---Kudos to Georgia Popplewell on Caribbean Free Radio's nomination for a 2006 Weblog of the Year Award in the category of Best Latino, Caribbean or South American blog. Go vote for Georgia!
Thought experiment: Imagine that alien beings--Let's call them "Americans"--say that by 2018, Puerto Rico has to stand alone as its own government. Autonomous. Non-colonial. In essence, to take its place on the world stage as an independent nation.
How would We do it?
Forget any other question and focus solely on this one: How would We do it?
The simple answer is: We'd focus outward, to a global worldview. A deadline such as this one would give Us no other viable option for progress except to cast away Our overwhelming obsession with Our own belly-button and notice that there's a whole world out there waiting for Us.
Looking outward would radically and fundamentally change Our basic "structural" components: economy and education.
--Economy: We would have to discard Our idiotic "zero-sum game" mentality (everything viewed as win/lose with finite resources) for a new paradigm of "a bigger pie for all." Instead of scrabbling for what Juana or Manuel has next door, We can orient Ourselves to explore new and larger opportunity sets anywhere and everywhere in the world.
--Education: Our students are leaving high school as some of the worst-prepared in the industrialized world. They are much much closer to "You want fries with that?" than to "I have a dream." To put it bluntly, We are producing wretched cashiers and clerks instead of leaders. But We won't really see the chasm until We learn to look out there and only then will reality slap Us into consciousness. We'd have to change Our educational system because as it is, it openly, brazenly and irresponsibly holds Us back.
The answers are simplistic because I neither have the time nor expertise to write a high-quality book about this. But a book isn't necessary, for what the thought experiment does is simply establish a thought, one that can be adopted and adapted by all of Us.
Given that We can assume responsibility for Our Fate, how would We do it? Given that We have to, how are We going to do it now?
The thought experiment isn't new: It's been here all along.
The Jenius Has Spoken.