Towards an Uncertain Future: Oligarchy, Patrimony, and Democracy in the Transition from Marcos to Aquino

Author: 
Budd, Eric N.
Year: 
1993

     In this dissertation it is argued "that the standard societal categories can not capture the Third World reality. Instead of having distinct landed and bourgeois classes, these nations have 'fused elites,' who span economic categories. . . . Using the Philippines as its case study," the dissertation shows "how an analysis of the Philippine 'fused elite' and patrimonial system facilitates an understanding of 'late-late' democratization in that country. In addition, it . . . [is] argued that such an analysis overcomes the inherent weaknesses of both the macro-sociological, as well as the micro-economic, methods. Through a discussion of regime change in the Philippines, it . . . [is] shown how these socio-economic factors have produced outcomes which these two schools of thought never anticipated." Specifically, the dissertation examines "the 1972 breakdown of Philippine democracy, the collapse of the Marcos regime, and whether the transition from Marcos to Aquino represents a transition to democracy."
     The study addresses "three major questions left unanswered by the micro-economic, as well as macro-sociological, methods. The first question asks whether under conditions of democratization, will the elites pursue their economic self-interest? In order to address this question, I conducted a survey among Filipino elites. The question was designed to elicit information about their political beliefs and behavior. Specifically, it sought to ascertain their role in, and the calculations they made during, the Philippine transition process. The elites interviewed were involved in production of at least one of the following crops: rice, corn, sugar, coconuts, or fruit . . . . The second question asks whether democracy is merely a political system, or if it is also a socio-economic order?" Here, the focus of the study is on "Philippine electoral politics, as well as the Philippines' experience with agrarian reform. . . . The final question asks what are the prospects for Philippine democracy? In order for there to be democracy in the Philippines, the patrimonial system would have to break down. Therefore, in order to address this question, . . . [the study] examines the prospects for the collapse of Philippine patrimonialism.

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