18 August 2006

Trickle Rises to Flood

An interesting remark by Chris Borg, president of BorgSolutions, launched Me into some research. Chris told Me one of his friends was moving to Orlando and couldn't find a moving company to take her things there sooner than four months from the time she was calling.

Four. Months.

That got Me to calling moving companies. I called seven local ones, pretending that I was moving my family's belongings to Raleigh, North Carolina. Of the seven companies, six couldn't take on My "move" until late September. In fact, four of them couldn't "move" Me until October, unless I paid extra for special service or a cancellation happened.

This week I had lunch with my good friend Laura, whose social circle is heavily weighed with people in the upper middle class and higher tax brackets. By the sheerest coincidence, she brought up this "exodus" observation just as I was about to ask her if she had noticed something like that. In Laura's case, more than a dozen of her friends and acquaintances have left the Island in the past few months.

I have posted on the exodus of doctors, but what this observation adds is that the trickle is becoming a current which in due time could become a flood. The families leaving Puerto Rico are not the migrant workers of 50-60 years ago: now it's professionals who simply cannot remain here and achieve satisfaction, peace of mind and/or their goals.

Laura mentioned two other trends: Puerto Ricans seeking European citizenships (mainly from Spain) and parents of high schoolers sending their children to schools in the States, no matter what the cost.

The citizenship issue seems clear: an alternative to the deteriorating value of U.S. citizenship and a fall-back to its eventual elimination for Puerto Ricans. But the high schoolers' forced exile is different, for it cuts to the heart of Our daily life: Parents are seeking a better future for their children by preserving them from the dangers of Our present. And their solution is to simply get them out of here.

Yep, gettin' outta Dodge, podner. But gettin' isn't an option for most of Us. How's the business owner going to leave? How are the marginal-incomers and those with less going to leave? If the folks whose preparation, skills and experience make them more suited to make a difference for Puerto Rico leave the Island, who will take up the slack? If the middle disappears, what will happen when the "top" and "bottom" collapse into each other?

I'm not leaving, at least for 10-15 years. My son lives here, therefore I will stay. Even when I could have left, I chose to stay, for this is My home. But if My home becomes a hellhole (that seems to be the common pessimistic view), is staying the best option? Is fighting the massive forces of indifference, corruption, chicanery, demagoguery, malice and violence worth it?

I know My answer. If the "best-suited" players leave, then We play with who's left. The fact is, We'll probably play better because We have more to gain and less to oppose Our efforts. The people that are leaving are the most conservative, the ones who wish the status quo that props them up would remain as stagnant as the water on The Fools' brains. When the party poopers leave, the rest of Us can boogie down.

(So to speak.)

We can view the exodus as a crisis or as an opportunity. Maybe We should see it as both, so that the urgency of the crisis fuels the adrenaline of the opportunity. In any case, as My grandmother used to say: Los que se van no hacen falta...Those that leave aren't needed.

I hope We don't. Because If We do, then We're looking at a long downhill slide into even darker shadows.


The Jenius Has Spoken.

3 comments:

Nelson said...

Do you really think that bright and well educated people aren't needed?

Especially in the crisis we are living in today?

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Nelson, I think We still have plenty of bright, well-educated people in Puerto Rico, but We need those that are committed to Puerto Rico more than We need those who up and leave. Although it might be true that We are losing "the cream of the crop," which should We prefer: the "superstar" who wants to be on "another team" or the "hard-working team player" who wants to win? I think the choices We face now boil down to just that.

Anonymous said...

Gil,

The problem I see with the exodus is that people leaving are also entrepreneurs, you know those people who create jobs (yes, the ones the government hates).
When they are gone, employment will go higher, criminality as well since the government seems unable to provide oppportunities for the population to grow (their way to help is to blame the "rich").
I fear the worst for the island and the politicians and the majority of the population electing them do not seems to understand the consequense or at least aknowledge them.

Chris