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FIRe, innovation and stealing of innovation

“All creation is a mine, and every man, a miner... In the beginning, the mine was unopened, and the miner stood naked, and knowledgeless, upon it... Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship. This improvement, he effects by Discoveries, and Inventions...”

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...

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...

How ‘pro-labor’ policies work against labor

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of...

TRAIN, inflation, and emerging DOE price control

More countries are reporting their January 2018 inflation rate and it is becoming clearer that majority of them have reigned in the inflationary pressure...

Cobalt, batteries, and TRAIN

Many people are enamored -- and rightly so -- with consumer electronics and gadgets like smartphones, iPads, laptops, and so on. Then, there is...

Solar insecurity, energy stability, and affordability

“When PV Solar rely on up to 67% of revenues from subsidies, the state becomes a counter-party that is critical to sustaining the firm’s...

TRAIN, inflation, and the stock market

At first there were bureaucracies, endless subsidies, and new taxes; second were price hikes due to the new taxes; third, monetary control measures to...

Distortions in TRAIN 1 should be corrected by TRAIN 2

The new Philippine tax law, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), has reduced personal income tax but it also created new economic...

Estimating electricity price hikes resulting from TRAIN

Electricity and energy means development. So an increased electricity supply at a lower, more stable, and more competitive price results in increased development. Increased development...

Asians’ freedom from high inflation and regulations

“Bad times make good policy and good times make bad policy. If you want to introduce important reforms, wait for bad times and the...

Land use bill and Asian urbanization

Urbanization, like technological innovation and mass production of mobile phones and other gadgets, is among the important reasons why people’s lives have become more...

Lower taxes via more mineral exports

Countries that impose zero income taxes on their nationals are dependent on extracting and exporting their natural resources such as oil and natural gas....

ERC paralysis and implications for consumers

Despite a significant increase in the Philippines’ power generation capacity in recent years, the country’s installed capacity and electricity production remains small compared to...

Why low or zero income tax can mean more development

“The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes. When the government is too intrusive, people lose their...

The Asia Liberty Forum and the search for rule of law...

“There is no evidence that fuel and electricity subsidies benefited the poor. There is no evidence that trade protection benefited the poor. Elimination of...

Effects of SC ruling on electricity retail access and open competition

“The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers… The entrepreneur profits to the extent he has succeeded in serving...

Has East Asia liberalized its trade enough?

Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to each....

The dream of federalism and the reality of centralized government

Repeated calls for federalism by the Duterte administration actually point to more centralization of the national government -- the complete opposite of what they’re...

Top eight energy news of 2017

This should have been a “Top 10” list but due to space constraints, I limited it to only eight, divided into four news stories...

Lessons I learned after the MMDA towed and impounded my car

“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes and a...

Holiday road trips and PPP projects

For the third straight year, I drove my family from Makati City to Iloilo City via roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessels during the holidays. The road...

Trends in global and national trade, prospects for the near future

Global merchandise trade has slowed down recently despite low oil prices and less political and economic instability. After recovering from the 2009-2010 global financial...

The MMDA towed my car even with my kids inside

“The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat the carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You...

Energy favoritism under TRAIN

The recently approved tax reform for acceleration and inclusion (TRAIN) by the Congressional Bicameral Committee exhibits a number of favoritism for some energy products...

Mining and natural disasters

Environmental activists claim that the planet is going into a deepening death spiral with more and more people either killed or displaced by natural...

Global vs national tax reforms

“The problem is not that the people are taxed too little. The problem is that government spends too much.” -- former US President Ronald Reagan Until 1980,...

On tobacco tax and plain packaging scheme

Protection of private property rights -- including physical and intellectual -- is an important cornerstone of a free society. People can exclusively use, keep,...

Uncertainty in mining policy and the Manicani debate

The Duterte administration’s mining policy shows continuing uncertainty. First, ex-DENR secretary Gina Lopez issued a Department Administrative Order (DAO 2017-10) banning open-pit mining for metallic...

Multilateral, bilateral, or unilateral liberalization: Which way for Asia and the...

During the ASEAN Summit + Related Summits in Manila, trade and the further deepening of economic integration was among the major topics. There were...

US energy trading and implications for Asia and Philippines

Among the global leaders who attended the ASEAN Summit 2017 this week in Manila were the leaders of the US, China, Russia, Australia, and...

Airport transfers and tourism

Is there a connection between tourism and the travel time to and from the international airport and the city proper? I asked myself this question...

PES conference amidst reduced risk and uncertainty

The Philippine Economic Society (PES) annual conference is probably the most cerebral event in the field of economics and business in the country. The...

US energy policies and implications in Asia and Philippines

Energy means development. It is not possible to have fast growth in all sectors -- agriculture, manufacturing and services -- and sustain it without...

Open pit mines and open economy

Open pit mining (OPM) is not as scary and draconian as many activists would paint it to be. Thus the ban on OPM by...

The sin of smuggling and corruption in the sin tax law

The intent or purpose of higher taxation is to further penalize an act, work, or consumption, hoping to discourage them by making their prices...

A high carbon tax is irrational

Political science masquerading as climate science insist that the gas that we humans and our animals exhale, the gas that is used by trees,...

Electoral reforms and the President

President Rodrigo Duterte has been on a rampage recently, repeating his warnings about declaring a “revolutionary government,” as if he has the authority to...

Why a carbon tax is wrong

Coal power produced nearly 48% of Philippines’ actual electricity generation in 2016 despite having only 34.6% share in the country’s installed power capacity of...

Build-build-build is possible without new taxes

Among the biggest alibis given by Dutertenomics as to why we need new or higher taxes is the fact that the government needs more...