Archive for December, 2013

Socratic Debate

December 19, 2013

The poorest cities are all run by democrats.

December 16, 2013

Puerto Rico tiene la brecha entre ricos y pobres más grande de todo EEUU

December 11, 2013

pobreza_noticel11

Por: Ely Acevedo Denis:  NotiCel

En Puerto Rico el concepto de la familia ha sufrido transformaciones por los últimos años por factores sociales y económicos, entre los que resalta que la Isla tiene el mayor nivel de desigualdad entre ricos y pobres de territorio alguno bajo la jurisdicción de Estados Unidos.

     Así aseguraron José Reyes Rivera, director de la Escuela Graduada de Trabajo Social de la Universidad Católica y la doctora Hilda Burgos Ocasio, coautores del estudio “La familia puertorriqueña: un acercamiento socio-histórico”.

Según Reyes Rivera, uno de los problemas más serios que enfrenta la familia como institución es la tasa de desempleo, que en Puerto Rico ronda entre el 14% a 15%.

Y al considerar que la fuerza laboral ronda en las 907,200 personas, afirmó que es como si “prácticamente una tercera parte del País sostiene a las otras dos parte”.

A eso se le suma que el 45% de la población vive bajo los niveles de pobreza.

De hecho, 1.3 millones de personas reciben ayudas del Gobierno, o lo mismo que cerca de 60 mil familias, quienes lo identifican como su única fuente de ingresos. Estas cifras ponen en evidencia que no todas las personas que viven bajo los niveles de pobreza reciben asistencia económica.

Otro de los problemas es que “el 20% de la población más rica ostenta el 60% del ingreso, mientras que el 20% más pobre solo recibe el 1.7%. Estos dos datos nos ubican como el territorio con mayor desigualdad económica en los Estados Unidos”.

Un punto impactante que destacaron tanto Reyes Rivera como Burgos Ocasio es que 5.3% de los deambulantes en Puerto Rico viven en la calles junto a sus hijos menores de 18 años, en áreas como San Juan, Bayamón y Ponce.

Mencionó que en el 2008-2010 unos 17,422 jóvenes en Puerto Rico que tenían entre 16 a 19 años de edad no asistían a la escuela ni habían completado la escuela superior.

“La mayor proporción de adolescentes que dejan la escuela están entre octavo a undécimo grado”, planteó Reyes Rivera.

Por otra parte, Reyes Rivera mencionó cómo fenómenos como la emigración y la tasa de fertilidad también han tenido un impacto en el concepto tradicional de la familia.

En esa línea, resalta cómo la emigración produce una fragmentación de vínculo afectivo, además que debilita lazos de solidaridad y estima dentro del núcleo familia.

Es la población de edad avanzada la que queda más expuesta cuando sus familiares emigran del país, al muchas instancias verse solos y en riesgo de ser víctimas de la violencia.

Mientras tanto, Burgos Ocasio habló de cómo la crisis económica ha incidido en el alza de divorcios. Esta estimó que de cada 100 matrimonios que se efectúan en la Isla, 74 terminan en divorcio.

Las principales causales de divorcio son por consentimiento mutuo y ruptura irreparable. En el 95% de los divorcios, la mujer asume la custodia principal de los hijos, y casi la mitad de estas viven bajo los niveles de pobreza.

“El nivel de vida de los hombres posterior a un divorcio aumenta un promedio de 42%, por lo contrario, el nivel de vida de las mujeres disminuye en un 73%”, puntualizó Burgos Ocasio.

Ante todo este cuadro, Reyes Rivera hizo un llamado a las iglesias a establecer programas que ayuden a mitigar estos problemas, principalmente desde la parte preventiva. A nivel social entiende que el trabajo debe ser enfocado en el problema de la violencia. Y en cuanto al Gobierno, recomienda una mayor integración de las agencias que prestan servicios a las familias.

Earth Inc.

December 6, 2013

305168_101
Earth Inc.
By : DR. PEDRO ROSSELLÓ

Caribbean business
Edition: December 5, 2013 | Volume: 41 | No: 47

This is the second in a series of five columns.
“The transformation of the global economy can be better understood as an emerging phenomenon— that is, one where the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, but something completely different than the sum of its parts in important and powerful aspects. It represents something totally new—not just a collection of the same interconnected national and regional economies that interacted with one another, but a completely different entity, with internal dynamics, patterns, impetus and sheer power different from what we have known in the past.” —Al Gore

THE FUTURE

The “completely different entity” that Al Gore describes in the quote above is being branded by experts as Earth Inc., an individual global company of sorts, comprising all the economies of the world. Under this scenario, current economic theories, as well as national and regional policies, are becoming irrelevant—at times even an obstacle—in today’s integrated and hyperconnected planet, where new technologies are swiftly woven into the fabric of global trade.

This rapid morphing of the world’s economies is forcing a redefinition of the capital/labor equation like never before. With the outsourcing trends of the recent past, workers began competing for jobs not only with their fellows next door, but also other workers in their region and across the globe. Now we are facing the development of “self-sourcing” and “robosourcing,” in which customers can interact directly with an intelligent machine, or a single piece of equipment takes over the tasks that hundreds of workers used to perform, and does so more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. As such, fewer workers become empowered by manipulating the machines that, just as they, have become part of the production process. Sometimes, these fewer jobs require higher salaries due to the competence needed to run more advanced equipment. But generally, as more jobs are eliminated, the capacity of workers to grow their income weakens, and higher levels of unemployment and underemployment begin to surface.

Another consequence of this transformation in the relative value between technology and the workforce is an increase in economic inequality. “This phenomenon is not a theory. It is happening right now at a grand scale,” says Gore in his abovementioned tome. “As technological capital grows in importance relative to the workforce, more and more of the income derived from productive activity will be concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer elites, while a greater number of people suffer the damage of income loss,” the former U.S. vice president and Nobel laureate adds.
The data pointing to growing levels of inequality around the world, and especially in emerging economies, is significant. During the past 25 years, the Gini coefficient (index used by the World Bank to measure levels of inequality) for Russia, China and the U.S. has gown 10 points, while in Great Britain it has increased six points. Today, income per capita in more than 100 countries is less than it was 15 years ago.

In the U.S., the gap between rich and poor also continues to widen. During the past 20 years, the income of the 1% of top earners grew by 400%, while the income of the average citizen increased by only 21%. Additionally, the top 1% possesses more wealth than the bottom 90% of the population, and gets to keep 25% of the entire national income. In Puerto Rico, despite being the poorest U.S. jurisdiction, inequality levels are greater than in any state in the mainland.

It is a fact that economic equality leads to a more robust economy and a better quality of life overall, while inequality correlates to lower growth. The arc of history in the U.S. shows that periods with high inequality levels were followed by a deep economic depression and/or recession, as was the case in 1929 and 2008. Yet, during periods of lesser inequality, when a strong middle class was evident (1950s and 1960s), the economy was buoyant and growing.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz coincides: “It is no accident that during those periods when Americans have reported higher incomes—when inequality has been reduced, partly as a result of progressive taxation policies—have been periods when the American economy has grown faster.… Inequality chokes, restricts and stifles our growth.”

These extreme levels of inequality are also eroding public confidence in the way capitalism works. As Gore puts it, “Capitalism requires the acceptance of inequality, of course, but the hyper levels of inequality—like the ones being produced currently—are destructive for capitalism, as well as for democracy.” But because of the inherent advantages of capitalism over any other existing economic model, there is ample consensus that democratic capitalism is today the preferred ideology around the world, and must therefore be preserved. The best way to do this is by keeping inequality at bay in a wildly changing global economy.

In our next column, we will examine the importance of science and technology in the development of the “Global Mind.”

Editor’s note: These columns are based on a lecture series offered at the Gov. Pedro Rosselló Library Museum (www.bpr.pr) at Universidad del Turabo that analyzes the modern phenomenon of globalization, its current socioeconomic implications and the impact that this unstoppable world movement will bring upon future generations.

Dr. Pedro Rosselló is a two-term former governor of Puerto Rico (1992-2000). He was president of the New Progressive Party for 12 years. Comments on this article are welcome at caribbeanbusiness.pr. Go to the Sign in link on the home page to participate. Emails also may be sent to column@caribbeanbusinesspr.com.