Puerto Ricans love being enslaved.
Or perhaps they simply don't know that they are enslaved.
How else can you explain Our tendency to buybuyBUY and spendspendSPEND beyond Our means? We live on credit like a vampire lives on blood, partially ashamed of our naked lust, but greedy when the object of that lust is in sight.
Many people here have two mortgages on their houses. Who really owns the house?
Many people here have bought a car on extended financing. Who really owns it?
Many people here buy everything on credit, such as appliances, furniture and clothes. Who really owns these items?
Many people here max out credit cards at 18-19% and take out "easy" loans at 25-27% interest. Who really owns their future wages?
If the house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the bed you sleep in, the range that cooks your food and the monies you can make don't belong to you, what do you really own?
Debt. You own only the obligation to give your money to someone else. You work only to give the product of that labor to someone else. Someone with the power to punish you if you fail to fulfill your duty according to their stipulations.
You are a slave. An economic unit with scarcely more freedom than a beast in harness.
Why? Why is this happening?
Because the path of least resistance is a powerful seduction. New! Trendy! Snazzy! Now! Today! Envy! Vanity!
Many people here consume to maintain "an image"? Who owns their mind?
Many people work, not to live, but to merely stay in the same place, running a daily treadmill of miserable despair, fearful that without this agony, their house of cards will collapse. Who owns their heart?
Tell these people the truth... and watch their eyes cloud over, thinking about their next purchase or week-long vacation-to-be-paid-for-two-years.
Tell these people to budget and plan for true wealth... and watch their eyes follow the newest luxury vehicle or electronic doodad in action.
Tell these people to avoid credit and stop following the beat of a bloodsucking drum... and their eyes show horror, not at the image, but at the idea of living within their means.
Eyes of slaves who are afraid of being free.
We need eyes that see another vision, one of hope and growth, a vision of building for one's future and not for another's profit sheet. Eyes that are eager to see what freedom is like. Eager to shine at how empowering it feels to leave the mindless herd behind. Eager to see the paths of being a force for themselves, and not a slave of others.
We need more of those eyes. We definitely need more of those eyes.
The Jenius Has Spoken.
[Update: 4 August 2011: Debt Is the Slavery of the 21st Century. Funny, I was called "excessive" for saying this, probably because I was 5 years too early... Actually, no I wasn't. ]
[Update: 19 October 2011: Debt-Serfdom Is Now The New American Norm. The typical American household is insolvent: its debts exceed its assets. Welcome to Puerto Rico, U.S. of part of A.!]