Sunday, 5 May 2013

Of Forge, Factories, Computers and the Information superhighway:Regarding people's clamor for Industrialization in the Information age

Of Forge, Factories, Computers 
and the Infomation superhighway:  
Regarding people's clamor for Industrialization
 in the Information age

"The Industrial Age was over. The wealth of nations had already shifted from production to international capital. The Internet had revolutionized anything. During the Industrial Age, the Philippines was a regional power. It had a manufacturing base for products but it died a natural death during the 1990's when the trade barriers where eradicated."

These are the words stated in a writeup concerning the need for industrialization in a predominantly agricultural country such as the Philippines. A sentiment what middle class intellectuals choosing contentment over free trade and foreign investment than those of domestic based development as means to solve the crisis especially those of unemployment and access to goods from the countryside.

At first, this writeup was made in response to the trade liberalizationists speaking in favor of trade and commerce than those of promoting industrialization and domestic based development. It's all but strange so to speak that as they favor trade and commerce had to deindistrialize in the name of International capital and opening of trade barriers.

However, despite having industrial bases, the Philippines failed to industrialize as it failed to generate development such as those of the rural areas; otherwise policies from abroad tend to limit Filipino industry to those of consumer goods and to some extent, assembly line production in the guise of import substitution. Volkswagens under Guevara and Carrier under Concepcion are as examples of these policies that mainstream media announceth as "Industrialization". Otherwise, international policies tend to emphasise further the Philippines as a predominantly agricultural country and giving a semblance of industry may meant modernization and perhaps domestic growth in the cities like Manila.

But why to deindustrialize the way flour factories, blooming mills, or any other industrial complexes ought to be dismantled in favor of commercial complexes surrounding Metro Manila? Yes, the information age has risen, but in regards to underdeveloped and developing countries, they shouldn't been developing themselves first and innovating?
Looking at the example of Japan during the Meiji period, Soviet Russia under Lenin, Singapore during Lee Kwan Yew and China during Deng Xiaoping,  these require planning despite opening themselves to private investment.

Japan may had opened to the world as the outside had been dwellth in modernity such as steamships and iron-clad armor while theirs had been dwellth in feudalism and the samurai sword; of course the system had no chance but to modernize the way they should replace their decades-old matchlocks with those of guns made in England and America. But still, despite opening themselves to the world lies the domestic-based artisans, especially those who had studied Rangaku 蘭学 (Dutch learning) to practise further western knowledge and of course, spearhead then "modern" technology in developing their homeland and reclaim its prestige in countering a deteriorating China of the 19th century.
And although it was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government, it enhances the power of the great zaibatsu firms such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi to create foundations for domestic-based industry as alternative to dependency on western goods. To modern parlance, these Zaibatsus are deemed as oligarchs as they monopolize industry. However, these zaibatsus, supported and guided by the government had steered the nation in its modernization scheme especially those of borrowing technology from the West to improve its domestic industry. Most had even utilize their Rangaku learning enough in the field of Medicine, Military science, Arts and Trades to create a "prosperous nation" and a "strong army" in Asia,
Thus, Japan gradually took control of much of Asia's market for manufactured goods, beginning with textiles. The economic structure became very mercantilistic, importing raw materials and exporting finished products—a reflection of Japan's relative poverty in raw materials.

Meanwhile, in Soviet Russia, the New Economic Policy of Lenin had allowed private individuals to own small enterprises while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade, and large industries. The policy itself was at the same time a strategy with Lenin himself stating about a strategic retreat to recuperate from the damages during the civil war with small scale enterprises being heavily regulated if not being sequestered by the state under "War Communism".
It took years to develop and innovate in pursuit of recovering Soviet society from the civil war. However, the said policy paved way to the first five year plan that emphasises further the role of industry and collectivization, mechanization of agriculture. Soviet Russia had used the NEP temporarily as a mean to create foundations then paving way to Stalin's first five-year plans in pursuit of a more rapid development with greater state control, taking the view, among other things, that profits should be shared among all people, and not just among a privileged few.

These examples, despite being described as "past" somehow lies the bottom line that there's a need to revisit technology, and despite modern day periods, industrialization and innovation will always be a call for the third world in pursuit of developing their communities rich in resources yet having worse poverty conditions. In other words, why keeping themselves as gardens and breadbaskets of the developed nations if they have enough intelligentsia and laborers to create good foundations for their own economy and society?

It is all but strange for those who speak on behalf of "information revolution" to disregard "industrialization" not noticing that the latter requires innovation such as those of developing the country's capabilities especially in the field of  science and technology. They had even forgot that in Agrarian Reform lies increasing productivity since agriculture serves as the base for a self-reliant economy. Industrialization does not mean building factories and creating massive industrial complexes to the extent of sacrificing agriculture, but also involving appropriate technology to the interest of the people such as the farmers who are in dire need of making produce easier for distribution such as making their villages also involve in manufacturing activities.
And through these efforts will be aimed at building up the country’s science and technology infrastructure: research and development in the basic and applied sciences; upgrading existing indigenous technologies; adapting technology advances in other countries and ensuring an adequate supply of skilled and competent scientific and technical human resources. 

And despite having the internet, computers, modern day gadgetry had further modernized everything, it does not mean that industry should be disregarded and get contented in trade and commerce as others tend to say so. The fact that how come China had to innovate in the field of science and technology during Mao Zedong such as those of a rocket made by a US-trained engineer? The latter chose to serve China after years of serving in the US military in creating rockets and hence his capabilities had to improve, innovate the existing Chinese technology that was partially based from the Soviet model. Even the Soviets during Stalin's era had even used IBM, Ford and Buick, but at the same time supported the domestic industry that brought MiG, ZiL and others as it modernizes the society. Anyways, long before they had names owned by foreign and capitalist, they are all but tools with a purpose.
Quite strange that to those who preach globalization had limited idea on nationalism and hence treated as a mere chauvinist tendency; or Capitalism that those who are against the system afford to use modern technology whose names are well known amongst the Capitalists. But, come to think of this: haven't they heard about those things are like ropes that used to hang? Or is patriotism should disregard appreciate modern idea, technology because it is foreign? Seems too narrow for those who oppose and even those who justify. Otherwise, not all anti-imperialist or anti-capitalist are similar to the Luddites who had destroyed machines simply because they had no jobs.

And although for years the Philippines had been widely acknowledged for its strategic location for trade and commerce, in engaging trade with its southeast Asian neighbours like Vietnam, China, or the Majapahit empire, it doesn't mean that those communities had to get contented to it, for they even had to produce its own, to the extent of gathering knowledge such as the creation of foundries for iron, aquaculture and good farming methods, the Lantaka gun, despite being brought from the arabs and perhaps the west had even produced such as those made by Panday Pira and other craftsmen known for using brass or iron.
Even during the Spanish era, it had to make effort in encouraging industry such as Governor Blanco's Sociedad del Amigos de Pais, that other than cash crops also include the creation of cloth that suddenly end crippled because of the influx of manufactured ones from England and America.
Furthermore, attempts to revive industry especially during the early American, Commonwealth and the new Republic had been limited despite efforts to stimulate such as those from the National Development Company and the "Filipino first policy" that involved attempts for Industrialization like Araneta's RFM. Policies from IMF, WB, GATT and WTO had to limit attempts if not to impose gaps in what industry should be set upon, a semblance would be to show how modern and growing a nation would be during those times.
But still, the Philippines had been dependent on imports while exporting materials essentially for the US and other markets; that even Industry, even until today had been limited to consumer goods other than assembly line production and import substitutes that mainly owned by foreign companies if not being "died out" as what the commentator quoted above.
Cosmos Bottling? End controlled by Coca Cola as one example.

But does it mean that Industrialization in the information age should be disregarded in midst of unemployment and rural development? Nope. The Singaporean model had started from developing its own capabilities prior to opening itself for foreign investment, their Temasek holdings had been the state's investment arm yet compared to the National Development Company, it carries sufficient share in regards to joint state-private enterprises compared to the latter that chose to create prior to privatization, just to stimulate industry, to funnel funds and just acting as a steward rather than a partner in building joint state-private enterprises, cooperatives, other than state-controlled in steering development as a sovereign wealth fund (investment fund, held in foreign exchange reserves, that is owned and managed by the national government. The excess foreign liquidity is invested in various financial instruments or used to acquire shares of stock in corporations, mostly multinational firms.).
However, the latter chose to be a government's arm in privatization than to support for what being stated in this writeup. Development is just a sentiment of the state in currying those from outside than to put action from the inside, all in pursuit of making things possible such as those of solving the unemployment crisis and developing numerous results then as prototypes or worse, figments of imagination.

Once, in seeing pages concerning military modernization they clamor for tankettes, guns, missiles, planes, or any kind of military materiel yet how about a call for industrialization to make these happen about tankettes and missiles? All after thinking how makers of Hari Digma had been rejected as the state favors a British-made Simba for an APC. Also to remember that the armed forces, while clamoring for modernization is at the same time maintaining a self reliance stance yet local makers are rather making prototypes with officials acting quite skeptical over these; of course they would congratulate the effort but they stick to buying British or American made weapons so to speak. Japan started these with buying, but they developed their own, so was Malaysia and Indonesia, how about the Philippines then if they rely on buying in pursuit of modernization while disregarding industrialization with the same purpose for the armed forces? Perhaps, they had nearly forgotten the past when craftsmen like Panday Pira had to copy foreign made rentaka, and made it better for the lantaka.
Well, self reliance is all but a word to be spoken for the thinking class and hence be pressed to the so-called "lazy" workers who worked long hours yet calls for a wage increase, to the individual itself in order to make effort for their income. But not in a sense what a resource-rich society should had been. That even a nail had to be imported from China despite having local factories capable of doing the same nail, where's the self-reliance in it then?

Anyways, according to Giovanni Tapang, saidth:

"Having a sound industrial policy that focuses on modernizing agriculture and shoring up our capability to locally produce capital goods is key to the establishment of a modern and diversified industrial economy. We need to build, among others, our own base metals industry, chemical industries, machinery manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, electronics, industries for food processing, textile, garment, mass housing and agricultural commodities. Having these built here in the country would not only address the problem of producing our basic needs but would also secure jobs for many so that they will stay home instead of going abroad.

The objective of building these industries is to maximize self-sufficiency in the local industrial production of capital, provide intermediate and consumer goods for domestic needs and to ensure food security and self-sufficiency in the country. In generating and mobilizing domestic capital, we create real jobs and ensure rapid and sustained economic growth."

However, people who dared to be against the idea speaks about failures and the like simply because of foreign enterprises able to compete with domestic ones, coupled with imports from abroad that cripples industrialization; obviously, they wanted to say "give up and focus on the service sector, on tourism and foreign investment " but in looking at the failure of the past does not mean that industrialization should be scrapped in favor of just focusing on trade and exports as what others stated, rather than looking at the lessons and the means to rectify to prevent future mistakes to be happen. Yes, it is true that foreign investment can be helped in promoting national development but how about efforts of the people in building the nation further? Otherwise, this is a question of sectors to be preferred: does it mean that the only sector should be emphasised thoroughly is the service sector by the government and the middle class whilst the farmers and workers had to be left away and say that their suggestions as "passé"?

Perhaps, in this so-called information age and days when production is shifted to international capital, of opening borders, it's all but making half of the world a town and country as Lin Biao stated before. The Philippines had been a farm and garden controlled by the local oligarchs, landlords, and corrupt bureaucrats, compradores, that in turn as agents for the trusts that controlled major enterprises including those of technology like Japan and America. The policies? All but alibis that justifies neocolonial economic practises as been sought. 
To think that if the Philippines is indeed rich in resources yet the system had preferences which sector to emphasise upon, and having dependent on trade in which exploiters, foreign or bureaucrat alike had to extract just for export, why not as well create basic industry instead? This is not mere out of nostalgia as people who dare against used to say, but rather looking at reality in which the Philippines should solve upon. Especially in terms of developing the countryside for its resources, solving unemployment and balancing town and country. 

And as for the system that describe such calls as "passé"? Then damn that system, not just the landlords, bureaucrats, imperialists, oligarchs what the middle class state much but also those of the middle class who think less and drank more for Christ sakes! They can't even give the right for a worker a decent wage then how about redistributing the land and promote domestic based development?

Again, damn those people!