Why Socialist-democracy suits the Philippines?
There has been a polarizing issue about the newly-elected Philippine president stand on socialism and democracy. It has received criticisms, such that it is perceived as outrightly incorrect and inappropriate in a democratic society, a major influence of Western superpowers like the United States of America. Many then speculates that such move will isolate the Filipino nation following the cooling relationship between the former American colonizer and the Asian country. All of these are merely assumptions, but there are many reasons to believe the Philippines is suited for a socialist democracy.
First of all, I would qualify that by elaborating my stand on this means that the socialist economic policy would be focused on the national level on how resources are being distributed, and how government budget is generated through policies that seeks to control the populace in its actions and behaviours. I still however believe that a centrist right approach is best when it applies to the lowest political administrative level - the barangay. A separate blogpost have been made on this. To sum up my stand, I believe it is best for barangay to be more independent and treat themselves as income-generating pseudo-enterprising companies to generate income for better social welfare of the community in general.
In a nut shell, socialism is based on social ownership. The community's welfare is above every individual's gain. The government attempts to have a grip over everyone to create a collaborative milieu, reducing the gap between all social classes and divisions. It is just like saying, the nation's wealth must be on top of everything to fund social welfare and promote general well-being. In this view, I admit I have been influenced by the Norwegian model, which I am getting more aware of, given that I work and live in the Scandinavian country.
Here are the reasons why socialist-democracy is appropriate in the Philippines.
1. The increasing social gap between the poor and rich.
It is obviously seen in the Filipino society, and is even enshrined in the Philippine constitution to make the rich richer, while the maintaining the poor poor. With socialism, taxes are laid unto those who earn better, while easing tax burdens with the poor. By doing this, the poor could use more money for consumption while getting more social sup port from the government, mostly funded by the taxes earned from the wealthy social groups. Ofcourse, there should be an economic equilibrium between keeping taxes high, but not strangling employers to hold their businesses afloat. Hence, significantly higher taxes for the rich must not be questioned. It is a must. The question only lies to how high it could get, not why.
2. Skewness in resource distribution among cities and provinces.
A major impediment in the Philippines is the centralist mentality, such that metropolitan areas get the biggest share of the budget. This leaves more poor people marginalized, especially in the rural areas. Through socialism, those living in the outskirts of the country gets the same with that of from the urban areas. This will fuel economic growth as everyone gets the same for the benefit of everyone.
3. Filipino's lack of discipline.
The key characteristic of socialism is control. There is a functioning registry to impose taxes well and force everyone to pay proper taxes. As a result of registry, socialism creates a "Big Brother phenomenon," in which everyone is watch over and any deviation from norms deserves a punitive action in the form of bigger contribution to the community. This will have a spill-over effect in fighting criminality ang improving the quality of life of the Filipino nation. One is still given the freedom to do with his or her life, but if his or her actions would eventually require more from the nation's coffers, he or she needs to be taxed signifucantly higher. For example, with unhealthy options from food, tobacco, alcohol and drinks, one must pay higher taxes since in the long run, it would cost the government more to treat and rehabilitate people with diseases following their unhealthy lifestyle. It is the individual's choice though to select one's lifestyle, but the option to pay higher taxes is not his or hers.
4. Corruption remains a big problem.
With socialism, stronger check-and-balance mechanism is in place. Since everyone needs to pay right taxes, an up-to-date tax registry is required. All transactions are monitored and taxed. Those who will attemp to suck off money from the national treasury will easily be monitored. People are also made aware of where their taxes go, in virtue of communal ownership. It is because when you own something, you should know how it works, which applies very well in a socialist philosophy. With these, corruption will be hindered, discouraged and cross-checked. A liberal let-alone approach in the Philippimes have proved encouraging for corruption, since the need for control is as not as intense and tedious as it is in a socialist perspective.
5. Lack of genuine sense of community due to geopolitico-cultural differences
The Philippines has tens of different languages. It is an archipelago, separated by seas and mountains. That itself hinders the Filipino nation to cooperative and think as one. With a strong grip of a socialist-democratic government, there will be a strong bond between varying communities, creating a large, strong, unified nation. There might be variances with the approach in some regions, while some economically grow faster than others; but what matters most is the ultimate goal of social ownership and communal general gain. A nation working in various ways to reach a common goal is obviously better than one nation allowed to work together but not functioning genuinely as a whole.
Lastly, leaning towards center-left with socialist democracy is not necessarily antagonizing US, or capitalism or democracy. US has proved to have good relationships with a socialist non-capitalist country like Norway. There are entirely on the opposite side of the coin. It is only those narrow-minded who think socialism and democracy could not coexist. There is no reason to be afraid, unless you would never trade your personal freedom for communal gain. With that, that is quite un-Filipino.