Globalization and onions. And rice. And sandals.

Elitist journalists (often from elite families who learned Marxism at colleges) and Catholic clergy and nuns still spout the old meme about evil rich people vs poor people, and how the wave of the future that will bring prosperity to the Philippines is anti globalization.
Here’s one example:

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Let’s take the quote: “Yet, while the deaths have had a chilling effect on older activists, they have galvanized the youth on the Left.”.

Actually, most of the smartest and hardest working youth are studying nursing to get a green card, or signing up for Saudi. When ten percent of the hardest working people work overseas, and another ten to twenty percent of the hardest workers are fundamentalist protestants who are anti communist, it sort of limits the job pool for left wing demonstrations. That leaves guilt ridden upper class youth, “red diaper” babies, the clergy, and unemployed boys who think going to demonstrations to meet girls is fun.

P.J. O’Rourke was once asked why the leftists always could get big demonstrations in the US but the conservatives could not. He answered: “Because we have jobs”. The same goes for the Philippines. I mean, here the working class hates GMA with a passion, but better hold the rallies when the rice isn’t being harvested.

Actually, G.Gloria is right about one thing: That China’s policy of keeping their currancy artificially low is destroying local industry. However, the left has no real answer to that.

Let’s take her examples: Shoes. We make sandals here. The cheap sandals that everyone wears (called “flipflops” in the USA) are made in China. But the nicely designed sandals with beads and fashionable design are made here.

Let’s take another example: The scandal about onions. It is cheaper to import them from the European Union and China than grow them. As a result, our farmers are losing money.

But if you are a poor worker in Manila, do you benefit from paying 30 pesos a kilogram instead of 60 pesos a kg for onions?

The same thing could be said about rice. Our family grows gourmet organic brown rice. We are hoping to expand to export it in the next few years. If we do, other local farmers will be able to work in a coop with us, and use organic fertilizer and no pesticide to grow rice. So instead of selling raw rice at 10 pesos a kg (which after milling is sold from 20 to 28 pesos per kg) they could sell to our coop, and get a higher price.

That’s how globalization works. Personally, I think people should buy and sell locally. I dislike the fact that to find work, families have to export their children, and that the middle class is leaving the Philippines. But until the price of transportation (read oil) goes up, I don’t see much that preaching the brotherhood of man is going to put rice on the table of local people.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket 

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