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8/4/15

Poverty In the Philippines

Why is the Philippines so poor?


 One question I will sometimes ask is: The Philippines is slowly becoming a richer country but is still very poor. Why do you think that is? I have learned to as the first phrase to avoid any chance of making the person feel hiya or their  "Amor Propio"  has been compromised (more on this later). Without doubt the most common answer (in fact almost the only answer) I
Poverty Philippines
received was – corruption. I think that may contribute, but I think it's far from the most important reason. I spent a good bit of time talking to people and have come up with what I consider to be the five most important contributing factors.
  
1. Family size is too large. One of the most common ways of amassing wealth is to slowly build it up generation after generation. But with inheritances split between many member of the family it tends to dilute wealth until it no longer exists. Normally wealth builds on wealth with the children having been given a lift (education) they do better and can better provide for their children. And while Filipino families will bend over backwards to try and help educate their children you can't get blood from a stone. Only one Filipino came up with this idea before I mentioned it.

  2. Religion – I'll stick to two aspects of it as I'd like a discussion and not a flame war. The prohibition of birth control This leads directly to problem number one. The other is a DE-emphasis on scientific education. To move up the economic ladder you have to go from gathering resources to value-added products – this requires science and technology. You need to do more then worship and
Manila Pope
Amazes Filipino Street Kids
make babies.
  
3. Corruption. Though there are many other places just as corrput or worse (the US is quickly heading in this direction... but that's another topic) but are far wealthy. Corruption combined with the other factors here however may be the last straw.

4.  Emigration – I've met many Filipino's in California. In fact Filipino is the 3rd most spoken language in the state. It is not easy to emigrate to the US. For a start you have to speak excellent English. Travelling outside of the tourist areas I found that despite its reputation as a country with excellent English skills very few seem to posses such. The public schools are not good. Those who are better off can afford tutors, a luxury far beyond the majority of the population. Those who do well despite that are generally the best and brightest. They often go overseas in an attempt to earn a decent living. About 11% of the population goes overseas to work. Many who do well never return. They're exporting the very people who could potentially help the country the most.

5. Hiya and "Amor Propio". These concepts are not easy to define but you can sort of kind of describe them as shame and self worth. The problem with them is they are not limited to personal or social circumstances and play a significant role in the actions of business and governments. They can mean that even in circumstances where a direct answer is required you won't necessarily get one. Filipino's don't like to tell you no (a phenomenon also seen in other parts of Asia). These concepts are embedded into the language itself. They have many ways to say no which can include saying yes but assuming you know they don't mean it. Move this over into the business or scientific or political world and you have a serious problem. One reason it is so problematic is that as a moral Filipino you don't just have to take care of your own  "Amor Propio" you have to take that of others into account. An example – it is not uncommon in contractual negotiations to give preference to the hiring of employee family members. In the US we would call this nepotism and is generally despised. Or image you send a Filipino company an business proposal and they want to turn it down but can't tell you no directly. It goes on deeply in ways that are counter-intuitive to the western mind.


Tim Potter Texas


This is a repost from another source