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Imperialism and the Formation of Good Governance Discourse in the Philippines: The Case Study of the Philippine National Bank in the 1920s

Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 12:20pm

Rockefeller Hall, 374
Central Campus

Gatty Lecture Series

Join us for a talk by Lisandro Claudio, (Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley), who will discuss imperialism and good governance in the Philippines.

This Gatty Lecture will take place at the Rockefeller Hall 374. Lunch will be served. For questions, contact

About the Talk

The near collapse of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) in the early 1920s is often held up as proof of how Filipino corruption derails economic development. It is an important case study in works that analyze the Philippines through the lenses of rent-seeking and crony capitalism. Unfortunately, much of this analysis has been derived from imperialist sources. More importantly, these imperialist sources were empirically incorrect. The PNB was in crisis not because of corruption, but because of a postwar global deflation—an event that has been called the most underrated economic crisis in world history. Using the PNB crisis, this lecture challenges the dominant form of political-economic analysis in the Philippines (and many other parts of Southeast Asia and the developing world), which reduces issues of economic development to questions of corruption and good governance. If scholars, credulous over imperial sources, got this event wrong, what else have they misinterpreted?

About the Speaker

Lisandro E. Claudio is an associate professor in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also the chair of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies.

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, Government, Southeast Asia Program


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Southeast Asia Program

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Lisandro Claudio

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University of California, Berkeley

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