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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

The Entrapment of Feudalistic Ideas Among the Third World Nations - From Nationalism to Feudalism (Final part)

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj Ismail

From Nationalism to Feudalism

Nationalism does really look dutiful and patriotic towards a certain populations when such a method of beliefs is inculcated in countering external threat. Nationalism beliefs and methods of inculcations is used widely especially by the regime of the Third World to construct a spirit of nations building or national unity. It is proven effective especially to unite a pluralistic society thus creating a balance and a stable geopolitical atmosphere for nations building. Such a geopolitical stability will thus encourage foreign investors to invest in the Third World Nations bringing with them the much needed capital which the Third World economy short of.

But such the aforementioned condition has changed within the past ten years with the emerging urge of the globalize world where nationality is less important compared to the economic feasibility of a single unit family (Family is a single feasible economic apparatus). What should be worried about by the Third World peoples is the handling of Nationalism method of inculcations in hiding the Feudalistic ideas guarding the interest of a certain individuals and not the public as a whole. Nationalism had been utilized many times especially by the Third World regime to justify their political act behind such beliefs.

Among the benefits of exploiting the Nationalism belief is to divert the attentions of the population towards the un-exists problems diverting the population attention from the economic hardship endured towards the un-exists threat. Capitalism brings technologies towards the economic foundations (society, markets, manufactured line or labours) and to an extent it will democratize the gap which exists between the executive level (decision makers and public elected officials) and the public who resided in the bottom rung of the pyramid level. Nowadays, a positive view from sixteen year old boy is as much as important from a fifty-five year old man provided the views expressed by the boy is a proven anti-thesis towards the views from an incompetent fifty-five years old politicians.

Perhaps one of the classics examples of the successful Capitalism beliefs is the economic liberalization experienced from the tourism industry. The world either it be The First World or the Third World Nations had benefited much from the tourism industry where the economic transactions are based on the trans-geographical movement of the capital flow/ purchasing power carry out by the tourist to a certain locations. Mankind certainly cannot choose the place or the culture he is born into, but the affinity or the interest of a man rather develop after a certain period of time. As a result of the developed self interest, mankind himself is optional to choose to understand and to seek for satisfaction either through self seeking economic opportunity or for a vacation program by trans-moving a state boundaries bringing with them Capital flow in terms of purchasing power or knowledge capital.

Almost 30-40% of the Third World revenue is based on the tourism industry. Especially among the Asian nations where the culture of the society are usually considered unique and must be treasured by those who resides outside the particular area. Money that keeps pouring in from the First World especially from Europe and United States had catapult and jump start an infrastructures program and instilled a much needed technology for the communications among the nations of the world.

The money that was flowed in had been utilized much for the development of a particular tourism spot bringing with them spill over effect towards the society which reside in that particular area either it be tourism infrastructures or an open communications with the World thus bringing knowledge capital. For an example certain region in Thailand and Bali (Indonesia) is dependent solely on the tourism industry for the survivability of their populations and much of the first world infrastructure enjoyed by those populations is built on the tourism budget money and revenue.

Tourism is the first capitalism industry where trade liberalization is experimented before other areas such as manufactured and services industry being liberalize. The involvement of individuals capital either it be knowledge capital or purchasing power is an evidence of the economic success in being liberalize. Bureaucratic process then will be eases up to ensure economic competency hence coaxing tourists to visits particular tourist spot. It involved the movement of world’s citizens with the purchasing power in hand.

The quasi effect of such a power of the capital flow method can be seen through government decision to set up local universities in certain locations for the sake of political mileage and not for the disseminations of knowledge per se. Realizing the power of the Capital flow, certain locations had been pick by the interim regime as a locations for higher learning institution where purchasing power brought up by the future residents i.e. the students, lecturers and educational tourist, through mostly the education loans by the private financial institutions is regard as an opportunity that must be grab in utilizing the capital flow to develop particular locations.

Such a development policy is proved to be abandoning the after effect of the non-performing loans, brought up by the unemployed graduates and the credit crunch by the private financial institutions after the study period towards to the individuals when financial feasibility of the loaners is doubted. Such a method of siphoning the capital flow will only creating an economic bubbles waiting to blow up. Not to mention the doubtful levels of education background and the unnecessary specialties of the graduates that can’t be utilize in the challenged future market.

Such a policy will only backfire if the opportunity to utilize the graduate’s knowledge is not being brought up to reality and the un-needed economic bubbles will then burst. No doubt for a shorter period such a policy will inject capital or purchasing power in certain areas, for the long term period it will only malaise the economic environment by creating un-performing loans mostly back up by the public funds or tax payers money.

Borrowing Mr. [Alan] Greenspan words, the nationality of the MNC’s is not important compared to the economic feasibility it will bring towards a particular society. The overwhelm investment by the Capitalistic bodies as such experienced in India should be encourage not only it will bring the Capital flow to develop certain area but also tapping the expertise and knowledge based economy owned by the Indian community. Such a knowledge capital cannot be tapped before due to the limitations of the Indian government in providing the opportunity for their citizens. There will be doubt by certain parties on the intentions of the MNC’s in investing such enormous amount of capital into particular locations; but that doubt is baseless countering to the Capital flow it will bring that can enhance the quality of life of the certain populations where the government itself cannot do.

Patronage economy

One of the methods to lengthen the Feudalistic system by the half-baked democratic regime is the deployment of the patronage politics also known as the spoils system in the United States. Through this system, the interim political government (mostly in the Third World Nations) will bequeath the voters or the party supporters with the government tender projects or civil jobs opportunity as a quid pro quo to the loyalty shown in the pre-general election period. Much of the patronage economic system of the developed world had been demolished by the check and balance of the government apparatus that are already established mostly in the develop nations. Their (First World) civil post mostly occupied by the middle class or executive personal usually had no interest or intention in pursuing personal agenda. But in the Third World Nations the situations differs where such a method of patronage politics is considered to be the main tool ensuring the government to stay in power and guarantee the money spent on the civil projects is rolled back to the top of the pyramids and not towards the lowest rung of the democratic foundations. It is not a leak, but a Capital drought where development projects foresee is felt only towards the particular interest groups and not for the masses as a whole disregard of their political allegiances.

Let’s examine the patronage economy system that was widely implemented once in Northern Thailand among the rural peasants of the highlanders. The interim government will subsidize the farmers with fertilizer and crops seeds disregard the much needed market for the farmers to sell their crops. If the weather is not well, the farmers will resort going to the money lenders or the loan-shark and increase the amount of debt they owed to the middle man. The economic feasibility of the farmers will become more worse since they owned a lot of money to the middle man and then again was forced to sell their crop in cheap prices below the price range ensuring the patronage economic milieu of the rural peasants in both ways i.e. 1) to the government for the fertilizer and the crops seeds, and; 2) to the middle man for the purchasing power and add up money to counter increasing cost of the crop that doesn’t grow well.

But such a patronage economic system had change when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra gave the micro credits to the farmers to break away from the quasi-feudal systems. Thus freedom gained used to ally oneself to the MNC’s when MNC’s agreed to provide economic markets for the farmers to sell their crop. Better benefits arises when MNC’s agreed to provide the farmers with fertilizer and crops seeds of the more relevant crop products asked by the worlds consumers. The farmers then will be paid handsomely in monthly income and the salary given is static enabling the farmers to plan for future arrangements.

Economic sufficiency

Ensuring patronage economic systems to be relevant among the rural peasants, the interim government will ensure such methods of subsidies given to the farmers will only be at par at the survivability line guaranteeing the farmers or rural peasants to keep on clinging to the interim government. Such an act is known as economic sufficiency. Economic sufficiency also can be seen through government hand down of the civil projects towards particular business entities. It is important that the developing nations must realize that the development of the states must not solely be based on the government civil projects but push factor of the finished products among the business community. Such entrapment is unbridled especially in the Third World Nations where state GDP is counted on the government projects and not the main growth of the finish products revenue.

With the liberalization of the economic system in the Third World Nations, economic sufficiency will be abhors by the working class when they prefer to reap the capital opportunity brought up by the MNC’s. The condition of posturing towards the knowledge based community will thus be created when efficiency in economic activities i.e. farming and managing capital given are more important and imperative rather than political loyalty.

Classic example of the reciprocal interaction between the government and the rural peasants can be viewed with what happened in Northern Thailand. Economic sufficiency methods were once employed by the interim government where subsidies and government help was considered a mutual unwritten agreement between the two parties. Thus creating a condition where sufficiency will always lead to inefficiency especially during drought seasons forcing the farmers to lend a money form the loan shark. The situations became far worse where the crops don’t actually grow out well and the farmers next had to sell the fertilizers procured through government subsidies for quick money to pay the debt. Such and economic sufficiency methods creates troubles where farmers borrowed more what they can pay affecting their efficiency and productivity in farming activities.

When Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra came into power, realizing the burden shouldered by the rural peasants, he conduit the micro credits for them to pay the debt owed to the middle man. After the debt had been cleared, he encouraged the international MNC’s to provide the much needed market for the farmers to sell their crops and also freely providing the fertilizers and insecticide, to an extent seeds for the farmed crops. What the farmers only had to do is to grow the crop within the certain period of time for the MNC’s. This economic method is very much favoured by the farmers, because no matter how bad the weather or the crops is, their monthly income will be assured. This is the example of the method implemented by the Prime Minister to destroy the pyramid-cal economic system, where in the previous sufficiency economic methods; middle man usually took advantage of the problems faced by the farmers.
With the overwhelmed flow of an external capital brought up by the MNC’s, the conditions in particular locations where MNC’s operated will be changed. A society which was once a labour intensive will transform towards the Capital intensive industries and next towards the technological based industries.

A society which is once only emphasized their economic activities on the sufficiency of a single economic unit (family is a single unit of economic apparatus), then turns to be more effective and efficient in handling capital provided by the MNC’s. Life rearing stocks is taken care of quite well and the increases amount of quality in the farmed products, not just products inspection but also appraisal by the domestic and international markets boosting the research and development activities thus creating technology based industries as had mentioned above.

When such a change happens, the society will thus be turn into complex societies where intelligentsia matters more than popularity. Populations and the masses will used their voting rights into a more efficient manner where once government political decision (policy) considered negligible is regard as a major impact in executive decision influencing daily life. It can be seen through public picketing when the government elected decided to increase the toll prices and the consumers battle for their rights in the modern economic market. Government can’t manage to guard the interest of the public will be considered incompetent and shall be replaced by another individual from the sass pool of intelligentsia talent provided by the Capital knowledge in the sustainable economic conditions.

One of the most basic warning sign of the Feudalistic idea in the Third World Nations is their dependency in the sufficiency economy as proved by their “Civil Industry”. Such term I coined is the description of their civil service apparatus to create a purchasing power among the nation’s citizens. Economic activities will be much affected if there is any changes happened in the government apparatus systems. Differing from the Capitalistic states where civil society’s milieu is negligible compared to the business sector, “Civil Industries” in the third world will only strengthen the Feudalistic ideas and create a much unneeded symbiotic relations between the government and the state’s residents.

In the civil industries, individual (i.e. leadership post) is considered imperatives rather than states institutions. People will be selected based on political connection and far worse through the bloodline creating a modern feudal state where sufficiency is good enough. To break away from such systems, peoples need to have more power to move trans-boundary. Opportunity is all men’s right and not just based solely on where they were born.

The role of the government too should be seen as a secondary factor in enhancing the economic market and not the primary factors. Although it is understandable among the new democratic states, where there is no history of civil society to uphold such an economic theory, but the sole power thrust to mankinds economic opportunity should be regard as their state capacity to open up.

An individual who holds such a premier or an executive power post such as the Presidents or the Prime Minister should be seen as somebody that can be replaced after a period of time and not static. In line with the job descriptions that to ensure the upholding of the public interest, the power vested in the government post must be seen as not for personal party survivability tool far worse personal family interest. What matters in the Capitalistic society is the knowledge workers with their intellectual ability such as analyzing the market and such exceptional workers should be replaced after his intelligentsia is replaceable by another intelligent capability.

In the 21 Century and for the future to come, political power and patronage system over certain geographical location are no more number one. What is more important is the pseudo-market share. That can only be achieved through liberalization and individual freedom (ownership, opportunity and etc).
1. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Joseph A. Schumpeter. Harper Perrenial, 1975
2. Thailand's Economic Recovery, edited by Cavan Hogue. Insitute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore 2006


afif said...

A very good article, deeply intellectual one.

I've been myself having thoughts over what's wrong with the Malay Malaysian society today. Few satisfiable answers I stumbled upon, and this is surely one of them.

I know there got to be something not right when nationalism has become too strong and continuous. It is fascism that I afraid of what the Malaysian might has unconsciously embraced in while mistakenly see themselves as nationalist.

You have, however, gave vitally needed awareness of the other kind of threat of ultra nationalism - feudalism that is.

Thanks to you, now I can see why those nationalists we got in our house of August can be so feudalistic and lack rationality in their debates

Tun Teddy said...

i try to answer your question on the government power of regulating economic market. But I don't have a time to mould a very good article on that.

Perhaps I shall write one solely on that particular issues after hari raya. Meanwhile i suggest you to try and read some idealist idea such as Ricardo's writings (Principles of Political Economy and Taxations).

I promise to write more article discussing the role of the government in handling economic affairs.


afif said...

Thats great, thanks for that. In microeconomy, we were have to memorize(well, thats M'sian education system is all about after all, not much thinking, just memorize)the fact that regulation is bad for innovation in the economy.

You heard sure lately about the sub-prime mortgage crisis in US. Both the central bank and the Fed Reserve are criticized because they fail to regulate the sub-prime correctly. Now they began discussing making the global financial market more regulated than it is now because of the crisis. This make me at some point need to accept that anything that has to be pure, has to fail. Reality requires regulation. We can not live without enough regulations.

Kat US tu org takde duit pun diorang bagi pinjam duit ye, heran betul. Kan dah jadi macam sekarang.

Maybe we can regulate the Ah Long Loan Shark Industry. lol

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