Economic Performance

Marcos Regime Economic Performance: Better or Worse?

The impact of the Marcos Regime on the economy of the Philippines is debatable. To analyze this impact, we must look at the regime’s policies and actions. This helps us see the truth about how the economy did under the Marcos Regime.


Key Takeaways:

  • The Marcos Regime’s economic performance is a subject of ongoing debate and analysis.
  • Understanding the regime’s economic impact requires a comprehensive examination of its policies and actions.
  • Through a careful analysis of data and historical context, we can gain insight into the consequences of the Marcos Regime’s economic decisions.
  • Examining the regime’s economic performance is crucial for understanding the country’s development during that era.
  • By evaluating the Marcos Regime’s economic legacy, we can better assess its lasting impact on the Philippines.

Prelude to Economic Decline: The Marcos Regime’s Approach

Before looking at the economic fall during the Marcos Regime, we should understand how the leaders worked. Their choices and actions played a huge role in the economic issues later on.

Neoliberal Policies and Martial Law’s Economic Impact

The Marcos Regime pushed for neoliberal policies. These focused on the free market, less rules, and selling off government-owned things. They said this would bring in more foreign money and grow the economy. Sadly, these changes started around the same time martial law was declared in 1972. This harmed the Philippines’ economy a lot.


The Marcos Regime took away people’s rights and made almost everything about them and their group. This hurt the country’s ability to grow economically. It scared off foreign investors and made the gap between the rich and the poor bigger.

Under Marcos, corruption was widespread and his friends got a lot of power. They controlled many parts of the economy, picking their own people for big jobs. This didn’t help the country’s economy or its people.

The merging of the free market and martial law made things worse for most people. The poor got more poor, and only a few got richer. The Marcos policies had a really bad effect that the country felt for a long time.

Structural Adjustment Loans and Their Repercussions

The Philippines needed help with its economy, so Marcos turned to big international groups for loans. These were called structural adjustment loans (SALs) and were made with the IMF and World Bank.

These loans made the country do tough things to fix its economy. But what was needed to get this money made life harder for the people. This included cutting down on help and services for those who needed it the most.


The country had to open its markets more, spend less on important things, and sell off government-run businesses. These big changes were supposed to make the economy stronger but they ended up hurting the average Filipino.

The Marcos Regime’s mix of the free market, martial law, and these loans laid the ground for the tough economic times that followed.


Deregulation and Import Dependency Under Marcos

The Marcos Regime planned various steps to boost the economy. A major move was to lessen rules on industries and to grow dependent on imports. This decision affected the country in a mix of good and bad ways.

Marcos allowed less strict rules to catch the eye of foreign investors. It was to make business easier and involve more private companies. But this push made the Philippines rely more on products from abroad.

Import Dependency

This picture shows us what import dependency is all about. It fits well with our discussion.

This reliance harmed the economy in many ways. People enjoyed more choices and lower prices on goods. But, local companies found it hard to keep up, losing out to cheaper foreign items.

Importing led to more problems too. The country spent more money on imports than what it earned from exports. It had to keep a lot of foreign money on hand. This made it tough to keep local prices stable.

The heavy reliance on imports had serious effects. It weakened the local job market and slowed the growth of Philippine companies. This made doing business harder for local brands.


As a result, the country faced big economic risks. It was harder to keep the economy steady. Issues like managing inflation became more of a challenge.

In the end, Marcos’ plan had both good and bad outcomes. While aiming to spur growth, it made the Philippines too reliant on outside goods. This hurt local businesses and made the economy more fragile.

Crony Capitalism and Its Effect on National Industry

Crony capitalism describes a close, sometimes unfair link between business and government. It was a big deal during the Marcos regime in the Philippines. This setup hurt national industry by reducing competition, killing new ideas, and keeping the riches among just a few people.

For instance, they used special contracts in sectors like mining and energy. These deals let just a few powerful folks and their companies control the valuable resources there.

This led to a situation where only a lucky few got very rich. It made it tough for smaller players and local communities to share in the wealth from natural resources. The result was not just unfair wealth but also slowed down the country’s industry growth.

Crony capitalism also led to creating economic zones. These zones gave special treatments to a few big, connected businesses. This made it hard for other local industries to compete or get help from the government.

Businesses outside these special zones suffered from competition and lack of support. This unfair situation continued to hold back the national industry from growing as it should.

In summary, crony capitalism negatively affected the Philippines’ economy during Marcos’ time. It did so through unfair contracts and the promotion of special economic zones. With power and wealth in just a few hands, this setup stopped a diverse and competitive economy from forming. These problems still affect the Philippine economy today.


Sources: Philstar

Labor and Wages During the Marcos Era

The Marcos era in the Philippines put a big focus on labor and wages. The government’s decisions greatly affected the job market and pay rates. This was true for many working people.

Real Wage Trends and the Push for Overseas Employment

Back then, real wages were a big deal. Although people were paid more, what they could buy with that money didn’t always rise too. So, even though workers got paid more, they were still struggling to keep up with the costs of living.

Many Filipinos turned to jobs abroad to help their families. Working overseas offered better pay and a chance to step up financially. This big move to work in other countries was pushed by low wage growth and not many job options back home.

Labor Export Policy: A Lasting Legacy

The Marcos government came up with a plan to send workers abroad. This was to deal with not enough jobs in the Philippines. The focus was mainly on sending workers to places like the Middle East and East Asia, where they were needed.

This plan had some good and bad sides. The plus was that Filipinos found jobs and sent money home. These money transfers were really important for the country’s economy and helped with spending. But, this plan also meant the country was leaning a lot on overseas work to tackle its money issues.

This brought up worries about being too dependent on money from people working abroad. It also talked about the tough choice of families being apart because of work in other countries.

labor and wages during the Marcos Era


Debt-Driven Growth and Its Consequences

The Marcos Regime’s economic strategy heavily relied on debt for growth. This method looked good at first but led to big problems for the Philippines.

The government took on a lot of debt to fund big projects. These included things like new roads and factories. Since the country’s money wasn’t enough, lenders from around the world helped pay for these.

This picture shows what debt-driven growth looks like in the Philippines. It highlights how big the debt got because of Marcos’s decisions. It’s a strong reminder of the bad economic impacts.

This growth with debt came with a big price. The Philippines’ debt grew a lot, becoming very hard to pay back. The country had to keep borrowing just to cover what it owed.

The extra money from outside also hurt local businesses. They couldn’t keep up with the cheaply imported goods. This led to job cuts and fewer local companies. Plus, relying on outside debt made the Philippines weak against global financial problems.

As shown in the BIS report on sovereign debt crises, too much debt can hurt an economy badly. It can cause the value of money to drop, prices to soar, and long-lasting problems.

The damage from Marcos’s approach lasted a long time. The debt and its problems slowed the Philippines’ economic improvement. It made the country known as the ‘Sick Man of Asia’ for a while.

The next part looks at how getting money from outside affected the Philippines. It also looks at what foreign debt did for building the country’s infrastructure.


Economic Crisis and International Lending

During the Marcos regime, the Philippines dealt with major economic issues. These included a tough economic crisis and a growing need for international loans. The country heavily relied on loans from abroad to develop its infrastructure and meet economic needs.

This borrowing, however, had serious downsides for the Philippine economy. It resulted in heavy debts that strained the country’s financial health.

international lending

The Role of Foreign Debt in Infrastructural Development

The Marcos government worked on big projects to make the country better and boost its economy. They needed a lot of money for these projects, so they borrowed from other countries. This foreign debt helped build important things like roads, bridges, and power plants.

But, relying on loans from abroad caused issues in the long run. It made paying back the loans very hard. This impacted the Philippines’ ability to spend on important areas like education and healthcare.

The Peso Devaluation and Spiraling Inflation

As borrowing continued, the economy faced more challenges. The peso’s value dropped, and prices for goods shot up. This made living costs very high for citizens.

These economic troubles hit the people hard. At the same time, the rich and those near the government kept gaining from the situation.

The problems caused by heavy borrowing and the economic crisis of Marcos’s time had a big and lasting effect. People struggled a lot, and the country’s future was deeply impacted.

Government Spending, Corruption, and Economic Downturn

Diving into the economic downturn under the Marcos Regime, we must look at government spending and corruption. Mishandling funds and corruption really hurt the Philippines’ economy.

Government spending was a big problem. The Marcos government used a lot of the budget on too many buildings and things we didn’t need. This led to less money being used well and lower productivity.


Corruption also spread widely. The Marcos era was filled with friends of the government getting special treatment. This way of doing things weakened the country, hurt trust, and kept investors away.

A study in Nature Sustainability explains how corruption damages economic growth. It says we need clear rules, responsibility, and good government to have a strong economy.

The Marcos government didn’t stop there. They also let friends control valuable natural resources. This often hurt the environment and people living near those resources.

All this corruption and government misuse of money made things really bad for the Philippines. People lost faith, the economy didn’t grow well, and we had to rely too much on loans.

Effects of Government Spending and Corruption Consequences
Decreased public trust and investor confidence Undermined economic stability and growth
Misallocation of resources Wasted public funds and inefficiency
Weakened institutions Impeded social and economic development

The chart shows how badly government misuse and corruption hit the Philippines during the Marcos time.

To sum up, how the government spent and its corruption made the economic downturn worse. We must fix these issues to have a fair and strong future economy in the Philippines.

The Economic Performance of the Marcos Regime

The Marcos Regime’s economic performance is best understood by looking at GDP growth and its regional standing. We will explore how Ferdinand Marcos’ policies affected the country’s development. This includes analyzing the legacy left by his economic strategies in the Philippines.

Assessing GDP Growth and the Lost Decades

GDP growth reflects how well an economy is doing. The Marcos era saw many ups and downs in the Philippines’ GDP growth. Unfortunately, from the 1970s to the 1980s, there was a decline known as the “Lost Decades.”

This period was marked by government corruption and bad financial decisions. There was too much borrowing and not managing public money wisely. These actions slowed economic growth and made wealth inequality worse.

Even though there were moments of growth, the long-term results of Marcos’ policies were damaging. The country’s economic stability and development were significantly harmed. Below is a figure showing the country’s struggle in maintaining steady economic growth:


GDP Growth Rate during Marcos Regime

The Philippines as the ‘Sick Man of Asia’

Under Marcos, the Philippines was called the ‘Sick Man of Asia.’ This was because it was falling behind other nearby countries economically. Places like Japan and South Korea were growing quickly, leaving the Philippines behind.

Why was this happening? The Philippines borrowed a lot of money from other countries. Also, local factories and businesses were not doing well. Plus, there was a lot of corruption and political troubles. The focus on agriculture over other areas was not helping the economy move forward.

Because of these issues, the Philippines faced slow industrial growth and big problems like joblessness. The legacy of Marcos’ time still affects the country’s economy today. New leaders are working hard to overcome these old challenges and lead to a better future for all.

If you want to learn more about the economic problems during the Marcos days, check out this research paper: The Economic Consequences of the Marcos Regime.

The Burst of the Debt Bubble

In the final years under Marcos, the Philippines faced a big economic crisis. This crisis was due to a debt bubble bursting. The country got into a lot of foreign debt from borrowing too much and not handling it well. This brought the nation’s finances to a dangerous place.

The Marcos government borrowed a lot from other countries to build big projects. They also used the money to keep the economy going. Even though they aimed to develop the economy, they started a debt problem. This problem made it hard to pay back the money they owed.

Borrowing money for growth created a debt bubble. This bubble risked the Philippine economy’s stability.

With too much debt, the government had to spend a big part of its money just on debt payments. This left little for improving public services, making needed investments, and helping the people. The debt kept the economy from growing and kept many Filipinos in poverty.



The debt bubble’s burst hit the Filipino people hard. It made public services worse, raised unemployment, and made life harder for many. Families and individuals were struggling.

This crisis wasn’t just about money. It also shook up the politics of the Philippines. People started to speak out about wanting change and making the government do better. These voices set the stage for later movements that helped end Marcos’s rule.

The debt crisis under Marcos is a big lesson about the dangers of too much borrowing. It shows how important it is to handle money wisely and be open and responsible in governance. This way, the country can avoid falling into economic trouble again. And, it can keep its people safe and well.

Consequences of the Burst of the Debt Bubble:
1. Deterioration of public services
2. Soaring unemployment rates
3. Worsening living conditions
4. Political instability

Understanding the Manufacturing Sector’s Stagnation

The manufacturing sector was vital for the Philippines under the Marcos Regime. It helped the country grow economically. But, after a while, it started to slow down. This slow down hurt the economy.

The reason for this was relying too much on things from outside the country. The Marcos Regime made it easy for other countries to invest. They wanted to make more things in the Philippines. So, they let in a lot of stuff from other places.

Manufacturing Sector Stagnation

This made the Philippines’ factories weak against some tough situations. For example, when the prices of things around the world changed. Cheaper things from outside made it hard for local businesses to sell their products. And this caused job losses.

The Marcos Regime tried to fix this by making special areas for business known as economic zones. The goal was to get more money from other countries to make things in the Philippines for sale outside. But, these zones had special rules that made it hard for local businesses to compete.

Another big problem was giving special treatment to a few people. The Marcos Regime helped only a small number of wealthy business owners. This made the economy unfair and stopped others from growing.


Not investing in new ideas added to the problem. The Marcos Regime didn’t focus on making the Philippines’ factories better in the long run. They only thought about now, which made it hard to keep up with other countries.

To fix the issues in the manufacturing sector, the Philippines should look at new ways to help local businesses. This means lessening the need for things from other places, getting more money for inventing new things, and making sure everyone plays fair. This could help make the Philippines’ economy stronger in the long term.

To learn more about the issues with the manufacturing sector during the Marcos Regime, you can check out the OECD report on industrial policies. It talks about the tough parts of the manufacturing sector and gives ideas for getting better.

Employment Crisis and Working Conditions

The Marcos Regime shaped employment and work in the Philippines. It said it wanted to create jobs but opportunities were lacking. People faced tough times finding work and conditions were not in their favor.

During Marcos’ time, the job scene got worse despite big projects. There weren’t enough jobs for the growing number of people. Unemployment and underemployment hit the youth hard.

The regime’s focus on foreign investments hurt local businesses. This made it harder for Filipinos to earn a living. Many lost their jobs because of these big changes.

Working conditions under Marcos were tough. People earned little, worked too much, and had few rights. They often had to accept bad treatment. The exports policy made job insecurity a norm.

Economic growth didn’t benefit workers much during Marcos’ time. The favor went to big foreign companies. Local workers’ needs were not central to the regime’s plans.

Employment Challenges Working Conditions
  • Rise in unemployment
  • High underemployment
  • Displacement of traditional sectors
  • Low wages
  • Long working hours
  • Limited labor rights

The Marcos Regime made it hard to find work and improve conditions for workers. Many faced unemployment or worked under bad conditions. Economic progress didn’t change this reality for most.

Economic growth must focus on workers and ensure fairness. A prosperous economy should lift everyone, not just a few. Everyone deserves a chance at decent work and better lives.


The Marcos Regime significantly affected the Philippines’ economy. It introduced neoliberal policies and martial law which hurt the economy. These actions led to a decline in different economic sectors.

One major problem was the shift towards deregulation and more imports under the regime. This weakened local industries and made the country depend more on foreign products. This change was bad for the country’s growth.

Crony capitalism added to the decline. The regime favored certain wealthy individuals, which slowed down the growth of other businesses. This was seen in special deals and the growth of economic zones.

The regime also influenced labor and wages negatively. It encouraged Filipinos to work abroad, leading to fewer skilled workers at home. This policy increased the need for money from relatives living abroad.

Moreover, relying on foreign loans to grow backfired. The debt became too much, putting a heavy strain on the economy. This resulted in a severe economic crisis and more reliance on foreign help.

Corruption and poor money management also hurt the economy. The government didn’t spend money well. This caused more corruption and less economic growth for the Philippines.

The Marcos Regime’s economic story is one of falling behind and struggling. It didn’t manage to grow the economy long term. Its decisions have had a significant and lasting effect on the Philippines’ path of development. To fully grasp this era’s impact, we need to look at the data, history, and what the Filipino people went through.

For more information about the Marcos Regime’s economic effect, you can read “The Economic Impact of the Marcos Regime”.


What is the Marcos Regime’s economic performance?

The Marcos Regime’s economic performance is widely debated. We’re looking into whether their strategies led to growth or decline. By examining data and the era’s history, we aim to understand its economic impact better.

What was the approach of the Marcos Regime towards the economy?

The Marcos Regime chose neoliberal policies and enforced martial law. This had big effects on the economy. They also took on loans that altered the economic scene further.

How did deregulation and import dependency under Marcos impact the economy?

Marcos’ policies increased deregulation and dependency on imports, changing the economy’s dynamics. These actions shifted focus from local industries to foreign products.

What was the impact of crony capitalism on national industry during the Marcos era?

Crony capitalism under Marcos, namely service contracts and economic zones, deeply affected the national industry. These efforts changed the economy significantly.

What were labor and wage conditions like during the Marcos era?

During Marcos’ rule, real wages and the trend towards overseas work shaped the labor market. These changes were important then and still influence us today.

How did debt-driven growth impact the economy under Marcos?

Marcos relied on debt-driven growth to jumpstart the economy, which carried major consequences. These effects will be looked at more closely.

What role did foreign debt play in infrastructural development under Marcos?

Foreign debt was key in building infrastructure under Marcos. But, it caused economic crises like currency devaluation and high inflation.

How did government spending and corruption contribute to economic downturn?

High government spending and corruption worsened the economic downturn under Marcos. Studying their effects helps us understand the economic picture of that time.

How can we assess the GDP growth and the lost decades under the Marcos Regime?

To understand GDP growth and the lost decades under Marcos, we look at economic data. This helps to evaluate the economic situation of that period.

What led to the burst of the debt bubble under the Marcos Regime?

The debt bubble under Marcos was caused by excessive borrowing and spending. Knowing the reasons for its collapse is vital in understanding the economic troubles of that time.

What contributed to the manufacturing sector’s stagnation during the Marcos era?

Different factors led to the manufacturing sector’s slowdown under Marcos. Examining these reasons shows the difficulties faced by the sector.

What was the employment crisis and working conditions like under the Marcos Regime?

The Marcos era saw tough job conditions and low wages. Looking into these issues helps us see the hardships workers faced at that time.

What can we conclude about the economic performance of the Marcos Regime?

Researching the data and history allows us to make conclusions about Marcos’ economic performance. This puts the Philippines in the context of being the ‘Sick Man of Asia’.

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