Saturday, October 29, 2011

Should the State Have the Power to Legislate Holidays?

So I woke up today and realized that it's the 30th. I'm not really familiar with banking but supposedly there's none during weekends, from what I hear. So I'm assuming that tomorrow is a holiday? or maybe until the 2nd? And so I go for the modern-day proverb of stop asking stupid questions and Google it.

is it holiday today in the Philippines
Is it Holiday Today in the Philippines?

And then I noticed that they're keywords (this means that a lot of people search for it, see Beating the Search Engine for more on keywords and search engine optimization). So it's not just me who have asked this question and apparently more people from India, Singapore, and USA ask it. My Google AdSense Payment is actually released today as I've talked about in a previous blog post. This the reason why I need to know when the holidays are and whether Western Union will be open or giving out USD payouts.

What if I'm not a Catholic? What if I didn't believe in this whole dressing up for costume parties or going to the cemetery hullaballoo? Why is it being imposed on me and forces businesses (big businesses can probably afford the double pay but how about small ones? plus, it increases costs for entrepreneurs therefore also increases prices) to support it by closing down?

I'm not saying that Catholics shouldn't practice this. I'm giving them all the right to do so privately, any time of the year they want. It is their freedom of assembly, freedom to choose religion, rituals, and practices. I just don't want it to be legislated and imposed on those who don't want to practice it. In a free society, private businesses can choose whether to support or not support the holiday. For example, if most of their employees and themselves are Christians, they would actually have the voluntary choice to close down or provide double pay or some other incentive.

I guess it makes sense, from our keyword analysis, that a lot of people from India and Singapore ask it because of their multicultural population. That's the concept of giving this power to the state: so they can please certain groups and yet it is imposed on everyone across the board even to those who do not want to practice it.

Me and some friends actually try to practice St. Patrick's Day, for instance, which is a holiday in some countries of the world. Being that many of my friends love to drink, we always enjoy trying to look for a an excuse to justify or somehow make this voluntary personal habit more special. But then how come it's not legislated? Doesn't that make us minorities? Some people think it's a holiday to go to cemeteries and light up candles, maybe for some it's fasting during daytime for 30 days, but what if for some it is to drink during St. Patrick's Day?

Okay, most social conservatives would argue that my argument is stupid and would incentivize "dangerous" habits and increase crime or that it would be "immoral" (although practiced and legislated as public holidays in many parts of the world). But then for as long as I am not hurting anyone, stealing or destroying property, then why should the values and morality of others be imposed on me? Plus, statistically, crime rate really does go up during these legislated public holidays regardless of how "moral" the holiday is.

And then it gives bureaucracies another chance to spend taxpayer's money without transparency. DOTC, along with many bureaucracies, for instance, have started "Oplan Ligtas Undas", disguised in the noble intention of protecting the safety and security of peoples and their belongings, we allow bureaucrats to spend endlessly and enrich themselves and their cronies. If there was any sort of real transparency, we would know how much they are spending and for what and who the suppliers or service providers are. So aside from imposing values and morality on individuals, it also creates a breeding ground for corruption.

If you liked this post then you might also like:
1. The Singapore Argument—is it really good governance that made them prosperous?
2. Gurgaon City, India—growth and progress when there is absence of government
3. Freedom of Information Bill in the Philippines

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marc Faber on Monetary Policy and Some of His Predictions

Marc Faber (with his scary German accent) predicts that China's bubble could burst and could be a global catastrophe.

I've heard a lot of this kind of position on government's monopoly to print fiat currency like from Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, advocates of the Austrian School of Economics, journalists like Judge Nap or Stossel, fellow libertarians here in the Philippines, and other individuals who believe in freer markets—but this guy just blows me away—the fact that people call him "Dr. Doom" and his scary (but very very probable) predictions are accompanied by an absolutely scary German accent.

I'm sure my non-libertarian readers don't really know much about central banks, monetary policy, and the arbitrary inflation ("printing" of money) by the bureaucrats who are appointed to have these powers. So I was thinking, just as Peter Schiff and other free marketers predicted the US housing bubble and recession years before it happened (and ironically people blame the "free market" for these), I could probably make some predictions myself and you guys (my non-libertarian readers) will be like, "oh my, this guy is an absolute precog prophet of some sort and we should listen to him all the time!".

I was thinking, what if the Mayan calendar was actually predicting not the end of the world but the collapse of welfare states (it's already happening now, especially Europe, but they just continue to bail each other out and continue their addiction to inflation). If such a thing happens to an influential economy such as China's, it could truly be catastrophic just as Dr. Doom predicted.

And how timely that the next US election is 2012 and many predictions I've been hearing, again just like Marc Faber above, believe that Obama will be re-elected and Bernanke will continue the same delusional inflation and faith in Keynesian mythology.

I'm not saying that it will happen in 2012, I just think it would be poetic justice if it does, what I'm really trying to say is that it is inevitable: the booms will bust, the bubbles will burst, and the catastrophic effects will be global.

So since there's really no one listening to libertarians (my friend even suggested that Ron Paul really shouldn't win else he would be ironically blamed for all of this), I guess the only rational thing to do now is plan and prepare for a post-apocalypse scenario. Things like the emergence of authoritarian junta governments to "protect the peace and security of peoples in times of chaos" (martial law) will come: properties will be seized, liberties will be lost, there will be chaos in the streets.

Then there's the possibility of World War 3 (many Keynesians actually believe that war is good for the economy) as nations with nuclear capabilities may want to take advantage of this opportunity (we've seen Russia attack Georgia just a few years ago, plus there's the middle east conflicts, and let's not forget North Korea).

I know many of you are thinking that I'm letting my imagination go wild again but as Malaclypse the Younger once said, "Indeed! But do not reject these teachings as false because I am crazy. The reason that I am crazy is because they are true!".

We can all try to put a stop to this by learning more about the arguments of the Austrian School to the Keynesians, the flaws of economic central planning, monetary policies and where our money comes from, precious metals like gold and silver, booms and busts and business cycles. It may all sound boring but in a nutshell, our money isn't based on gold (as many of you think), it is fiat currency (inflated arbitrarily by appointed bureaucrats, randomly, "from thin air") and this system can no longer sustain itself and is in the verge of collapse.

If you liked this post then you might also like:
1. Keynes vs Hayek Rap
2. Libya Civil War
3. Top Gear goes to the Middle East

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Presidential Campaign Update part 2: the Family Background of your Future President

If you do believe that your children and their children's children deserve to live in a peaceful, prosperous, and free society, then here is the family background of your president in 2028.

harry santos mom
My loving mother eating lunch with me in the Country Club

Wow, Alabang Country Club, seems very "bourgeoisie", right? Well this is what I was saying in a previous post on how we should be able to distinguish between justly acquired profit or property as compared to those who use corruption or fraud.

Really, we are not rich, but my mother is a hardworking innovative entrepreneur. Always, she reminds me of how she would walk miles just to get to public school and eventually for her accounting degree from FEU she would skip eating lunch, walk through floods, sold ice candy, and many other things just to be able to sustain her schooling tuition and save a bit more for her family and siblings.

So for those socialists who would say that her full HD 42 inch flat screen TV or that her house that's too big for only a few people to live in is selfish and greedy and should instead be used to pay taxes and provide free services to people then you are lucky Google AdSense restricts me from cursing at you. She deserves every bit of profit and property she has. Blood, sweat, and tears was her capital.

The many values I have learned from my mom is beyond words. I am undeserving of the material things and lavish lifestyle she provides for me. I feel like a burden, always.

Last week, she collapsed right in front of me and I didn't know what to do. Her blood sugar and pressure were through the roof. We were in the second floor of our house and I couldn't carry her. I had to drag her and force her to wake up. I was calling out to her as loud as I could. Eventually, she regained consciousness and I rushed her immediately to the hospital. I am so affected from that experience.

This is why, if elected, it will be part of my platform that we are able to take care of our parents and seniors. This is something that I will be very passionate about and will consider a priority. (my advisors and I are still currently working on my libertarian platform and it will surely be posted here as soon as it is completed).

harry santos dad
Me and my father sitting on a couch

My father was barangay captain of Sucat (a small town in the city of Muntinlupa), at age 23 (exactly my age now and so I feel so useless compared to him). That is one of the youngest in the history of the Philippines most especially in his time. I mean, how do you convince people, especially the older voters, that you will be able to lead?

And no, my father had the same story as my mother. He was not rich at all nor did he have the "political machinery" needed to market himself. At age 14 he was already selling peanuts in a public market. He had the same struggle of going through public schooling and struggling for tuition for his engineering degree from UST.

He eventually quit the public sector as he could not swallow the corruption and coercion at that time (I don't think it would be wise to mention names so let's leave it at that). He started his own business, again an innovative entrepreneur. His company was tasked to build the big advertising billboards and signs of companies. He started out small until eventually he was doing billboards nationwide and even had an office in Singapore.

Eventually, he became President of Alabang Country Club (the place where I was eating with my mother above) in 1996, if I remember correctly. His rich and powerful opponent criticized him, saying that he was unfit for the job, that he wasn't even a resident of Ayala Alabang, but his humility, charisma, and ability to lead persevered and he won. I remember this story that he would tell me always that he gets a call from Ramos (president of the Philippines at that time) and would call him on the phone and say "Mr. President, let's play golf". The president of the Philippines called him Mr. President. Imagine, he used to sell peanuts.

Once again, the values and wisdom I gain from my father is always priceless and the same with my mother as I have mentioned. Being that I'm part of a pretty complex family setting, there were many times that my dad wasn't there for me but then, hey, he gave me my lovely Macbook Pro and that makes up for all of it (hahahahaha you know how much I love my baby).

Anyway, the PR department of my campaign team advised me to have a more family-oriented image thus this blog post. It's all about marketing, really. Barrack Obama, for instance, hired advertising agency BBDO for his campaign. It was probably just some random copywriter in their company who thought of the "Yes We Can" selling point or tagline.

And what more here in the Philippines, as I always mention, where the qualifications are either be a child of a previous politician, be rich and powerful, be an actor/actress, or be really good in boxing and you can already be a politician. What I can say is that I have none of those but what I will have is a political platform that roots on economic freedom, individual liberty, and a free society. That's not a selling point made up by some copywriter. Those are my advocacies. I want peace and prosperity for my fellow Filipinos.

A good friend of mine Nonoy Oplas, has this joke that I'm not actually eligible to be president of the Philippines because one of the requirements in the constitution specifically says that the person must be a natural-born Filipino citizen. That's a problem because I wasn't natural born—I'm caesarean-born. haha. Other than that, I'll be 40 by 2028, I can read and write, and am planning to be a resident of this country 10 years prior to the 2028 election.

Bottom line is, I guess, I am not "trapo" (a colloquial term here in the Philippines for "traditional politician" meaning corrupt but has the political machinery and "dynasty" to win).

So if you believe in me and in my advocacies, vote Harry Santos on 2028.

I am Harry Santos and I approve of this message.

Related posts:
1. Presidential Campaign Update part 1
2. My Presidential Run Announcement
3. How I Became a Libertarian

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Liberty Milk—once again, I couldn't resist.

I do entertain myself too much sometimes, I know. There are just times when I can't resist. What constitutes "funniness" is different for everyone anyways. And libertarian political philosophy says to each his own. So let me be. haha.

liberty condensada

My previous post regarding the bureaucracy of the MTRCB was too serious anyway (although very substantial and truthful). And, as I have said, it's always nice to have a break from time to time (actually as much times as possible haha). The previous post actually got shared on Facebook twice! That's pretty viral already for my standards haha.

Please help support HarryLeaks by going to the C2 Facebook Page, click like, go to the voting page and then look for the one that says "Toby Concepcion" and please watch, vote, and share. My Google AdSense earnings hasn't really been sufficient to satisfy the expectations of my family and society. I could really use the spare cash I'll get if we win.

c2 philippines
This is what you do after clicking like on the C2 Facebook Page

If I get employed, it is very likely that I will no longer be able to focus on writing about libertarianism or write in this blog as much and thus our nation's future would be at risk. So, if you care about your children and your children's children, and the peace and prosperity of our nation, then please go to the C2 Facebook page and vote for out video. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Film and TV Industry in the Philippines—an attempt to explain why Protectionism and bureaucracy of MTRCB does not work.

This article contains things that are not suitable for children. Parental guidance is advised.

I remember having this annual ritual with my cousin and a friend of ours during the Decembers of back when we were younger. Usually, we’d watch the local films that’re part of the film festivals. It was our own way of expressing the patriotic virtue of “supporting local products or services”.

Well, it was Christmas break. Also, there was literally no other choice because malls and cinemas are required by law to only show these movies that are part of the film festival.

I’m not sure if it’s MTRCB or whichever bureaucracy mandated this. I also don’t know how the films and producers are chosen or what are the qualifications of joining the film festival.

Usually, it would be the big companies, the “mainstream” film productions, who are part of the film fest. And it’s interesting that the directors or secretaries and other positions appointed in the MTRCB and the film festival itself are the exact same people from these big companies of mainstream film producers! Doesn’t that give a hint of cronyism?

During Willie Revillame’s appearance in front of this regulatory board for his case of making this kid dance and cry or something like that, he argued that the council was biased because, as I have said, the directors and secretaries who are appointed, were from the big companies who were Revillame’s station (TV5)’s competitors.

“Of course,” the board argued, “we are the ones who know the industry best and so who else should be appointed?”

And now we go to Indie film producers. They are those that are independent, struggling for budget, not backed by any bureaucracy or big crony corporation. They don’t get the protectionism of the mandates that only their films are to be shown on all malls; their festivals are all private and competing (a lot of contests and film fests both big and small), no cronyism (sometimes even students, amateurs, or even hobbyists are able to join and sometimes even win!).

And they are the ones that are being internationally recognized. Brilliante Mendoza won as best director in Cannes Film Festival (what a prestige!) for his film Kinatay. The awards garnered by these independent filmmakers are so many compared to the mainstream film ones that get the annual December protectionism mandate.

In Indie, the stories are better, more creative, and more original because they have the ultimate incentive to artistically compete in a global level (especially nowadays because of new media) whereas those who get protectionism have no incentive to innovate because they have been granted MONOPOLY by the government (by the appointed crony bureaucrats!). And, as basic economics will teach us, monopolies provide bad service and/or bad prices.

And they say they are not earning. They say that piracy is killing them and therefore there should be even more protectionism and more power to monopolizing bureaucracies.

And yet when you think about it, the indie filmmakers are the ones who are not earning at all! They are the ones being killed! These big crony companies whine on profit loss to justify their protectionism while indie filmmakers sometimes don’t even earn anything. And yet, once again, they are the ones earning awards worldwide.

If they want to evolve they must be willing to compete. And no, I don’t think that this is what the “masa” is demanding. That all they’ll ever watch is the generic plot of John Lloyd getting heart broken that then leads to a happy ending. This is all they are exposed to, in films and in TV. More competition will mean more innovation and more choices for people thus more perspectives on information and entertainment.

Basically there are only three main broadcasting channels and most of the others are—yes, just as you expected—government owned.

We saw how TV became more competitive when TV5 boomed and became a threat to what used to be only a duopoly in TV broadcast. What more if there were more competitors? What more if there were less red tapes and requirements to enter the market? What more if congress’s licensures aren’t given only to those who are rich and influential cronies?

And this, as we all know the power of media, can help the people evolve intellectually and become more discerning about their preferences in both information and entertainment from different media. The art of Filipino Film and TV will flourish. We wouldn’t need to dub Korean TV shows anymore. This time we will be making our own. Art will flourish if government steps back and allows for more competition.

And do we really need MTRCB to regulate people’s choices and the policies of businesses?

All SM malls for instance, don’t show anything that’s R18. This is a personal choice and not something mandated by law. Their PR team probably wants to appear wholesome and family-oriented. No need for a regulation or mandate from MTRCB. It was a private decision.

There was a time when Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds was already showing and only Robinson’s were the ones who showed them. Other companies felt that it was too violent for them. Again, this was a private decision.

Also with people (consumers), there are those that choose to watch films like Human Centipede and there are those that don’t. No need for “Big Brother” or “Nanny State” to tell them it’s a horrifying and disturbing film. Also, you don’t have to prohibit it. People choose for themselves. That’s how it should be in a free society.

But oh no! How about the violent shows on TV that children are going to watch? And the video games that will make them go on some sort of school shooting?

This is obviously a parental issue. No matter how much we waste taxpayer’s money on debating how big the “parental guidance” sign should be on TV, it’s a parental and personal issue. There are even cable companies now that offer digital boxes that have parental control options. MTRCB didn’t have to force them to do that.

Now you see how the monopolized regulation powers and protectionism mandates of the MTRCB are more harmful than good, no matter how benevolent their intentions are.

And without transparency, we don’t even know what kind of budget these bureaucracies have and how much subsidies and monopoly they are giving to their cronies!

Take NBN (government owned TV channel) as an example. Their reception is useless and no one really gets to watch them except those with cable (I know this because I have a house in Laguna with no cable). I wonder how much budget they get to shoot a bunch of pro-government TV shows. Evidently though, it’s unnecessary and wasteful expenditure and we’re already in debt. I do believe that IBC and RPN (I think solar is only renting) is also government owned? So what’s up with this spending spree on “public TV” when as I have explained, stepping back and allowing more players to enter the market is what we need for media to flourish.

I don’t really want to derive a conclusion from all of this. It’s up to you to decide. Should we abolish some of them? Should we make their spending more transparent? Should we minimize their power? Should we start thinking about streamlining bureaucracies in other industries as well? Should we start rethinking what the real goal of government should be? Is protectionism really the way to support local products and services?

What do you think?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Role of Social Media in International Politics

The Dalai Lama "Hangsout" with Archbishop of South Africa in Google+.

We've seen social media topple the tyrannies of authoritarian governments. We've seen it save lives and reunite families during natural disasters. And now we see how it is shaping the course of global politics and foreign affairs.

dalai lama google+
Read full article via Mashable

I knew that somehow technology and the "information revolution" could eventually in itself limit the power and spending of government. And as it develops even more so does the freedoms of people.

Imagine, all of this technology and social media is coming from the private sector, a competitive market. It has given us a means of communication that would have been so unimaginable a few decades ago.

One of my main point here is the "travel expenses" of our bureaucrats. Like when the president has a UN or ASEAN meeting or whatever, the spending is non-transparent, I was just thinking that maybe as technology grows they wouldn't need to spend on plane tickets and eat and sleep in fancy lavish hotels as the individuals in their homelands are lacking in security, peace, and prosperity.

Usually, when bureaucrats travel at the expense of the taxpayer, it is disguised as something that is of "public interest". And mostly, because of lack of transparency as I always emphasize, we never really know what goes on.

But again, social media can change all that. Technology can be our tool. Imagine, right now, I am able to voice out my opinions and thoughts freely for almost anyone in the world to read unlike the individuals in China whose internet is heavily regulated by the government. Before it was the pen is mightier than the sword but now it's the blogs are more powerful than governments. Even the influence of people to mainstream media has changed. Power is very slowly being taken away from bureaucrats and given back to individuals. This reminds me of my previous post on David Cameron's TED talk on information revolution. And also that time when I said that they should stay the hell away from my internet. Also, I have a blog specifically about technology, social media, and search engine optimization: beating the search engine.

Anyway, just felt like randomly spreading some positivity and sharing this song:

Hope you guys are having a great weekend. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bureaucrats in the Philippines Photoshop Themselves Into Typhoon Cleanup

The international community notices our country again, not so long after the Anti-Planking Act of 2011 was trending worldwide on twitter. An article at the Washington post found the story of Philippine officials photoshopping themselves into a typhoon cleanup project very interesting and decided to write about it. And now it has become viral.

My first real question, of course, is have they resigned? And if not, when are they planning to? Also, what will be the penalties for their actions? Betrayal of public trust is a very serious offense (and I'm dismayed at the fact that Google AdSense prohibits me from cursing during this post).

Fabricating images isn't a new concept at all. Even back during the times of film, the big government of Soviet Russia has been doctoring photographs for propaganda purposes.

lenin doctored photo trotsky
In this photo, Trotsky was removed, I think Lenin was the one left behind

stalin doctored photos
In this photo, an officer walking with Stalin was removed

dpwh philippines photoshopped
Here, bureaucrats from the DPWH photoshop themselves into a typhoon cleanup project

This is very serious. This is exactly what big, powerful, and secretive government does. And this is just one of the many ways. What about the many other photographs that were never discovered to be fakes? What about the taxpayer's money?

This is why I always emphasize that limiting the power and spending capabilities of the government, minimizing their roles, and taking away unnecessary bureaucracies are important solutions to achieve peace and prosperity here in our nation.

I don't think it's a funny or petty issue at all. I think it is a mockery of our freedom, of our constitution, of our rights. It's an absolute betrayal of public trust.