Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Impediments to Filipino Nationalism (updated)

Impediments to Filipino Nationalism (updated)

“Nations, whose NATIONALISM is destroyed, are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: To think about the Filipino predicament is to be overwhelmed. The causes/roots and effects of existing societal problems in our homeland are so enormous that it is much easier to ignore and/or get away from them, i.e. emigrate out of the country if possible. We all know that we individually already did, may be able or have the capacity to do so, but how about the multitude who can not? We as humans, especially we Filipinos, tend to act only if we ourselves are directly affected.

(See also:

Here's an attempt to identify some of our Filipino characteristics, thus cultural, and other hurdles we Filipinos need to acknowledge and overcome to attain a strong feeling of nationalism, the lack of which is a strong detriment to true Filipino nationhood, to real economic and political democracies. Nationalism is a sine qua non for a people to develop a strong desire and resolve to correct the problems brought about by: governmental/bureaucratic decisions, military, business elites and foreign influences; and to rein in the strong tides of absolute free trade and cultural globalization - -which has brought only more misery and impoverishment to our fellow Filipinos in the Philippines --and act/work towards the attainment of the common good.

(See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/05/what-nationalism-good-article-by.html,


As an aside let me say that in the past, I have touched on these ideas among friends a few of whom felt offended, and claimed that I was exposing our defects as Filipinos; that I should count my blessings, etc. I have lost some of these friendships. But in retrospect and in a way, these issues have identified for me my real friends who remained despite some disagreements on the same and other more mundane issues or pursuits. As we know, we do not need "fair-weather friends". Quality -not quantity- of friends matters. And life is short. Anyway ....

These impediments or hurdles to Filipino nationalism are complex, but may be roughly categorized as :
1. Tribal Mentality
2. Belief in Determinism and Immature Religion
3. Colonial Mentality and English as Medium of Instruction
4. Lack of Social Consciousness and Selfish Individualism
5. Existence of Private and Foreign Schools
6. Mis-education
7. Educational System and Lack of Critical Thinking
8. Lack of Common and/or Foreign Enemy

1. Tribal Mentality - it seems our deepest loyalty is limited mainly to our immediate and extended family. The extended family is enlarged somehow through a network created by the "kumpare/kumadre system". Although this system was and is entered into for religious reasons during a child's baptism or confirmation, it is also much used for ulterior motives to get or gain socioeconomic and political influences.

This tribal and narrow thinking is further applied and exhibited in our loyalty to our hometown, province or region; thus anyone from outside our circle is virtually ignored, treated with suspicion and mistrust, and easy prey to stereotyping. We are prone to be offended more by negative comments to our hometown, province and region than those about our country.

This tribal mentality may be explained by our geographical remoteness (coming from various islands), different dialects, historical animosities brought about by the divisive influences made by our foreign occupiers (Spaniards used Filipinos in one province to fight fellow Filipinos in another, or Americans doing same and/or planting Filipino Christians in Filipino Muslim lands), etc.

See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/10/reflections-of-filipino-jose-rizal.html

2. Belief in Determinism and Immature Belief system/Religion - the Spanish religious legacy of Catholicism has inculcated in our minds throughout the generations that whatever happens is seen as the "will of God". Thus, we have developed a fatalistic attitude as expressed in statements such as "bahala na ang Diyos", "ginusto ng Diyos", "oras na", etc. This fatalistic attitude pervades our poor countrymen and even the so-called educated.

We are afraid to question such long-held beliefs since we think that it is tantamount to committing sin. We need to outgrow these childish beliefs which are destructive to ourselves and society, and have to learn and understand more deeply our inherited religion and thus develop a more mature Christianity. The aggregate and adverse impact of fatalism is for a populace to throw out their hands in despair, helplessness, inaction and to seek solace in wishful prayers which in effect only gives credence to the oft-quoted remark by Karl Marx that "religion is the opium of the people."

See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/11/religion-and-philippine-society.html,


3. Colonial Mentality/English as Medium of Instruction - The almost 400-year Spanish rule did not militate against us in the formation of Filipino nationalism as much as the subsequent 50-year American colonization. The Spaniards for the most part kept the Filipino natives ignorant and uneducated and our revolutionary forefathers fought them effectively and efficiently; actually almost completely defeated them until the Americans came to fool and steal from our forefathers their pursuit of true political independence.

After the brutal defeat of our Katipuneros and Filipino nationalists, the American occupying forces outlawed the display of the Filipino flag, banned nationalist publications, incarcerated or deported nationalist writers, and used natives to pursue, fight and subjugate remnant Filipinos who were still fighting the American forces, and label these freedom fighters as "insurgents", "brigands or bandits" (now "terrorists" in current American-driven jargon and as usual copied by the present Arroyo regime ), etc.

Under the guise of preparing and teaching us in self-government, the American imposition of public education was designed for the Filipinos to be Americanized in their outlook; and this was greatly attained by the use of English as the only medium of instruction (all part of subtle but extremely effective cultural imperialism). During their 50-year rule, public education was given the greatest priority and was actually run as part of the US Department of the Army to ensure compliance.

See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/06/ang-sistema-ng-edukasyon-sa-pilipinas.html,

Thus years thereafter, America was able to leave peacefully since the educational system has guaranteed and continually produced "little brown brothers" who wittingly and unwittingly thought, loyally worked and ruled for America. America did not need anymore to have American occupation troops in the islands!

In addition, the practiced "free trade" during the colonial period and its later postwar imposition via our co-opted ruling elites perpetuated American dominance in all significant business and industries; and embedded our taste for imported goods/culture and thus practically killing any nascent native industrialization, keeping us mainly as a source of supply for agricultural products and strategic minerals, and losing our sense of national history, unity and national identity.

See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/09/why-our-homeland-did-not-industrialize.html

A critical study of American history will show that the Americans came not to help free the Filipinos from the Spaniards (the revolutionaries have them surrounded until the Americans joined in and fooled them to stay put until their reinforcements arrived). The Americans came because during that moment in time in history, America saw that they need a fueling station for their growing navy, recognized the need to expand their sources of supply for raw materials, and new markets for their excess products.... in Asia, especially the illimitable Chinese market, and saw the Philippines as the gateway for all.

Of course, we can not learn these historical truths in Philippine and American schools unless one goes beyond official school textbooks and government publications.


4. Lack of Social Consciousness/ Selfish Individualism - The tribal mentality has resulted in this Filipino character. It is also the product of a mixture of the historical, perennial and current abandonment by the national government, the Filipino rich and powerful. The resultant deprivation has molded us and explains much of our characteristic behaviour of just "looking out for ourselves", i.e. family and extended relatives at best.

The fortunate ones who inherited lands and wealth tend to continue their disgust and lack of concern for the poor. The others who gain wealth, through legal and/or illegal means, or have risen above pure subsistence level by merit or emigration similarly take care only of their circle of family, friends and relatives. For example, numerous kababayans who emigrated to America easily co-opted to the American way of insatiable "conspicuous consumption".

We were either previously deprived; or knowing nothing better to do or attend to, surround ourselves with material possessions since our consciousness and thinking never rose above "wants", and have practically equated "wants" with "needs". We seem not to know how to spend leisure time than to go shopping or perform some other material pursuits. Our "hierarchy of needs" get stunted at the material level.

We are amazed that the more fortunate and truly rich Filipinos do not become as generous to their fellow countrymen as some similarly successful Americans are (here's one quality I admire about Americans). The cliché "the rich only get richer or the poor want to only get rich" rings true. Forget the saying "it is more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven...." Oh well, who believes that crap.

5. Existence of Private/Foreign schools - The existence of the exclusively private and/or foreign schools is a contributory and extreme detriment to Filipino nationalism. The existence creates a divisive effect to national unity and Philippine society. The exclusive, private schools, i.e. Catholic colleges/universities, etc., for the most part create an elitist class devoid of empathy for the impoverished public since the students are essentially insulated from the day-to-day realities of the truly poor. One can feel and see these attitudes and behaviors from a significant number of graduates from these schools. Of course, there are exceptions.

The exclusively foreign schools i.e. Chinese, American, Korean, etc. are similarly so, they see native/malayan Filipinos as a different race (which is true of course) and they as a different people. Their loyalty to the Philippines may be questionable or suspect at worst and who knows what they teach their students? We can only hope that the aloofness and racial differences that we witness would disappear. There is a dire and urgent need to improve public schools but this is impossible given the priorities of the government officials, i.e. more money for the military and/or enriching themselves via government coffers rather than more funding for education.

6. Miseducation - The mis-education of Filipinos is not easily fathomed because it was implemented without violence. The free public educational system brought by the American occupiers efficiently and effectively influenced generations of Filipinos to unquestioningly believe, love, adopt and follow America and anything American. We uncritically copy the American way of life, its materialist obsessions, its pop culture, teachings and economic models, its foreign policies, etc.

The mis-education made us forget our forefathers and their quest for true nationhood, to attain the objectives of their unfinished revolution. We learned to ignore our ethnic minorities. Remember our honored "American Boy" General/Ambassador Carlos Romulo, labeling the "Negritos" as not Filipinos? We are truly Americanized -if not trying harder than an American!- without being truly Americans (how can we be, when we historically are seen as "niggers" too?). That is why other Asian neighbors, who have maintained their national identity, national pride and culture (I do not mean just their equivalents to our "tinikling" dance), do not respect us. What a shame. Or do we not care about that too?

7. Educational System/Critical Thinking - Our existing educational system overall seems to have failed and continues to fail to develop in us an ability to think critically as applied to socioeconomic and political issues, which in the short and long run define and affect the lives of our people and future generations. Aside from a few schools such as the UP or a few other progressive ones, the graduates lack appreciation of what is described as "liberal education", that is, the humanities or social sciences. We seem to have countless bright minds who turn out to become successful engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc but ignorant, if not very ignorant, of critical analysis beyond their professional expertise; more specifically to societal analysis.

See also: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/11/education-for-independent-thought.html,

Furthermore, during the Marcos dictatorship --and continued under subsequent regimes-- the IMF/World Bank, using our humongous foreign debt as leverage, dictated how and where the Philippine educational system has to be directed, i.e. serve foreign investor interests. Thus, we see a lot of us quite naive, ignorant and distant about the predicament of the Filipinos in the Philippines. At best, we mouth or think based on what we have heard or seen in the popular media. Or at worst, who cares (the “since I am ok, I do not care if they're not ok” mentality) as I have encountered among some fellow Filipinos.

8. Lack of Common/Foreign Enemy - In the history of nation-states, almost each nation has gained national identity, unification and sovereignty through battles and wars against a foreign enemy. Our Filipino forefathers rose against the Spaniards, our 400-year foreign occupiers. However, their revolution was hijacked by the cunning Americans whom they also fought but failed to defeat. The Americans left us with their local substitutes: mis-educated (highly Americanized) fellow Filipinos, who knowingly or unknowingly, govern, think and work for American interests.

Our fathers united against the Japanese invaders during WW2; and then post-war, their politicians came back to remove from elected office the handful of nationalist fellow countrymen who were identified/labeled and saw (thanks to our mis-education by the Americans) as only plain "communists"; never mind their years of suffering and struggles for more humane treatment by their absentee landlords.

Fast forward today, we are enjoined to see and label the Filipino rebels as "terrorists", thanks to the recent foreign policy dictates of America. We see our Philippine Constitution and sovereignty ignored and will be seeing more US troops, via the Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA) directly hunting not just the Abu Sayyafs but the MILFs/MNLFs and NPAs anywhere in our homeland soon, and same troops practically immune from local jurisdiction in case of crimes.
See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/11/imperialist-war-against-terrorism.html,

We do not have an identifiable foreign enemy because our enemy today is not foreigners roaming our homeland typically garbed in combat uniforms. The physical absence of a foreign enemy makes common, nationalist causes difficult. Our difficulties to the attainment of national unity, our past, present and future dangers to nationhood and common good are brought about by our own people in business and government who are serving foreign interests by continually selling out our patrimony, whatever is left of our fully exploited natural resources, and destroying whatever is left of our national agriculture and nascent industry.

These foreign and local business partners, with their westernized allies/technocrats in academia and government agencies, essentially imply: Damn the native, malay Filipino majority in the Philippines. We have to maximize profits, maximize our shareholders equity, to hell with Filipino nationalism -which to them is obsolete, a business constraint that need to be demolished and not necessary in these times of globalization via WTO. To the foreign investors/corporations (mainly American, Japanese and European) and their local partners, the bottomline is maximized profitablity through perpetual dominance.

See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/11/free-trade-agreements-ftas-bilateral.html,

Inasmuch as THE ENEMY IS US for allowing such conditions, the task is much, much more difficult, but not insurmountable. And it may be too late for us, for our present generation; but not for our children and their children. Let us think, decide and act now for the common good of our next generations of native, malay Filipinos. That is what Filipino nationalism is all about.

See: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/12/pag-ibig-sa-tinubuang-lupa-jose-rizal.html

"We shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know..." - SOCRATES

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

THIRD WORLD:definitions and descriptions

THIRD WORLD, Gerard Chaliand - author

The economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birthrates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries.

The French demographer Alfred Sauvy coined the expression ("tiers monde" in French) in 1952 by analogy with the "third estate," the commoners of France before and during the French Revolution-as opposed to priests and nobles, comprising the first and second estates respectively. Like the third estate, wrote Sauvy, the third world is nothing, and it "wants to be something."

The term therefore implies that the third world is exploited, much as the third estate was exploited, and that, like the third estate its destiny is a revolutionary one. It conveys as well a second idea, also discussed by Sauvy, that of non-alignment, for the third world belongs neither to the industrialized capitalist world nor to the industrialized Communist bloc.

The expression third world was used at the 1955 conference of Afro-Asian countries held in Bandung, Indonesia. In 1956 a group of social scientists associated with Sauvy's National Institute of Demographic Studies, in Paris, published a book called Le Tiers-Monde. Three years later, the French economist Francois Perroux launched a new journal, on problems of underdevelopment, with the same title. By the end of the 1950's the term was frequently employed in the French media to refer to the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America.

The underdevelopment of the third world is marked by a number of common traits; distorted and highly dependent economies devoted to producing primary products for the developed world and to provide markets for their finished goods; traditional, rural social structures; high population growth; and widespread poverty. Nevertheless, the third world is sharply differentiated, for it includes countries on various levels of economic development. And despite the poverty of the countryside and the urban shantytowns, the ruling elites of most third world countries are wealthy.

This combination of conditions in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America is linked to the absorption of the third world into the international capitalist economy, by way of conquest or indirect domination. The main economic consequence of Western domination was the creation, for the first time in history, of a world market. By setting up throughout the third world sub-economies linked to the West, and by introducing other modern institutions, industrial capitalism disrupted traditional economies and, indeed, societies. This disruption led to underdevelopment.

Because the economies of underdeveloped countries have been geared to the needs of industrialized countries, they often comprise only a few modern economic activities, such as mining or the cultivation of plantation crops. Control over these activities has often remained in the hands of large foreign firms. The prices of third world products are usually determined by large buyers in the economically dominant countries of the West, and trade with the West provides almost all the third world's income. Throughout the colonial period, outright exploitation severely limited the accumulation of capital within the foreign-dominated countries.

Even after decolonization (in the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's, the economies of the third world developed slowly, or not at all, owing largely to the deterioration of the "terms of trade"-the relation between the cost of the goods a nation must import from abroad and its income from the exports it sends to foreign countries. Terms of trade are said to deteriorate when the cost of imports rises faster than income from exports. Since buyers in the industrialized countries determined the prices of most products involved in international trade, the worsening position of the third world was scarcely surprising. Only the oil-producing countries (after 1973) succeeded in escaping the effects of Western, domination of the world economy.

No study of the third world could hope to assess its future prospects without taking into account population growth. In 1980, the earth's population was estimated at 4.4 billion, 72 percent of it in the third world, and it seemed likely to reach 6.2 billion, 80 percent of it in the third world, at the close of the century. This population explosion in the third world will surely prevent any substantial improvements in living standards there as well as threaten people in stagnant economies with worsening poverty.

Role in World Politics
The Bandung conference, in 1955, was the beginning of the political emergence of the third world. Two nations whose social and economic systems were sharply opposed-China and India-played a major role in promoting that conference and in changing the relation between the third world and the industrial countries, capitalist and Communist. As a result of de-colonialization, the United Nations, at first numerically dominated by European countries and countries of European origin, was gradually transformed into something of a third world forum. With increasing urgency, the problem of underdevelopment then became the focus of a permanent, although essentially academic, debate. Despite that debate, the unity of the third world remains hypothetical, expressed mainly from the platforms of international conferences.

Economic Prospects
Foreign aid, and indeed all the efforts of existing institutions and structures, have failed to solve the problem of underdevelopment. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in New Delhi in 1971 suggested that one percent of the national income of industrialized countries should be devoted to aiding the third world. That figure has never been reached, or even approximated. In 1972 the Santiago (Chile) UNCTAD set a goal of a 6 percent economic growth rate in the 1970's for the underdeveloped countries. But this, too, was not achieved. The living conditions endured by the overwhelming majority of the 3 billion people who inhabit the poor countries have either not noticeably changed since 1972 or have actually deteriorated.

Whatever economic development has occurred in the third world has not been distributed fairly between nations or among population groups within nations. Most of the third world countries that have managed to achieve substantial economic growth are those that produce oil: Algeria, Gabon, lran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. They had the money to do so because after 1973 the Organization of Oil producing Countries (OPEC), a cartel, succeeded in raising the price of oil drastically.

Other important raw materials are also produced by underdeveloped countries, and the countries that produce them have joined in cartels similar in form to OPEC. For example, Australia, Guinea, Guyana, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Suriname, and Yugoslavia formed the Bauxite International Association (BIA) in 1974; and Chile, Peru, Zaire, and Zambia formed a cartel of copper producing countries in 1967. But even strategic raw materials like copper and bauxite are not as essential to the industrialized countries as oil, and these cartels therefore lack OPEC's strength; while the countries that produce cocoa and coffee (and other foods) are even less able to impose their will. Indeed, among the countries that do not receive oil revenues, only Brazil, the Ivory Coast, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have enjoyed significant economic growth. And because the underdeveloped nations are collectively so weak, the so-called "new economic order" proposed by some of them will probably remain a phrase, and no more for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless, the relationship between the underdeveloped and the industrialized countries has improved somewhat. In 1975 the nine-nation European Economic Community (EEC) concluded an agreement, called the Lome Pact, with 46 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) nations that exempted most ACP exports from tariffs. The Lome II Pact, signed in 1979 by the EEC and 57 ACP countries, consolidated and broadened the Lome I agreement-for example by guaranteeing income from agricultural exports.

Nonetheless, excepting only a few oil-producing countries with low populations, the economic crisis of the 1970's was more detrimental to the third world than to the West; and there did not seem to be much chance in the foreseeable future for any significant change in the relationship between the industrialized and underdeveloped countries. Nor did the prospects for economic development in the third world appear to be very bright: Between 1960 and 1980 half of the African countries had actually regressed. Almost the only countries to receive some of the capital needed for development were those lucky enough to have a significant amount of raw materials, especially oil, to export.

All international agencies agree that drastic action is required to improve conditions in third world countries, including urban and rural public work projects to attack joblessness and underemployment, institutional reforms essential for the redistribution of economic power, agrarian reform, tax reform, and the reform of public funding. But, in reality, political and social obstacles to reform are a part of the very nature of the international order and of most third world regimes.


From Wikipedia
Third World is a term originally used to distinguish those nations that neither aligned with the West nor with the East during the Cold War. These countries are also known as the Global South, developing countries, and least developed countries (LDC) in academic circles. Development workers also call them the two-thirds world and The South. Some dislike the term developing countries as it implies that industrialisation is the only way forward, while they believe it is not necessarily the most beneficial.

Many "third world" countries are located in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. They are often nations that were colonized by another nation in the past. The populations of third world countries are generally very poor but with high birth rates. In general they are not as industrialized or technologically advanced as the first world. The majority of the countries in the world fit this classification.

The term "third world" was coined by economist Alfred Sauvy in an article in the French magazine L'Observateur of August 14, 1952. It was a deliberate reference to the "Third Estate" of the French Revolution. Tiers monde means third world in French. The term gained widespread popularity during the Cold War when many poorer nations adopted the category to describe themselves as neither being aligned with NATO or the USSR, but instead composing a non-aligned "third world" (in this context, the term "First World" was generally understood to mean the United States and its allies in the Cold War, which would have made the East bloc the "Second World" by default; however, the latter term was seldom actually used).

Leading members of this original "third world" movement were Yugoslavia, India, and Egypt. Many third world countries believed they could successfully court both the communist and capitalist nations of the world, and develop key economic partnerships without necessarily falling under their direct influence. In practice, this plan did not work out quite so well; many third world nations were exploited or undermined by the two superpowers who feared these supposedly neutral nations were in danger of falling into alignment with the enemy. After World War II, the First and Second Worlds struggled to expand their respective spheres of influence to the Third World. The militaries and intelligence services of the United States and the Soviet Union worked both secretly and overtly to influence Third World governments, with mixed success.

The dependency theory suggests that multinational corporations and organizations such as the IMF and World Bank have contributed to making third world countries dependent on first world countries for economic survival. The theory states that this dependence is self-maintaining because the economic systems tend to benefit first world countries and corporations. Scholars also question whether the idea of development is biased in favor of Western thought. They debate whether population growth is a main source of problems in the third world or if the problems are more complex and thorny than that. Policy makers disagree on how much involvement first world countries should have in the third world and whether third world debts should be canceled.

The issues are complicated by the stereotypes of what third world and first world countries are like. People in the first world, for example, often describe third world countries as underdeveloped, overpopulated, and oppressed. Third world people are sometimes portrayed as uneducated, helpless, or backwards. Modern scholarship has taken steps to make academic discourse more conscious of the differences not only between the first world and the third world, but also among the countries and people of each category.

During the Cold War there were a number of countries which did not fit comfortably into the neat definition of First, Second, and Third Worlds. These included Switzerland, Sweden, and the Republic of Ireland, which chose to be neutral. Finland was under the Soviet Union's sphere of influece but was not communist, nor was it a member of the Warsaw Pact. Austria was under the United States' sphere of influence, but in 1955, when the country again became a fully independent republic, it did so under the condition that it remained neutral. None of these countries would have been defined as third world despite their non (or marginally) aligned status.

With the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the term Second World largely fell out of use and the meaning of First World has become has extended to include all developed countries while the term Third World has become a neologism for the least developed countries. This can be seen in the way that the successful Asian Tiger economies and countries of former Yugoslavia-one of the founders of the Third World movement-are not classed as Third World countries.

Third World, the technologically less advanced, or developing, nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, generally characterized as poor, having economies distorted by their dependence on the export of primary products to the developed countries in return for finished products. These nations also tend to have high rates of illiteracy, disease, and population growth and unstable governments.

The term Third World was originally intended to distinguish the nonaligned nations that gained independence from colonial rule beginning after World War II from the Western nations and from those that formed the former Eastern bloc, and sometimes more specifically from the United States and from the former Soviet Union (the first and second worlds, respectively). For the most part the term has not included China.

Politically, the Third World emerged at the Bandung Conference (1955), which resulted in the establishment of the Nonaligned Movement. Numerically, the Third World dominates the United Nations, but the group is diverse culturally and increasingly economically, and its unity is only hypothetical. The oil-rich nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Libya, and the newly emerged industrial states, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore, have little in common with desperately poor nations, such as Haiti, Chad, and Afghanistan.

[See A. R. Kasdan, The Third World: A New Focus for Development (1973); E. Hermassi, The Third World Reassessed (1980); H. A. Reitsma and J. M. Kleinpenning, The Third World in Perspective (1985); J. Cole, Development and Underdevelopment (1987).]

The First World is the developed world - US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand. The Second World was the Communist world led by the USSR. With the demise of the USSR and the communist block, there is no longer an official Second World designation, although Russia, China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have "communist" governments. The Third World is the underdeveloped world - agrarian, rural and poor. Many Third World countries have one or more developed cities, but the rest of the country is poor, rural and agrarian. Eastern Europe should probably be considered Third World. Russia should also be considered a Third World country with nuclear weapons. China, has always been considered part of the Third World, although it is industrializing, has nuclear weapons, and has urban centers of intense development. In general, Latin America, Mexico, Africa, and most of Asia are still considered Third World.

The Asian Tigers - South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand, except for their big cities, their maquiladora-type production facilities, a small middle class and a much smaller ruling elite should probably be considered Third World countries as well, since their populations are overwhelmingly rural, agrarian and poor.

Some of the very poorest countries, especially in Africa, that have no industrialization, are almost entirely agrarian (subsistence farming), and have little or no hope of industrializing and competing in the world "marketplace", are sometimes termed the "Fourth World".

The term "Third World" is not universally accepted. Some prefer other terms such as - Global South, the South, non-industrialized countries, developing countries, underdeveloped countries, undeveloped countries, mal-developed countries, emerging nations.The term "Third World" is the one most widely used in the media today, but no one term can describe all less-developed countries accurately.

In comparison, the United States is part of : the West, the First World, the industrialized world, the developed world, the North.

Sources: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/General/ThirdWorld_def.html,

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Persistently "Damaged" Culture

"Certain marks of colonization are still manifested by the people. I have arbitrarily identified these marks as dependence and subservience."

"Only the strong, unrelenting efforts of Filipino people can erase the blemishes to our culture and remove the negative label attached to it. Fortunately, there are concerned Filipinos who, with all their might, attack 'these cultural damages' with the pen and with the tongue. They are unrelenting." – Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence (1905-2007)

Notes: Colored, underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posts/articles. Forwarding this and other posts to relatives and friends, especially those in the homeland, is greatly appreciated). To share, use all social media tools: email, blog, Google+, Tumblr,Twitter,Facebook, etc. THANKS!!


Hi All,

 We Filipinos tend to have "balat sibuyas" whenever a criticism, constructive or not, is made. And we tend to employ "argumentum ad hominem," to attack the person instead of addressing the issues raised, to see the messenger and not the message. Such is oftentimes our reaction to friends and/or foes who speak their minds or we simply hate the unpleasant truth. We do the same when we are a loss of what to say and just do not want to admit so. 

(Personally, I add that being a baby boomer, I have learned to ignore personal attacks, though sometimes I can dish out too when I need or want. It's the beauty of being older, you do not give a shit as to what others, whoever they are, say because you have come to appreciate what really matters in one's life.)

The social analysis about us Filipinos made by James Fallows (Rhodes scholar/Pres. Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter/National Correspondent of the Atlantic Monthly) has so much truth in it. 

His 1987 article has been included and updated in his 1994 book "Looking at the Sun," a book about the whats and whys on the great economic growth of our Asian neighbors and our being left behind.

See also:
  1. What We Filipinos Should Know
  2. About Us Native Filipinos and the Future in Our Homeland
  3. The Filipino Norm of Morality
  4. What is Filipino Nationalism
  5. What Nationalism?
  6. Impediments to Filipino Nationalism


A persistently damaged culture

In November 1987, when we were still feeling good about ourselves after the glorious EDSA people power revolution of 1986, the American essayist James Fallows wrote a devastating analysis of Filipinos as a people in The Atlantic Monthly. In an essay entitled "A Damaged Culture," Fallows wrote:

"Individual Filipinos are at least as brave, kind and noble-spirited as individual Japanese, but their culture draws the boundaries of decent treatment much more narrowly. Filipinos pride themselves on their lifelong loyalty to family, schoolmates, compadres, members of the same tribe, residents of the same barangay ... Because these boundaries are limited to the family or tribe, they exclude at any given moment 99 percent of the other people in the country. 

Because of this fragmentation, this lack of useful nationalism, people treat each other worse in the Philippines than in any other Asian country I have seen ... The tradition of political corruption and cronyism, the extremes of wealth and poverty, the tribal fragmentation, the local elite's willingness to make a separate profitable peace with colonial powers--all reflect a feeble sense of national interest and a contempt for the public good."

We were shocked and angry, insulted by this foreigner who deigned to analyze our culture like he knew us. He was called names, the worst of which was a "parachutist," which referred to foreign correspondents who flew into the country on Sunday, looked around Metro Manila on Monday, flew out of Tuesday, and published an "in-depth" story about us on Wednesday.

We met up with a lot of such enterprising journalists in those days, when the Philippines was the darling of the West and stories about Philippine politics were snapped up by editors who could not get enough of our peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy.

How dare he, many Filipino commentators bristled at Fallows' arrogant assessment of Philippine society during that honeymoon period. His judgment stung--"lack of useful nationalism", "a feeble sense of national interest"--being the worst of all. But what stayed with me was his observation that "people treat each other worse in the Philippines than in any other Asian country I have seen..."

Recently, local commentators, despairing over the bad and ugly politics that have engulfed us in the run-up to the 2004 presidential elections, have dug up their fading copies of Fallows' essay for a closer reading. And they are seeing that the mirror he held to our faces in 1987 may have been accurate then, and is certainly accurate now.

Just observing the Philippine Senate-traditionally been the breeding ground for Presidents- holding a public hearing for ten minutes, we see the worst possible example of tribal fragmentation among the local elite. 

Administration and opposition senators regard each other with undisguised distrust and disgust, and treat their witnesses-invited guests, if you will--even worse. When the senators cannot get them to dance to their partisan tunes, they call them liars and obstructionists, put words in their mouths and threaten them with contempt and detention.

With kid gloves off and cloven hooves and fangs showing, they gnarl and leap at one another, as well as at anyone whom they wish to bully to follow their line. All the while, of course, they are protected by parliamentary immunity from anyone who wishes to fight back.

Such public displays of meanness and uncivility over national television by our supposedly "honorable" senators add nothing to the Filipinos' sense of national interest or pride in their country and people. 

They only drive home Fallows' point that in this country, we draw "the boundaries of decent treatment" very narrowly, limiting them to the family or tribe, and truly excluding 99 percent of the other people in the country.

In 1971, Fr. Pacifico Ortiz SJ, in an invocation at the opening of Congress, described the country as trembling on the edge of a smoldering volcano. Well, 32 years later, we are back on the edge of that volcano, which goes to show that we have learned little-if anything - in the last 32 years. 

Perhaps we never really left the edge; the volcano just dissipated for a while when the dictator departed, and we mistook the restoration of the trappings of democracy for the fundamental changes we needed to implement.

But as it turns out, we have only marked time, wallowing in a culture so damaged, it has, as James Fallows so astutely observed, stood in the way of our development and has made a naturally rich country poor. The Philippines, wrote Fallows, describing the situation here, is "a society that has degenerated into a war of every man against every man." 

Recently, the bishops and priests spoke from the pulpit condemning graft and corruption and the life-sucking dirty politics that our daily lives are mired in and distracted Congress from its task of legislation and the Government from governance.

Newspapers are raking it in with paid advertisements from sectoral groups and NGOs pleading with the administration to act on the plight of the poor and powerless, with supposed coup plotters to abandon their destructive ambitions to rule the country by military force, with politicians to set aside their partisan agendas and focus on the larger picture, and with the media to help set a forward-looking agenda for the country, and not be content to merely reflect the mire it is in. The paid advertisements are starting to become news items themselves, especially for a people used to getting their information from reading between the lines.

The call of the hour is for everyone to think outside of themselves and consider the country, the people, our children, and--as the visiting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told Filipino businessmen on Monday--think of the next generation.

Thaksin seemed to be talking about the ruinous politics in the land when he told the business leaders the difference between a politician and a statesman: "A politician always thinks about the next election," Thaksin said, "while a statesman always thinks about the next generation. If you think about the next generation, then you can do a lot of change."

Painful as it is to accept the image of ourselves that Fallows has confronted us with, it is time to give it serious thought and action. Nothing else --not self-praise, not self-flagellation, and not those occasional spurts of national pride-- has made us the nation that we ought to be by now.

We might start by making James Fallows' essay on our damaged culture required reading for every member of Congress and the administration. And to make sure they understand it, maybe we should commission an illustrated-comics version.

Cyberdyaryo 09-09-03

Source: http://www.cyberdyaryo.com/commentary/c2003_0909_01.html

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Hi All,

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