04 April 2012

We're Number 43! Or Something!

The International Finance Corporation, a division of The World Bank, issued its 2012 Report on Doing Business: Measuring Business Regulations. It ranks all its researched nations and sub-nations (their term, not Mine) from 1 to 183 in several categories related to the how easy or difficult it is to set up and operate a business operation. If you want to know how they came to their conclusions, you can read the IFC's methodology here.

[A non-casual aside: Local economists whoring for political parties and the folks who perpetrate the "Internet Study" in Puerto Rico would be well-advised to do the same: show your work. Although I fully understand that there isn't much methodology to "Pulling numbers from one's ass."]

As you already know, Puerto Rico finished in the overall 43rd place on the list, behind those economic powerhouses the Republic of Georgia (the one without Atlanta), Macedonia, Mauritius, Estonia, Cyprus and Colombia. (Yes, Colombia.) Who were the Top 5? Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the U.S. of part of A. and Denmark.

The highlight:
We ranked 12th in "Starting a Business," whereas the U.S. of part of A. ranked 13th (tied with Ireland.) Woo. And hoo.

The midlights:
We ranked 17th in "Protecting Investors," tied with Saudi Arabia, Georgia, Japan, Macedonia, Belgium and Peru in what must be the "B-" division. Let's now crow as ranking higher than Us are Kazakhstan, Albania and the Kyrgyz Republic, which you just found out exists. And you almost certainly don't know where Kazakhstan and Albania are, either.

In "Getting Credit" We ranked 24th (meaning We're heading into debt like a crazed hyena plunges into a dead elephant's bowels), 27th in "Resolving Insolvency," good to know since We're headed for bankruptcy and 35th in "Getting Electricity"...unless you want to steal it and are a government official, in which case We rank in the Top 1.

The lowlights:
A miserable 97th place in "Enforcing Contracts," possibly due to (a) corruption, (b) a near-useless legal system, (c) an over-abundance of laws, rules and regulations or (d) all of the freaking above with hemorrhoids.

As for "Paying Taxes," We rank 113th. Our taxes and tax system are definitely not helping Us compete on the global market, but then again, We knew that. We didn't need the IFC and the World Bank to remind Us of this simple, devastating fact. And by "We" I mean "folks not in government."

How does the number "126" grab you? That's where Puerto Rico ranks in "Registering Property," the kind of slap-with-a-wet-fish wake-up call most civilized and legally-organized countries would resent...only We have a double-faceful of damp sushi when We notice Our ranking of 152nd in "Dealing with Construction Permits."

Unless, of course, you are a government official, in which case, "Permits shmermits, suckers."

I did ignore the 101st place ranking for "Trading Across Borders" because that's not Our fault, entirely. Sure, We can use the Internet to sell anything anywhere, but Our colonial status allows Us to sell to anyone so long as that anyone is the U.S of part of A. or whoever the U.S. of part of A. allows Us to. (Had to double-up on the verb to make sure commonwealthers get the hint.)

Will We see progress in the 2013 Report? I'll say it depends a lot on who wins the November elections: the candidates....or the voters.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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