“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.
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