The Grey Chronicles


Why Filipinos Aren’t Rich?

Surfing the web, I chanced on a site which discussed Why Filipinos Are Not Rich? I found the site intruiging and fascinating.

The article is authored by Thads Bentulan (2007) from a summary of his book: Hyperwage Theory, issued as Thinking Time: The Misadventures of the Street Strategist Vol. 12

Bentulan cited:

Diminishing circle: The [Filipino] people have no money because the wealth is inequitably in the hands of a few rich. and Community of inequality . . .a huge disparity, an egregious distribution of wealth.”

Bentulan debunked many myths:

Squander: The Filipinos are poor because they squander money. . . They have nothing to squander. Job search: The Filipinos don’t look for jobs. . . Filipinos are looking for jobs so much so that millions of Filipinos in search of work worldwide. Lazy: The Filipinos are lazy. . . Currently, among the best workers abroad are Filipinos. Unsaving: The Filipinos don’t save. . . We have half of the country living below the poverty line and you expect savings?”

On Filipinos being lazy, Abdullah Al-Maghlooth, a Saudi Arabian, wrote (2008):

“Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 — outside the Philippines. . . They are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work. . . speak very good English and the technical training they receive in the early stages of their education. . . makes them highly competent in these vital areas. . . .We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.”

On Filipinos saving, Castell & Tanchuco (2004) noted:

“All of which should lead us to a second look at the vast amount of government resources being spent for to control and penalize gambling. Perhaps the state is better off refocusing its attention to other concerns. This pastime [gambling], illegal or not, will persist as long as savings remain a poor alternative. The state should calculate the beneficial effect on the economy if the money now spent on gambling (not to mention the resources expenses on controlling or punishing it) were saved instead. Then the state could establish saving institutions tailored to these financial flows. For instance, financial institutions whose employees, like bookies, go out to collect savings in small denominations.” Emphasis supplied.

Bentulan argued:

“ . . it is not high education, it is not natural resources, it is not command of English, and it is not low salary that makes a country rich. It is how you value the poorest of the poor. It is how you value least of the least. It is how you value human capital. It is giving labor its true world-market value. It is Hyperwage.”

Bentulan’s solution:

“A legislated minimum wage of about P20,000 ($400) . . . for domestic helpers.”

Thus, he concluded:

“. . . the poor Filipinos are not rich because they do not have money.”

A simple, yet mind-boggling, but elegant idea! If you give people money through higher wages, they will spend. With higher disposable income, it will increase their purchasing power thereby increasing the middle class. Yet, in the scheme of things, with higher wages a Filipino could then afford to send his children to higher education, thus a good command of English; and make profitable use of the Philippines’ vast natural resources. Not your typical chicken or egg story!

You could also find Hyperwage Theory, Part 1 to 28, in this site. I’m still reading it, digesting it, and I might be a new reader to Hyperwage Theory, but from the few parts I’ve already read, I’m intrigued!

Be prepared though, Bentulan writes about his Ideal Audience (in Part 2, Hyperwage Theory Revealed, 12 May 2005):

“Economics is hard enough as it is because it is very mathematical and quite rightly dubbed as the queen of social sciences. . . . As for the rest of readers, well, you can be intellectual voyeurs. Who knows you will understand economics the way the Street Strategist does.
But if you try to argue with me and you don’t have a PhD, don’t. I don’t have time to give you a tutorial in economics. . . .And even if you don’t have a PhD in economics, if you care to hop on to this journey, I assure you, with the guarantee of the expository mastery of the Street Strategist, that you will never look at economics the same way again. I shall liberate your minds and that’s a promise.”


Al-Maghlooth, Abdullah (2008). Imagine a world without Filipinos. Email. March 2008. back to text

Bentulan, Thad[deu]s (2007). Why Filipinos Are Not Rich? The Misadventures of the Street Strategist Vol. 12. Manila: The Street Strategist, 25 January 2007. pp. 235-243. back to text

Castell, Marvin & Joel Tanchuco (2004) Are Filipinos Natural Born Gamblers? Manila: De La Salle University, March 2004. back to text

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.



  1. Why we Filipinos are poor? Because we got a lot of actors and actresses in our government while you can get non-actor and actress officials but came from rich family and corrupt, There is no true intention for a pure leadership and governance, lack of nationalism and me, we and ours is the only pronouns they know.

    Selfish and lack of values that you can see on everyday television and dramas. Our way of thinking is mostly affected by media and people around media. If the actor do this why we can’t, so that is reasonable because polygamy, changing of wives frequently, “kabit” system, one night stand, corruptions by officials so it became a habit.

    Bribing money to accelerate document processing, while the corrupt government generates money without inventory or we can say just to fill their pockets.

    Imagine the process of authentication that you bring to them your documents and every department, municipality and agency needs to be paid for a single document. for example: birth certificate, you will get a copy from municipality and you have to apply and pay, after that you will go national statistics office and bring that document, they will scan the document and will give you a copy of your birth certificate which they called “authenticated” and pay them money, you need to go a long way of line before you can get that authenticated document but some times they will ask you to go back in the afternoon then when the time comes they will say to come back the next day, stupid system that you can get this “authenticated document in few place only. Most of the people are coming from the provinces and not much money to spend and they will just do like this. Non concern, non-systematic just filling their pocket.

    Expensive cost of utilities, I don’t know how the economist based their basic salary wage while people are working hard but could not get a decent life. Yup, poor governance, our congress is full of law makers that squandered the budget and money of the people. While they are enjoying our money they don’t mind the most important law that they need to be guarded, The “Basic Needs”, I don’t know how many of them knows about the basic need of human being. Most of them are being paid by big companies to guard their businesses and pass scrupulous laws the was not studied for long terms, they were persuaded by big and rich companies with their devilish intention.

    Medicine laboratories and Hospitals are run by foreign companies, if you don’t have money you’re dead. Note: Government hospitals are lack of fund and out of modern facilities to give a total care to the masses. Social Security Services were stolen by the employees and was syndicated. You cannot borrow money from that agency because of lack of fund, stolen by the previous president. On my experience, my account was lost and my name could not be found in their computer, Hell to them, I pay that for almost 10 years and I worked hard to make sure that I would get pension someday but got by those greed in that agency.

    The economy is boosted by influx of dollars coming from “OFW” Overseas Filipino Workers, economy is stable in the merge of crisis because of the poor Filipino like me is forced to work abroad to get a good salary and living and to sustain a good and decent life for my family due to the reason I have tackled here.

    Every government agency is corrupt, even the Commission On Audit. They will give approval on the requested parts if the price is high such as 100,000 pesos(2,463 USD) for a wrist band ground. This is a real money where the real cost of the item is less than 10 USD. You cannot find a clean government agency in the Philippines they are all corrupted!

    That for today, there are many reason why we Filipinos are still poor, we need a cultural change and regeneration process!

    Comment by Farfur Bafur — 2013.January.18 @ 07:17 | Reply

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    Comment by think and grow rich — 2010.December.2 @ 19:46 | Reply

  3. IQ: intelligence. what makes filipinos poor is their IQ of 85.
    South Asians are centered at 85
    every met a smart filipino: Not
    85 IQ of filipinos

    Comment by steve jobs — 2010.July.15 @ 01:45 | Reply

    • ohhhh!!!!really!!!!!some Filipinos are not lazy they also work hard for their can say that because you treat us so very poor.but don’t insult us Filipinos because if we have a lowest IQ but we are also good in speaking English.

      Comment by jessamae orilla — 2010.November.22 @ 10:35 | Reply

  4. found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

    Comment by Get out of debt — 2010.May.5 @ 20:55 | Reply

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    Comment by DoopeEnfome — 2009.December.13 @ 11:33 | Reply

  6. Why are we poor?We have to look into ourselves,introspection as we call it.There’s a myriad of reasons of being poor but I guess we should ask ourselves first before we blame our situation to other people.Saving 5 peso a day will give you 150/month.Cut all futile text messages and you will save alot.We like to spend rather than to save for the rainy days.We like to celebrate parties which we got from the Espanols.Filipinos lack practicality but instead would like to flaunt wealth that is imaginary.
    Filipinos are hardworking,no doubts with that.If we work abroad,we are expected to give money to our parents and families.And mostly,they spend their lives like living in their pensions.
    I hope Filipinos will be better people.Not in skills,talents but in our attitude to flourish.

    Comment by sugarcoated — 2009.August.27 @ 15:34 | Reply

    • We work abroad to support our family in the Philippines where you cannot get a good and decent life even you strive hard, some point you are right but generally it is the reason why we go abroad, to support our family, about the 5 peso a day and 150 pesos a month of text message, how you want to communicate with your friends, do you use string and cans? 150 pesos is small amount, it is negligible compared to the money being used and abused by the government officials that supposed to generate work for the people if they only think how to handle the budget correctly.

      Comment by Farfur Bafur — 2013.January.18 @ 07:29 | Reply

  7. Magic is elegant too..

    Comment by Orlando Roncesvalles — 2009.February.22 @ 07:30 | Reply

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