21 January 2009

Two Points Worth Not(h)ing

It's fairly common knowledge that the economic "miracle" in Puerto Rico (1946-1972) was the model used by other countries to build their own growth programs. One of the most notable "students" was Singapore, a tiny Asian island that has made itself one of the Top 20 economies in the world.

Now, the average Puerto Rican would feel very good to be considered a role model for others to emulate. That's just human nature. But where We drop the ball is in taking that natural sense of pride in being worthy of emulation and missing two points: (1) We don't see intelligence and creativity as good things and (2) We are too insecure to admit We can learn from others.

(Let the kerfuffling begin...)

Why do I bring this up? Because Singapore decided to tackle its own economic crisis by starting at the most logical spot: They have ordered cuts in government salaries and freezes in government hiring until the economy picks up again.

Aaah... You're starting to see where I'm headed...

How likely is it that Our local ass farm of a government will do the same? My description of it is: As likely as koalas running for Pope.

Point 1 above means We will never accept the Singapore Solution because We, as a a people, are not impressed nor do We give a koala's ass about intelligence and creativity and wisdom, except when it comes wrapped in the tinsel of "opportunism." We admire los listos, the sly ones, but We pooh-pooh los inteligentes, the intelligent ones.  To Us, a brain is what's used for thinking up ways to get more somethings for nothing.

And Point 2 above means that they--those once-imitators, now teachers--are "still beneath Us" and thus there's no way We could ever learn from them. That's why We don't learn from Cubans, Dominicans or Venezuelans who come here, work hard, make the most of their circumstances and forge ahead. They are extranjeros, foreigners to the wonders of Our quasi-American citizenship and though We might envy their success, We ain't making the effort they made, no señor.

So a perfectly reasonable solution--eminently practical as well--will not touch Our shores with a ten kilometer pole. That President Obama did the same for the White House staff will be viewed here as a good thing... for over there. And even if We as a people agree that this Singapore Solution is a good thing, the inaction of the Fools to put it in practice (with a gutless Larva waffling weakly and a legislature that refuses to obey eletoral mandates such as unicamerality), will leave Us watching some other parts of the world forging ahead while We stay behind, flattening Our asses on the crumbling sidewalk of the past.

Live and learn? More like live... in limbo...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

2 comments:

The Insider said...

I was recently speaking with an individual hand selected by Fortuno to play a role in his new government hierarchy, albeit relatively minor in the grand scheme of things (but a stepping stone nonetheless).

Given my expertise in IT, I mentioned that many of the processes in the government could be greatly streamlined with improved software and/or Web based solutions.

My assertion was that interactions between citizens and any government department, be it the DMV, or *any* other could be greatly streamlined using these methods (many of which are already being used effectively) in other countries.

What does that mean? Get want you want from the gov faster, with less chance for error, less time waiting in lines or on hold on telephones, less gas money burned going back and forth to the offices, less stress and its related physiological impacts, less training required for government workers to do their job at a *higher* level, less government workers required overall!

That's just a quick core dump. I would expect the Jenius to give you a list of 1,000 items.

Now, regardless of whether or not you believe that an IT system could help, here is the "telling" response (not verbatim):

But we could never do that. Anything that could allow us to cut a job, would never be something that we would do.

This was from the mouth of a young, intelligent, charismatic lawyer, making his journey into PR's political realm.

Translation: We'd rather keep the jobs in place, without improving the system, to keep the government workers happy so that we can win elections.

What a pathetic proposition!

Are Puerto Rico's government workers eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits? Yes? Good, then they won't starve to death, even if they can't afford the gas to take the boat out as often.

Oh, and just a "by the way". Even if you won't get rid of them doesn't mean you can't improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your processes. Re-assign the 20 employees who can't adjust to the new system to counting floor tiles, thumb tacks, or "picking up garbage" in the parking lot. Then allow the 10 remaining to take over the new role and improve the process by 100% with 20 less people getting in the way (i.e. day dreaming the time away until their next pseudo Puerto Rican holiday).

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Insider, you have discovered the principal political reason We are going to hell in a rocket-powered handbasket: Politics trumps progress. If I can give 1,000 ideas with My limited IT perspective, you and other experts have already shown many thousands more...and do, every day, from Britain's tracking of Parliament bills to South Korea's same-day permits process to the U.S. government publications archive (and I know Canada should be on this list, but don't know exactly why; My bad.)

I'll touch this point of "preserving government jobs to save political power" later (I still owe you a response to wind/solar/alternative power sources; it's definitely in the works) because this notion is--are you sitting down?--a MYTH. Basic argument: You "save" political power at the expense of economic growth, which TURNS people against your party. People really do vote with their wallets, and even if some 37-42% of Our voters work for or with the government, a bad economy affects Us all.

Thanks for the comment and rest assured, The Jenius is on this like ugly on an ape...or some more complimentary metaphor that escapes My weekend-merry mind.