Notes by EMA: Latinization of an Economy



Enrique Aboitiz Mendieta

October 1, 2017

         Firstly, nothing of what I am about to write is about right or wrong, nor is it personal. It is my observation and my analysis through thought, reading, and travel. Some of what I will say may be politically incorrect to some, and to those who may feel offended, I do not apologize, but I do ask you seek my intent and not my words or just shred this paper. I find politically incorrectness childish in the entorno of the intelligent exchange of informed ideas.

Margaret Thatcher reminded us: feelings, feelings, feelings. Everything about today is feelings. What matters is thought, ideas and then action. All this rubbish about being politically correct and hypocritically polite is a total waste of time – Thought, ideas, and action – GETTING THINGS DONE! The rest is noise.

Lee Kwan Yew pointed out that the single largest risk of the United States was its Latinization. I happen to think that history has proven his thinking to be much deeper than many want to accept.

Latin countries are much more fun to live in. The pursuit of laughter is as important or more than the pursuit of wealth. The food is better because it has more olive oil and more garlic. More wine is drunk because rules are generally not followed. Now that does come at a cost. We are seeing the subtle Latinization of Europe as the Latin countries become the preferred vacation and retirement of Northern Europeans and the less subtle Latinization of the United States as it is flooded with Mexicans and Latin Americans.

Latin countries have two overall drivers of culture.

  1. There is no sense of urgency.Anything can be done tomorrow. Time is fungible, and being on time is a rounding off exercise. Why? I do not know – geography and weather perhaps. Who can be on time in Andalucia when it is too hot to work or to move.
  1. Lack of accountability.The greatest marketing advantage that the Catholic Church has is forgiveness. The institution of the confession box is absolute genius. It is an intelligence machine as well as a crowdfunding driver. The guiltier your conscience, the deeper you dig into your pockets. Then the Catholic crowdfunding machine goes to work as the lay people pass the hat through mass for contributions. The Catholic Church invented crowdfunding. Now you can do it electronically.The lack of accountability debilitates the most important driver of investment – The Rule Of Law.

Some Latin countries are more fortunate than others. The Philippines is the most fortunate and the least fortunate are Brazil and Argentina. We are fortunate that the Americans purchased us from Spain, and this slowed down our path to Latinization without slowing down Catholicism as the Americans were Christian in particular and tolerant in general. We do not appear to be Latin. We appear to have come from Hollywood with our love for telenovela, politics, and drama, in general. But we are a Latin and Western nation in a corner of Asia. We do, however, have to thank the Spaniards for coming and converting us to Catholicism – if not, we would have been damned to hell without access to the one true God through the one true religion.

A color-coded map of the world indicating the colonies of European powers during the 1800s.

We complain about the speed at which positive change is delivered in our economy and our country, but we forget that it is delivered. We do not go backwards. Slowly but surely, we get things done. We will have a subway and we will have NLEX and SLEX connected. Don’t you doubt it. We are the Republic of the Choo Choo Train but it keeps moving and things do get done.

The two worst affected by the above are Argentina and Brazil and I will tell you why. We are ex-Spanish and Catholic, which are the sources of the lack of urgency and the lack of accountability, respectively. Argentina is ex- Spanish and Catholic like us, but on top of that they have had a massive immigration of Italians and that represents Latinization on steroids. It is the same for Brazil but not on steroids because there was some check and balance with the immigration of the Japanese to Brazil.

The lack of a sense of urgency and a lack of accountability are holding back our economic development, so it is really up to us if we are to do something about it – thought, ideas, action.


 Read Next Story:

EMA Message: A Tribute to Washington Sycip