Friday, December 31, 2010

David Cameron Talks about Post-Bureaucratic Age at TED

David Cameron explains why we should take away money and power from the government and give it back to individuals.

I've always thought of this video as a good introduction to small-government ideology or anti-
bureaucratic mentality that we should all have. I actually saw it long before David Cameron became the prime minister of the UK. Not that I am promoting him or the Conservative Party of the UK (because they don't really stick to the conservative principles Cameron talks about in the video), it's more of me wanting this kind of thinking or ideologies more existent in the platforms or policies of politicians here (wait, do political platforms even exist here?).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spotted! Bureaucrat and Friends at Fancy Japanese Restaurant

Who is this mystery bureaucrat spotted by Harry?

He is not the typical bureaucrat that everyone knows. He is not even the kind that people "democratically" elect into office. This man, spotted at a fancy Japanese restaurant, is an appointed bureaucrat. He was just put into a position with a lot of power and taxpayer's money at his disposal.

He is the "City Administrator" appointed not because of credentials or competence, but because of a connection with the elected mayor. He is the "little mayor" or more technically another mayor that works behind the scenes. And underneath him are more councils, committees, directors, assistants, and even ghost employees and positions.

I know that he has the same right as me to be in that restaurant but I do loathe him for taking away my appetite. They, him and his friends (more commonly known as cronies or highly favored suppliers), were laughing and talking loudly as they ordered away in what I considered to be quite an expensive restaurant.

My point, really, is that the bureaucracy that is visible to us is merely the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the apparent evil of elected officials is a system or machinery that breeds corruption and inefficiency. This is one part, I believe, that makes it so hard to battle corruption and bureaucracy because even the very bottom-feeders of this system is gaining money and power off of it.

These people are given so much power and money to work on projects, choose suppliers, demand for more budget, appoint more bureaucrats, and inevitably increase spending and expand the scope of government.

My recommendation is that we rethink our values about how we perceive the government and bureaucracy. We should always be wary of any increase in spending or expansion of government roles because it just feeds more money and power into the system.

Also, if you see a bureaucrat eating expensive sushi then you should at least be even a bit outraged. It is highly probable, almost without a doubt, that he is using the hard-earned money of the taxpayers for his expensive and delicious meal.

Bureaucrat spotted. xoxo. haha.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Driver's License in the Philippines is a Joke

We all posses in our wallets, a great testament to the inefficiency of government and de facto tolerance for corruption and bureaucracy.

I recently lost my driver's license and had to go to LTO (Land Transportation Office) to acquire another one. This reminded me of the first time I got my driver's license in their Las PiƱas branch. I am guessing we all had a similar experience.

driver's license Philippines

I was young and excited to be able to drive. At that time, there was a certain freedom in being able to drive your own car and finally the time has come when the state thinks that I can be allowed to do so.

And so I didn't care that I waited for almost 8 hours. I didn't care that I was burning in the summer heat while the bureaucrats were comfortable inside their air conditioned offices provided by taxpayers. I was even happy to see that the "written exam" already had all the answers. And what more that there was no longer a need for a practical exam.

It didn't bother me that they took my piss because they deemed me guilty until proven innocent. My piss, where people can test not just for drugs but also for diseases such as diabetes, STDs, or for girls even pregnancy. Truly very private information that can be extracted from what I consider to be one's own private property.

There was nothing these bureaucrats can do to annoy me because I wanted something that they could provide for me: a plastic card that supposedly proves I am fit and ready for the open road.

And so now I realize that we all went through the same process of fake exams and long waits. It's actually no different from getting your license from the pirates of Recto in a sense that for as long as you have money, you can acquire a driver's license. It doesn't matter if you don't know the road rules or road safety procedures. All you need is to be of the right age and some cash and the state will provide you this plastic card.

It is a dangerous joke that we all tolerate. Really, we are all no different from teenage drivers who shrug off corruption and loss of liberty in exchange for the right to drive.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stay the hell away from my internet!

With all the WikiLeaks hullabaloo going on, Harry reminds us why we should keep the government away from the internet.

Yesterday, while Christmas shopping, I saw a magazine stand selling back issues of different magazines. I instantly got intrigued with the May 2010 issue of Entreprenuer Philippines Magazine.

The cover says that almost 30,000 Filipino entrepreneurs are using the website Multiply as a venue for their businesses. This shows how the entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipino can flourish without the requirements, fees, permits, regulations, restrictions, and other red tapes of government. I have heard of people go to Hong Kong or Singapore, buy quality goods, come back here to sell them on their website—no need for tariffs or for Customs bureaucrats to meddle with the voluntary exchange among individuals.

Of course, you are not limited to Multiply alone. There's Facebook, Twitter, Ebay and other social media where you can advertise and allow your business to grow for free. If you want, you can even buy your own domain and have your own personal venue for your business—with minimal costs, you can make your business automatically global and accessible. No need for a mayor's permit. No need for BIR license.

A long time ago, you needed to be hired by a big magazine or newspaper company if you wanted your work to be read by others. Today, if you want to have your own channel on TV, you'd need millions in capital plus you will need a license from congress and go through other bureaucracies and red tapes. But not on the internet.

The internet is where people can publish themselves. You can start your own magazine, have your own TV show, become a fiction writer or a journalist, exhibit your art or talents, share your works and ideas with others from almost any part of the world. You can even shamelessly advertise your food blog that you have not updated for a while now, if you wanted. And it is all working brilliantly without the intervention of government.

Would you really prefer to be like China? Where their citizens are not allowed to have Twitter or YouTube or other social media accounts? And everything on their cyberspace is regulated by government?

The internet resonates our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and opportunities for free enterprise. It is a celebration of both personal and economic freedoms. Start a business, exchange goods and ideas, watch pornography, make your own pornography. To each his own.

China and other restrictive countries have taken away this free medium of communication and information on grounds of supposed "safety" or "national security". And this is what's been happening with the whole WikiLeaks issue. Bureaucrats from all over the world are now pushing for control over our internet. This translates to more government, more bureaucracies, more restrictions and regulations, censorship, and invasion of privacy.

Keep the government away from the internet!

The Government's Spirit of Christmas

The city hall of Muntinlupa unveils their giant christmas tree

When people choose to decorate their houses or private property with Christmas lights or Santa Claus or whatever decoration, I don't really care. To each his own, yeah? Whatever floats their boat. But when the government joins in with these seasonal shenanigans, once again, I feel that I need to step in and make people aware why this is wrong.

  • It goes against the supposed Christmas message

Jesus was born in a manger. This is supposedly to teach Christians the value of simplicity. And being that Christmas is supposedly about the birth of Jesus, they should really consider what the "belen" they decorate is symbolizing. Christmas isn't supposed to be about flashy and colorful lights or who has the biggest tree. Actually these things almost have nothing to do with Christmas at all. There is nothing Christian about decorating a tree or putting blinking lights on walls. Governments should learn a thing or two about the concept of a leader being born into a manger.

  • It goes against the separation of church and state

There are many citizens, even Christian sectors who do not believe in or celebrate Christmas at all. And so for a government body such as a city hall, it's quite an insult to use taxpayer's money and impose these religious decorations and traditions. So for the city hall of Muntinlupa to even be proud of their giant Christmas tree or the "belen" and other religious symbols or icons, it is insulting and unconstitutional.

  • It is wasteful spending

It doesn't matter if they used cheap driftwood, the point is that it is not the role of the government to do these things. It is a useless burden to taxpayers. Without transparency, we won't even know how much was spent, who the suppliers were, how much it increased electric bills, etc. The citizens are clueless and seem to even worship these bureaucrats for giving them the illusion created by flashing lights and giant trees. To think that the budget used for this nonsense could have been used in other things.

You see, I live in Muntinlupa. I am directly affected by the budget allocations and decisions (and stealing) of the bureaucrats here. They are the ones who have control over the traffic enforcers, the public roads, the police who are supposed to protect me, the appointed bureaucrats that give me my public documents, requirements, and red tapes.

I'm sure some of you might think that the giant Christmas tree issue is petty. I think otherwise. I think we should be outraged by these kinds of unconstitutional wasteful expenditures. I think that we should demand for transparency and information. We should rethink our definitions of what the role of the government really should be.