Friday, February 20, 2004

FPJ's crash course on economics
Despite his earlier antiglobalization postures, FPJ would, it turns out, be having neoliberal economics for his presidency. This was announced by the economist Bernardo Villegas, who advised FPJ and provided him with reading materials on economics. The report says:

Asked to assess if Poe were able to absorb the lectures well, Villegas merely quipped that it’s hard to judge a person’s capability but noted that “Poe is intelligent, talkative and humane.” This is contrary, Villegas said, to Poe’s “laconic image” in public.

“Besides, the brain’s capacity to absorb knowledge is infinite,” he said, stressing that people “should just have to be patient with his education.”

Not true. The brain's capacity to absorb knowledge is not infinite. Perhaps a toddler's brain has infinite capacity to learn, but FPJ is no spring chicken. FPJ, like normal people who deteriorate through time, has fewer brain cells now than when he was younger. (This deterioration must have been further aggravated by FPJ's beer drinking.) An older person's memory is simply not as retentive as a younger person's. It is seriously doubtful if Villegas's Economics 101 really made an impact on FPJ. Two hours of advising and lectures are not enough; the academics are simply too overwhelmed by the sight of potential political power that they lose their proper judgment on this matter.

FPJ is getting too many briefings these days from academics who, for all their bright and shining Ph.D's, are not especially known--we must admit--for their communicative skills with high school dropouts. The academics advising FPJ are actually overestimating two things: 1) their own pedagogic skills and 2) FPJ's capacity to learn on the fly.

Everybody though is happy with this arrangement. FPJ's campaign gets a semblance of coherence, the academics' egos get a boost, and the reporters get stories to write.

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