Saturday, December 17, 2005

Democratization through Social Welfare

Argument: Before a country becomes truly democratic, it has embrace policies that are non-too-democratic. By this I mean that democracy, especially in developing countries, would remain the paradox that it is if no steps to lessen political, social, and economic inequality is taken by the government. The State must therefore intervene to provide social welfare to its people.

Paradigm Shift: Creating a True Democracy
Democratization continues to be the global trend during the past few decades. after the two waves of democratization, a considerable percentage of the world states are a democracy or in the process of being a democracy. Democratic and neoliberal ideals are what many deems as the future, the inevitable path that countries must tread.
However, the achievement of a genuine rule of and by the people would remain as a quixotic venture if the people are deprived of that equal opportunity for political articulation and participation. Democracy, as it would pertain to the people as the heart of the polity, would see the achievement of its ideals if its peoples are consensual to how the society operates. If these people would remain secluded from the state structures and no solutions are made to alleviate social problems, then no true democracy would be achieved.

The Strong State
The state, in its interaction with the society, has assumed different roles through the past decades. The bureaucratization and the liberalization of the state made its separation from the society an eventuality. The state became that labyrinthine arrangement of structures and institutions – coldly professional, unemotionally rational. But as Migdal and postmodernist would aptly contend, institutions, as essential as they are in the shaping of socio-political outcomes, still remain and operate at the behest of the people within it. Fortification of the state would ultimately be determined by the manner by which its components operate.
What scholars would prescribe is the marriage of the two formerly separate entities - the state and the society, thus recognizing the inevitable dependency in their relationship. I would subscribe to such perception as to the extent of the role of the state and the essential indispensability of the society. Hence this forms the rationale in the innate (though arguable) propensity to move towards a polity that is non-exclusive to those who hold governmental power. Democracy would thus find its essence in the incorporation of social actors in the once institution-monopolized state.

Democratization: State, Social Welfare, and Developing Countries
A consequence of shrinking the role of the state would be the swelling of the income gap, as the all too ideal equality of opportunity in the liberal democracies provides the exact opposite of what it promises. Abolishing the barriers of protection is argued to boost external trades and augment of GNP, as it follows the dictates of the global trend. A global trend embraced even by the formerly-Colonized, non-Western, supposedly-Underdeveloped countries, who sought dire solutions to escape their perpetual cycle of poverty and economic crises. The economic prescriptions of liberalism may provide momentary solutions, but I doubt its capacity to alleviate deep-rooted social problems of a state. The market is too profit-driven to devote itself to providing social welfare, or at the very least, to contributing significantly in order to fasttrack solutions. If the state processes are dictated merely by those who hold economic and political power, then there is no democracy. What a country would be is an oligarchy - in the guise of a one pretending to be democratic.
Social actors could only permeate the governance realm if they are provided the venue and equipped with the capability to do so. The widening of the income gap similarly augments power and social gap. Incurable, this societal dilemma would remain, if no efforts are diverted into the promotion of social and economic equality. If so, then democratization and democracy would remain but a paradox. Its inability to provide to the social milieu the relative freedom that it promises would in fact make it non-democratic.
This problem could perhaps be remedied by revitalizing social welfare efforts.
The economic and social gap that is a reality in developing countries, like our own, requires the intervention of the state in the provision of the basic needs, like education, employment assistance, health services, among others. What is essentially required, in a country taking on the democratization path, is the adequacy to provide social conditions that are indispensible requisites in the formation of a truly democratic state. As social conditions in underdeveloped/developing countries remain less than laudable, the vision of the just and free society would be a perpetual reverie.
Take for instance the Philippines. Despite experiencing democratization, and having the bragging rights as it is one of the first to do so, remains but a glaring contradiction. People do vote, but their votes are subject to manipulation as they submit themselves to offers of vote-buying and cheating. Everyone is free to articulate their political stances, yet few voices are listened to, because the elites still have the power monopoly. The market is left to operate without significant constraints, yet many are mere spectators as the economic arena is but exclusive for the moneyed.
This is to be owed to the lack of education, the widening income gap, the lack of government services, to mention a few. The citizens, unable to taste the fruits of what claims to be people-centric, are forced to submit themselves to the (oppressive) structures of the society. Thus and so, democratization, at the absence of social welfare, is an effort in futility. If a government envisions a democracy that is true to its ideals, then it must give premium to the welfare and conditions of its peoples.


At 4:46 PM, Blogger matatag_na_alagad said...

If one will try to discern what is really happening in our country, he or she would feel hopeless. For what is really a State? And what comprises the State?
Ang sabi ng mga most revered, "morally upright", responsible members of the society, na kailangan natin ng communal action dahil tayo (meaning: lahat ng pilipino)ay may pagkakasala at makasalanan.
Ang sabi ng dating Speaker na si JDV there is so much corruption in our country, tapos he enumerated those corrupt as those people in the government, military, NGOs, Church, Schools, etc. etc.
Di ba parang may katotohanan ang mga sinasabi nila? Let us try to corraborate what they said by looking at these people/institution na sinasabi nila: Ang gobyerno - kayo na ang bahalang magsabi alam niyo naman siguro ito; Military - same as above; NGOs - Wala pa akong nabasa sa diyaryo o narinig sa radyo pero mukang wala naman sa vision and mission ng ibang NGOs ang magpabagsak sa isang gobyerno pero yun ang pinagsisigawan nila. Maliban diyan, are we using donations of other international organization to where these funds are supposed to be put? Schools - remember the basketball brouhaha about using ineligible players to play for an UAAP-member school. Hindi naman siguro maglalaro ang isang ineligible player dahil gusto niya lang, di ba? Ang simbahan kaya - Aling simbahan ba ang nagbayad ng milyong dolyares dahil sa pagsasamantala ng kanilang pari sa mga kabataan at kababaihan. Sa Pinas, sinong pari na nga ba yung sumalaula sa kanyang secretary? Politicians - Well, muka palang nila sa TV we feel hopeless already.

WHO will now comprise a State whose collective component is called the Philippines? Who will now push for a truly democratic ideals? Siguro sasabihin ng iba, "ako ang bubuhay o magpapatatag sa demokrasya sa Pilipinas". Ngunit marami ng nagsabi niyan, noong panahon pa ni Aguinaldo may mga tao nang naniniwala sa kanilang pakukunwari.

Methinks that change or the strengthening of whatever that we can call our collective identity as sons and daughters of this land start only within ourselves. Baguhin muna natin and dapat baguhin sa sarili natin at ibigay ang nararapat sa lipunan na katanggap-tangap sa nakararami ('Di ba ito yung Communal Action). Uulitin ko, ito ay dapat simulan sa sarili natin. Huwag nating subukang baguhin and iba, ang ating lipunan, kung ang isa namang kagaya natin ay maituturing na bahid o dagdag na dumi sa lipunang ating ginagalawan.
Now, then, do we still need the state to intervene to provide for its people who are responsible enough and have the capacity to solve problems or strengthen this country's ideals?

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matatag na kampon, sige ha simulan mo na sa sarili mo ha. Ako naman e saka na, payaman muna ako habang me malilikom hehe. Magbilyonaryo muna ako tsaka ako magbabago. Mabait naman dios e basta hihingi ka ng tawad. Saka na iyon, ang dami-daming simbahan diyan. Kung magdonate ako ng sampung simbahan, ayos na butobuto sa langit hehe

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow na mention blog mo ni Cunanantic. Celebrity ti ka na ha!

At 9:33 PM, Blogger fidel_umaga said...

Matatag na ano?

True communal action demands that we have also to effect a change in ourselves. But communal action does not say that we have to wait for the change to take full effect in us before we pass a moral judgment on the moral pestilence that is engulping the administration of our country that is abetted and committed by the highest civil office in the land. It is simply self defeating of the idea of communal action.

Communal action simply means that we have to revolt against evil inside ourselves as much as we revolt against it outside ourselves particularly with the way GMA managed truth and dispensed justice. Sa madaling salita your concept of communal action is actually another form of the pernicious MOVE ON alternative proposed by the spin masters of GMA during the early days of her abusive regime.


As an imperfect man myself, I know nothing is worst than an OPEN DISHONESTY than a CONCEALED HYPOCRISY.

On both, GMA is guilty to the people and country.


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