Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Competitiveness and Economic Freedom

The Philippines ranked 71 in the World Economic Forum's latest ratings. Switzerland and the Scandinavian nations topped the list. Goes to show that generous welfare programs and high taxes do not stifle a country's capacity to compete.

Hong Kong topped the list in the Economic Freedom of the World Index which measures how a country's policies and institutions support property rights, competition and personal choice. The Philippines was somewhere in the bottom half.

From the beginning, I have been railing against our nation's seeming helplessness regarding property rights. Politicians are required to pander towards the multitude of squatters if they expect to get re-elected. Tax collection has never been emphasized due largely to a patronage system that depends once again on the current set of compromised politicians in power. This is the reason why there is hardly any money left for welfare programs.

Many of society's ills are ascribed to a lack of political will. Anybody who wants to continue occupying positions of power is afraid of taking decisive measures. At the end of it all, it is the electorate's fault why we can't seem to get out of this mess. We choose our leaders (sometimes). This is why I think public office must become a purely voluntary responsibility. Politics must cease becoming a source of livelihood. It must stop becoming a way of life for certain families.

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