“Then and now, developed countries continue to use protectionist measures to advance their economies.” This was the message by IBON's executive director Sonny Africa in the concluding forum of the nationalist economics lecture series at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
The last of a three-series lecture of PAKSA or PUP Serye sa Kaunlaran was held on September 28 at the PUP Ninoy Aquino Centenial Center. The forum was titled ‘Globalization and the New World Order: Protectionsm or Liberalism – Which Way to Go?’ It featured a discussion of the current state of the Philippine economy after many decades of globalization and the growing trend of protectionism among advanced countries promoting neoliberalism.
In his lecture, Africa noted how despite clearly increasing Philippine exports and foreign investments in the past 20 years, agriculture remains backward today comparable to that of Mesopotamia at the beginning of its civilization thousands of years ago. Unemployment, manufacturing and capital formation have also worsened, he said.
Moreover, increasing foreign usage of Filipino labor, natural resources and local market has been observed: foreign capital in approved investments increased from 39% in 2000 to 47% in the last ten years; transnational corporations now form 44% of the top 1000 companies and comprise 71% of manufacturing in the Top 1000 corporations(by gross revenue) from 38% and 63% a decade ago, respectively.
Meanwhile, there has been a rising global trend in protectionism: policy changes favoring regulation or restriction in countries worldwide rose from a mere 6% in 2000 to 32% in 2010. Protectionist policies by countries like the US, EU, Germany, Russia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam since 2008 numbered 1,542; 1,013 of these were imposed by G20 members.
“Radical socio-economic reforms must be made across the entire economy – not just in trade and investment policy,” said Africa. He said that there is a need to assert economic sovereignty and national patrimony through agrarian reform and active state support to agricultural development and domestic industries. “Economic planning must be based on the principle that upholding the rights of the working people, livelihood and social services; environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation; monetary and fiscal policies; and foreign economic and trade relations must all serve the needs and interests of the Filipino people.
Reactors of the forum included BS Political Economy student Heinrich S. Adaza; College of Business dean Dr Leopoldo Francisco P. Bragas and Anakpawis executive vice president former Rep. Joel Maglunsod. Participants signed a streamer of Andres Bonifacio’s “Dekalogo ng Katipunan” to culminate the event and mark the preparations for the Bonifacio 150th year campaign.