quick to express such feelings, about what is actually an economics issue, without making an effort of economic analysis. They leave this to the economists of UP and Ateneo, who have made studies of course.

But what do these so-called economists do? They present figures of the depressing situation of infant and maternal mortality, of children forced to live in substandard conditions. This is no analysis. This is a presentation of facts, of which, for the sake of argument, I assume to be true. But nowhere in such data is it found that, by enforcing a government program involving education on and distribution of contraceptives, the poor people’s access to contraceptives will be increased. This is taken for granted, and therein lies a fatal error.

If people only rechecked this premise of “important issue = government program for important issue,” things might be different. If they actually studied the nature of monopoly and the harm it does in any sector, then they might realize that having the government handle it is the worst thing they could possibly do for their cause. You can’t just say “Leave the technicalities to the government” when government management of resources is technically impossible.

3. “Tingnan mo yung nanay na may sampung anak at sabihin mong walang overpopulation!”

Another careless premise is, of course, the Malthusian theory of overpopulation. It seems so obvious that there are plenty of people, and poverty is prevalent, hence larger population = poverty, in their minds. But by reducing populations while nonetheless maintaining the rate of poor productivity, poverty will just be as prevalent.

What is needed is not reduction of populations, but a harnessing of capital in the most useful manner as determined by consumers, a market process hindered by prevalence of government in all our sectors.

In short, the inherently monopolistic, violent nature of government is the cause of poverty. Everything else ― inadequate health care, lousy education (including of the RH-loving bourgeoisie), work hardships, bad roads, frustrating traffic, high market interest rates, poor showings in international sports events, etc. ― is a symptom.

4. Announcement

I sometimes have fun in this blog and call people “stupid” for not knowing any better about political economy. No more.

It sucks to hear wrong-headed statements from family and friends whom I know aren’t stupid. Heck, if you were to ask them, they know that I am the stupidest tanga-head of them all.

These RH Bill proponents are misguided. That’s all. Calling them stupid, even as a joke, is unnecessary. Of course, the condescension of shifting from ‘stupid’ to ‘misguided’ may even be more insulting. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Dear RH Bill Advocate,

I suppose that you support the passage of the Reproductive Health (Responsible Parenthood) Bill because you believe this is the means of empowering the poor in making choices for family planning. You are also concerned that the population is growing at too great a speed for existing resources to cope.

The issue of Pro- or Anti-RH is not about being pro-contraception or anti-contraception, or about religion at all, inasmuch as the issue has been framed this way. It’s about whether the RH Bill will accomplish whatever noble goals it is intended to accomplish.

Will it work at all?

I wonder what you have to say about the idea that the RH Bill, contrary to its intentions, will make contraceptives even more inaccessible to the poor. Perhaps this is the first time it has occurred to you. I’m not talking about funds being pocketed by conniving bureaucrats and businessmen, although this is the norm. I’m talking about the provisions of the proposed law being followed to the letter, and thus rendering these family planning products even more scarce.

It’s simple economics, really.* Whenever you have a national provider of a product, this eliminates or weakens competition, making investment in the sector less attractive. With less products on the shelves, the pricier they get, which may not burden you or I that much… but then, you and I aren’t the intended beneficiaries of the program.

But even with high prices, you say, at least such products will reach the poor, if they receive these for free. 

However, even in a best-case scenario (which is doubtful) where the administration is able to cover most poor people in need, the products will continue getting more scarce, and pricier, until something must give in, and surely that is worse than the current situation where contraceptives are indeed available in stores, in sufficient supply.

Count the cost

I wish I could hear your reply to what I said in the above paragraphs. Perhaps you’re imagining that the government will take on the business of producing contraceptives, and thus make up for the deficiency in private investment. But ask yourself how well such a sector will do under the same model that the post office, or PhilHealth, or any other number of GOCCs follows. You might be able to stomach the wastage that ensues, if it’s for the noble purpose of funding a family planning program.

But funding ‘Responsible Parenthood’ will get more and more difficult, and will inevitably subtract from the already dismal situation in general health care. We have seen hundreds of billions spent on education and health care, without any remarkable outcomes (to put it nicely). Are you willing to support this happening to contraceptives in particular? You may have more in common with the bishops than you think.

How did we get here? How can we get them here?

The situation, as I paint it, is quite pessimistic. If the poor are not to be helped via an RH Bill, how will they then be helped? Could the issues associated with family planning be mere symptoms of a much more general problem of poverty? If so, how can such problems be solved without being to the prejudice of other pressing problems, e.g. tuberculosis? I think that through this line of questioning, we may start to get somewhere.

Instead of assuming that the best we can do for the poor is to make things easier for them even as they remain poor, I ask: What are the conditions that have allowed the rich and middle class to enjoy their standard of living, that have made products such as iPads and contraceptives accessible? If your answer is, “Through exploitation of the poor,” then I’m afraid there’s no hope for any of us, because this means the only way to raise up the poor is for them to exploit us.

But I refuse to believe such a paradigm, not so much because it’s undesirable, which it is, but because our daily lives attest to something else as cause of our relative prosperity: the ability to choose. When we have options open to us, we tend to make decisions that better our lot, and, if we affirm this same ability to choose in others, they’re better off as well.

If only such conditions prevailed, in contrast to the present monopolization of our many industries, e.g. banking, ‘public’ utilities, pharmaceuticals, etc. I have no doubt that this would make for more employment, more productivity, a better standard of living, so much so that the perceived need for an RH Bill is rendered moot, or marginal enough to be handled by local agencies ― the actions of which would not require legislation and tiring debates.

In closing

With the administration recently giving explicit support to this ‘Responsible Parenthood’ legislation, it is time to reevaluate our positions so as to not only fight for the right ends, e.g. poverty alleviation, but to support the right means.


P.S. Some additional thoughts of mine.

* The causality of monopoly [All that follows is premised on the fact that resources are finite]:
- Entrepreneurs need signals to decide where to risk to invest.
- With the government usurping specific resources for production of a good, such as contraceptives, non-favored producers face rising costs just to acquire these inputs, making it less viable and less appealing to invest for those without legislated mandate.
- A monopoly thus emerges.
- Sans competition, or with reduced competition, input costs rise further, indicating that more and more capital is diverted from other sectors in the economy to maintain output of the monopolized product. 

Additional notes on monopoly:
- Monopolies could not innovate, only maintain the status quo. It is via disequilibrating entrepreneurship, the taking of risks and failures of individual entities, that innovation could come about. A government that risks and fails ― which is the rule ― harms the sector as a whole.  
- Instead of assigning government the inevitably ineffecient task of production and/or distribution, it is government barriers to investment that must be dealt with so as to maximize the incentive to satisfy customers in the sector.
- Subsidies, as incentives to produce, have an opportunity cost, because they necessitate taking away from other sectors, with funding coming from taxes otherwise used to meet actual consumer preferences that signal other productive activities within the economy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I wouldn’t have been as eager to watch ‘The dark knight rises’ twice in the theater if it weren’t for ‘pirated’ items I had downloaded beforehand.


The first thing that excited me so much was the music. I love Hans Zimmer’s stuff from ‘The dark knight’ (2008) and ‘Inception’ (2010). You should download it. When I saw on that Zimmer was returning for the Nolan finale, I was totally psyched!


Second, Marion Cotillard. Not a favorite actress of mine or anything, but I  had downloaded her 2003 movie ‘Jeux d’enfants,’ watching it twice the past couple of months, which made me sentimental about finding out she was in the latest Batman flick.


Third, I had watched the preceding ‘Dark knight’ movie once in the theater, and twice ‘piratedly.’ If I had only seen it once (I wouldn’t have bothered buying an P800 DVD), it wouldn’t have grown in my heart as a possible equal or superior to Tim Burton’s 1989 ‘Batman’ (which I’d watched a billion times from an unlicensed VHS back in the 1990s, and of which I have since bought a licensed copy).


As you can see, it is easy to make the mistake of assuming that ‘more unlicensed copies = lower sales,’ when in fact unlicensed publicity is great even for sales of licensed products.

If you look back to the days when radio was our primacy source of new music, royalties weren’t paid to the foreign or local artists given airtime. Yet this was the primary impetus for people to buy cassettes and CDs back then, even when the songs people liked were played ad nauseam (i.e. repeatedly ‘stolen’ from the recording musicians) on the radio!


Having just watched Megadeth live last Sunday, I observed that the band had a following large enough to fill the World Trade Center hall. These were people paying thousands of pesos, and I would bet that not even one-fourth of the total attendees ever bought an actual CD or licensed download of Megadeth.

Even frontman Dave Mustaine said once that the whole Napster issue since the late 1990s has made it necessary for musicians to adapt, for one, by focusing on putting on awesome live shows. 

In addition, copyright violations have made for somewhat of a ‘level playing field’ (I usually hate the term as used by statists) wherein major acts now promote themselves in ways more similar to independent artists, in a decentralized fashion not in keeping with the vertically-structured system of major record companies.


Whether or not governments loosen copyright restrictions, further decentralization is inevitable. We can see how any new industry is initially dominated by one or two bureaucratic entities which mingle freely with government proper to retain their ‘market’ status. Over time, employees derive greater say in how they work, and this coincides with an increase in market players.

We’ve seen this happen in the film industry once dominated by MGM and Warner Brothers, where even big stars like Clark Gable and Bette Davis had only so much pull early in their careers. 70 years later, there is no film executive that can make or break a star’s career, because the star has options aplenty, and contracts are written with far more flexibility (Bette Davis is dead though).


I’m not trying to claim that record and film companies make more money sans copyright restrictions, but that profit is not dependent on them. It would be in the best interests of the industry for its practitioners to embrace new technologies and find the unique marketing aspects involved, instead of lobbying against what can serve as innovations in publicity.

Related article:
Copyright and record companies: Living in the past - Copyright, and intellectual property in general, assumes that the means of profiting should be handed over to bureaucrats. But discovering such means is precisely an entrepreneur’s function, not the government’s.

This was sent to me, and I could not vouch for its statistics, but it looks cool, think you not?

Music, Movies, Programs & Piracy
Created by: