ROUGHLY 75 years after WWII, how did Japan rise from the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with an American sponsored (Douglas MacArthur) Constitution, as one of the wealthiest economies in the world? Long dissertation required, however, the short of it may be summarized in the cardinal question government posed the Japanese people. “With determinate resources and an insolvent economy, do we prioritize re-building your homes? Or do we re-construct our factories?” The answer came thus, “Construct the factories first. With factories, employment follows. Then, we can build back our homes.” In peace, more in war, the establishment of robust industries spells victory in the fog of battle versus poverty and combating armies. American factories, a giant industrial base, helped win the war in Europe and Asia against the Axis powers. Of vintage 1950s, South Korea, post ‘war of division’, realized such formulary, disregarding discourses on “competitive advantage” advisories by Western financial institutions to refrain from tardy industrialization. Result of Korean determination speaks for itself cars, computers, cell-phones etc. in many first world countries.
A 1969 Joint House Resolution No. 2 by Speaker Jose Laurel on ‘The Magna Carta of Social Justice and Economic Freedom’ lays out ills plaguing Philippine society. Main obstacles to development: 1) “An economy based essentially on agro-merchandising activity as mainspring of income and employment; 2) A social structure marked by extreme disparity in income distribution with wealth concentrated in the hands of a thin elite.” The Resolution counsels, “Only by industrializing the economy through the establishment of basic industries, those that will utilize indigenous raw materials can we hope to resolve the perennial problem of mass unemployment and marginal income…free enterprise accentuate and aggravate the gap between the powerful and the powerless, big business and small business, the rich and the poor.”