“De-Marcosification” and the rise of new urban rentiers:

On the unintended consequences of post-EDSA privatizations.

I will be presenting this paper at the The 5th Philippine Studies Conference in Japan organized by the Annual Philippine Studies Forum in Japan, on 27 November 2022.

This paper revisits the lasting imprint left by privatizations after the EDSA Revolution on the development of capitalism in the Philippines in the early 21st century, with an emphasis on path-dependence, unintended consequences, and domestic technocratic and bureaucratic actors.

Focusing on the efforts of the Presidential Commission on Government Reorganization (PCGR) in the late 1980s, it re-evaluates how a specific understanding of the state’s role in the economy was developed through the reorganization of crony- and state-owned enterprises. It proposes that consequential features of privatization were not the outcome of an ideologically-coherent liberalization. Instead, they were part of a moralized “De-Marcosification” process: liquidating crony-owned or inefficient state investments to fund agrarian reform. This practice of linking proceeds from privatizations to specific policy objectives, in the form of “special accounts”, had since proliferated across the Philippine government. Key development and policy objectives were linked to the speed and constancy of asset liquidation, and became decisive in how privatizations in the 1990s and 2000s were implemented.

“We must systematically ‘de-Marcosify’ society.” From Principles and Policy Proposals, the provisional report of the Presidential Commission on Government Reorganization.
Sample page of disposition plans for GOCCs. This page provides a convenient cross section of the range of economic activities in which GOCCs where involved, as well as the metrics by which their fates were assessed.Note that in the column “recommended disposition,” P stands for privatization, A for abolition, and R (which does not appear on this example) regularization. Source: World Bank, 1988.

It then situates the convergence of big Philippine businesses on urban property development and infrastructure from 2001 onward within the resultant political economy. By this period, the markets created by the privatizations had become dominated by Philippine-nationality conglomerates, as they diversified away from their legacy interests. These new investments reflect a strategy of vertically-integrated rentierism: value-capture from overseas Filipinos and IT offshoring through the urban and infrastructural environment, with minimal direct value-creation. This strategy had become the primary factor in shaping economic landscapes across the Philippines.

3 thoughts on ““De-Marcosification” and the rise of new urban rentiers:”

  1. Hello Kenneth! This is Josua Mata of SENTRO. Kamusta?  This is very interesting. Can you share with us your paper? And perhaps even talk to us about online?  Cheers, Josua 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

      1. Looking forward to our discussion. My colleague, Cj Castillo, will get in touch with you brother.




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