Modern day slavery

The world of money is like a modern day slavery.

Did slavery end after the Exodus from Egypt? Or did it end when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves…shall be free”?

How is it that Filipinos are still having a hard time working their assess off but barely make a living. 

Are we really free? Or are we just catering to the system that has enslaved many people for many generations. All your life, you’ve been sucked into a system where your sweat, blood and tears are paying for everything.

Investing in a house, for example, will tie you up for the next 25 to 30 years.

If you are already in your forties, by the time your loan ends, you’ll be in your 70’s.  Who wants to be paying for a loan in their 70’s? Shouldn’t you be just enjoying life since you are already retired by then?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating not working or getting something for nothing. It just feels like that there’s something seriously wrong on how the world is set up.

The more I experience the world of money, the more I realize a lot of things — that a man is buried into worrying about money all his life. You worry about how to earn more. Then once you are able to earn money, you next worry about how to keep what you earned. After that, you worry about how to make it grow. Once the money grows, you worry about passing it to your children, and how to train them to grow it even more. The worrying never stops. Most people do not even get to that. They get stuck worrying how to pay off their debts. Some even can only go so far as worry for their next meal. 

How is it that well-meaning people, who just wants to live simply cannot even get beyond worrying about money? Is it really a case of not working hard enough? Or is the system simply skewed towards making life harder for the “modern day slaves.”

It made me realize that some business models are aimed to leverage (or exploit) the severe inequality of this world. The competitive advantage of the outsourcing industry, for example, is based on the difference in exchange rate in between countries from developed nations vs those in the developing nations. One of the reasons we are able to price our offerings competitively is because our currency in the Philippines is 50x lower than those in the western world. When this balance tips over to other side, the business model will not make sense anymore. 

Why should our money be only 50x of other countries? Who made the rules? 

When I went to the U.S. for a 6-month stint, I saw that we were no different from the people I was working with. They are no better than us. I feel like we are even better in some sense, since we are more willing to work hard. But looking at the lifestyle that they lead, you start to wonder how is it that you are living completely different lives when you are doing the same work? You wish you had similar or at least a comparable lifestyle commensurate to the work you are putting in. But that’s not the reality we are living in.

Is it unfair? Yes. Am I saying we should not be doing outsourcing anymore? Of course not. I am not naive. I think we should take advantage of the opportunity to the best that we can. Learn from them. Learn the technologies. Learn the discipline. Learn everything we can. 

While doing that we should also be working on creating more value. Create more Filipino brands who server the whole world. Our country needs to transform from a consumer-centric nation to a world-class producer of great value. We have already proven that we can compete with the best. We have great singers, boxers, nurses, OFWs and so much more. We should dream to get to that point until the world can no longer ignore us. Until the balance of power tips over and we no longer have to rely on the currency exchange to save us. 

We should learn to stand on our own two feet. Imagine a world where we are one of the superpowers, bringing so much value to the world, in different industries, across the globe, even when our Philippine peso already is at par with the other powerful nations. I dream for that to happen in my lifetime, when the currency exchange reaches that of 1PHP = 1USD or whoever is the most powerful currency in the future. Imagine a day when Filipinos no longer have to go abroad and be discriminated against. Imagine us having the freedom to travel and go to places, not forced to do something and sacrifice being away from our families only because that’s the only option we have due to the inequality being brought by the unfairness of currency exchange. 

When that happens, I wish for the world to also experience what is it like to be a Filipino — to be a little bit kinder, a little bit more accommodating, a little bit more human. A world where all the good things that make the Filipino race something we can be proud of is in full display: friendly and welcoming, smiling in spite of disasters, enduring in all of life’s calamities, thriving and making the world a better place, a place not ruled by worrying about money but the spirit of abundance that lives in us all. A world where we can say we’re finally free. Imagine a day that becomes true.