memory's sacred domain

moments mundane and magical

Archive for October 2008

with one comment

Disclosure in the global economic crunch

While we were away, stock markets the world over crashed. And the story is greed getting the best of them writ large. The trouble is, when the high and the mighty are humbled, the rest of the world suffers. It seemed only a matter of time, following the collapse of the American sub-prime mortgage market, for the domino-like effect to finally make its presence felt in the world market. The integration of many economies into a multi-layered world market only made an economic catastrophe so much easier to happen. Now it seems inevitable that we’re headed for a frightening global recession.

Once again, the private is no longer so private. Deregulation in the name of the primordial interest of private capital is exposed as untenable. Thus we see the private becoming a legitimate public interest as well. Or, as the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd would put it, the private sphere has enkaptic interlacements with the public sphere. The market activities of huge transnational corporations left to their own devices have public ramifications. Governments ought to respect the internal integrity of the market; that is, give it space to function as it should. But it doesn’t mean that governments give everything up in the name of deregulation. In other words, it is not deregulation for its own sake. Some oversight is still needed, to make sure that the market does not overstep public legal bounds.

The current global economic crunch somehow demonstrates that the realms of both the transnational and the international have an integrated public sphere on which private transactions rest. It cannot be otherwise. States and transnational corporations cannot be allowed to run like Hobbesian monads with no other consideration but their own interests. This process of “disclosure” — of the differentiation and integration of the world into a global economy, highlights the fact of such things as the global commons, of public goods that are a concern of everyone in the place, precisely because what happens to them affects everyone else, as well as of an inevitable interdependence that cannot be founded on the interest of only one state.


Two books just off the press!

The annual book fair came and went with a nary a comment on this page. In fact, I should have, because I have two important reasons for it. But first, a disclosure that in more than one way, I have a personal stake in these two important reasons. In the case of the first, Dr. Jonathan V. Exiomo’s book Interpreting the Text: Towards a Filipino Biblical Hermeneutics from a Ricouerian Perspective, I served as an editor. In the case of the second, Roderick G. Galam’s The Promise of the Nation: Gender, History and Nationalism in Contemporary Ilocano Literature, I was a conspirator in some way (well, when I was an editor of the Philippine Law Journal, I published in the journal in article form what is now a chapter in the book. I was also the author’s sounding board when he was completing the book). Both works break new ground in their respective author’s chosen fields. The first book is published under the auspices of the Alliance Graduate School, the second, of the Ateneo University Press. And both authors are friends of mine. Mr. Galam and I go a long way; we had been friends since our college days and in fact, were residents of that infamous and late lamented Narra Residence Hall at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and fellow members of the now defunct Narra Christian Fellowship (NCF). Dr. Exiomo, president of the Alliance Graduate School, is a fellow founding member of the Alliance Book Club, a small group of like-minded friends who like to discuss ideas and their relevance to the contemporary world.

I promise to post an extended review of the two books soon.

Written by Romel

October 7, 2008 at 4:27 am

%d bloggers like this: