HomeSynergeiavol. 2 no. 1 (2006)

Power Paradox: Breaking Institutionalized Populism to Enhance Economic Choices

Ricardo Barcelona

Discipline: Economics, Society



The Philippine paradox-high power prices, near bankrupt companies-continues to bewilder investors who are accustomed to operating under a system of fair returns for honest labor and capital.


The Philippine power conundrum, where the country has a penchant for lurching from one crisis to another, is brought about by a combination of institutionalized populism in the approach to regulation, engendered by a flawed legislative process and poor legal and economic framework for the power industry. Combined, these factors stifle socio-economic choices that are essential to the proper functioning of a market economy.


This paper seeks to address the systemic factors that led to institutionalizing populism in power regulation, assess how economic choices were impaired as a consequence, and offers ways by which the Philippine power industry could emerge successfully from its continual crises.