May you live in interesting times

Column box-John Mangun-Outside the Box

Even having lived the past 19 months with the sword of death and economic destruction hanging over us, I can say that it is a great time to be alive. I am serious. In one sense we have witnessed a global clown show of decisions all made in the “public good.”

We have seen continuing hypocrisy from the elite on a scale probably not seen since Roman philosopher Seneca amassed a huge fortune preaching public honesty and virtue while being Emperor Nero’s closest adviser.

Hollywood celebrities earn many millions making super violent action movies while lecturing the public on violence. The ultra-rich travel around the world—literally—in their private jets as they keep telling everyone how we need to reduce our own standard of living to “save the planet.”

California has had some of the strongest mask-and-lockdown restrictions in the US. The mayor of San Francisco was caught on video partying without a mask at the Black Cat Jazz Bar and Nightclub last month. Mayor London Breed slams back at the “fun police,” saying she was “feeling the spirit” of the live show.

What is it with these people? Nonetheless, who could not be entertained by it all.

Certainly, I can be amused because I am not one of the 700 million on Earth living in extreme poverty. I have never lived in poverty although at some times in my life as a child, single adult and with a family have been “broke” and poor, concerned about where food on the table was coming from.

Perhaps that is why as my wealth grew, so did my generosity and charity. We who have are responsible for those who have not. No discussion. But I also firmly believe that the government should not “take from the rich to give to the poor” until all political officials and employed “public servants” are held completely accountable for their personal wealth while in service. Also, no discussion.

Philippine politics can be frustrating and can even bring us to anger. Politicians, not only here obviously, treat the public like children most of time. Reporter to President Biden: “I have a question on raising the debt ceiling. And then I have a question on Ethiopia. Biden: “I’m going answer one—I’m not going to answer Ethiopia. Let’s stick on the debt so we don’t confuse the American people”. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in March 2010 on the “Obamacare” legislation: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” By “controversy” Pelosi meant debate by the public.

You want elected officials to be responsible? Demand it.

Foreign investment will or should be a crucial topic in the presidential campaign. Oxford Economics—with whom I have a love/hate relationship—just released its outlook on the prospects for FDI inflows into APAC over the medium term which “remain strong even though pandemic-driven supply disruptions and uncertainties over the pace of recovery may see some firms rethink.”

The Philippines ranks next to last of 14 countries from Australia to Japan. Why? We scored lowest in “Quality of Infrastructure and Logistics,” which includes Long Term government infrastructure spending. Of course, we have the most terrible and lowest score in Asia with “FDI Restrictiveness.” Now let’s hear some specific and believable campaign promises.

But how strange is the world today? American comedian Dave Chappelle is being widely condemned, canceled, and even threatened by the press and politicians for saying among other things that “Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.” The West has way too much time on its hands to make this an issue. What an age we live in.

E-mail me at Follow me on Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis provided by AAA Southeast Equities Inc.


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