Field Trip Sa May Pagawaan Ng Lapis

Understanding Why People Are Stuck

A few months back, Waze granted our capital as the worst place to drive on earth. Yes, welcome to Imperial Manila. It's where the average commute is 45.5 minutes and such recognition empowers bureaucrats to be best at what they do best (sorry for the redundancy).

While they're busy "managing" our world-renowned traffic, let's try to make this quick:

  • In 2013, PNoy was quoted in Cebu attributing high volume of traffic in EDSA as a sign of a booming economy. Something that, even if assumed to be 100% true, delineates away from inclusive growth, even in the most unsurprising demagogue's use of the term. It's bad because...
  • A year later,  a study by Japan Intertational Cooperation Agency estimated that Metro Manila's heavy traffic costs 2.4 billion pesos a day and is projected to hit 6 billion pesos by 2030. The study claims to have worked closely with DOTC, DPWH, and MMDA so it's probably safe to assume there're discrepancies.
  • In the best case scenario, even if the world's smartest queuing theory savants were to chair those national agencies, their mandate of "managing" traffic implies temporary relief to symptoms where there is a systemic cause to congestion and overcrowding. And by having these mandates, we are then trapped by bad policies or legislations and left with little or no room for change. We are not just slow-moving and stuck in heavy traffic, literally, but also unable to move forward as a society

Understanding Why People Move

Economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman once said that people vote with their feet. Humans tend to flock to places where there is more opportunity. This has been the case for migration since the dawn of civilization. It has always been about looking for that "promise land" or greener pastures.

Migration trends have always been about moving to places with more economic freedom than less. Let's take look at Hong Kong or Singapore, countries that have almost zero natural resources, are both ranked as the two most economically free countries in the world, where people trade in peace regardless of race or creed and there exists opportunities that some are even prohibitted by bad policies that trap us. With over 7,107 islands, couldn't the same frameworks just be used to jumpstart a prosperous society?

Paul Romer wanted just that with his idea of Charter Cities where City States could adopt good policies and not be trapped by bad ones. For Tom W. Bell, he takes it way further with the concept of Startup Cities that run on "open-source legal systems" made up of lego-like frameworks.

They're good stuff. And this is just an old piece I edited to sound newer and fresher. When you find yourself reading about the history of the color coding scheme, during your coding day, while stuck in the same traffic it's supposed to prevent — I guess it just makes you wonder.

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