ECONOMIC systems have the distinct function of optimizing a country’s material resources and distributing them equitably for the benefit of the greatest number of citizens. It is a failed system that benefits only the few at the top but excludes the many below.
Needless to say, such an economy is what has been in place in the Philippines since colonial times. As a result, we have always had, to this day, the scandalous (for a vaunted Christian nation) demographic profile of a few rich and a great many poor.
Why is that?
Our colonizers put in place an economic system that benefitted them primarily and only secondarily their colonial subjects. They later gave us independence but not before entrusting control of the economy to a local business elite they trusted would allow the economy to continue serving the interests of the former colonizers.
Thus, this chosen few and their successors never took more than token steps to change an economic system that, instead of distributing the country’s wealth equitably, benefited them and their foreign partners exclusively, leaving the rest of us to scramble for the trickles that might fall from their tables.
Meanwhile, the successors of the friars stand idly by, religiously content with promising the deprived majority a Catholic brand of heavenly reward for meekly accepting the dire fate dealt on them from on high.
Thus, for Juan to put poverty behind him, it is imperative that he acquire the political clout of a strong voice in government. This means he must have peers represent him in government decision-making processes that have since been skewed for the rich and powerful few that presume to speak for all.
He needs a new constitution that guarantees a proportionate representation in government for the marginalized worker-farmer sector. This means a system where political parties are accredited as public institutions after meeting strict requirements like minimum membership, choosing candidates via conventions, member training and discipline programs.
As public institutions they should be entitled to a budget from government for their training, campaign and other essential expenses. This is the only way the farmer-worker sector can form a political party and have more say in government than just by voting in farcical elections.
There are, however, two near insurmountable hurdles on this road. One, our educational and religious systems are not telling us we live in an unjust society. Hence, we are not motivated to equalize and democratize it. Two, oligarchs who control legislation will oppose all attempts at democratization as it substantively loosens their grip on the country’s economy. How much more hopeless can Juan get?