American Economic Policy toward the Philippines

American Economic Policy toward the Philippines

American Economic Policy toward the Philippines

American Economic Policy toward the Philippines

Excerpt

American economic policy toward the Philippines has developed against the background of changing conditions in the Islands themselves. A consideration of this historical setting may enrich the interpretation of past controversies and enigmas and may shed some light on the way ahead. An analysis of the role of economic policy in recent over-all international relations between the two countries -- as seen from the Philippines and as seen from the United States -- should contribute to the definition of perspective and the formulation of a balanced judgment.

The Filipinos -- some 20 million of them -- are remarkably homogeneous. With the exception of some scattered tribes throughout the Islands, the mountain people in Luzon, and the Moros in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, the Filipinos have a common outlook on national and international affairs. Before the coming of the Spaniards, "all the natives lived in their villages, applying themselves to the sowing of their crops and the care of their vineyards, and the pressing of wine; others planting cotton, or raising poultry and swine so that all were at work; moreover the chiefs were obeyed and respected, and the entire country well provided for." The Philippine earth is good, and the climate is kindly. Then as now, food came easily and population pressure was unknown. Economics played a minor role in the business of living.

After the excitement of discovery and the disappointments of the spice trade, the Spanish founded and administered their colony in the Philippines in the interests of religion rather than of commerce or industry. The political grandees profited from the land grants or the storied galleon trade, but the Indios themselves continued their ancient economic way of life. They were attached more servilely to the land, and subjected to the political domination of the cacique, and they were absorbed completely in the fold of the Catholic church.

During three centuries in the Spanish imperial system, some Filipino leaders . . .

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