Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Solidarity and Cooperation: Alternative Premises for an Economic National Plan, Part I

In 2007, a year before the elections, the Private Sector Coalition was incorporated. This alliance is made up of professional organizations from various industries of the country such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Homebuilders Association, the Association of Insurers, Certified Public Accountants Bar, Products Association and the Association of Industrialists, among others. Their biggest concern has been the decoupling of the island’s economic trends of those observed in United States of America. The aim is to increase their participation in the decision making process in Puerto Rico. With these purposes they suggest a plan for the economy that, from their perspective, would create the necessary conditions to give the country more competitiveness. The reduction in taxes paid by corporations, the review of the permit granting process, the diversification of energy sources and the labor market deregulation are some of their proposals. The result, they say, will be a steady growth in the annual production of goods and services by more than 4%. [See Caribbean Business, June 25, 2009]

This economic proposal, aimed primarily to reduce the public sector presence in the market, is part of the governmental platform of the New Progressive Party and its vision for Puerto Rico. José Ramon Perez - Riera, current Secretary of Economic Development, summarized with clarity the administration’s philosophy in an interview with a business newspaper:

"The government isn’t there to create jobs. The government isn’t there to make investments. The government is there to be a facilitator and provide the tools for the private sector to do its job.” [See Caribbean Business, July 2, 2009]

These statements are consistent with the terms previously expressed by the same public official to the membership of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce. On that occasion, Perez - Riera told to the entrepreneurs that the Government: "We will continue working with you and we trust that the private sector has to feel that owns Puerto Rico and owns the process, […] we respond to you and […] you have to tell us when we do wrong so that we know how we should improve. […] [T]he majority must establish in what direction is that Puerto Rico is going and the majority are you" [See El Vocero, Digital Release, June 19, 2009]

The Private Sector Coalition and the administration of Governor Luis Fortuño base their economic plan for the economy on the premise that through free enterprise and individual effort the society will produce the goods and services required to meet the needs of everyone. They are unable to recognize the main causes of the inequities in the national wealth distribution. For them the poor are in such circumstances because they have not worked enough. Competition is the guiding principle in the economic thought of both. They forget that people have different realities and circumstances. Is not the same to be the son of workers residing in Villa del Sol than the eldest of a family of entrepreneurs living in Garden Hills. The resource wealth of each is different.

For example, in 2006 the median annual income of a Puerto Rican household was $17,621. Approximately 45% of the population lived below the poverty level. However, the 5% of the country's richest families received 25% of the national income. The oligarchy continues appropriating the resources of the island in detriment of workers. [For these economic indicators see www.tendenciaspr.com]

No comments:

Post a Comment