Monday, July 22, 2013

Is this your SONA?

At last, I am finished reading the 4th SONA of H.E. President Benigno Aquino III. It's my first time to really pay attention to SONA. It's a difficult reading for me up to page 25. Allow me to introduce my thoughts first based on the content itself. Then it will be followed by a personal remark and some responses from advocates of free market. 

Widespread Transformation and Inclusive Growth

Now I think, to some extent I got the context of what our President meant by "widespread transformation" and "inclusive growth". Taking the report at face value, this "transformation" and "growth" include the following:  

1. 8,581 sitios have been electrified

2. 28,398 families who are informal settlers now finally have or will soon have decent homes

3. From 503,521 TESDA graduates, 6 out 10 have found jobs

4. PPPP beneficiaries increased from 700,000 in 2010 to 4 million households in 3 years

5. Education - quality education, sufficient quantity of books, chairs, and classrooms, K12, price of textbook reduced from 58.00 down to 30.00

6. Agriculture - a. Rice Importation - In 2010, imported 2 million metric tons of rice; in 2011, 855,000 metric tons; in 2012, 500,000 metric tons; in 2013, 350,000 metric tons b. Coconut industry - intercropping as the solution to increase farmers' income i. If only coconuts, farmers' income would reach only 20,000 a year per hectare; add coffee, 172,400.00 per year; add bananas, 102,325.00 per year; add cacao, 89,000.00 per year. ii. In 2012, 5,500 hectares of land alloted for intercropping in 90 different locations iii. This covered 10,000 farmers iv. Target for 2013, additional 434 sites

7. Fisheries - contributed 193.65 billion to economy in 2012, storage facility in Bataraza in Palawan, and new piers, roads, and bridges

8. Hacienda Luisita - in February 2013, DAR has completed the list of qualified beneficiaries for land, turn over of lots will begin on September 2013

9. Health - 81% of Filipinos were enrolled in PhilHealth, expanded Z Benefit Package (poorest of the poor can now get free medical care, included illnesses are breast cancer, prostate cancer, acute leukemia, coronary bypass, and corrective surgery for holes and defective blood vessels in the heart), and fund for infrastructure - 33 billion to improve 4,518 hospitals, rural health units, and barangay health stations.

10. Disaster Preparedness - a. Geohazard Mapping and Assessment Program, identified 28 most vulnerable locations, completion of Geohazard maps for 496 cities and municipalities, remaining 1,138 covering every last corner of the country will be finished before the end of 2015. b. Project NOAH of the DOST, total of 525 automated water level monitoring stations and automated rain gauges have been installed in 18 major river basins throughout the country. c. Flooding in NCR - relocating informal settlers, filing cases against those who have obstructed waterways, and 6.2 billion to construct Blumentrit Interceptor Catchment area to be completed next year

11. Housing - 9,377 houses for victims of Sendong; 4,374 house more to be built; turning over a total of 53,106 houses to victims of Pablo

12. People in uniform - 47,850 houses, several thousand hectares of land in three military camps assigned for livelihood, additional income for the military and they can now participate in improving the economy, investment in national police (74,879 firearms, helps reduce election related crimes)

13. Peace - Bangsamoro Basic law, to pass it before the end of 2014

14. Legislation - among 5 (Sin Tax Law, Responsible Parenthood Law, Cabotage Law, Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, Land Administrative Reform Bill), I look into Cabotage Law and I find it commendable. 

15. Proposed budget for 2014 is 2.268 trillion

16. Modernization of Armed Forces - Interesting equation (1 fighter jet = 6,580 house for soldiers and police force =2,000 classrooms), the govt. prefers to prioritize enlisted personnel's welfare than purchasing 24 fighter jets

17. MRT/LRT Fare - govt. subsidizes 25.00 per passenger in LRT and 45.00 in MRT. 

18. Traffic - 2.4 billion loses per day, Integrated Transport System, Metro Manila Highway, revisit PD 1113 and 1894

19. DPWH - there is now open competition for contractors, saved 18.4 billion

20. PPP - airports and Daang Hari

21. Tourism - created 3.8 million jobs

22. GOCC - a. PRA, 1996 to 2009 earned 76.02 million, in 2012, earned 1 billion, b. LWUA, in 2011, net loss of 950 million, in 2012, gross income of 870 million; c. MWSS, 2010, loss 34 million, 2011 earned 333 million, 2012, earned 2 billion 

23. Others - completion of roads and bridges left unfinished in previous administration, growth in semi-conductor industry, economic development in Iloilo, building of more power plants to adddress blackouts in Mindanao and the need for more energy as the economy grows, the case of NAIA 3, the end of transactionalism, reforms in aviation industry, and the benefits of CCT

Challenges to Overcome

But there are challenges to overcome in order to sustain the above widespread transformation and inclusive growth. And these challenges include: 

1. Need to increase the number of policemen and soldiers from 250,000, but the primary trouble is fund for pensions. a. No contributions have been made, but there are payments to make. b Funds from the national budget are being used for pensions. In 2012, 54.48 billion pesos were spent on pensions. This year, that figure will rise to 61.29 billion. By 2016, it will be at 80.64 billion. c. GSIS assistance is needed, using reclaimed lands to generate funds, d. Review of PD 1638 and RA 8551 

2. SSS pensions - SSS has accumulated an estimated 1.1 trillion pesos in unfunded liability, amendment of SSS Pension Scheme 

3. The anomalies involving Mr. Syjuco, PAGCOR, PNP, Bureau of Immigration, NIA, and Customs

Personal Response

As a student of free market, it is not easy to write a response to SONA. There is a tension between the ideal and the actual. How can you describe your ideal economic system if the existing system is too far from it? Despite of this reality, I just want to express the transformation/growth I like, the transformation/growth I don't like, and some questions in my mind. 

I like the electrification of sitios, the relocation of informal settlers, the construction of storage facility, the addition of intercropping, PhilHealth, the construction of Blumentrit Interceptor Catchment area, housing for typhoon victims, the contribution to economy of enlisted personnel through development of livehood program, the lifting of Cabotage Law, the "open competition" for contractors and the saving of 18.4 billion in DPWH, the development of airports, the priority given to enlisted personnels' welfare over fighter jets, the performance of GOCC, the development of Iloilo economy, and the end of transactionalism. 

The things I don't like include the increase of PPPP beneficiaries from 700k to 4M families. I see it as welfarism that is now causing great headaches among developed countries. I also disliked the increase of national budget. In 2012, the national budget was 1.816 trillion and 2.006 trillion in 2013. I am asking myself, why the national budget keeps on increasing in the passing of years?

Some questions in mind that need further clarification include Bangsamoro Basic Law, revisitation of laws, education, employment, MRT/LRT, and the pension of enlisted personnel who are retirees and will be retiring. 

Concerning Bangsamoro Basic Law, I just want to know its basic content.

Concerning laws proposed by our President to be revisited are PD 1113, 1894, 1638 and RA 8551. I think the first two have something to do with the construction of superhighway in NCR and the last two were related to retirees' pension. I still need to verify if my initial understanding is accurate. 

About education, I really don't know now the meaning of quality. Is it measured by length of years or by the quality of teachers and books' content? Yes, I consider the reduction of price of textbooks and increase in number of facilities as commendable, but as to quality, I don't know. This is because not a few critics have already voiced out that something is seriously wrong with existing educational system. 

Regarding employment, I just wonder about the accuracy of the report. Imagine 6 out of 10 from a total of 503, 521 TESDA graduates have found jobs plus 3.8 million jobs created by tourism. If this is true, in what way does it make an impact on the number of Filipinos going abroad searching for jobs? 

How about the government subsidy for MRT/LRT fares? I think the logic is true. All Filipinos including those who do not use MRT/LRT are actually paying for that subsidy. If this is true, then does it follow that more MRT/LRT passengers would mean more subsidy? Isn't this a misuse of public fund? I think, the inclusion of this in SONA implies an increase in MRT/LRT fares in the coming days. 

Another thing that disturbs me concerns SSS and the pensions of enlisted personnels. Similar problem is approaching the US though in our case, the government anticipates that the suffering of the next generation will occur 28 years from now.

In ending this personal response, I just wonder why almost nothing has been mentioned about our "modern day heroes", the OFWs. I am also puzzled why there is a complete silence regarding global economic crisis and freedom of information bill. I just could not avoid thinking that perhaps these issues are not that important.

Responses from Advocates of Free Market

One advocate of free market thinks that the picture below is a more accurate description of the economy:

In order to understand why free market thinkers' assessment is different from the mainstream, one needs to grasp first the content of Frederic Bastiat's "The Law" and Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson".  

And I would like to conclude with remarks coming from other advocates of limited government, liberty, and free market taken from a Facebook Group. I asked them about their response to SONA and here are their answers:

FB - "Didn't bother. It was a nice day today so I went to the park."

ED - "Government will always be obsessed with GDP, GNP, whatever. True growth can be seen at the grassroots." 

PB - "No comment, I have my Fairy Tale book to keep me occupied hehehe" 

JA - "Recycled rhetoric." 

DA - "The usual statist bullshit. That pretty much sums all of 'em up."

One blogger wrote:

Colorful Rag - "I just no longer see a point in analyzing pabango speeches. You have to be either stupid or in denial to believe that this or any administration is the bringer of social progress in any positive sense. This year, there’s sure to be a flaunting of GDP growth, which doesn’t deal with economic productivity as much as it does price increases. I’m done with that."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Collapse of Western Civilization

What caused the collapse of the Roman Empire during the 3rd century that is also threatening our civilization now? Is the collapse of Western civilization really inevitable as various thinkers and critics argue? Ludwig von Mises answered these questions in his 6th and last lecture on economic policy, "Politics and Ideas". This lecture was delivered in Argentina in 1958 and published as part of a book in 1979. 

Ludwig von Mises strongly acknowledged that the internal forces that corrupted the Roman Empire are also present within Western civilization. He identified them as economic interventionism and monetary inflation. However, he strongly contradicted the opinions of influential scholars such as the German teacher Oswald Spengler and the British historian Arnold Toynbee who predicted the inevitability of the collapse of Western civilization. For him, the metaphorical comparison between the death of "civilization to a plant is completely arbitrary" (p.101). Though he admitted that there are similarities between the Roman Empire and Western civilization, he also argued about the existence of differences. And in these differences, better ideas play a critical role to change the direction of present civilization. 

In this article, I want to narrate my understanding of Mises' point of view as to how this process of internal corruption started. 

The Economic Root of Political Troubles

Mises began his lecture by citing the frustration of the hopes of 18th century Enlightenment. Thinkers during that time was characterized by strong optimism as to the dawn of the new age of freedom, prosperity, and progress. Such optimism was indeed followed by unprecedented economic improvement for the following two centuries. However, in the 20th century, a "warlike spirit" started to return alongside with humanity's disappointment with the constitutional system developed at the end of the 18th century. Most people did not see the connection between the change in economic policy and the growing political problems. 

Mises argued that you cannot separate the two. In fact, political turmoils that time were just natural consequences of replacing the previous economic policy with a new one. And it was exactly at this point, that interventionism started to appear. Mises stated that the so-called...

"...decay of freedom, of constitutional government and representative institutions, is the consequence of the radical change in economic and political ideas. The political events are the inevitable consequence of the change in economic policies" (p.94). 

Shift to Interventionism and Its Detrimental Results

The previous political ideas were characterized by concern for the nation's welfare as a whole. Even though, there were real party differences, they were considered normal and acceptable believing that opposing parties were only thinking for the good of the entire nation. But with the entrance of interventionism, everything has changed. 

A new entity has emerged out of interventionist climate. The classical meaning of political parties has been lost and replaced by special interest groups or "pressure groups" (p.96). 

Mises defined a pressure group as "a group of people who want to attain for themselves a special privilege at the expense of the rest of the nation" (ibid). Under interventionism, it is considered "the duty of the government to support, to subsidize, and to give privileges" (ibid.) to these groups. Special privileges may include "tariff on competing imports", "subsidy", or making of laws to prevent other groups "from competing with the members of the pressure group" (ibid.). 

Mises further observes that the retention of the two-party system in the US is just "a camouflage of the real situation" (ibid.). Both parties have their own pressure groups representing various economic interests such as silver, wheat, meat, oil, and many more. In this kind of political atmosphere, the interest of the nation as a whole is sacrificed. In fact, pressure groups are so powerful that it influences even the nation's foreign policy. 

Other consequences of interventionism include the weakening of nations' power and of representatives to resist tyranny, constant increase in public consumption, incapability of governments to stop inflation, and the decline of Western civilization. It was at this point that Mises mentioned the names of Spengler and Toynbee who wrote about the inevitability of the collapse of Western civilization. 

Similarities and Differences

Mises acknowledged the similarities between the Roman Empire and the Western civilization. He described how interventionism and inflation destroyed the Roman Empire from within:

"The result, of course, was that the supply of foodstuffs in the cities declined. The people in the cities were forced to go back to the country and to return to agricultural life. The Romans never realized what was happening. They did not understand it. They had not developed the mental tools to interpret the problems of the division of labor and the consequences of inflation upon market prices. That this currency inflation, currency debasement, was bad, this they knew of course very well" (p.103). 

"Consequently, the emperors made laws against this movement. There were laws preventing the city dweller from moving to the country, but such laws were ineffective. As the people did not have anything to eat in the city, as they were starving, no law could keep them from leaving the city and going back into agriculture. The city dweller could no longer work in the processing industries of the cities as an artisan. And, with the loss of the markets in the cities, no one could buy anything there anymore" (ibid.). 

"Thus we see that, from the third century on, the cities of the Roman Empire were declining and that the division of labor became less intensive than it had been before" (ibid.).

So what Mises was saying was that as a result of interventionism and inflation, the supply of food declined, people abandoned the cities and returned to countryside and to agriculture, and markets disappeared from the cities. The emperor's decree to stop the migration was powerless when people had nothing to eat. In fact, during the last stage of the empire's decline, emperors were assassinated "on the average of every three years" (ibid.).

An interesting part in Mises' description was the absence of people's awareness about what was happening to them. They lacked the necessary "mental tools" to interpret their struggle. I think it is in this part where we can see the differences between the Roman Empire and Western civilization. For Mises, we are in a more advantageous situation than the people during the 3rd century simply because more and more people are becoming aware about the real problem of present civilization. Unlike, in those days, nobody dared to contradict the Roman government. But today, centers promoting free market ideas are increasing in number all over the world.

The Need for Better Ideas 

For Mises, the real struggle lies in providing better ideas. And in this struggle, the role of intellectuals is vital. In the first place, the crisis in current civilization is an offshoot of the labors of the intellectuals under Marxist's spell. It is them who shaped the mind of the policy makers. 

Marxism must be replaced with free market ideas. It is not true that this ideology works for the good of the masses simply because none of its formulators came from the masses. All the intellectuals that developed anti-free market ideas including Marx himself came not from the proletariat, but from the bourgeois. For Mises, the free enterprise provides better ideas. See how he described such need: 

"Everything that happens in the social world in our time is the result of ideas. Good things and bad things. What is needed is to fight bad ideas...We must substitute better ideas for wrong ideas. We must refute the doctrines that promote union violence. We must oppose the confiscation of property, the control of prices, inflation, and all those evils from which we suffer" (p.105).
"These ideas must be brought to the public in such a way that they persuade people. We must convince them that these ideas are the right ideas and not the wrong ones. The great age of the nineteenth century, the great achievements of capitalism, were the result of the ideas of the classical economists, of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, of Bastiat and others" (ibid.).
"What we need is nothing else than to substitute better ideas for bad ideas. This, I hope and am confident, will be done by the rising generation. Our civilization is not doomed, as Spengler and Toynbee tell us. Our civilization will not be conquered by the spirit of Moscow. Our civilization will and must survive. And it will survive through better ideas than those which now govern most of the world today, and these better ideas will be developed by the rising generation" (ibid.).

Mises concluded his final lecture with a message of hope:

"I hope that in a few years the number of those who are supporting ideas for freedom in this country, and in other countries, will increase considerably. I myself have full confidence in the future of freedom, both political and economic" (ibid.). 

Source: Mises, Ludwig von. (1979). Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow. Chicago: Regnery/Gateway, Inc.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Key to Philippine Prosperity

Increasing the capital is the only key for developing nations (like the Philippines) to attain prosperity. This is Ludwig von Mises' central argument in his fifth lecture on economic policy, "Foreign Investment". I would like to share this under five headings - reason for lower income, three important events, numerous enemies of capital growth, situation in many countries, and the key to the prosperity of developing countries. 

Lower Income

The standard of living is lower in the Philippines simply because the average income is also lower compared to similar type of work in developed countries. And the reason for this is not inferiority of our workers or ignorance on the part of our entrepreneurs. Instead, it is dependent on economic situation and availability of capital in the country. I think the following paragraphs apply to us:

"The standard of living is lower in the so-called developing countries because the average earnings for the same type of labor is lower in those countries than it is in some countries of Western Europe, Canada, Japan, and especially in the United States. If we try to find the reasons for this difference, we must realize that it is not due to an inferiority of the workers or other employees. There prevails among some groups of North American workers a tendency to believe that they themselves are better than other people—that it is through their own merit that they are getting higher wages than other people. It would only be necessary for an American worker to visit another country—let us say, Italy, where many American workers came from—in order to discover that it is not his personal qualities but the conditions in the country that make it possible for him to earn higher wages...Nor can one explain this economic situation by assuming any inferiority on the part of the entrepreneurs outside the United States" (pp.76-77). 

"Once again: the difference is not personal inferiority or ignorance. The difference is the supply of capital, the quantity of capital goods available. In other words, the amount of capital invested per unit of the population is greater in the so-called advanced nations than in the developing nations" (p.77).

"The employers in all of these developing nations know very well that better tools would make their own enterprises more profitable. They would like to build more and better factories. The only thing that prevents them from doing it is the shortage of capital" (p.78). 

Three Important Events

Mises identified three important events in the economic history of the world. These are the introduction of foreign investment in the 19th century, the story of American subsidies in between and after two world wars, and the development of anti-capitalist mentality after World War 1. 

Without the aid of British capital in the 19th century, the development of US economic system is unintelligible. In addition to British capital, US economic policy during those times was friendly to foreign investment. This explains the unprecendeted growth of American economy. 

But after World War 1, economic climate changed with the development of anti-capitalist mentality. Countries were no longer friendly to foreign investment. The previous condition that encouraged foreign investment was removed. Expropriation of investments became the norm. Mises explains this in detail: 

"Starting with the First World War, there began a period of worldwide open warfare against foreign investments. Since there is no remedy to prevent a government from expropriating invested capital, there is practically no legal protection for foreign investments in the world today. The capitalists did not foresee this. If the capitalists of the capital exporting countries had realized it, all foreign investments would have come to an end forty or fifty years ago. But the capitalists did not believe that any country would be so unethical as to renege on a debt, to expropriate and confiscate foreign capital. With these acts, a new chapter began in the economic history of the world" (p.82).

"With the end of the great period in the nineteenth century when foreign capital helped to develop, in all parts of the world, modern methods of transportation, manufacturing, mining, and agriculture, there came a new era in which the governments and the political parties considered the foreign investor as an exploiter who should be expelled from the country" (ibid.).

Of course, countries will not openly declare such animosity against foreign investment. I think the typical strategy was described by Mises in the person of Jawaharlal Nehru of India. Nehru said, 

" 'Of course, we want to socialize. But we are not opposed to private enterprise. We want to encourage in every way private enterprise. We want to promise the entrepreneurs who invest in our country, that we will not expropriate them nor socialize them for ten years, perhaps even for a longer time' " (pp.83-84). 

Mises was not naive to believe that such a message was really an invitation to foreign investors. Capitalists want reliable rules that will stay not just "for ten years" or "even for a longer time".

Enemies of Capital Growth 

Aside from direct expropriation, "innovative" way of expropriating capital also exists. And this problem is rampant in developing countries (I do not know the details of this in the Philippines). Mises mentioned two ways of doing this - foreign exchange control and tax discrimination. And then referring to tax system, he described it as the existing policy in the US, as insane, and should not be followed by other countries (which I hope is not true to our country). He called it double taxation and progressive: 

"The problem—as you know—is domestic capital accumulation. In all countries today there are very heavy taxes on corporations. In fact, there is double taxation on corporations. First, the profits of corporations are taxed very heavily, and the dividends which corporations pay to their shareholders are taxed again. And this is done in a progressive way" (p.84).

"Progressive taxation of income and profits means that precisely those parts of the income which people would have saved and invested are taxed away" (ibid.). 

"This policy of the United States is worse than bad—it is insane" (ibid.).

Two additional forces that prevent capital growth are protectionism and labor unionism. Protectionism prevents "the importation of capital and industrialization into the country" (p.87). Labor unions on the other hand "use violence against entrepreneurs and against people they call strikebreakers" (ibid.). They "cannot industrialize the country, they cannot raise the standard of living of the workers", and they bring nothing but "permanent, lasting unemployment" (ibid.).

Situation in Many Countries and Proposed Solution 

Many countries are in serious trouble due to these anti-investment policies. The end result of this is harmful to national economy. It destroys confidence that cause the retreat of foreign investment. For Mises, his proposed solution was to establish an international law that remove foreign investments from national jurisdiction. Mises explains the seriousness of this problem:

"But in many other countries the problem is very critical. There is no—or not sufficient—domestic saving, and capital investment from abroad is seriously reduced by the fact that these countries are openly hostile to foreign investment. How can they talk about industrialization, about the necessity to develop new plants, to improve conditions, to raise the standard of living, to have higher wage rates, better means of transportation, if they are doing things that will have precisely the opposite effect? What their policies actually accomplish is to prevent or to slow down the accumulation of domestic capital and to put obstacles in the way of foreign capital" (p.85).

The Key to the Prosperity of Developing Countries

Mises kept on emphasizing that the only thing missing among developing countries for them to improve their standard of living is capital accumulation operating not under the control of the government, but under the discipline of the free market. And to achieve the desired result, capital requires a stable monetary unit. This would mean total absence of any kind of monetary inflation. 

At the end of the day, the key to the prosperity for developing countries is all about economic policy and for Mises this is the decisive point: 

"One must realize that all the policies of a country that wants to improve its standard of living must be directed toward an increase in the capital invested per capita" (pp.87-88).

"As I said before, there is only one way a nation can achieve prosperity: if you increase capital, you increase the marginal productivity of labor, and the effect will be that real wages will rise" (p.88).

He calls this one way as the slow method:

"To attain the end, as I see it, there is only one way! It is a slow method. Some people may say, it is too slow. But there are no short cuts to an earthly paradise. It takes time, and one has to work" (p.90).

In concluding his lecture, Mises cited Switzerland as a model of this proven way:

"In the center of Europe, there is a small country, Switzerland, which nature has endowed very poorly. It has no coal mines, no minerals, and no natural resources. But its people, over the centuries, have continually pursued a capitalistic policy. They have developed the highest standard of living in continental Europe, and their country ranks as one of the world's great centers of civilization" (pp.90-91). 

Personal Response

There are two questions that come to my mind while reading the first part of Mises' lecture. What is the economic situation in the country? And what prevents the availability of both domestic and foreign capital? I think it is the existing economic policy that determines the economic situation in the country. And this policy unless changed, we will never see the growth of domestic capital and flow of foreign investment. 

Dr. John V. C. Nye of George Mason University shares similar opinion as to the primary obstacle for the increase of investment in capital per capita. "Badly distorted micro-economic price situation", "poor and unreliable property rights and contracting", "legalistic bureaucracy" and "policies and institutional constraints that are anti-investment and anti-competitive" are great barriers both to domestic and foreign capital. 

We have been hearing the call particularly to OFWs to invest and start their own business. If this call is really true and sincere, the government must start paving the way first by removing restrictions that prevent the flow of capital into national economy.

Source: Mises, Ludwig von. (1979). Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow. Chicago: Regnery/Gateway, Inc.

Related Article:

Bono: Only Capitalism can end poverty

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Monetary Policy and the Philippine Economy - Biblical Critique of Inflation

This is the 4th and last part of my series in "Monetary Policy and the Philippine Economy". The content will be taken from Gary North's "The Biblical Critique of Inflation". I want to present North's material in four parts: 

  • Identifying currency debasement as a concrete call to repentance

  • The law commands honest measurement and money

  • Consequences of inflation, and

  • Multiple indebtedness

Concrete Call to Repentance

North started his critique by citing that unlike today's church leaders, Old Testament prophets confronted both the nation as a whole and their civil governments with a concrete call to repentance. Isaiah 1:22 is an example of such call. In this verse, prophet Isaiah declared that Judah was guilty of economic dishonesty. Currency debasement and deceiving the public about the quality of the products in the market were considered normal and ordinary.

Precious metals such as silver and gold were used as money both nationally and internationally during biblical times. North mentioned that you can find "over 350 references" showing various contexts where silver and gold were used. Example passages include 2 Kings 5: 5 and 2 Kings 12:13.

Honest Measurement and Money 

Since gold and money were used as medium of exchange, honesty in economic transaction was vital. North argued that the law's provision concerning honest weights and measurement was also applicable to honest money. He quoted Daniel-Reps' study to show the importance of honesty in economic transaction: 

"Exactness of weight was important not only for dealings in corn and other goods, but also as a guarantee of the soundness of the currency...The practice of weighing money rather than counting it was still general in the Palestine of Jesus' day, as it was all round the Mediterranean. The scales also served to ensure that the coins were of the true metal and that they had neither been filed nor clipped.; indeed, this inspection was one of the banker's and money-changer's chief tasks" (Gary North, Introduction to Christian Economics, 1973, pp.5-6).

During Isaiah's time, silver and gold coins were not yet in existence. They were used as money in the form of "ingots" (p.6). Exactly, the debasement of ingots with cheaper metals was the offence committed by the people of Judah during the prophet's time. 

For North, that was an act of monetary counterfeiting. He considered it fraudulent, an act of theft, and immoral. He then equated it with the use of legal tender laws. And he contends that not even the government is above the law concerning the use of honest money. North explains why this is so:

" tender laws are immoral; currency debasement is immoral; printed unbacked paper money is immoral. To mix cheap metals with silver or gold and call the result pure gold or pure silver is totally fraudulent. Yet this is what was being done in Isaiah's day" (ibid.).

Such act of monetary dishonesty was not new in Isaiah's time. It happened long time before his day. Proverbs 25:4 clearly identifes the command "to take away the dross from the silver".

Consequences of Inflation

"Currency debasement is the oldest form of monetary inflation" (p.7). North warns about the destructive impacts of monetary inflation on the economy. He quoted four paragraphs from Murray Rothbard's "What Has Government Done to Our Money?". I gleaned twelve destructive consequences of monetary inflation from those paragraphs :

  • Gain for counterfeiters

  • Losses for late receivers

  • Redistribution of wealth in favor of first-comers

  • Distortion of business calculation (consumers' demands and operation cost)

  • Illusory profits

  • Suspension of free market's penalty for inefficient firms and rewards for efficient firms

  • Business cycle

  • Decline in quality of goods, services, and work

  • Popularity of get rich quick scheme

  • Penalizing thrift, saving, and lending

  • Encouraging debt and spending

  • Reduction of standard of living in the name of creating "prosperity"

 See how North concluded Rothbard's analysis:

"Rothbard's analysis indicates why God so opposes monetary inflation, whether practiced directly by the State or simply private fraud which is tacitly sanctioned by the State. Currency debasement is theft. It involves the redistribution of wealth. Those on fixed incomes suffer. The quality of production tends to decilne. Monetary inflation (currency debasement) is a fraudulent, invisible tax, and the Bible prohibits it. The nation which permits monetary inflation to persist, as if it were not a terrible moral evil, will suffer the consequences described by Isaiah and Ezekiel (22:18-22)" (p. 8). 

Multiple Indebtedness

Since monetary inflation promotes debt instead of thrift and saving, a corollary economic and monetary phenomenon occurred. North described this as "multiple indebtedness". He got this idea from Exodus 22:25-27.

The passage speaks about the use of interest in lending money and the use of a pledge or collateral. It is this use of collateral where North got this idea of multiple indebtedness. For him, the cloak as pledge serves as a protection for both the creditor and the debtor. The debtor cannot use the same cloak as collateral in multiple loans or transactions. He is confined by his immediate assets. This economic principle prohibits multiple indebtedness. 

1. Fractional Reserve Banking

After laying down the basis for multiple indebtedness, North claimed, "The entire public sphere of civil government rests on the violation of the principle. The whole structure of modern credit is based upon the idea that men should not escape from perpetual debt" (p.11). Particularly, "fractional reserve banking and the limited liability corporation" (ibid.) have violated this economic law. This violation was later organized and designated as "the monetization of debt" (ibid.). Notice how North described this economic phenomenon:

"The central bank of every nation...prints up the money to finance the deficits of the central government, and in return for this fiat currency, the government gives an interest-bearing bond to the bank...From a biblical standpoint, this is utterly corrupt: 'The wicked borroweth and payeth not again' (Psalm 37:21a). The civil authorities do not intend to reduce this debt and repay the principal. They favor perpetual indebtedness. Laws that are transgressed in God's universe will be found to contain their own built-in punishment...Massive national indebtedness is highly dangerous" (ibid.).

Concerning fractional reserve banking, its mechanism is unbelievable. It all starts with a citizen making a deposit either checking or savings account. And from that deposit, fractional reserve can create loans nine times the size of the original deposit. North referenced Wilhelm Roepke saying the same thing about fractional reserve banking as resting "upon the systematic violation of the biblical prohibition on multiple indebtedness" (p. 12). For Roepke, without understanding the mechanism of fractional reserve banking, we cannot understand also "the perils and the problems which currently beset our economic system" (p. 13). 

Fractional reserve banking violates the principle of multiple indebtedness for it indebts itself beyond its immediate assets by loaning money to borrowers. Banks do this for they assume that their creditors will not ask for their money simultaneously. The faulty foundation of this mechanism is exposed when a bank run occurs. 

2. Limited Liability Corporation 

LLC has been in existence for more than a century. North describes this institution as a creature that came out of the economic environment that promotes multiple indebtedness. Or we can also say that with the existence of fractional reserve banking and government intervention, LLC is another form of violation of the principle of multiple indebtedness. North describes three things about this institution. 

First, LLC works as follows: 

"The responsible only for the value of its assets. Creditors can collect, in case of coporate bankruptcy, up to the value of the corporation's property, but they cannot gain access to the funds of the legal owners, i.e., the shareholders...Thus, the LLC tends to become a huge, impersonal structure in which effective ownership is separated from management" (p.15).

North's second observation is about the shift in responsibility. Here North relies on Rushdoony's comments:

"...the liability thus shifts responsibility away from the responsible to society at large...with limited liability, a premium is placed on profit irrespective of responsibility. The shareholder is less concerned with buying responsible ownership and more concerned with buying a share in profits. And then, as the state further protects the shareholder against liabilities in his irresponsible pursuit of profits, the shareholder becomes less and less concerned with the responsible and moral management of his company" (pp. 15-16). 

Finally, North identified the influence of government intervention preparing the way for socialism. The limited liability laws are actually one form of government intervention. They destroy personal responsibility before God and before men, they produce subtle people who know how to use bankruptcy laws, and they erode the very foundation of Western civilization. Notice how North explains the connection of limited liability laws to socialism:

"Limited liability laws have produced the era of the huge, impersonal corporations that have produced unquestioned material prosperity, but at the same time these laws are now producing something very foreign to free enterprise...The drift into socialism continues, for it is socialism, above all other systems, which destroys personal responsibility and removes power from ownership..." (pp.17-18). 

At last, after 15 days, I finished my series on "Monetary Policy and the Philippine Economy". So part 1 talks about Dr. Nye's lecture where he identified the economic problems of the country and offered a corresponding solution. Part 2 contains six recent news articles related to monetary inflation written from different perspectives. Part 3 deals with Mises' lecture on inflation. And this last part is about biblical critique of inflation.

In blogging this series, I recognize the existence of gaps. It is just a draft, which needs to be finalized to come up with a lecture format. At its best, this series and other related articles in this blog serve as an introductory overview in the study of monetary inflation.

Part 1 - Dr. Nye's Lecture

Part 2 - Summaries of 6 Related Articles

Part 3- Mises' Lecture

Reference: North, Gary. (1973). An Introduction to Christian Economics. The Craig Press. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Francis Schaeffer on Humanism

In "Conflicting Worldviews: Humanism versus Christianity", Francis Schaeffer combined two themes into one speech. He contrasted two conflicting worldviews and presented his understanding of biblical position on military preparedness. The reason why I am including this post in this blog is due to the relevance of Schaeffer's speech to Statism, which is the most powerful tool of humanism. This in return is a serious threat to personal and economic liberty. 

Necessary Distinctions

Before presenting the contrast between Christianity and humanism, Schaeffer clarified first what he meant by humanism. He distinguished it from both humanitarianism and humanities. Since the meaning of humanitarianism is obvious, I think only the meaning of humanities deserves a concise description. To him, it is related to the study of human creativity connected to classical learning. He argued that Christians should show interest in these two fields and not to confuse them with humanism.

The Contrast Between Two Worldviews

The contrast between Christianity and humanism has something to do with ultimate reality. For Christianity, the ultimate "reality is the infinite-personal God who truly is there objectively whether we think He is there or not" (p.15). To the God of Christianity, "not everything is the same, and, therefore, there are absolutes, right and wrong, in the world" (ibid.).

On the side of humanism, impersonal matter or energy is the ultimate reality, which is totally neutral when it comes to value system. In the end, this would mean that man has the final say in everything. 

The Shift into Humanism and Its Consequences

Schaeffer delivered this speech in 1982. He said that "about eighty years ago" (that's around 1902), US already shifted from Judeo-Christian consensus into a humanist consensus. As a result of this shift, numerous problems have occured. 

Revelation has no place in humanism. Certainty of knowledge is also out of the question. There is no final value system where anyone can appeal to and there is no basis for human individuality and importance. This leaves us nothing, but "with only personal, arbitrary, relative values" and "arbitrary law" (p.16). And such law comes from "the decision of a small group of people, and what they decide at a given moment" (ibid.) for common good. This group of people could be the Supreme Court or anyone else. For Schaeffer, this explains why acts that were considered abominations before are now accepted. 

Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and absence of free expression of religion are all natural outcomes of humanistic worldview. The frightening thing is that both the civil government and the courts have been increasingly used as instruments to propagate humanism. The government "has done it by its laws and court rulings" (p.18). 

Marxism is the most popular form of humanism. It also subscribes to the idea that only matter or energy is the ultimate reality. The conclusion of this kind of ideology is destructive to human individuality and only exalts the good of the State. The elite plays a significant role in setting up arbitrary laws for the State. 

After mentioning the power of the State, Schaeffer further identified two major results of humanistic worldview that are destructive to human individuality. These are "domestic oppression" and "international expansion and oppression" (p.20). Concerning domestic oppression, Lenin's statement was shocking. According to Shaeffer, for Lenin, the reason for the failure of "early attempts at revolution in France...was that their revolutionaries had not killed enough people" (ibid.). 

On Pacifism and Resistance

The first theme is done. Schaeffer proceeded to the second theme. He asked the question, what should be the Christian's biblical response in view of humanistic oppression both domestically and internationally? For him, pacifism is inconsistent to biblical realism and previous lessons in history. This would certainly lead into disaster. 

Schaeffer was calling for Christian resistance against any form of tyranny. In this, he agreed with Jacques Ellul's analysis of colonialism and Nazism. Citing Ellul, Schaffer agreed that Christians should not have waited until 1956 to respond, but should have exposed the evil of colonialism in 1930. Likewise, Christians should also have warned the world in 1934 or 1935 against the danger of Nazism. But instead of resistance, Christians during those years were all in unison advocating pacifism. And we are all familiar with the disastrous outcome of such unrealistic response. 

Personal Response

Reading Francis Schaeffer's speech made me realize the connection between humanism and all forms of tyranny. The existence of absolute standard rooted in Judeo-Christian worldview has no place in a society dominated by humanism. Unfortunately, society cannot survive without a basis for its actions. So the alternative is to come up with arbitrary laws, which are oppressive and destructive of human life and individuality. 

I think Schaeffer's description of the US is also true in the case of most countries today. I just could not comprehend how humanism has advanced since then. I think it's far more advance now than we could ever think of. I suspect, humanism has even reached within the Christianity's camp. 

Schaeffer mentioned about the use of both the civil government and the courts to spread humanism. This is the essence of Statism and since it is the most powerful humanistic tool, Christians ought to study its existing machineries and expose them for their true color. I see this as the only way for us to avoid the mistakes committed in the past that led to destructive results. 

Source: Schaeffer, F. A. 1982. "The Secular Humanistic Worldview versus The Christian Worldview and the Biblical Perspectives on Military Preparedness."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Was Jesus a socialist? - Part 2

RC: "The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later, you run out of others people's money." - Lady Margaret Thatcher

JPP: Pareho ba ang social justice at socialism?

RC: magkaiba...ang social justice ay resulta ng tamang gamit ng batas samantalang ang socialism ay ginagamit ang batas that results to injustice...pwedeng ring gamitin ng socialism ang "social justice" sa anyo ng pagmamahal sa mahirap sa kaniyang mga propaganda...

JPP: anong system nga yung counterpart ng socialism?

RC: bagamat iba ang pangalan, pero yong essence ay iisa....two common names that I encounter are interventionism and central planning...pwede rin sabihin...welfarism...

RC: since welfare program is central in socialism, again, I just want to share this quote na kababasa ko lang: " The welfare state, a relatively recent historical concept, has failed miserably all around the world. The inability of politicians to say no or not play Santa Claus appears to be universal. It has every welfare state headed for bankruptcy." - Monty Pelerin's World

JPP: okay naman ang welfare state kung mayaman ang bansa di ba?

FE: di ba ang US welfare state?...turns out na foreign debt is financing the US welfare system

RC: Kaso yon na nga ang primary cause ng budget deficit nila and for welfare to sustain they need to increase the supply of money, which results to increase in prices and lost of consumers purchasing power. So in a way, we can say that welfare state can only be sustained through indirect taxation.

RC: Yes FE...Ayon kay George Reisman ang pinakamalaking banta ngayon sa US ay ang socialism...Paste ko na lang dito yong summary ko ng letter ni Reisman kay Warren Buffet: "George Reisman saw that socialism is the greatest threat to economic freedom. He mourned that the US Supreme Court has already abandoned its duty to protect people’s economic freedom for the last 75 years. Congressmen have passed laws under the influence of Marxist ideology. The real culprit for the economic woes of our time is the government’s growing intervention to prevent people from exercising their freedom to act concerning their basic economic rights and property. If this growing intervention of the government over the economic freedom of individuals would not be corrected, the future of humanity would be slavery and genocide as history clearly demonstrated to us in the experiences of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Communist China."

RC: Sana magwork itong pdf file...ito yong basis na ginamit sa pagsasabi na ang mga welfare states sa europa ay humaharap sa posibleng sovereign bankruptcy ...

FE: ang problema natin RC......"socialists" today come across as "champions of the poor".....mga walang meaningful experience in the real world, in how the free market works

DAA: humanist pa more than socialist...socialism is a political system di ba based on an ideology...but humanism is more of an ideology that can be acted out individually.

BP: Interesting exchange

RC: yon na nga FE e...tapos free market pa ang sisisihin na ugat ng problema samantalang kung hindi sa dagdag na kapital ay malabong tumaas ang antas ng pamumuhay ng mga tao sa isang bansa...

DAA: sa socialist system, ang main cause ata ng pag-taas ng "antas ng pamumuhay" is not capital but sharing of resources.

RC: Sir DAA, that remains a future idealism and under experiment pa yan...pero ang tract record nila sa kasaysayan sa experience ng russia, lalong humirap ang buhay ng mga tao dahil nga sa socialism, wala silang price system and that makes economic calculation ang planning impossible...

DAA: ang socialism sa Russia is socialism gone really bad, parang NoKor din.

many European countries are semi-socialist in some aspects ng governance nila.

JPP: Pwede ba ang socialism sa Christianity?

RC: yes DAA, at sabi nila patay na yan since the collapse of USSR, NoKor na lang ang nagpipilit na kung walang foreign aid ay malamang mas tataas pa ang bilang ng mga namamatay sa ang alam ko, justification nila diyan ay under experimentation pa ang socialism at nag-eevolve ito hanggang sa makuha ang tamang paraan...ang kaso buhay ng mga tao ang apektado sa experiment nila...okey lang sana kung makina...

RC: Sir JPP may sumubok din niyan...may binabasa akong review dito e, hindi pa tapos..."Christians and Marxists: The Mutual Challenge to Revolution" by Jose Miguez Bonino... "Christian Marxism" ang proposal...ang Christianity daw kasi ay wala naman ino-offer na pilosopiya o politikal o social system at wala ring competence ang Bible pag dating sa socio-economic analysis sapagkat hindi naman theological ang mga ito kundi mga scientific realm ng pananampalataya oo, pero sa realm ng kasaysayan hindi...In other words, si Jesus Lord ng Church pero si Marx Lord ng history...parang strawman, pero yan so far yong initial reading ko sa review ni David Chilton.

RC: A quote from Jim West's "Philanthropy, Romans 13, and the Regulative Principle of the State": "The socialists are the fiercest enemies of the Christian faith today! Normatively, they will not declare war upon you. They will not publicly say to you, 'You are now enemy of enemies. Christianity and its governmental implications are the opium of the people. Fight to the death!' No, instead they speak with saccharine language: 'We love you and are concerned about your medical insurance and your future retirement. We want you to know that the proper cultivation of your children's minds is one of our foremost concerns. Your health, education, and welfare come before any of our personal interests. We love you, and have a wonderful plan for your life' " (p. 187).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Was Jesus a socialist?

Sosyalista ba si Jesus? Ito ang katanungan na tinalakay ng isang grupo sa Facebook. Nais kong i-blog yong mga katugunan na sa tingin ko ay may kaugnayan sa tema ng thread. Nais ko na ring itago ang kanilang mga pangalan gamit ang initials. Ganito ang daloy ng talakayan:


JPP: "No, Jesus was not a socialist. Had he been, he wouldn't fed the 5,000. He would have told the Roman govt. to do it."

AMM: of course Jesus was more than just a socialist. he was a radical reformer who practice what he preaches.

pero may magandang basa rin sa story about the feeding of the 5000 as a critic against the powers that be during Jesus' time.

in the synoptic (Mt 14, Mk 6, Lk 9), the story immediately follows after John the Baptizer was beheaded by Herod. it was a time of unrest and the people are in search of another leader. and they found one in Jesus.

Jesus stands as a critic against the empire / emperor who lavishes themselves in their castles and extravagance while the people are suffering in poverty and sickness. Jesus wanted to show the true meaning of power and leadership by living a simple life among the marginalized, feeding the hungry and healing the sick and preaching the Gospel about the alternative Kingdom of God.

JB: sosyalista? yan ba yung mga sosyal at pa-sosyal? lol

RC: Baka "libertarian" si Jesus?

BP: Socialist kami dito.

JA: social gospel hehe

JPP: RC, ikaw siguro pinaka qualified mag explain ng poster. Ano ba sinasabi nyan?

RC: Siguro personal reflection lang doon sa quote, not necessarily an interpretation of the gospel narrative. 

Malabo talaga na maging socialist si Jesus. Basically kasi ang socialism ay statist at salungat siya sa free market. Okey naman ang welfare provide na ito ay resulta ng voluntary decision ng mga pribadong mamamayan at mga private orgs. Pag gobyerno kasi gumawa niyan, kailangan nila ng pondo. E wala naman silang pera maliban sa pagbubuwis sa mga mamamayan. Ayaw naman ng mga mamamayan na buwisan sila ng direkta at takot din ang mga politiko na mag-advocate ng additional tax. Malamang sa susunod na election talo na ang politikong yan. Pero dahil matindi ang advocacy para tulungan ang mga mahihirap, wala ng ibang paraan para makalikom ng pondo ang gobyerno maliban sa pag-iimprenta ng pera. At kung susuriin mo ang pangmatagalang mga resulta nito, sanga-sangang suliranin sa ekonomiya ang idudulot nito.

JPP:  Naalala ko lang yung mga kristiyanong fascinated sa socialism.

RC: sa pagkakaalam ko, very appealing ang mga socialist literature sa experience ko, sa higher education, karamihan ng readings namin sa adult education mga neo-marxists ang authors...

JB: ako fascinated ako sa socialist and marxist theories.. sino ba naman ayaw ng utopian society without a concept of rich and poor..? although i also acknowledge the realistic benefits of an interdependent free market and globalization... imo..

JB:  di ba ang ideals ni marx is for a society without class struggles and hierarchy.. wherein "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".. wherein everyone shares and everything is owed by the whole community. yun nga lang to achieve that.. according to him dadaan muna sa madugong rebolusyon at pagbagsak ng mga kinagawian institutions.. kasama na dun ang kapitalismo at relihiyon.

JB: may proseso din kasi para marating ang utopia ni marx.. yun nga lang madugo (literally). pero in reality, so far, it has failed (or atleast for USSR at hopefully China, hehe).. at maraming na ring naisulat kung bakit ito bumagsak. para sakin ngayon, mutual economic dependence na dapat.. tulad na lng kung mayroon tayong ineexport na goods or services na wala sa China.. since they need us, they wont harm us.. and vice versa. i think that is more realistic even in the micro scale (ie. di mo aalipustahin ang manggagawa mo dahil nakikinabang ka sa kanya, and vice versa).

FE: ang style kasi ng mga socialist - ipasa lahat sa gobyerno, gobyerno lahat gagawa

JB: hehe.. yun yung Filipino brand of socialism ata. atleast hindi madugo tulad ng maoist..

LF: State capitalism na ata China hindi ba JB?

LF: Or yung mga top brass ng Communist Party at cronies nila ang mga kapitalista?

FE: susmaryosep! paano naging socialist si Hesus?

(walang pinapanigan na economic system si Hesus, at hindi din sya kapitalista. okay?)

FE: may free enterprise at private property na din naman sa China. may stock exchange na nga eh. pero power resides not in the people but in the members of the Communist Party

RC: eto yong sagot ng isang free market advocate: "The works of Marx and Engels centered on the critique of capitalism. It was Lenin who expounded on political and military strategies to overthrow a capitalist society and establish a socialist society, through a socialist revolution."

JPP: basta ako as i'm trying to try to make sense sa mundo ngayon and see how i can help by God's grace as i am also longing for the age to come maranatha

JPP: minsan kasi may dichotomy na one over the other as if you can't aspire for the age to come when you are in the present age. a christian life is more dynamic than that.

sabi nga ni shakespeare, one foot at sea and the other at the shore. that's just the way it is.

RC: socialism has 2 patterns...the russian or marxian pattern and the german may katotohanan yong "biro" ni JB na baka yan yong "Filipino brand"

RC: A relevant quote concerning China: "It is sometimes fashionable to claim that China has grown despite NOT being a free market economy. But this is an ignorant statement...And it is easy to see that on almost every indicator China has steadily been opening up its internal and external markets and has reaped the rewards there from. No matter what China's problems today - and there are many - all independent observers agree with the trend that in any given five or ten year period, China has become dramatically more ECONOMICALLY LIBERAL and more BUSINESS FRIENDLY than in the previous period. The same cannot be said for the Philippines." ( John V. C. Nye, "Why QE was good...and how PH should benefit from it", 2011, p. 9).

JB: narinig ko dati sa teacher ko (not sure kung soc sci or hum).. US daw economy is socialist, politics is democracy... ngayon naman daw for China economy is capitalist, politics is socialist...

JB: as for realized eschatology.. sa akin, panalangin ko lang na sana kahit sa loob lang ng ating mga simbahan.. pantay pantay lahat.. walang mahirap, walang mayaman, walang matalino, walang bobo, walang diskriminasyon, walang herarkiya... sana lang naman...

RC: Okey naman ang pagkapantay-pantay o equality, kung ang ibig sabihin ay respeto sa kapwa, walang racial discrimination, at iba pang mga katulad na halimbawa. Pero yong 100% na "walang mahirap, walang mayaman, walang matalino, walang bobo,...walang herarkiya" ay mukhang salungat sa pagkalikha ng Diyos sa tao at sa buong kalikasan. Kung ang kambal nga ay hindi magkatulad sa talino, paano pa kung ihahambing ang sarili sa ibang mga tao. May mga tao talaga na may kakaibang kakayanan, antas ng talino, husay, at galing, ano ang gagawin ng "ideal" na lipunan sa kanila? Paano naman yong may mga kapansanan? Ano naman ang magiging trato ng lipunan sa kanila? Mangyayari lamang ang idealismo ng pagkakapantay-pantay, kung totalitarian ang sistema at makalikha ng ideal DNA ng isang tao. Pero kahit sa puntong yan, imposible pa rin na magkapantay-pantay, dahil may "mamamahala" para gumulong ang sistema. Sisirain ng egalitarian vision ang individuality, creativity, diversity, and variety pati na ang specialization at division of labor na pinakapuso ng productive aspect ng free market economy.

JB: si Maria kumanta ng pagbaliktad ng tatsulok (o si Bamboo yun?! lol!).. actually, mahirap masakatuparan ang ganyang ideal na scenario. pero para sayo RC.. panu ba ang realization ng eschatology na sinabi ni Kristo sa muli nyang pagbalik?

RC: magandang tanong yan Jan, isip muna...may klase ako 4 pm dito

RC:  si Cristo ay nagsimula ng maghari simula ng kaniyang unang pagdating at sa paglipas ng kasaysayan, bagamat may mga pag-urong, ang kaniyang kaharian ay patuloy sa pagsulong sa pamamagitan ng pagkilos ng Banal na Espiritu at ng kaniyang salita sa buhay ng indibidwal na mananampalataya, sa pamilyang Kristiyano, at sa mga lokal na Iglesia. Sa paglipas ng panahon, lalago ang kaalaman ng mga mananampalataya, "mahihinog" ang katawan ni Cristo, matututunan nilang ilapat ang kanilang pananalampataya sa kabuuang aspeto ng buhay ng tao kasama na ang ekonomiya at politika. Sa kanila magsisimula ang "binhi" ng reporma para sa inaasam-asam na panlipunan at ekologikal na pagbabago. Bunga ng impluwensiya ng mga mananampalataya sa lipunan, matututunan ng tao kung paano gamitin ang mga kaloob ng Diyos bilang mga katiwala - higit na mainam na kaalaman at teknolohiya, mga bagong tuklas na likas na yaman, mas mura at mga bagong pagkukunan ng enerhiya na hindi gaanong sisira sa kalikasan, mga bagong tuklas sa medisina na magpapahaba sa buhay ng tao. . .at sa pagdating ni Cristo sa ikalawang pagkakataon, handa na ang kaniyang nobya..

JB: ok yang eschatology na yan.. parang star trek.. hehe.. sa setting ng star trek both capitalism and socialism has collapsed and earth progressed into peace and developed technologies such as clean nuclear fusion and warp drive.. and going to where no man has gone before became their hobbies.. lol!

RC: pang-ilan na ba yong latest star trek? ni isa yata wala pa akong napanood niyan a

Note: And then the discussion from this point shifted into the relevance of Christianity to social justice and politics:

KQ: but did Jesus call for the actual dismantling of Roman rule over Israel? of political independence from Roman rule? as that was hinted by Alvin's comment

no. infact may provision nga na 'turn the other cheek' but i think what is he against is yung abuses also ng empire. thus a christian who upholds the value of what Christ has taught hall value justice. and when there is INJUSTICE in the empire, a subversion is then necessary. not through arms, but through living as SALTS and LIGHTS of this world.

DAA: in that sense, hindi particular sa Roman empire ang opposition ni Jesus.

KQ: tingin ko kasama yung aristocratic rule ng empire knowing na may bilin ang Christianity na pahalagahan ang mga mahihina

KQ: at tinging ko rin kasama ng pangagaral nya ng espirituwalidad ang isyung ethical.

gaya ng mga propeta, isang halimbawa siguro yun micah 6:8

RC: Magandang basahin yang Micah from an economic perspective. Maaappreciate ng exegete ang verses 10 and 11, immediate context na kung saan ay mukhang nakakaligtaan ng mga social justice advocates..

KQ:  sampolan mo nga RC 

RC: Pagkatapos kasing banggitin ng propeta yong requirement ng Panginoon na to "act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" binanggit niya sa verses 10 and 11 ang tungkol sa "ill-gotten treasures", "short ephah", "dishonest scales" at "abag of false weights". Obviously, these four concepts are concrete economic terms and any talk of social justice without dealing with these issues is incomplete or will lead to a distorted concept of justice. Ang challenge ay suriin kung ano ang historical meaning ng mga nabanggit na economic expressions at kung sa papaanong paraan nakikita sa kasalukuyan ang ganitong mga gawain. Eto na yong delikado at sensitibong parte. Tutal nabanggit naman natin ang mga propeta sa OT. Sila kasi kung magpahayag ng salita at manawagan ng pagsisisi, konkreto yong mukha ng kasalanan. Madali lang kasi at safe pag general. Walang magagalit. But if you identified sins in concrete terms just like what prophet Isaiah did in chap 1 of his book and John the baptist in confronting Herod, iba ng usapan yon.

RC: So sa ngayon, ano ang mga posibleng konkretong expressions ng injustice sa larangan ng ekonomiya? Hindi lang sapat na sabihin generally na ang kasakiman ng mga kapitalista ang ugat ng kahirapan. Sa anong kokretong anyo nakikita ang kasakimang ito? Ako I suggest one, printing of paper money, but I will not ascribe it to capitalism

KQ:  hmm i categorized what you pointed out as social justice 

KQ:  naming the evil na yan eh noh. gaya halimbawa ng 'martial law' at extra judicial killings? o kaya ang abuso ng supreme court justice? o kaya ang di tamang pag babayad ng buwis ni lucio tan?

RC: good for akin kasing experience ng gumawa ako ng paper tungkol sa social justice sa agst 2006 yata yon, pagkatapos kong isurvey yong literature, i settled with donal dorr representing roman catholic stand and wolterstorff representing new reformed epistemology as my primary sources, hindi ko na encounter ang inflation, fiat money, currency debasement as part of social justice issues...

KQ: kasama din ang production eh - what do we produce- what do we sell? sana pati yan kasama sa usaping social justice.

kaso nga para sa iba mali nga daw yan