Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leaving on a Jetplane?

“…the growth of trade seems to have reduced rather than increased migratory pressures. And this means that the restrictive immigration policies of industrialised countries have effectively served to create or aggravate the problem of clandestine immigration, mainly of low-skilled labour…

There are reasons to worry that many developing countries will find it hard to accumulate human capital and that this will undermine their long-term growth prospects. At the same time, for the majority of the developing countries, international migration leaves their most pressing labour market problem – that of surplus unskilled labour – unaffected. International migration today cannot do for developing countries what it did for Europe in the nineteenth century (2003: 93).”

- A.K. Ghose. Jobs and Incomes in a Globalising World. Geneva: International Labour Organisation.

I refuse to take this sitting down.

Yes the pattern of migration from poor to rich countries tend to see an outflow of high-skilled workers. And yes high-skilled workers tend to remit less than low-skilled ones because they also tend to come from relatively well-off families.

But remittances have to count for something. Where are we spending our remittances? I wish these were the things the technocrats of NEDA would spend time ruminating on, rather than contemplating the finer arts of kickbacks not "making bukol."


Jon Limjap said...

Studies have long been made about the spending habits of OFWs, and that is why there have been many proposals in the BSP to craft bonds and T-bills specifically targeted at the OFW market. There also have been a lot of private efforts to educate OFW families from how to go into investments (e.g., stocks, bonds, T-bills, mutual funds, etc) or into entrepreneurship (beyond the usual tricycle/jeepney/sari-sari store). Whole movements have been created to encourage highly skilled labor to come back to the country and put up their own firms here. Many of them focus on

All of these are at their infancy (many of these organizations have been created within the decade, for instance) but hopefully they will spur enough people to "up the ante" in the way they handle their money so as to have a sustainable, viable, and long term positive effect.

failed misanthrope said...

Where are we spending our remittances?

I remember Conrado de Quiros observing that we have too many malls and not a lot of factories (Flowers from the Rubble).

sparks said...

I have just come from a presentation on the extent of environmental degradation in China. It is quite literally devastating.

I don't know what path of economic development we will opt to follow. Frankly, I don't think my brain can contemplate the challenges we face. Do we embrace full on capitalist development which means building polluting industries and jostle for international markets?

At the same time, the consumer-driven growth (augmented by remittances) hasn't seemed to uplift the majority of Filipinos' standard of living.

If we play the full on capitalist game, and follow the model of economic development everyone else has, this means producing high-value manufactured goods and exporting.

All industrialised countries had to go through an agricultural revolution.

Which brings us back to politics of land.

Which means, we need land reform.

Ah....my brain hurts.

Jon Limjap said...

Land reform? The mechanism by which, farmers are the land they till, and then they decide to sell that land to subdivision developers?


Jon Limjap said...

Oops, I meant... "farmers are given the land they till"

sparks said...

Land reform simply means having an agricultural revolution - making the land productive so we can achieve a level of self-sufficiency with food production.

Just to be clear, our agricultural sector still employs 40% of total labour. Hardly efficient. We also still import food, rice most notably.

Since we have no choice but follow a capitalist path to development, we begin with land reform. ALL capitalist countries begin with agricultural revolutions. As such, we still have a quasi-feudal economic system.

It is worrying that we have no national industries to absorb those who will be forced off the land. I don't know how we can get out of this conundrum. Invent our own path to capitalist development....by skipping manufactures straight to provision of services? One might argue our population is too big.

Ah, population. Religion. Population.