There has always been this assertion that the Philippines would be a prosperous country if corruption were kicked to the curb, and it’s certainly a thought exercise worth mulling over quite a bit.
What if we lived in a Philippines that was much less corrupt, but most everything else remained the same? How much better off would we be? This may be purely speculative and imaginative in scope, but we ought to dare to dream for a better country and see about making it happen.
8. Some things will remain the same
6. Peace and Order
A distinct lack of corruption would result in cops doing their jobs and enforcing the law to the best of their abilities. There may be a few mishaps here and there due to competence, but peace and order will get a much better reputation in this country if it was impossible to bribe your traffic enforcers, for example. This will definitely lead to good things for us.
5. Foreign Affairs
One area that might hurt us if we had squeaky-clean officials would be foreign affairs, solely because this thought exercise doesn’t assume other countries are also corruption-free. Of course, this is purely speculative, because most countries in the top ranks of the corruption index are actually pretty good with their foreign policies, but a country like Singapore, for example, is not currently in a dispute with a China that is willing to pull out all the stops when it comes to our territories. A less corrupt government would encourage better investments from other countries, but that’s not foreign affairs, so much as it’s trade and industry.
Overall, I’m inclined to think we would slightly be worse off in foreign affairs if our political leaders were not corrupt enough to play the same game as other countries who watch out for their own interests with less scruples than we do.
4. Trade and Industry
There is no doubt that investor confidence is directly tied to the perception of corruption and the cheapness of labor in any given country. It is unlikely that our labor will increase exponentially just because we no longer have corrupt officials. It will take time before our labor wages will be on par with those of developed countries, which only means we will have, in the eyes of foreign investors, the best of both worlds: an above-board government with skilled workers who are well below the market value. It is a mid-term boon for us that can be leveraged over the long term.
When corruption is no longer a question, the voting public will finally have to look at actual issues instead of motherhood statements. Some politicians will still try using empty and vague motherhood statements, but those will quickly fall out of favor when it becomes clear to the voters that the people who they vote for get the results they explicitly wanted to get in the first place. The more specific and clear-cut your stand on issues are, the better it becomes. Obviously though, #8 still plays an unmistakable factor because name recognition is indeed a thing.
2. Education and Military
One of the sectors best aided by a corruption-free government would be the education sector, mainly because it would be clear to any above-board government that education is the one thing that could use improvement if integrity is a given for everyone. Expect our military to take a hit, though, because that is the normal tradeoff when one has to balance the budget for a country.
1. Infrastructures and Transportation
The biggest winner in a corruption-free government would have to be these two sectors. The DPWH would have their hands full of sky-high budgets that actually go to where they’re supposed to go, and in turn, the transportation sector would be intuitively adapted, because you don’t have to worry about congressmen with taxi fleets protecting their own interests anymore. If you have a country that is efficient enough to rely more on public transportation than private cars, you are well on your way to having something downright utopic.
Ultimately, a corruption-free Philippines may not be heaven on earth, but it comes pretty close, especially if you give it enough time.
Thoughts? Objections? Ideas? Post them in the comments!