Monday, September 24, 2007

THE RECTO READER: Economic Nationalism Means Industrialization, Part 2B of 6

"A certain kind of progress and material development can be achieved by economic activity that is not nationalistic in orientation but it can not solve any of the major social, economic and cultural problems of that large community which we call a nation." - Claro M. Recto

"Let us not ask for miracles...let us not ask that he who comes as an outsider to make his fortune and go away afterwards should interest himself in the welfare of the country. What matters to him the gratitude or the curses of a people whom he does not know, in a country where he has no associations, where he has no affections? Fame to be sweet must resound in the ears of those we love, in the atmosphere of our home or of the land that will guard our ashes; we wish that fame should hover over our tomb to warm its breath the chill of death, so that we may not be completely reduced to nothingness, that something of us may survive. Naught of this can we offer those who come to watch over our destinies."..- filosofo Tasio to Ibarra  (NOLI ME TANGERE.), quoted in Hernando J. Abaya's THE UNTOLD PHILIPPINE STORY, 1967


PLEASE DONATE CORE SUBJECT BOOKS TO OUR HOMELAND (i.e. your hometown public schools, Alma Mater, etc.). Those books that you and/or your children do not need or want; or buy books from your local library during its cheap Book Sales. Also, cargo/door-to-door shipment is best.  It is a small sacrifice.  [clean up your closets or garage - donate books.THANKS!]

" Fear history, for it respects no secrets" - Gregoria de Jesus (widow of Andres Bonifacio)

Of 533 previous posts, the following selected posts and the RECTO READER are essential about us native, Malay Filipinos and are therefore always presented in each new post. Click each to open/read

  2. WHAT IS NATIONALISM [Filipino Nationalism]?
  3. Our Colonial Mentality and Its Roots 
  4. The Miseducation of the Filipino (Formation of our Americanized Mind)
  5. Jose Rizal - Reformist or Revolutionary?
  6. The Purpose of Our Past, Why Study (Our) History?
  7. Studying and Rethinking Our Philippine History
  8. Our Filipino Kind of Religion
  9. Our Filipino Christianity and Our God-concept
  10. When Our Religion Becomes Evil
  11. Understanding Our Filipino Value System

NOTE: Recto's cited cases, examples or issues were of his time, of course; but realities in our homeland in the present and the foreseeable future are/expectedly much, much worse. Though I am tempted to update them with current issues, it's best to leave them as they are since Recto's paradigms about our much deepened national predicament still ring relevant, valid and true. In short, Recto saw the forest and never got lost in the trees.- Bert


Hi All,

In Part 1(A&B), Recto defined and clarified for us what Filipino Nationalism is and what it is not.

In Part 2, Recto elucidated the need for economic independence: the"what, why, how, where and when" of economic independence characterized by a nationalistic outlook and drive for industrialization.

He reminded us that economic independence propelled by nationalism is the sine qua non for political independence, domestically and internationally. 

Unfortunately for us native Filipinos, economic independence never materialized as all our so-called national leadership -- all traitorous to the native Filipino majority-- have continued to pursue an economic policy, which has been and is destructive to the common good, as practically dictated by America via the IMF-WB/WTO Agreements.

- Bert

"The truth of the matter is that most of the people, outside of the Filipinos, who favor this bill are fundamentally opposed to Philippine Independence. Many of them have told me so. Their whole philosophy is to keep the Philippines economically even though we lose them politically." - U.S. Senator Millard Tydings, U.S. Congressional Record on Public Hearing of the Bell Trade Act, March 1946

Economic Nationalism Means Industrialization

All things considered, what should then be our economic policy?

It must be industrialization in its fullest sense. The goal is an economy of prosperity, that is, an ever growing national production. It is an economy where the major economic activities and efforts of the people are increasingly directed towards non-rural pursuits. That has been the way of all industrial nations.That is where I envision our people. 

We should, therefore, oppose the maintenance here of a rural economy and the adoption of any policy or program that tends to perpetuate it. I do not mean that our agriculture should be abandoned altogether or that we should not improve on present methods. 

What I do mean is that, if we want to prosper, we should concentrate less on agriculture and not regards it as the main basis of our national economy. It is an error --a grievous error-- to identify or equate economic development with rural development.

It is for this reason that I view the foreign-inspired rural development program in this country with deep concern and suspicion. As a positive program, it was conceived in 1950, found expression in the Bell Mission Report and the Quirino-Foster Agreement, was later dramatized in the Hardie Report and the MacMillan Report

The word "rural" has found its way into every slogan, as if it were a word of magic power. Every community throughout the length and breadth of the land is being fed with rural propaganda. Foreign-financed organizations mushroomed all around: 

  1. PRRM (Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement), 
  2. PRUCIS )Philippine Rural Improvement Service), 
  3. 4-H Clubs (Hearts, Hands, Head and Health). 

The movement has not even spared even the schools. agricultural schools have been expanded and have become pet projects of the government, although you can not find a job in any government office for a Los Banos graduate.

Community schools, according to our representatives at the World Assembly of teachers and Educators held here recently, should have checked the drift of our people from the land. All I can say is that, if they do they shall have succeeded in pegging our economy to its present agricultural structure, that is, to poverty. 

From the experience of all industrial countries, we have learned that economic progress requires the shifting of the major part of the people from the land to industrial pursuits.

The demagogue may paint the rural development program as attractively as he can. He may raise high hopes among the people in the rural areas as an effective vote-getting technique. But whatever may be his intentions in foisting the rural development program on the people, he does a disservice to them. The increase in agricultural productivity and in agricultural production can never hope to keep up with the growth of the population

For their own benefit, they should turn to industry for it is there that they will find deliverance from an occupation which, according to a UN Report, for the greatest efforts gives the least returns to the worker, outside of domestic servants. 

It is disheartening to note that this is not yet fully understood amongst our people. It is only fair that they know the truth, and it is for this reason that I have decided to expose the defects of an agricultural economy and the evils of a program designed to tie us down to such an economy.(15)

But we can not close our eyes to the fact that for several years we have been misled into following the agricultural or rural orientation. I would be the last to ignore the role of agriculture in any economy, or to advocate less concerns for the rural population of the country which still forms the bulk of our total population. 

Not only am I not opposed to the land tenure reform but I believe the adoption of such reform and any other social and economic reforms imperative. I advocate these measures not only as measures of social justice but --and this is more important-- as economic measures to help increase the purchasing power of our people which must go hand in hand with our effort to increase the national output through industrialization. 

We are today one of the poorest nations in the world, judging from the statistics of the United Nations. Under the present circumstances, the need for increasing the national produce is even more pressing than the need for making a more just distribution of the same, which is what is meant by social justice. 

But a real concern for social justice should not blind us to our main objective, that of increased production, which can only be attained if industrialization is given top priority in our economic planning.(16)

The Plight of Agricultural Economics

Now, let us take a look at the peculiar realities of the Philippine situation. Our colonial economy, being an agricultural, export-import, alien-dominated one, is necessarily poor. Since the time economic imperialism was developed, that is, since the time the domestic markets of the developing capitalist industrial countries became glutted and the need for outside markets for their surplus arose, nations with agricultural economies were absorbed by the industrial nations, to become agricultural adjuncts of the latter's industrial economies.

Being agricultural, we do not manufacture most of the finished or manufactured goods that we need for our consumption, and therefore we have to import them. Being agricultural, we must export solely or mostly raw materials in order to pay for our imports. 

Our own post-war experience reveals that as years go by we have to export more units of our raw products to pay for a given unit of the manufactured products that we import. Thus, no matter how much harder and longer we work to produce more raw material exports, we are always on the losing end in our foreign trade.

That is the fate of all agricultural economies today. Being agricultural and being poor, and being a people suffering from a colonial mentality, our economy is susceptible to alien economic infiltration, penetration or invasion. Before the war, alien ownership of production and exchange facilities in important sectors of our economy was acquired mostly by resident aliens through investments from accumulated profits made in our country. 

After the war, alien ownership and control of our economy were considerably increased through foreign, mostly American, private investments. The extent of combined alien ownership and control in our economy has reached dangerous proportions

As of 1938, according to the report of the Joint US-PI Finance Commission of 1947, about 1/4 of the national wealth was already owned by aliens. (17)

Industrialization as a Solution to Agricultural Problems

What are the main problems of Philippine agriculture? Unemployment and disguised unemployment, low per capita income, and caciquism. We all know that there is a lot of unemployment in our rural areas. Rural folk go to urban centers in search of jobs only to go back to the farm because the towns have no employment opportunities for them. 

Industrialization will create jobs and will, therefore, absorb surplus rural labor. In addition to those whom statistics list down as unemployed, there are many more who stay and help their relatives till a small patch of land, not because their labor is needed, but because they have nowhere else to go. Industry could use this wasted manpower.

Then too the farmers themselves have their slack seasons which they could make use of by joining the industrial force as occasional workers in processing plants near the farms. Such increased opportunities for employment would help solve the second rural problem; namely, low per capita income

But the biggest boost to rural income will be the increased demand for diversified agricultural products and by-products which local industries will need for raw materials. Furthermore, local industries could produce more modern farming equipment which, with fertilizers and more scientific methods of farming, would greatly increase the yield per hectare.

One of the sources of discontent in our rural areas in caciquism. The feudal relations which weigh so heavily on the shoulders of our peasantry will be changed under the impact of industrialization. 

In the United States, England, West Germany, and other industrialized countries, there is no caciquism; first, because the fact that agricultural workers can shift from rural to urban employment acts as a restraining factor on the rural employer and second, because the typical-employer-employee relationship in industry permeates the agricultural field and finally supplants the old feudal one. In the same way, industrialization will spell the end of caciquism in our rural areas.

Thus you see how industrialization will accelerate agricultural development. The resulting benefits will be general and permanent. They will not be merely the palliative which hitherto have been masquerading as rural development programs.(18)

The Negative Attitude of Advanced Nations To Our Industrialization Objectives

Centuries of colonialism had closed our eyes to our own economic potentials and made us believe that an industrial economy is the prerogative of western society and is beyond the skill and competence of Asians. This was the grand deception which the colonial powers succeeded in impressing upon the great majority of Asians.(19)

Indeed the lessons of Japan is that Orientals have within themselves the capacity to industrialize if only they would put their minds and hearts to it. Impressed by Western industrial progress, Japan decided to beat the West at her own game, and in this she is succeeding admirably. We have in Japan's economic achievement a great lesson to learn and a great example to emulate.

And what of Russia and China? In these countries, scientists have now acquired a position of prominence and constitute a class which may well be considered as the elite.You and I may have no taste for the totalitarian or the communist order, but we cannot close our eyes to the fact that these countries owe, in a large measure, their industrial might to scientists and the spirit of discipline of their peoples.(20)

The policy of some nations which have the capability to lend assistance to nations like ours which desire to industrialize has not been encouraging. It remains obvious to any student that that policy has been opposed to the industrialization of underdeveloped countries  

And when the nationalist movements, which inevitably call for rapid industrialization, could no longer be ignored, these wealthy nations would channel the industrialization of the underdeveloped ones to their benefit by manipulating loans and credits in order to assure the outflow of their direct investments into the borrowing countries. (21)


8. Our Raw Material-export Economy, June 26, 1957.
9. The Role of Labor in Our Economic Emancipation, September 8, 1957.
10. Ibid.
11. Filipinism and the Coming Elections, August 10, 1957.
12. A Realistic Economic Policy for the Philippines, September 26, 1956.
13. Ibid,
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Industrialization, the Only Cure for Our Economic and Social Ills, June 24, 1955.
17. A Realistic Foreign Policy for the Philippines, August 18, 1956.
18. Nationalism and Industrialization, July 30, 1957.
19.A New Deal for Filipino Scientists, May 14, 1960.
20.Matters of Concern Between Indonesia and the Philippines, September 23, 1959.
21. Ibid.

TO BE CONTINUED .....NEXT: Industrialization: The Alternative To Poverty

“To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility.” - William Corbett, 1830

This, his message, valid as it was in his lifetime, is even more timely now. For there are still those among us, devoid of sufficient faith in our potentialities, who would in their attitude and thinking, in effect reject the gospel of national dignity, national pride, and the national responsibility of self-reliance. The words of Claro M. Recto may, it is fervently hoped, occasion a change of mind and of heart." - Justice Jesus G. Barrera.

 “Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent” – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1804-1881)

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population.... Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction.... We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better." George Kennan,U.S. Secretary of State Memo, 1948

“The true Filipino is a decolonized Filipino.” – Prof. Renato Constantino (1919-1999)

"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)

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