Booty Capitalism: The Politics of Banking in the Philippines

By Paul D. Hutchcroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE The Political Foundations of Booty Capitalism in the Philippines

States are not standardized commodities. They come in a wide array of sizes, shapes, and styles. That incumbents sometimes use the state apparatus to extract and distribute unproductive rents is undeniable. That all states perform certain functions indispensable to economic transformation is equally so. That both characteristics are randomly distributed across states is very unlikely, yet we have only a hazy sense of the range of variation, to say nothing of its causes.

-- Peter Evans, "Predatory, Developmental, and Other Apparatuses: A Comparative Political Economy Perspective on the Third World State," 1989

In the reality of political systems, patrimonial and legal elements are mixed, though all societies have patrimonial traces while some have only a few legal ones.

-- Daniel S. Lev, "Judicial Authority and the Struggle for an Indonesian Rechtsstaat," 1978

A scholar of the Philippines once noted that "business is born, and flourishes or fails, not so much in the market place as in the halls of the legislature or in the administrative offices of the government."1 Although this observation was made in 1959, it could have been repeated with equal validity in subsequent decades. Whether in the pre-martial law years 1946-1972), martial law years ( 1972-1986), or post-Marcos years (after 1986), one finds remarkable continuity in basic patterns of interaction between the Philippine state and dominant economic interests. Even as it is often incapable of meeting even the most basic infrastructural needs of the economy, the Philippine state is nonetheless central to any comprehensive analysis of the country's political economy. Access to the state apparatus has been the major avenue to private accumulation, as the quest for "rent-seeking" opportunities brings a stampede of favored elites and would-be favored elites to the gates of Malacañang Palace. The state apparatus has repeatedly been choked by an anarchy of particularistic demands from, and particularistic actions on behalf of, those oligarchs and cronies

____________________
1
Thomas R. McHale, "An Econecological Approach to Economic Development" (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1959), 217.

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