Philippines' dog-eat-dog business environment crushes hopes of small business owners

Small businesses and cottage industries can thrive if they are allowed to. The thing with big businesses is that by expanding too much you have to drive everybody out of business.

In Australia, for instance, you rarely see the predominance of big chain businesses in the suburbs because there are small businesses that cater to the needs of the community. If there are any shopping districts, they grow organically.

It is, in fact, a point of pride when someone can say that their produce is sourced locally. You know that when you buy it you help a neighbour either pay for their bills or send their kid to school.

And they do the same for you. One doesn't have to force someone to fail just to succeed. It's not laziness to not want to expand—it's being satisfied with what you have. And because everyone is doing it, there is hardly anyone not working. Everyone does what they can. Everyone has a fair go. It's not so much the "heritage of smallness" so much as the "heritage of everyone having a fair piece of the pie."

It works. It's why Australian cities have been at the top of the most livable places for so long.

It used to be like that in my hometown of Baguio: small businesses and cottage industries meeting the needs of the community and extending outside of the city.

But with SM and big business coming in, you either watch your small business or cottage industry die (because who can compete with SM) or you're reduced to working for someone else.

So people dreaming of aggressively expanding business do so at the expense of someone else's dreams. By putting someone else out of business just so you can expand yours, you force these disenfranchised ones to become lazy because they find that their efforts are futile.

It is this infatuation with having to be the biggest fish in the pond that creates the issues of social disparity.

It doesn't have to be that way.

It's about time both Filipinos and those Chinese who happen to have Filipino citizenship realise that everyone can live symbiotically.

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