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Jose Maria Sison: Expect worse economic conditions in 2008

By National Democratic Front of the Philippines

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following press statement from Professor Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The statement deals with economic developments in the Philippines and the United States.

Prof. Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, declared today his expectations of worse economic conditions in the Philippines in 2008. His discussion of these bleak prospects followed up his previous expose of the degradation of the Philippine economy by the Arroyo regime in line with the US-dictated policy of “neoliberal” globalization.

Prof. Sison said, “The underdevelopment and chronic crisis of the Philippine economy make it extremely vulnerable to the current financial crisis and recessionary trend being generated globally from the US. These have started to have a severe adverse impact on the Philippines. The Filipino people will undergo unprecedented economic and social suffering in terms of rising unemployment, decreasing real income, soaring prices of basic goods and deteriorating social services.

“The US and global demand for both the Philippine raw-material exports and semi-manufactured re-exports will contract because of the continuing industrial decline, reduced employment and recessionary trend in all the imperialist countries. US economic growth is expected to go down to less than two per cent from the usual level of around 3 per cent. The thirty OECD countries are expected to have an average growth rate of less than 3 per cent from the usual level of more than 5 per cent.”

Prof. Sison pointed out , “The US consumer market has drastically contracted because of the decline of regular employment and incomes as a result of the series of attacks on the US working class. Under the piratical banner of neoliberalism, the monopoly bourgeoisie has pushed down the wage level, cut back the social benefits and eroded the democratic rights of the workers. It has undermined the US consumer market and caused the crisis of overproduction to recur.

“And yet many of the workers were inveigled to engage in stock speculation through easy credit and to let investment managers raid their pension funds during the high-tech bubble in 1995-2000. The bigger scam came when more workers and other people were drawn to far easier credit for consumption during the housing bubble from 2001 onwards. In the wake of the ongoing mortgage meltdown, the American consumers are without savings and are deeply indebted.

“The mortgage meltdown has acquired global dimensions because US mortgages were repackaged and sold as financial products under such fancy names as “structured investment vehicles” and “asset-backed securities” to foreign banks and investment houses. Since August this year there has been an epidemic of write offs and write downs, involving the evaporation of more than USD 400 billion. This is expected to result in the tightening of international credit by USD two trillion as federal and commercial banks become more prudent in lending.”

Prof. Sison explained further the US financial crisis, “But the financial crisis generated globally by the US is not only about the mortgage meltdown and the necessity of writing down or writing off “asset-backed securities” by foreign banks. The US national debt has risen so fast from the level of USD 5.7 trillion in 2001 to USD 9.1 trillion at present. It is expected to rise to the level of USD 10 trillion before Bush steps down. The US has abused confidence in the US dollar as the global currency .

“The US trade deficit has rapidly grown to the annual level of USD 850 billion because of the US industrial decline and outsourcing of consumer goods, such as those produced in China, India and Southeast Asia. The US budget deficit has also grown rapidly because of the tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy and the unbridled spending for the Pentagon and the wars of aggression. The Pentagon budget has risen to the annual level of USD 600 billion and the costs of the Iraq war have gone far beyond the officially admitted level of USD 500 billion for “operations” and are already in the range of USD one to two trillion if related costs are taken into account.

“The abuse of international credit by the US to cover trade and budget deficits has led to a rapid decline of the dollar and to pressures for an international credit crunch. The dollar decline is generating defensive responses from such big US creditors like Japan, China and the oil producing countries. To play safe, they are gradually reducing their dollar positions in favor of other currencies or a basket of currencies. The financial crisis of the US is serious enough to start undermining the standing of the US as the sole superpower in economic and politico-military terms, as the main engine of global economic growth and as the global market of last resort.”

Prof. Sison stressed, “In 2008 the underdeveloped and semifeudal Philippine economy will face serious problems in relation to the export of raw materials and the re-export of low value added semi-manufactures in a shrinking global market as well as in relation to the securing of new loans and selling bonds to service the accumulated debt and finance the import of oil and other critically needed goods. The international credit standing of the reactionary state will be further degraded as its difficulties to repay the public debt and collect revenues become obvious.

“As the international reserves will decrease conspicuously, the Arroyo regime will not be able to conjure the illusion of economic growth and raise the value of the peso against the US dollar and other major currencies. In the real economy of the Philippines, the working people and middle social strata will be beset by intensified exploitation, increased poverty and misery and the heavier weight of oppression. The social discontent and people's resistance will further spread and intensify.”

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