Thursday, May 22, 2008

The two most evil buildings in the Philippines

As you go down Roxas Boulevard, you'll see the main Department of Finance building next to the main headquarters of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The latter, as you probably guessed, is the country's central bank.

The central bankers steal from the people by continually devaluing money (especially what's been saved for the future), and by deciding that import and expert prices should be higher or lower. It doesn't matter whether it's the Pinoy who labors in the fields all his life, the family running a little store or restaurant, or the foreigner businessman who's bringing in dollars/yuan/yen/etc. investment: the Bangko Sentral is unequivocally proclaiming that only its governors, a handful of people among 85 million others, know what the peso's true value is. On top of that, though its role is officially about monetary stability, the Bangko Sentral also decides how much economic growth is "too much" or "too little," usually based on a "target" they set. It isn't even a target for the inflation they produce, but a target for economic growth, even though the absurd Phillips Curve has been debunked for years. There is no greater evil that central bankers do, in any country, than to decide they know best whether people should be working or not. Don't fool yourself: that's exactly what they do when they want less or more economic growth. "Less" growth is their decision to throw people out of work and reduce the earnings of the rest. "More" growth is their benevolent decision to let more people work, and all workers perhaps earn more.

The other group has a simpler job, but one no less destructive or despicable. They just look at the shambles of people's lives and steal a portion of what's left, whether through income taxes or the VAT.

And in principle, what both groups do is no different than what happens here. We're just prosperous enough in the U.S. that enough Americans are stupid enough to be "content" with their lives.

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