Return Economies: Speculation and Manila’s Investment in Durable Futures

Colloquium | November 2 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 2538 Channing (Inst. for the Study of Societal Issues), Wildavsky Conference Room

 Eric Pido, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University

 Center for Research on Social Change, Department of Ethnic Studies

Strategies of economic development, along with the changes throughout local economies in the Philippines, are often viewed solely through the lens of labor-sending and financial remittances, and the myopic interests of political elites in the country. This presentation, however, situates these political interests within the much larger global circuitry of financial speculation and rush for property investment dramatically altering the built-environment throughout cities all over the Global South. By tracing the dynamic coalescence of transnational property developers, Filipino American investors, and BPO employees in Manila, the concept of the “return economy” is introduced in order to convey the durable logic compelling and sustaining contemporary patterns of urban transformation throughout labor-sending countries. As a means of maintaining a foothold within the global market, Philippine state administrators have begun recognizing the significance of balikbayans, Filipinos visiting or returning to their homeland, in innovating the country’s economy and distinguishing itself from its neighbors. This discussion outlines the architecture of this emergent economy by describing three simultaneously working components, which together are reshaping the social fabric and landscape of Metro Manila.

Books will be available for sale and signing.

Book: Migrant Returns: Manila, Development, and Transnational Connectivity, 510-642-0813