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Progress through Conflict June 6, 2007

Posted by Janjan in Armchair Politics.
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According to the basic precepts of Economics, the point where the forces of Supply meet their counter-reactive forces of Demand is the point where markets are said to be at their most efficient. The price is set at a level that is acceptable to both Supply and Demand, and production is pegged at the level where it is the most efficient (the level where product units are neither lacking or in excess). Hence, this is the reason why most economists are staunch advocates of Capitalism since it is the one political model that allows market forces to do as they will, on the premise that nature will take its course and the shifting of supply and demand will gradually lead to the harmony of balanced price and production.

In the sphere of Biology, it is postulated that Nature will always set itself to Homeostasis, or that perfect state where there is a balance in the ecosystem. Through a process aided by Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, the animals and plants in any given environment will always, through a bloody process of competition and elimination, kill themselves out until nothing is left but the most enduring species, the one whose gene pool is equipped with the right traits to survive the rigors of life. In other words, the perfect state of Homeostasis can only be achieved by engaging in imperfect genetic slaughter.

Applying both disciplines to Philippine politics, all I can say is that by their nature, systems abhor a monopoly and that the system of Philippine governance is feeling the pull of free market capitalism and the equalizing forces of homeostasis aligning the environment so that things are kept at balance and no one person can rise up and push their weight around to the detriment of every other creature in the ecology.

At least not for too long.

This is what’s happening now. The forces that be are aligning and counter-aligning against each other in a bloody process of revolutions, counter-revolutions, coups, and upsets, until nothing is left but the balanced system, one where any given force is placed at equal standing with the other. This leads us to Homeostasis, that perfect state of being, the point where Supply is equal to Demand, and Price is at its most equitable, and Production is at its most efficient. Nothing lacking. Nothing in excess.

Notice how things seem to be looking up? The peso is strong, the stock market is at an all time high, inflation is kept to a manageable level, and slowly, the Philippines is paying back all its international debt? Huzzah for Homeostasis! Huzzah for Conflict! Huzzah for free market forces!

This situation reminds me of a May 22, 2006 article I read in Fortune Magazine on the resounding success of CEO Carlos Ghosn’s style of conflict management, which he applied in running two of the biggest car companies in the world: Nissan and Renault.

Basically, Ghosn’s theory is to encourage the flow of conflict. Let people argue with each other. Let them grab at each other’s throats. Let them make each other look stupid. To quote the said article:

Yet Ghosn always leaves time for debate. “What I hate,” he says firmly, “are meetings where people hide their opinions. If you don’t see different aspects of a decision and different opinions, you can’t make a good decision.” He uses cross-pollinated committees to breed conflict, ensuring that they are led by promising mavericks who, oddly, lack expertise in the areas they oversee – that way they can challenge and question even the most basic accepted procedures. This rankles the veterans and puts team leaders at risk. “That’s why they report to the CEO. That’s how they survive.” Ghosn says.

The inevitable clashes let managers see possibilities they hadn’t imagined before, says Renault’s comptroller, Jean-Baptist Duzan. “It’s just like a spring – you have to push to release the energy. At Renault we had no sense of time. The spring was not tense at all.”

So the Genuine Opposition has won majority of all Senate seats? Fine. You say there’s a war for the position of Speaker of the House between Kampi and Lakas-CMD? Wonderful! Mayor Tomas Osmena is again squaring off with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in another bid of power-gaming? Simply magnificent!

Let them all fight. Let no one among them be more powerful than the other. When the dust has settled and you see all the idiots tired and panting, maybe then we’ll see that they were kept too busy fighting against each other to do any lasting harm to the economy.

Maybe. Big Maybe.

But I’m betting on Darwin. The idiots will eventually end up killing each other, and in doing so, spare us the effort of doing the job ourselves.

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