03 November 2008

Time to Grow Up

From Hispanic Business comes the word that Our--Puerto Rico's--economic model is "obsolete."

Do tell.

Let's see: An economic model based on low wages, tax-free investments and permissive regulations is now faced with Federally-mandated minimums, taxed investments and over-bureaucratic corruption. Oh, gee, why did THAT go wrong?

For the first time, Puerto Rico is in a recession when the U.S of part of A. isn't. Boo hoo. Due to changes ordained from Congress and Our own politically-asinine viewpoints, We're like kids who are going without while Our parents are just starting to tighten their belts.

In a word: Time to grow up.

There are times--not many, but they do come up--when I look around at My Island and think "We're pathetic. We seek to be taken care of like friendly mutts, striving for that mediocre place where Our basic needs get covered and We can frolic in the dirt until We get whacked by a rolled-up newspaper." What does that have to do with Our economy? Everything. For if We don't take it upon Ourselves to become masters of Our own Fate, We're just dogging it.

And We have for several decades. Politically, We've been as decisive as a "positively maybe...perhaps." Economically We've been frogs in a pot of water, paddling hard as the water heats up and the level goes down, so now the water's boiling and We can't see Our way to jumping out. But We're still flailing and hoping someone--someone other than Us, pathetically--drops a couple of ice cubes in so We can cheer on a boxer or a beauty mannequin.

Most of the time I see My Island as just indifferent, not in a pathetic way, but in the same way a toddler is indifferent to utility bills: There's no "there" there for the toddler. Not stupidity, just a severely limited worldview that will--should--expand and deepen with time. That it hasn't, well, that does border on pathetic. But I have hope.

Maybe over the next few years, as Our middle class departs and Our infrastructure rattles to a near-stop, We'll wake up and start expanding Our worldview. We'll stop being indifferent and notice the reality that Our National Life contains, We'll take charge of learning what they mean and how they affect Us, so like toddlers who realize that without paying the power bill they can't watch TV, We'll aim at the simple solution of "doing something about it" instead of plunking thumb in mouth, sitting dumbly on the couch and waiting for the magic box to speak again.

Toddlers become children who can work odd-jobs and make a few dollars. Not much, but enough to strengthen the sense of responsibility and duty that, combined later with a teenager's energy and idealism, are the basis for most fundamental social change. And as you can see, the process of growing will take time, maybe a generation or two. That's really all it takes. That We have let three or four generations go by without growing up is just...Us.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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