30 July 2012

Can We Decline If We Aren't "Up"?

"(P)ublic and commercial services work badly, the average person is becoming poorer rather than richer, the economy has been pulled horribly out of shape and government in the widest sense is hopelessly dysfunctional, with different branches of the state frequently at loggerheads with one another.”

Yeah, welcome to My Island...England? Okay, the quote above is from this book review in The Economist, the magazine Our """leaders""" should read if they knew how to read. Fact is, they can't, so they don't.

The book's premise is that England could have a Third World economy by 2014(!) based on the quoted description above. Now I've argued (way back in 2005) that We were not a Third World country, but could become one...and so We have. Don't agree? Then answer this:

Question the First: Are Our public services better now than in 2005? Or 1995? Or 1975?

Question the Second: Are We getting richer, as in increased income per capita in real dollars, not inflation-adjusted accounting smoke?

Question the Third--World (sorry, had to do it): Is Our economy in better shape than in 2005? Or 1995? Or even 1975?

Question the Fourth: Is Our government less bureaucratic and less contentious, thus more effective than it was before?

The answer to all four questions is a resounding "No." You can argue the points if you're a pluperfect moron or worse, a member of the misnamed LIBREInitiative, a group with an extra B and R in their names for reasons that have to do with abject idiocy.

Now in the case of England, they were once an empire, so it is appropriate to say they are and have been in frank decline for decades. But can We say We are in decline? For doesn't "decline" imply that there was an "up" and thus one is headed "down"?

The way I see it, We are in a black hole, where up/down mean nothing because We've long been sucked into a hellacious sucking nadir. We can't be in decline because We flatlined into sheer suckitude (yes, that's a word; I used it, it's a word) about 20 years ago and all We've done since is corkscrew around in swampy suckiness.

So yes, We are a Third World economy because We have allowed Our """leaders""" to shred what solid economic foundations We had through serial incompetence and prolonged graft, power-up the "government as nepotism central" surge to mollycoddle almost 30% of Our "workforce," allow national debt to pile up to the tune of over $60 billion in a country that produces about $57 billion...and where 64% of the profits We produce--at least--are sent out to the U.S. of part of A.

When you have a weak economy propped up and abused by an outside nation, governed through patronage, nepotism and graft, with the "haves" becoming a smaller, more powerful group and the "have nots" becoming the vast majority and where a clear majority of business profits leave the nation to line the pockets of the dominant country, you have a colony. Pure and simple.

And when the colony is stuck in a black hole of suckitude, it is nothing more than a Third World country.

We aren't going "down": We are are already there. Which means We have a huge potential to go "up." If We choose.

And as I said in 2005: We must choose.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


Anonymous said...

Can you explain this please "64% of the profits We produce--at least--are sent out to the U.S. of part of A.".


Gil C. Schmidt said...

Certainly, Jeff. The simple explanation is: look around Puerto Rico. How many U.S.-based chain businesses do you see? With the exception of hardware stores, hair-cutting and styling salons and a few other niches (dry cleaning, for example), U.S.-based businesses dominate almost every aspect of Our economy.

Even when ownership is shared with locals (think franchise restaurants, for example), a high percentage of gross profits is paid Stateside. The retail stores with the largest consumer volumes in Puerto Rico? Wal-mart and Walgreens, by far. Largest supermarket sales? Amigo...owned by Wal-mart. Fast food restaurants overall outsell local restaurants. Same with auto parts stores, clothing, shoes and more.

In short, as much as We buy, the majority of profits don't go to "Our people." And if you think that We benefit greatly from salaries, as in "Well, these companies provide jobs," there are two more things to consider: We average about 55% of average U.S. wages -- http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/current_issues/ci14-2/ci14-2.html -- and who really gets paid more, the sales clerk or the C-level executives? You KNOW which one you'd rather be.

Back in the first decade of the 20th century, Jesse Fewkes wrote that American firms in Puerto Rico (largely sugar cane plantation owners) were ruining the Island's growth potential by siphoning about 68% of the profits from the Island. In 2008, the estimate by the local Economists Association was that the profit siphon had declined...to 64%. And yet some members claimed it was higher, possibly as much as 75% or more, because companies would routinely hide their true profits -- http://www.startribune.com/business/136452843.html?refer=y --

The damage this profit siphon does is obvious: it takes away Our growth potential. How limited are We?

Want to come to Puerto Rico? American Airlines or some other U.S.-based carrier.

Want to ship to or from Puerto Rico? You HAVE to use a U.S.-based shipping company.

Want to eat in Puerto Rico? About 94% of Our food is imported, roughly 82% of that from U.S.-owned sources and 100% shipped in by U.S. ships.

Want to buy the Dept. of Commerce "basket of goods" for the average family? About 89% of it is bought in U.S.-based retail outlets.

This colonial formula is simple: We get (under)paid wages, the U.S. gets the profit. So it was in 1899, so it is in 2012. And so it shall continue, as much as it pains Me to say that.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gil, I think you are implying that this is a bad thing? It’s neither good or bad. Just for comparison what is this figure for the USA? How much of the “profits” leave the US?
Say someone has an idea. They form a company here. People come to them and say they can do this type of work. The company asks them if they will do that job for this amount of pay. They say yes and do the job they agreed to do. Either party is free to end that agreement anytime. That sounds like a win win to me. Yet you make it sound like the person doing the job is being abused. I am not being abused and I earn about 60% of what I was making in Seattle. You’re going to have give me more reasons why this bad. This is not the first half of the 19th century.

Lets say that company had sales of 100 Billion. After paying all their workers and taxes they have a profit of 10 billion. What difference does it make what that company does with that 10 billion? It is theirs to do with as they please just like no one tells you what you have to buy.

I see the bulk of your explanation as a void that has been filled. The US companies found a void and filled it. Simple as that. If any PRcan company finds a void in the US they are more than welcome to fill it. Start your own airline, nothing preventing that. I would love to fly from Mayaguez directly to other islands.

OK, the shipping by a US shipping company is wrong and you are 100% correct about that. The US government is holding PR down with this law. Shame on them. It should be changed, however how much money is really being lost to the “Puerto Rican people” by this? I am sure the figure is a very small percentage.

And this whole “Puerto Rican people” thing just gets me. You are not a race. Get over yourself. You have very similar ancestry to most of the US. In fact you are so homogenized that that is the problem. You have no different ideas. You all behave the same and like the same things.

But we have touched on to many different topics to keep a rational conversation going. We need to discuss only one issue at a time.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff! You are a prick.


Gil C. Schmidt said...

Hey, Luis and Jeff, I had written a LENGTHY response to Jeff that was on point and ended in an insulting fashion. So between Blogger being a screw-up and Luis being oh-so-direct, I won't even bother to rewrite My comment.

But here's one part I AM keeping: Jeff, about "getting over Myself" concerning Us as a race? Fuck you. Here's the same response in numbers: how much of U.S. of part of A. ancestry is Taíno Indian, Jeffy-boy? You lie if you say anything above 0%. The answer in Puerto Rico? 61%.

Here are some links to get you started: http://www.taino-tribe.org/pr-taino-dna.htm

And: http://www.centrelink.org/KearnsDNA.html

As for the rest of your lame arguments, you're in a tank battle armed with a toothpick. Stop embarrassing yourself.