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Tag: My Cup Of Liberty

Land transport modernization and the bureaucracy

UNTIL five years ago, the Philippines had the lowest registered vehicles ratio per population in the whole of North and Southeast Asia. It only had 79 registered vehicles per 1,000 population.

IMO, coal dependence, and renewables lobby

This title is rooted from three recent reports in BusinessWorld: 1. DoE gives up chair of PHL Electricity Market (Aug. 1), 2. PHL to become ASEAN’s most coal-dependent economy by 2030 -- ADB (Aug. 4), and 3. Renewables firms hoping to unify lobbying efforts (Aug. 7).

Dutertenomics’ debt addiction

“It is the highest impertinence and presumption… in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense... They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society.” -- Adam Smith, The Wealth Of Nations (1776), Book II, Chapter III, p.346.

Trademark ban and health alarmism

Health alarmism is the practice of frequently looking at health conditions pessimistically and then calling for more government regulations, taxation, and prohibitions supposedly to ameliorate the perceived pessimism.

The sharing economy index

The “sharing economy” involves strangers sharing several services among themselves without being forced or mandated by a government to do so. They do so voluntarily, allowing suppliers to earn income for services they are willing to provide to consumers who are willing to avail of them at a price both have agreed upon.

Assessing two years of Duterte energy policies

For the past two years, the Duterte administration has produced a mix of bad and good policies from the perspective of market-oriented reforms envisioned in the EPIRA law of 2001.

SONA 2018: Dutertenomics performance is fair to poor

After two years in power, the Duterte administration, its economic team, and its policies can be considered as fair to the poor. Here are five reasons why I say this.

Federalism, Cha-cha, and more government

“The aim, therefore, of patriots was to set limits to the power which the ruler should be suffered to exercise over the community; and this limitation was what they meant by liberty.” -- John Stuart Mill,
“On Liberty” (1859)

Effects of fare control

Government has the tendency to throw its weight around, especially affecting people and private enterprises that it regulates. If players are deemed “friends” or crony of the administration in power, they enjoy kid-glove treatment, allowing them to get off lightly in terms of penalties and fines. Otherwise, if the players are outside the circle, they get hefty fines or threatened with closure.

Lessons from the Energy Policy Development Program

Next week, the Energy Policy Development Program (EPDP), a USAID-funded project implemented by the UP Economics Foundation, will have its last lecture and the launch of a book that incorporates conferences, lectures, and seminars the program has sponsored over the last four years.

US-China ‘trade war’ and Philippine federalism

Among the big topics that dominated last week’s global and national reports are (a) US-China ‘trade war’ which technically means equalized high tariff (EHT), and the hard push for Charter change towards federalism by the Duterte-appointed Constitutional Commission (ConCom).

CoA should consider benefits of Malampaya project

When developing economies attract multinational companies, they reap benefits. These developing economies get to have more commodities and services that otherwise would remain untapped for a long time. And, as a result, they also earn more revenues, taxes, and royalties even if these economies spent very little. Moreover, technology transfer from multinationals to developing economies is enabled as local professionals are hired to operate, maintain, and upgrade facilities.

Fare control makes it difficult to get a ride

My addition to the two related statements above is: For every government intervention and taxation, there is an equal opposite distortion.

Inflation, taxation, and protectionism

Fans, allies, and supporters of Dutertenomics continue to cite high world oil prices as the reason for the Philippines’ rising inflation rates.

The EPIRA is working

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 or RA 9136 was among the most important pro-market reforms in the Philippines. Before that law, the government-owned National Power Corporation (NPC) was the single-biggest debtor agency and the single-biggest deficit generator, fiscally bleeding the taxpayers while providing unreliable power supply.

Anti-reason of Duterte’s anti-tambay order

“I have no reason to suppose that he, who would take away my Liberty, would not when he had me in his Power, take away everything else.” -- John Locke (1632-1704, British philosopher)

China mercantilism in the Belt and Road Initiative and the US...

There seems to be a predominant sentiment to demonize the United States.

Ease of setting up and closing down business operations

Last June 6, I attended the “Seminar on Protecting your Trademarks and Inventions Overseas” jointly organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), held at the PCCI building in McKinley Hill, Taguig City.

Austrian thinkers and the G7 zero tariff challenge

“To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.” -- Friedrich Hayek, “The Pretence of Knowledge,” Nobel Prize lecture, Dec. 11, 1974.

Mindanao power development, reality vs illusion

From 2006 to 2013, the Mindanao grid had only 1,900 to 2,000 MW of installed power capacity, mostly sourced from hydropower facilities that provide higher output during the rainy season but declines during the summer.

Trade imbalances, protectionism, and rhetoric

In a free trade, an effectual combination cannot be established but by the unanimous consent of every single trader, and it cannot last longer than every single trader continues of the same mind. -- Adam Smith, The Wealth Of Nations (1776), Book IV Chapter VIII.

The US-North Korea summit and the global economy

The summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un (KJU) this coming June 12, 2018 in Singapore is marked with several paradoxes.

Tobacco taxation, smuggling and plain packaging

“To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did, I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times.” -- Mark Twain

Dutertenomics needs more honesty in explaining the real causes of high...

Two columns in BusinessWorld on May 28 jointly defended Dutertenomics’ Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). These are “Eight former Finance secretaries support TRAIN 2” by Romy Bernardo of FEF and “Coolly explaining inflation” by Men Sta. Ana of AER.

Positive and negative disruptions in the electricity market

Last week, May 22, a BusinessWorld report said “DoE forecast for peak power demand exceeded on May 17” referring to 10,688 MW peak demand...

Urban mobility index and the transport disruption

As incomes rise around the world, they tend to stay within cities, urban hubs, and rural areas on the cusp of urbanization. Congestion follows...

Disruption in global economic power

The past three decades showed major disruptions in global politics and economics. These include the fall of European socialism with the collapse of the...

Disruption, inflation, and taxation

“Disruptors tend to be successful in three ways: (1) They dramatically lower historic prices through new cost structures…” -- Accenture, “Disruption need not be an...

Commodities competition and the mining debate

Commodities competition as defined in this piece refers to companies that are producing certain commodities and are competing for investors. Thus, energy companies are...

Intellectual property, innovation, and prosperity

The BusinessWorld Economic Forum 2018 is fast approaching this coming May 18 and it has a timely theme, “Disruptor or Disrupted? The Philippines at...

Electricity competition, EPIRA, and WESM

Last Monday, I discussed business competition in general and the role of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). The theme will be continued in this piece...

Is the PCC a facilitator or a hindrance to business competition?

Even before the various competition bills in Congress ultimately became the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) of 2015 or RA 10667, I have been asking...

Consumer choice in electricity supply and prices

In several statistics comparing electricity prices in Asia, the Philippines often ranks as the third most expensive in Asia next to Japan, Singapore, or...

Fare control and surge cap are wrong

“The consumers force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders.... It makes competition work. He who best serves the consumers profits...

Intellectual property rights in East Asia

The degree of wealth and economic size of East Asian economies generally correlate with their degree of private property rights protection, both physical and...

Energy mix and wishful thinking

“You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong.” -- Alessandro Volta (1745-1827, Italian...

Mining attractiveness index and the Philippines

There are two similarities between the mining industry and Boracay. The first is that both have small contributions to GDP, and the second is that...

TRAIN, inflation, and PPP

“It is vain to talk of the interest of the community, without understanding what is the interest of the individual.” -- Jeremy Bentham (1748-1834,...

Tourism, casinos, and Boracay

“Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.” -- John Locke (1632-1704, considered the father of classical...

Expanded environmental rights and anti-coal drama

“Matter is energy ... Energy is light ... We are all light beings.” -- Albert Einstein Several recent events in the Philippines energy sector which when...

IPR in the ASEAN and plain packaging in the West

Last week, March 22, a global coalition of 62 market-oriented independent or nongovernment think tanks and institutes sent a letter to the World Health...

Charity and giving should not be legislated

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and...

Estimating electricity price hikes because of TRAIN, Part 2

Part 1 of this short study was published in this column on Feb. 15. Some corrections and adjustments are made here because of (a)...

Mining tax and TRAIN

“Government does not tax to get the money it needs; government always finds a need for the money it gets.” -- Ronald Reagan, former US president Under...

The sin of health alarmism in TRAIN sin tax hike

“When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the...