De resilencia a resistencia

 

For english version scroll down

Los desastres naturales mayormente destruyen, pero también generan nuevos vocabularios que incluyen un revoltijo de acrónimos, y toda clase de conceptos técnicos que los sobrevivientes tenemos que aprender y asimilar rápidamente, como el término “resiliencia”. A pesar de que numerosos científicos y planificadores ambientales han definido, estudiado y debatido la capacidad de resiliencia en Puerto Rico por años, la palabra se ha popularizado rápidamente, no solo entre los círculos académicos, sino también en las narrativas de los oficiales públicos locales, en la mojiganga de los comentaristas de noticias y en los relatos de los medios noticiosos. Su notorio alcance demuestra un deseo común de querer armar una historia de superación, y revela nuestra afición por hablar con urgencia sobre la redención, especialmente luego de haber sobrevivido dos huracanes y apenas sobrellevar un período de recuperación catastrófico, marcado por la improvisación y el desdén colonial.

La “resiliencia” también se ha convertido en un término casi omnipresente entre los que ostentan el poder porque les permite referirse al trauma e incesante sufrimiento asépticamente, sin sentimentalismos y cursilerías. Con una palabra, pueden afirmar que nos cayeron a golpes, pero no nos rompieron el espinazo y notificarle al resto del mundo que vamos ripostar y a “build back better” para revertir los nefastos efectos de un shock climatológico.

Según argumentan los planificadores Larry Vale y Thomas Campanella en el capítulo final del libro titulado “The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster”, las narrativas de la resiliencia son políticamente necesarias porque los desastres desafían la competencia y la autoridad de los gobiernos que prometen cuidar nuestras vidas y procurar nuestra seguridad. Concebir a la reconstrucción como un relato de progreso y perseverancia ante la adversidad le sirve al estado para fortalecer su legitimidad, especialmente luego de un evento devastador que desestabiliza la infraestructura política y social. La retórica de la resiliencia, como nos recuerdan los autores, “no está exenta de la política, el interés propio o la discordia”. En los períodos post desastre, los gobiernos de turno —y el nuestro no está exento— usualmente aspiran a que los ciudadanos no se quiten, que se levanten y sigan hacia delante para que no se enfusquen en la angustia que generan el desbarajuste de los servicios básicos y la avalancha de fallas sistémicas.

De igual manera, los hombres y mujeres de negocio desean que el mundo sepa que están “open for business” y se esmeran en sustituir las imágenes del territorio a oscuras con campañas de publicidad que resaltan las oportunidades que surgen ante la adversidad. Pero, ciertamente, no todo el mundo se levanta, sigue pa’lante o mantiene la calma. Los pobres, los marginalizados y los desposeídos, aquellos que continuamente se enfrentan y combaten diversos shocks y estresores, rara vez son llamados a definir la narrativa oficial de la resiliencia. Ante esta situación, numerosos colectivos levantan la voz para denunciar cómo el discurso del “comeback” o el “Puerto Rico se levanta” les sirve a aquellos que buscan acallar los llamados urgentes a resistir, particularmente cuando los ánimos están caldeados y la gente está dispuesta a salir a la calle.

Comúnmente financiadas por entidades foráneas que buscan ejercer algún nivel de control e influencia, las campañas enfocadas en promover la resiliencia también son parte del vasto catálogo de enfoques e ideas que transitan, principalmente del Norte hacia el Sur, y forman parte de lo que la teórica Ananya Roy llama las “prácticas mundializantes de la planificación”. Estas prácticas se pueden entender como modelos o conocimientos especializados que sirven para avanzar soluciones que se supone que le brinden orden al caos o traigan la belleza a los paisajes reventados. Usualmente, las trafican poderosos actores globales, como empresas consultoras, entidades filantrópicas y otras instituciones multinacionales que operan en lo que los geógrafos Jamie Peck y Nik Theodore llaman “fast policy worlds”. Los actores que circulan en estos circuitos de peritaje global se caracterizan por recetar ideas y políticas prefabricadas e implementar soluciones experimentales en diversos escenarios locales. Visto desde este crisol, el vuelco reciente hacia la resiliencia forma parte de una larga tradición experimental boricua.

Desde los programas de modernización que comenzaron en la década del 1940 —que sirvieron para ensayar, con empresas estatales, la exportación de mano de obra excedente a través de la migración, y campañas de esterilización—hasta la creación del Estado Libre Asociado a mediados del siglo XX y la reciente imposición de una Junta de Control Fiscal bajo la Ley PROMESA, Puerto Rico ha servido como laboratorio social y político para numerosos intereses globales y coloniales. Lejos de identificar tratamientos fructíferos que sirvan para aliviar algunos de nuestros males, los grandes experimentos ejecutados en la isla, en su mayoría avanzados durante períodos de crisis, han hecho poco para atajar la pobreza, o contrarrestar la creciente desigualdad y corrupción.

Volviendo al auge de la resiliencia, queda claro que en su nombre se tratará de imponer e implementar prototipos y proyectos ideados por los mercaderes de ideas que navegan las aguas globales y recién desembarcan en la isla. Pero, distinto a lo que plantean sus críticos más acérrimos, no creo que la resiliencia sea un enfoque inútil o nocivo. El largo camino hacia la recuperación y la reconstrucción de la isla se puede emprender solamente si las comunidades y sus residentes logran sobrevivir y recuperarse luego de una catástrofe. Durante los pasados meses, hemos sido testigos de las gestiones solidarias e innovadoras de numerosos colectivos comunitarios que demostraron una capacidad impresionante para responder a emergencias, restablecer ciertos servicios básicos y crear redes de apoyo mutuo para hacerle frente a la dejadez y al deterioro de la capacidad gubernamental. Tomando en cuenta esas experiencias aleccionadoras, me parece que la resiliencia nos sirve para reflexionar sobre nuestros límites, y así inspirarnos a cuestionar y movilizarnos en contra de las asimetrías de poder, hacer valer nuestros derechos e, incluso, provocar que practiquemos la resistencia. 

 

Por: Deepak Lamba-Nieves

El autor es Director de Investigación y el Churchill G. Carey, Jr. Chair del Centro para una Nueva Economía. Esta columna fue publicada originalmente en El Nuevo Día el día 29 de julio de 2018.

 


 

Natural disasters mostly destroy, but they also generate new vocabularies that include an alphabet soup of acronyms and all sorts of technical concepts that we survivors have to quickly learn and assimilate—concepts, for instance, like “resilience.” Although many environmental scientists and planners have defined, studied, and debated the degree of resilience in Puerto Rico for years, the word has swiftly gained great popularity not only within academic circles but also in the narratives of local public officials, the gobbledygook of talking heads, and articles and stories in the press. The term’s widespread use denotes a shared desire to see in our situation a story of a people overcoming terrible, spirit-breaking hardship and reveals a tendency in us to speak with urgency about redemption and rebirth, especially after having survived two hurricanes and only barely, only now, almost a year later, emerging from a period of catastrophic recovery marked by improvisation and colonial disdain.

The word “resilience” has also been adopted almost universally among those who hold power because it allows them to refer to trauma and ongoing, incessant suffering aseptically, without apparent sentimentalism or affectation. With a single word, they can say that we have been battered and beaten but our backs have not been broken and they can tell the rest of the world that we are going to come back, “build back better,” and reverse the terrible effects of a climatological shockwave.

As planners Larry Vale and Thomas Campanella argue in the concluding chapter of their book “The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster,” narratives of resilience are politically necessary because disasters defy the competency and authority of the governments that promise to care for our lives and protect our safety. Conceiving reconstruction as a story of progress and perseverance in the face of adversity helps the state strengthen its legitimacy, especially after a devastating event that destabilizes the political and social infrastructure. The rhetoric of resilience, as the authors remind us, “is never free from politics, self-interest, or contention.” In the weeks and months after a disaster, elected governments—and ours is no exception—make efforts to encourage their citizens not to “quit,” to get back up on their feet, to move forward, move on, so as not to fall into the anguish generated by a lack of basic services and cascading failures.

Likewise, business owners want the world to know that they’re Open for Business, as their signs say loud and clear, and they do all they can to supplant the images of an island in the dark with advertising campaigns that highlight the opportunities that arise out of adversity. But not everybody gets back on their feet, or forges ahead, or Keeps Calm and Carries On. The poor, the marginalized, and the dispossessed, those who constantly face and struggle against harshest shocks and stressors, are almost never those who define the official narrative of resilience. Given that situation, many collectives have raised their voices to alert us to the fact that the discourse of “comeback”—“Puerto Rico se levanta” (Puerto Rico is getting on its feet again)—serves mostly those who seek to silence the urgent calls to resist, particularly when tempers are hot and people are ready to take to the streets.

Generally financed by off-island entities who seek to exercise some degree of control and influence, campaigns focused on promoting resilience are also part of the vast catalog of approaches and ideas that circulate in the world, mostly from the Global North to the South, and form part of what theorist Anaya Roy has called “worlding practices of planning”. These practices can be understood as models of “specialized knowledge” that serve to advance solutions that will—supposedly—bring order to chaos, and that paint destroyed landscapes in the colors of hope and uplift. They are usually hawked by powerful global actors such as consulting companies, philanthropic organizations, and other multinational institutions that operate in what geographers Jamie Peck and Nik Theodore call “fast policy worlds.” The actors who circulate in these circuits of global expertise are characterized by their prescriptions of prefabricated ideas and policies and their implementation of experimental solutions in a wide range of local scenarios. Seen from that point of view, the recent turn to “resilience” is part of a long tradition of experimentation in Puerto Rico and on Puerto Ricans.

From the modernization programs that began in the 1940s—which served to test, with state corporations, the idea of exporting excess labor through migration, not to mention sterilization campaigns—to the creation of the Commonwealth (the Estado Libre Asociado, or “Free Associated State,” perhaps the most cynical mistranslation for the purposes of deluding multitudes ever recorded) in the mid-twentieth century and the recent imposition of a Financial Oversight and Management Board under the law whose acronym is (also perhaps cynically) PROMESA, Puerto Rico has served as a social and political laboratory for many global and colonial interests. Far from being truly and broadly fruitful solutions that have helped alleviate our hardships, the grand experiments carried out on the island, most of them advanced during periods of crisis, have done little to lessen poverty or counteract growing inequality and corruption.

But to return to the boom in the use of the word “resilience,” it is clear that in its name there will be attempts to impose and implement prototypes and projects thought up by the idea merchants who sail the global oceans and have recently disembarked on the island. But unlike some of their fiercest critics, I for one do not think that “resilience” is a futile or harmful idea. The long path toward the recovery and reconstruction of the island can be traveled successfully only if our communities and their residents manage to survive and bounce back after a catastrophe. During the past months, we have witnessed innovative action, stemming from a deep solidarity with those affected, by almost countless community groups and collectives who have demonstrated an impressive ability to respond to emergencies, reestablish (or reinvent) certain basic services, and create mutual-support networks, all this to substitute for the government’s inactivity, flailing in the dark, and apparent inability or incompetency. Taking these instructive experiences into account, it appears to me that resilience might help us reflect on our limits and thereby become inspired to question who and where we are, and to mobilize against the asymmetries of power, assert our rights, and even become engaged in necessary acts of resistance.

By: Deepak Lamba-Nieves

The author is the Policy Director & Churchill G. Carey, Jr Chair at the Center for a New Economy. This column was originally published in El Nuevo Día on July 29, 2018.

Puerto Rico: Black Start 2019

Scroll down for english version.

El huracán María devastó el sistema de energía de Puerto Rico. Después de la tormenta, la isla esencialmente ha tenido que reactivar su sistema energético del equivalente de lo que en la industria se llama un “blackstart”, que es el término técnico que describe el proceso de reactivar el sistema de generación energética luego de un apagón total.

A la misma vez, el sector de energía en todo el mundo está cambiando rápidamente a medida que nuevas tecnologías que son incompatibles con el paradigma centenario de generación, transmisión y distribución de energía entran en funcionamiento. Debemos aprovechar esta coyuntura, la destrucción casi total del sistema de energía en Puerto Rico y los adelantos tecnológicos en este sector, para traer al siglo 21 el anquilosado sistema eléctrico de la isla. Dicho de otra manera, debemos utilizar el “blackstart”, no para reconstruir el sistema energético a su estado al 19 de septiembre de 2017, sino para dar un salto cualitativo de envergadura.

Para que el sector de energía lleve a cabo con éxito la transición a un nuevo modelo de hacer negocios será necesario desarrollar una nueva visión del sistema, enmendar leyes y reglamentos, actualizar las redes de transmisión y distribución y fomentar el uso eficiente de la energía por parte de los consumidores. Esta es una tarea difícil, pero afortunadamente abundan los recursos para orientar a los legisladores, reglamentadores y las compañías de energía en este proceso.

El primer paso …una nueva visión

El primer paso en este complicado camino es desarrollar una nueva visión para el sector energético de Puerto Rico. Desarrollar esta visión requiere pensar más allá de los confines de la isla, pero tomando en consideración y entendiendo a fondo las limitaciones y retos que enfrenta Puerto Rico. Además, se necesitará legislación de avanzada para implementar esa visión y establecer lineamientos claros para los reglamentadores con respecto a los objetivos ambientales, los estándares de energía renovable, la eficiencia energética y el manejo de la demanda por energía.

El modelo de reglamentación también tendrá que evolucionar de uno basado en planes de recursos integrados a largo plazo a uno basado en una supervisión más proactiva con respecto a la utilización eficiente de los recursos y más dinámica en relación a los distintos actores y participantes en el sector energético. Esto significa que los reglamentadores deberán implementar un modelo de reglamentación basado en el desempeño (“performance-based regulation”), establecer parámetros transparentes para la rendición de cuentas, así como incentivos (y sanciones) para lograr los objetivos de la política energética.

Nuevas estructuras tarifarias

Las nuevas estructuras tarifarias deben diseñarse para: (1) enviar las señales de precio correctas tanto a los generadores como a los consumidores; (2) promover la eficiencia energética; (3) manejar eficientemente la carga base y la demanda pico; (4) fomentar la transición a la interacción bi-direccional entre los operadores de la red y los clientes que instalen capacidad de generación distribuida; y (5) implementar tarifas basadas en el momento del uso de la energía para fomentar la eficiencia y la optimización del uso de los recursos. Además, se deberá promover la implementación de nuevas normas energéticas para el diseño de edificios, facilitar el financiamiento para la retro-adaptación de estructuras existentes para fomentar la conservación de energía y promover el uso de enseres electrodomésticos eficientes para estabilizar el consumo residencial.

La generación de energía

En términos de generación, las grandes instalaciones de generación con ciclos de recuperación de la inversión de más de 30 años son cada vez más una cosa del pasado. Mientras, la construcción de unidades de generación tradicional más pequeñas y altamente eficientes, ampliamente distribuidas en las áreas de servicio para suplir la carga base, se está convirtiendo rápidamente en una alternativa tecnológicamente factible y rentable. Complementar este modelo con soluciones de generación renovable y tecnologías de almacenamiento para proveer reservas, otros servicios auxiliares y carga adicional en las horas pico, no solo es eficiente, sino que puede ayudar a proporcionar un servicio con menos interrupciones y más costo-efectivo para todos los clientes.

La transmisión y distribución

Por el lado de la transmisión y distribución, la red deberá evolucionar para incorporar de manera eficiente y confiable la generación distribuida, el uso de baterías a nivel de la red, así como al detal, para permitir el almacenamiento de electricidad cuando no se requiera su uso inmediato y así promover y aumentar el valor de los recursos de generación intermitente. Además, el rápido crecimiento del mercado de automóviles eléctricos crea el potencial de demanda adicional, presumiblemente fuera de las horas pico, lo que ayudará a estabilizar la demanda por una carga base que se proyecta a la baja en los próximos años. Los automóviles eléctricos también funcionarían como una solución de almacenamiento y podrían descargar energía a la red cuando surjan usos más valiosos para esa carga. Ahora bien, todo esto implicaría hacer inversiones de capital en áreas no-tradicionales dado que los automóviles eléctricos necesitarían estaciones de carga ampliamente disponibles y accesibles a través de toda la isla.

Flexibilidad

Por último, dados los efectos previsibles del rápido e inminente cambio climático, la red del siglo 21 tiene que ser lo suficientemente flexible para incorporar micro y mini-redes que puedan conectarse y desconectarse de la red principal, según sea necesario, para asegurar que las instalaciones de infraestructura crítica (hospitales, bombas de agua, telecomunicaciones etc.) tengan un respaldo adecuado en caso de desastres para proteger a las comunidades aisladas de interrupciones prolongadas de esos servicios y limitar los impactos a la salud y al medio ambiente.

Estos temas los estaremos explorando durante la conferencia sobre El Futuro de la Energía, convocada por el Centro para una Nueva Economía para principios del 2019. Además, analizaremos el rol de las instituciones académicas en la transformación energética de Puerto Rico; la necesidad de atraer capital en condiciones competitivas; así como oportunidades de investigación y desarrollo y el impacto del rediseño del sector energético de Puerto Rico sobre el desarrollo económico de la isla.

El autor es el Director de Política Pública del Centro para una Nueva Economía

Esta columna fue publicada originalmente en El Nuevo Día el 17 de junio de 2018.

Pendientes a Puerto Rico: Black Start 2019, si aún no lo ha hecho puede registrarse aquí.

 

 

 

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s energy system. After the storm, the island essentially has had to re-activate its energy system from the equivalent of a system-wide “blackstart”, which is the technical term for restarting an energy system from a complete shutdown.

At the same time, the energy sector world-wide is rapidly changing as new technologies come online and challenge the existing 100-year old model of generating, transmitting, and distributing energy to various classes of customers with different needs. Puerto Rico should take advantage of this synchronicity—the almost total destruction of its energy system and the technological advances in this sector—to upgrade its ankylosed electric system to 21st century standards. In other words, we should use the current blackstart-like situation to make a quantitative jump, instead of just restoring its energy system to its pre-Maria status.

In order to successfully make the transition to a new business model for the energy sector, it will be necessary to develop a new energy vision, amend several laws and regulations, upgrade transmission and distribution systems and encourage the efficient use of energy by end customers. This is a tall order, but fortunately resources abound to guide policymakers, regulators and utilities in this process.

The first step … a new vision

The first step in this complicated pathway is developing a new vision for the Puerto Rico energy sector. Charting this vision requires thinking beyond the confines of Puerto Rico, but with a clear understanding of the island’s limitations and challenges. In addition, new legislation will be needed to mandate the implementation of that vision and to set clear targets for regulators regarding environmental objectives, renewable portfolio standards, energy-efficiency goals, demand response and peak load management.

Regulation models will also have to evolve from long-term planning cycles to more proactive supervision regarding the efficient deployment of new resources and more dynamic oversight of the growing number of stakeholders in the energy sector. To accomplish these objectives, regulators will need to shift to performance-based regulation and set transparent accountability metrics, as well as incentives (and penalties) to achieve policy objectives.

New tariff structures

New tariff structures need to be designed to send the right price signals to both generators and customers, promote energy efficiency, manage baseload and peak demand, encourage the transition to bi-directional interaction between grid operators and customers deploying distributed energy resources and to establish block and time-of-use rates to encourage efficiency. In addition, new building design standards, access to finance energy-conservation retrofitting, and the adoption of consumption-reduction technology for households should also be widely encouraged.

Energy Generation

Large generation facilities with 30-plus-year investment recovery cycles are increasingly a thing of the past. On the other hand, building smaller, highly efficient traditional generation units, widely-distributed across the service areas to support baseload demand is quickly becoming both technologically feasible and cost-effective. This model, coupled with increased renewable generation/storage solutions to provide reserves, other ancillary services and additional load at peak times, is not only efficient, but can provide extremely reliable service, with lower outage rates, and lower costs for all customers.

Grid designs will also have to evolve to efficiently and reliably incorporate distributed generation, grid-scale and customer-owned battery storage units to allow the storage of electricity when not required for immediate use and thereby promote and enhance the value of environment-friendly intermittent generation resources. In addition, the rapidly growing market for electric cars creates the potential for additional demand, presumably at off-peak hours, therefore stabilizing baseload requirements that are forecast to decline in the coming years. Electric cars are also a storage solution that could discharge energy back to the grid when that charge has other more valuable uses. However, this would also entail making capital improvements outside the traditional utility paradigm, given that electric cars would need widely available and accessible charging stations throughout the island.

Flexibility

Finally, given the foreseeable effects of rapid and impending climate change, the grid of the 21st century has to allow for the incorporation of micro and mini-grids that can connect and disconnect from the main grid as needed to ensure critical infrastructure has adequate back-up in the event of natural or man-made disasters, to protect isolated communities from prolonged service outages, and to limit health and environmental impacts.

These are some of the themes we will be exploring during the “Future of Energy Conference”, convened by the Center for a New Economy for the first quarter of 2019. In addition, we will analyze the role of academic institutions in Puerto Rico’s energy transformation; the need to attract new capital at competitive terms; as well as research and development opportunities and the economic development impact of redesigning Puerto Rico’s energy sector.

The author is Policy Director for the Center for a New Economy

This column was originally published in El Nuevo Día on June 17th, 2018

Lookout for Puerto Rico: Black Start 2019, if you haven’t register to receive information please do so  here.

 

Roundtable discussion on the future of Puerto Rico’s economy

Category: Article, Presentation, Publications · Tags:

Roundtable discussion on the future of Puerto Rico’s economy

USA Congress

On July 18, 2017 CNE’s Policy Director Sergio Marxuach participated in a bipartisan roundtable discussion in the US Congress on the future of Puerto Rico’s economy at the invitation of Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Small Business. Below is a summary of CNE’s testimony as well as a link to the unabridged version of the document submitted by CNE.

ACCESS HERE THE COMPLETE TESTIMONY

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this Roundtable to Discuss the Future of Puerto Rico’s Economy. My remarks will cover three topics. First, I will briefly discuss the impact of the enactment of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”). Second, I will stress the need for policy initiatives at the Federal level to help Puerto Rico end its current downward economic spiral and jumpstart economic growth in the short-term. Finally, I will outline the work of the Growth Commission convened by the Center for the New Economy to develop a long-term economic growth strategy for Puerto Rico.

1. PROMESA
The enactment of PROMESA in June 2016 opened a new chapter in U.S.-Puerto Rico relations. After decades of benign neglect, Congress recognized in 2016 that it has a moral obligation under the U.S. Constitution to foster the welfare of the U.S. citizens that live in Puerto Rico. This means that it is in Congress’s own interest to see through that Puerto Rico is successful in addressing its current fiscal and economic crisis.

Unfortunately, some of the policy tools set forth in PROMESA are not working as expected and may hinder the island’s ability to escape its current economic death spiral.

First, the imposition of a Fiscal Oversight Board over the duly elected government of Puerto Rico—with broad powers over the island’s fiscal and economic policies, authority to command the implementation of its recommendations, and the capacity to prevent the enforcement or execution of otherwise valid contracts, executive orders, laws or regulations—has seriously undermined the island’s political institutions, already extremely compromised by clientelism, partisan politics and corruption.

In addition, the Fiscal Oversight Board has added a new layer of opacity to fiscal policymaking in Puerto Rico. The discussions among Board members have been carried out mostly behind closed doors, while interactions between the Board and the Government of Puerto Rico tend to be summarized ex post, usually through succinct letters written in rather cryptic language. It is quite ironic that the Fiscal Oversight Board, which, among other things, was given the task of increasing the transparency of Puerto Rico’s finances, has actually contributed to worsening that problem.

Second, the benefits of PROMESA’s complicated territorial debt restructuring process, which combines principles drawn from both the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and from the realm of sovereign debt restructuring, remain fairly uncertain and contingent on the successful implementation of a completely new and untested legal framework for territorial bankruptcy. The risk if this experimental framework fails to adequately address Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring needs is magnified by the fragile state of the Puerto Rican economy, which has already undergone a protracted decade-long contraction.

2. Jumpstarting the Economy – The Federal Component
Moving on to growth, Puerto Rico needs to devise and execute a complex, two-prong strategy to restore economic growth. First, we have to jumpstart economic growth in the short-term. Second, the island needs to formulate an economic development plan to sustain that growth over the long-term, something it has failed to do for quite some time.
This already difficult task is further complicated by the austerity policies the Fiscal Oversight Board has required Puerto Rico to implement. The certified fiscal plan orders the island’s government to implement large expenditure cuts, significant tax increases, and deep structural reforms without access to any short-term financing.
The implication of the Fiscal Oversight Board’s policy posture is that—unless Congress is otherwise willing to address a full-scale social crisis in Puerto Rico—Federal assistance will be necessary to jumpstart economic growth in the short-term. Congress needs to implement a comprehensive economic program, remove some of the disadvantages imposed on Puerto Rico under the current political arrangement, and eliminate some long-standing inequitable and discriminatory policies. The current situation simply does not allow for piecemeal action by Washington, a wide-ranging plan is needed.

A short-term economic program for Puerto Rico at the Federal level should include for example, providing additional funding for healthcare, extending the EITC and the CTC to Puerto Rico, preserving social safety net programs, and increasing funding for education, infrastructure, and research.

3. The CNE Growth Commission – The Local Component
In addition to initiatives at the Federal level, Puerto Rico needs to craft a local long-term economic development strategy and strengthen its execution capabilities.
Achieving long-term, sustainable economic growth and development is a complex endeavor that requires a new set of strategies and the rebuilding of institutions; thus, there are no quick fixes or silver bullets. In other words, economic growth is not simply a function of exiguous regulation, low wages, or preferential tax treatment. Rather, the process of growth is quite complicated, involving the interplay of many variables and factors that must be present if a country is to succeed.
As a first step in charting the road towards sustainable economic development, the Center for a New Economy has undertaken the task of empaneling the CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico.

The Commission will work towards (1) identifying and suggesting ways to relax local and external constraints that inhibit the territory from speeding up the process of economic structural change towards higher productivity activities; and (2) generating opportunities to diversify the portfolio of high productivity activities in the economy. Specifically, the Commission will focus on the following areas with the potential for high impact:

  • Area 1: Identifying Sectorial Opportunities
    Using cutting-edge product space analysis the Commission will identify new products and services that could augment aggregate value through the use of existing productive capabilities embedded in the island’s current production structure. This methodology operationalizes the idea that it is generally easier for countries to move from products and services that they already produce to others higher in the value chain that are similar in terms of capital requirements, knowledge, and skills. Because not all feasible new products contribute in the same way to value added and growth, a key challenge along the diversification process is the identification of those goods and services that are feasible and have a higher potential to sustain economic development.
  • Area 2: Horizontal Reforms to Enhance Competitiveness
    At the same time, the Commission will identify opportunities for effective policy reform in areas with the potential to enhance the competitiveness of local and multinational producers across multiple sectors, such as: tax and competition policy, human capital and workforce development, energy production, and communications, information, and technology infrastructure, among others.
  • Area 3: Macro-Fiscal Policy
    Finally, a Working Group of the Commission will develop feasible proposals for tax policy reform with the aim of (i) enhancing the territory’s competitiveness and (ii) reducing tax distortions that may inhibit productivity growth in the private sector. This Group will work on evaluating the potential for a disciplined fiscal reform to enhance the territory’s competitiveness, given its inclusion in the US monetary union.

Conclusion
In sum, Puerto Rico has been under severe economic, fiscal, and financial stress during the past decade. Furthermore, the Fiscal Oversight Board has ordered Puerto Rico to put on the equivalent of an IMF policy straitjacket without providing access to the few benefits that usually accompany IMF conditionality programs. In our view, this policy posture simply does not make sense and implementing these policies will, in a perverse way, decrease Puerto Rico’s short and medium-term capacity to honor its obligations by intensifying an already prolonged economic contraction.

Second, to jumpstart economic growth in the short-term Congress needs to implement a comprehensive economic policy program, remove some of the disadvantages imposed on Puerto Rico under the current political arrangement, and eliminate some long-standing inequitable and discriminatory policies.
Third, in addition to initiatives at the Federal level, Puerto Rico needs to craft a long-term local economic development strategy. This strategy should consist of sectorial, horizontal and institutional policies to promote Puerto Rico’s capability to progressively move into higher value-added activities.

Thank you.

Center for a New Economy
Washington, DC
18 July 2017

Category: Article, CNE Blog · Tags:

Comisión de Crecimiento para Puerto Rico de CNE: Apuntes para una Agenda

Category: Article, Policy Paper, Publications · Tags:

The CNE Growth Commission for Puerto Rico: Proposed Notes Towards an Agenda

Category: Article, Policy Paper, Publications · Tags:

Letter to Fiscal Oversight Board regarding Fiscal Plan

In response to an invitation to comment the Commonwealth’s October 14, 2016 Fiscal Plan, CNE spelled out five key principles that should govern the preparation of any fiscal plan for Puerto Rico, identified several concerns with the October 2016 Fiscal Plan, and provided recommendations moving forward.

READ MORE

Category: Article, Publications · Tags:

Pulling Out of the Quagmire: Can Puerto Rico’s Labor Movement Survive the Island’s Debt Crisis?

By: Jennifer Wolff, Director of Programs and Communications

[1]“We are a country who has just discovered that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, a kid who catches Mom and Dad assembling gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve. It’s a shock.” Iram Ramírez is Senior International Representative and International Coordinator of Field Services for the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU /AFL-CIO) in San Juan. He is sitting in a Río Piedras panadería – part bakery, part criollo food cafeteria – trying to assess the effects of Puerto Rico’s deep fiscal and economic crisis on the island’s working sectors. The topic is quite thorny as the devastating effects of the economy’s slippery downward slide go beyond the immediate. “We all lived in a bubble,” he reflects. “We believed we were part of the First World and believed in the slogans. We now know that the world we thought we lived in no longer exists. [The problem is that] the country is not equipped to deal with the situation.”

The country he refers to is Puerto Rico, whose multiplicity of bynames (island, country, nation, “pueblo”, territory, colony, possession, Commonwealth, Free Associated State, potential state of the Union) reflects the multifaceted and at times elusive complexity both of its history and current situation. What is not elusive is the magnitude of its economic collapse. The economy has been contracting for almost a decade – Gross National Product (GNP) declined by an aggregate of 13% between fiscal years 2006 and 2014, gross fixed domestic investment decreased 24.5%, and bank assets plummeted by a whopping 41.8%.[2] If no measures are taken, the government’s projected financing gap (including the three public pension funds) could reach up to $ 63.4 billion by 2025,[3] a crushing burden considering the shrinking economy and the government’s inability to access the financial markets.[4] In theory, to achieve overall structural balance in FY2016 Puerto Rico’s government would need to reduce its expenses by up to 4.9% of the island’s GNP,[5] a gargantuan task for a society that has relied for decades on the government for employment, investment, contracts, purchases and tax exemptions. The outlook sounds like an amputation to a patient in the throes of agony.

The fiscal and economic predicament has had a devastating toll on the island’s working sectors. More than one in five jobs have been lost in the last decade: a decrease of 272,803 positions between April of 2006 and November of 2015.[6] The brutal implication of this number needs to be assessed in the particular context of the island’s fragile labor market. “Even in the best of times, employment [levels] in Puerto Rico have never been particularly good,” explains María Enchautegui, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. “We have never been able to produce enough jobs for the people of Puerto Rico.”

The crisis has only made a grim reality worse. Unemployment stood at 12.5% in November 2015 while labor force participation was a dismally low 40.4%.[7] Median household income is $ 19,886 while the poverty level stands at 45.2%.[8] Only 10% of wage and salary workers belonged to some sort of organized labor group in October 2014, down from the 12.2% registered in October 2012. If affiliation to brotherhoods and associations is discounted and only affiliation to labor unions is considered, the number then stands at 6.2%.[9]

The fragile state of the economy, compounded by a spiral of tax increases and newly aggressive tax collection efforts by the government, is taking a toll on private sector unions and its members as existing companies either struggle to survive or push for cost reductions. “Most of the negotiations are now ‘give back negotiations’ to reduce benefits, a lot of restructuring negotiations,” says OPEIU’s Ramírez. “The bargaining agreement is literally put on the table and [the negotiation is] about sheer survival: either we restructure or we close shop.”

In the public sector, bulwark of the Puerto Rico labor movement, the situation is dramatic.[10] Two fiscal emergency laws – Law 7 enacted in 2009 by pro-statehood Governor Luis Fortuño and Law 66 approved in 2014 by pro-Commonwealth Governor Alejandro García Padilla – have curtailed the size of public employment by either decreeing outright downsizing (Law 7) or mandating hiring freezes in the central government (Law 66). As a result, one in four government jobs have disappeared in the last six years, a loss of 67,800 posts between June 2009 and October of 2015.[11] Those remaining in public employment have seen their compensation and benefit packages eroded. Since 2014 – as a result of Law 66 –  wages have been frozen and previously negotiated increases eliminated; while vacations, promotions, and bonuses have been reduced.  The cost to public sector employees, according to several union leaders, has been in the order of between $ 800 and $ 1,000 million in lost benefits in less than three years.[12]

Public sector unions have been deeply affected by the onslaught. “It has been dramatic. As a result of Law 7, in some [government agencies] there was up to a 50% reduction in the number of members we represented”, says Federico Torres Montalvo, Secretary General for the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUTE), a network of public sector unions, when asked to review the consequences of seven years of austerity in the island’s labor organizations. The loss of membership (and thus, of economic capacity) has been seen across all public sector unions, although some have been able to partly compensate the erosion by focusing on new workshops. Roberto Pagán’s Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Trabajadores (SPT/SEIU), for example, succeeded in forging an agreement with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to collectively represent the capital city’s municipal employees.

Nevertheless, public sector organizations have been noticeably shaken.  The SPT, for example, lost 500 of its 900 stewards in 2009. “[They were] the youngest workers, who were also the most active ones in the union”, reminisces SPT’s Pagán, stressing the cost austerity has had in terms of organizational structures and leadership. “We have recomposed our structures… but that has not necessarily been the case in all unions. There has been a general decrease in mobilization capacity because structures have been hit and workers are now afraid to protest.”

Despite the enormous toll it has already taken, the attrition has yet to reach an inflexion point. As options are debated in Washington D.C. and the local government wallows with no clear sense of direction, the island’s deteriorating situation seems to snowball further into a messier and deeper trough. With the local government failing to meet revenue targets and struggling to make debt service payments, pay suppliers, and maintain basic public services,[13] calls for further austerity and belt-tightening seem to gain momentum. In Washington D.C., three different proposals for a federally created Fiscal Control Board for Puerto Rico have been put forth; the idea has been embraced by Democrats and Republicans in both the Executive Branch and Congress. In San Juan, Puerto Rico Government Development Bank consultants have recommended that Puerto Rico be fully exempt from the $7.25 federal minimum wage, suggesting that a one-third the general mainland rate be considered as an alternative option. They have also recommended the island revise local labor laws enacting protections regarding overtime, paid vacation, bonuses, probationary period and just cause for lay-offs.[14]

The specter of further government downsizing as well as a fundamental restructuring in worker legislation then looms in labor’s immediate horizon. “It could be catastrophic,” says José de la Luz, Public Policy Director of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA/AFCSME) in New York, venturing to foresee the consequences on the labor movement of further austerity measures. “Unions in Puerto Rico basically exist within the public sector… We could be talking that an important institution in Puerto Rican society will cease to exist… The scenario is so dramatic that it is truly tragic.”

Yo voy a guerrear (I will wage war),” reacts Pedro Irene Maymí, President of the water utility’s Unión Independiente Auténtica de los Empleados de la Triple A (UIA) “They want to take Puerto Rico back to the ‘30s and ‘40s. It is the responsibility of this country’s union leaders to stand up against it”, he says. Maymí is also President of the Central Puertorriqueña de Trabajadores (CPT), a federation that represents some 30 thousand public service employees. Days before our interview, UIA had staged a sit-in in front of the Puerto Rico Labor Department demanding the government pay water utility workers the stipulated Christmas bonus, a legally mandated benefit that is part of a local worker’s compensation package. In 2014, as part of the negotiations surrounding Law 66, public sector unions had accepted the bonus be reduced but now the water utility was refusing to pay even that. “The aim is to dismantle public service. Everything is being justified now using the debt crisis as an excuse,” he states.

Maymí sits in his Río Piedras office with several other leaders from independent public sector unions, that is, unions not affiliated to mainland or U.S. based unions or federations.[15] They reflect on the costs the crisis has had on local workers, on how proposals for continuing to downsize government have gained traction, and on how the labor movement should confront further austerity measures. Long-time CPT leader Víctor Villalba declares, “We can’t remain on the defensive anymore.  We need to take the offensive”.  The group concurs and discusses “como tomar la calle” – how to mobilize and take the streets – no easy task, concedes Maymí, who admits that “the country has lost its instinct to ‘fiscalizar’ (overview, confront) the government”.  Francisco Reyes Márquez, of the Unión de Empleados del Fondo del Seguro del Estado (UEFSE) states, “All unions agree that we need to retake the streets and wage whatever struggle needs to be waged. What we have not defined is how…Workers are screaming for something to be done…and [the common denominator] has be to defend…what little we have left that is about to be taken away from us.”  The group talks about plans to organize regional assemblies through out the island with the aim of “retaking the streets” and exercising pressure on local legislators.

But will people follow if unions lead?   CUTE’s Torres Montalvo, a long-time veteran from the heyday of independent union activism in the ‘70s and ‘80s, concedes that the current situation is highly complex. Organizations have been weakened by the government’s downsizing and public service employees have been demonized in public opinion as the ones responsible for the fiscal predicament. Furthermore, he admits, the labor movement stands divided. “We have been unable to articulate a united position,” he states.  “[Some] think we should give government space to recover…some believe we should take to the streets now.”

Underlying the discussion is a profound disenchantment with the administration’s stance towards labor. Public service unions had the expectation that they would be invited to collaborate in the development of policy. “We were too trustful that certain things would happen out of good faith but they failed us”, he states bitterly. “It is a perversity because dimos mucho grano de mi maíz (we gave a lot)… If they now try to go beyond [the negotiated concessions of] Law 66, yes, we could say we were duped because we thought [the concessions] were going to be enough until 2017”. The Coalición Sindical, for one, a 80,000 thousand coalition Torres Montalvo lead at one time, put forth a 24 page counter-proposal to the administration’s austerity program focused on the development of a sustainable and solidarity-based economy but never received acknowledgement of its proposals.[16]  Torres Montalvo feels the labor movement now needs to combine traditional street mobilization with “new styles”. In his case, this means trying to coalesce a broader anti-austerity agenda with wider sectors of society rallied around efforts to combat government corruption.

The move to seek alliances with other sectors and influence both the local and U.S. political agenda is a prominent item for many local unions. “It is necessary to prompt political change if living conditions for workers are going to be maintained or bettered”, says SPT’s Pagán.  The SPT is throwing its organizational resources behind Vamos, a political coalition movement that is seeking to break the hold that the two majority traditional political parties  – the pro-statehood Partido Nuevo Progresista and the pro-Commonwealth Partido Popular Democrático – have not only on the island’s electoral system but on government. Puerto Rico is a highly clientelistic society, with elections functioning as a winner-takes-all contest in which jobs, contracts and preferential legislation is parceled out to the winning political party. In this, the island resembles Latin America and its complex web of patronage networks.

The SPT’s strategy is a gamble, as Puerto Rico’s electoral law favors the two-party alternation that has dominated the life of the island since 1968 – electoral coalitions between political parties are expressly prohibited and minority collectivities end up being grossly under-represented in the final distribution of elected posts.  In past elections, independent movements like Movimiento Unión Soberanista (status-oriented) and the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador (worker-focused) have failed to garner even enough votes to remain inscribed in the Comisión Estatal de Elecciones, the local electoral board.

Pagán explains that for the 2016 electoral cycle Vamos will focus on endorsing legislative candidates from existing political parties that support the entity’s program. Vamos’ is seeking to counter the austerity-focused Plan de Ajuste Fiscal  (Fiscal Adjustment Plan) peddled by the government in its negotiations with bondholders with an alternative economic development program focused on increasing the local minimum salary; nurturing high-productivity indigenous companies; fostering community and municipal development; restructuring public debt while protecting public pensions; and revamping the island’s tax system in order to limit corporate exemptions and tax mega-stores. [17] “The most important day for Vamos will be November 9, the day after Election Day,” says Pagán, anticipating that the big political push will be for 2020. “We need to organize a new political force that can aspire to govern, and that, we know is a process that can take years”.

Labor’s outreach has extended to the mainland, as unions affiliated to U.S. based organizations have mobilized the “mollero político” (political muscle) of their parent entities to push Washington for a federal response to the island’s crisis. CSEA’s De la Luz highlights that mainland unions “are the ones putting on the fight to have the Democratic leadership approve the package [regarding Puerto Rico]…Without the strength of [mainland] labor unions such as AFCSME, UAW, SEIU and the AFL-CIO, Puerto Rico would have no chance of getting the package approved,” he contends. The statement is historically significant, as, in various instances of Puerto Rico’s complicated history, U.S. based unions have been accused of “labor colonialism”[18]. They now seem intent to use their powerful connections to become game-changers in Puerto Rico’s high-stakes game.

De la Luz stresses that while Puerto Rican diaspora groups in the U.S are limited in geographical reach (generally based in the Northeast), U.S. unions have been able to bring to the fore on behalf of the island nationwide mobilizing power, political acumen and (last but not least) lobbyists in Washington DC. Mainland labor groups are now looking at ways for inscribing no less than 200-thousand new voters among the Puerto Rican diaspora and ensuring that 7 out of 10 of these turn out to vote. According to De la Luz, the diaspora has become a “strategic axis” for the island. “The diaspora has become a determining factor in the future of Puerto Rico, because the diaspora, in conjunction with the labor unions, are the ones who will be putting Puerto Rico in the forefront of the Presidential election.” For an island which native-born writer Eduardo Lalo has described as un país invisible (an invisible country), the possibility of becoming visible to decision-making making circles is an attractive prospect.

The reasons for betting on Puerto Rico on the part of U.S. based organizations are multiple. They have to do with working-class solidarity, the possibility of creating a long-term wider progressive project, and labor’s sheer need to survive. Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in New York, says that Puerto Rico’s crisis  “is a more acute manifestation – due to Puerto Rico’s economic and political relation with the U.S. – of the same problem that is affecting the lives of workers in the U.S”, where inequality has increased and speculative financial capital – with its “casino economy” – is harming working-class communities.  Figueroa states that 32BJ and SEIU have been active in generating public pressure on hedge funds that hold the island’s debt while forging ties with Puerto Rican diaspora elected officials and the most progressive sector within the Democratic Party.  The idea is two-fold: bring Puerto Rico to the forefront of the agenda in Washington – “where there is a political reality of indifference and neglect towards helping Puerto Rico”, he says – and mobilizing the Puerto Rican diaspora in favor of a larger progressive agenda. The idea, he states, is to “forge a coalition capable of changing the direction of the U.S.”.

But beyond attempting to counter short-term austerity measures in the island and trying to forge long-term progressive agendas in the U.S., will Puerto Rico unions be able to survive the climate of sheer economic desperation that exists in the island? As the government anxiously tries to spur economic activity using its outdated Cold-War era framework based on tax exemptions and corporate subsidies, the game for labor seems rigged. “[Puerto Rico] cannot continue with its low-wage discourse,” says OPEIU’s Ramírez. “We brought Lufthansa [Technik]… and the atrocity was that we gave them exemption to overtime laws… Puerto Rico’s bet has to be different”, he states.

And that, in the end, might be the crux of the matter. Puerto Rico needs a profound retooling of its productive and institutional apparatus and labor’s future depends on successfully placing itself at the center of this new equation. Deepak Lamba-Nieves, Research Director of the Center for a New Economy in San Juan says, “[Puerto Rico] should be thinking about a manufacturing sector that is aligned with the capacities of our labor force, which in the aggregate is more educated, has been pre-trained in specialized industries and has a level of bilingualism that helps it interact in the global economy”. According to Lamba-Nieves, this will entail many “tectonic” transformations: government will need to be rethought, its misalignments and coordination failures addressed; the private sector will need to transcend its rent-seeking behavior; and workers (and unions) will need to rethink their role in the workplace. “There are no innocents [in this crisis]… This has been a concatenation of problems and misaligned interests that have been intent on protecting their own territory,” he states, stressing that a completely new mind-set will need to be developed. “How do you start a new conversation? …Right now, [unions] talk about equity and justice, while the business sector talks about costs…How can we understand the symbiotic relationship…between the needs of the private sector and the claims for justice and solidarity?…It is essential to find a space to accommodate those two things, which are not mutually exclusive…Understanding that we need to do things differently because what is happening now is not beneficial to neither can be a first common understanding towards the future.”

 


 

[1] A revised version of this article appeared under the title “Debtors’ Island: How Puerto Rico Became a Hedge Fund Playground” in New Labor Forum (Vol. 23, Issue 2/Spring 2016).

[2] Sergio Marxuach, “Analysis of Puerto Rico’s Current Economic and Fiscal Situation”, Center for a New Economy, October 2015, pp. 4-6.  Retrieved from http://grupocne.org/2015/10/22/analysis-of-puerto-ricos-current-economic-and-fiscal-situation/

[3] Working Group for the Fiscal and Economic Recovery of Puerto Rico, “Puerto Rico Fiscal and Economic Growth Plan. Update Presentation”, January 18, 2016.  Retrieved from http://www.bgfpr.com/documents/PRFEGPUpdatePresentation1.18.16.pdf

[4] Risk premia on Puerto Rico’s general obligation and public enterprise bonds increased sharply at the end of 2013. Rating agencies downgraded the debt to below investment grade in early 2014. Anne O. Krueger, Ranjit Teja and Andrew Wolfe, “Puerto Rico – A Way Forward”, Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, June 29, 2015, p.3.  Retrieved from http://www.bgfpr.com/documents/puertoricoawayforward.pdf

[5] This percentage is achieved using the $ 3.4 billion Financing Gap Before Measures estimated in January 2016 by the Working Group for FY 2016 as a proportion of a GNP of $ 69 billion.

[6] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Local Area Unemployment Statistics/Puerto Rico”. Retrieved from http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LASST720000000000006?data_tool=XGtable

[7] Ibid. Government Development Bank, Economic Indicators, “Labor Force Participation Rate. Retrieved from http://www.bgfpr.com/economy/pr-monthly-economic-indicators-time-series.html

[8] U.S. Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, “Puerto Rico/Selected Characteristics of the Native and Foreign-Born Populations”, S0501. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_S0501&prodType=table

[9] Puerto Rico Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Affiliates Labor Union Statistics”, April 17, 2015.  Retrieved from http://www.trabajo.pr.gov/pdf/Estadisticas/2015/GT/LABOR%20UNION%20 AFFILIATES%20IN%20PUERTO%20RICO%20OCTOBER%202014.PDF

[10] Union density in the private manufacturing sector had dwindled to only 2% in 2000, down from 32% in 1965. César F. Rosado Marzán, Dependent Unionism: Resource Mobilization and Union Density in Puerto Rico, Ph. D. Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, June 2005, p. 17.

[11] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “State and Area Employment/Puerto Rico/Government”. Retrieved from http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMS72000009000000001?data_tool=XGtable

[12] The loss-of-benefit estimates coincide and were provided by representatives from the Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Trabajadores, Servidores Públicos Unidos and Central Unitaria de Trabajadores.

[13] According to a Government Development Bank internal document, a total of $ 3,835 million must be forked out for debt service during the first half of 2016. The Working Group’s January Revised Plan estimated that Accounts payable as of June 2015 stood at  $ 1.7 billion and 99 days outstanding (p. 7).

[14] Krueger, Teja and Wolfe, p.17-18.

[15] The byname of “independent” has a double meaning in local labor parlance and refers to “independence” both from government control and control from U.S. unions.  On the one hand, in the 1950s the Partido Popular Democrático succeeded in creating a corporatist model that weakened the combative Central General de Trabajadores while incorporating many labor leaders into government.  On the other hand, the tension with mainland-based organizations has been a constant throughout Puerto Rico’s history. Since the early days in the 1900’s (when the AFL-CIO provided resources to help organize workers and eventually succeeded in neutralizing the most radical sectors among sugar cane and tobacco workers) up to the mid-1990’s (when mainland labor groups achieved the representation of employees in many public sector agencies and utilities), U.S. based unions have been alternately seen as powerful allies with vital organizing capabilities or as “colonialists” who undercut local unions. Gervasio L. García and A.G. Quintero Desafío y solidaridad:  breve historia del movimiento obrero puertorriqueño. Río Piedras: Ediciones Huracán, 1982. Miles Gavin, The Organized Labor Movement in Puerto Rico. New Jersey: Associated University Press, 1979. Ramón Arbona Martínez and Armindo Núñez Miranda. Pedro Grant. La vida una lucha, una lucha la vida: Memorias de un líder sindical. Río Piedras: Ediciones Callejón, 2005. Selected passages of César J. Ayala and Rafael Bernabe. Puerto Rico en el siglo americano:  su historia desde 1898. San Juan: Ediciones Callejón, 2011. César F. Rosado Marzán, Dependent Unionism: Resource Mobilization and Union Density in Puerto Rico, Ph. D. Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, June 2005; and “Solidarity or colonialism? The polemic of ‘Labor Colonialism’ in Puerto Rico’, in Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society (2007); and.

[16] “Propuestas de la Coalición Sindical ante la crisis económica, social y política”, October 5, 2014. Photocopy provided by Federico Torres Montalvo.

[17] “Plan alternativo para superar la crisis fiscal y promover el desarrollo económico”, photocopy provided by Roberto Pagán.

[18] See note 13.

 

3 imprescindibles para una verdadera reforma energética (guía para descargar)

Durante las próximas semanas se estará discutiendo la reforma del sistema eléctrico. Este es el esfuerzo más serio e importante de reformar la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica que el país ha visto en décadas. Es importante que el proceso asegure que la reforma sea profunda y conduzca a una reducción en el costo de la electricidad.

El Centro para una Nueva Economía (CNE) entiende que para ser efectiva y poder reducir el costo de la electricidad, la Junta Reguladora necesita peritaje y poderes reales para verdaderamente fiscalizar a la AEE. Esa junta necesita:

a) El poder y el conocimiento para estructurar las tarifas eléctricas. Esto no lo hace la Junta Reguladora de Telecomunicaciones, que solo recibe las tarifas hacen las compañías de telecomunicaciones.

b) El poder y el conocimiento para dirigir al sistema eléctrico a un proceso de planificación a largo plazo que le imponga parámetros de eficiencia a la AEE, la obligue a retirar las plantas más ineficientes y caras, y permita integrar al sistema productores de electricidad más limpios y costo eficientes.

c) Para que eso tenga sentido, esa junta tiene que tener el poder de vigilar el proceso de la compra de energía y la interconexión de productores ineficientes al sistema.

Si quieres conocer más sobre la Reforma Energética y qué le conviene a tu bolsillo, descarga aquí la guía de preguntas y respuestas que hemos preparado y accede a nuestro portal informativo www.losmisteriosdetufactura.com
 
CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

O lea el documento a continuación:
 

Las PYMES y los retos de la Nueva Economía (Artículo Breve)

Las PYMES

El término “nueva economía” ha provocado un sinnúmero de significados durante la última década. Lo que en un momento fue una frase utilizada por un grupo selecto de académicos y otros especialistas se ha convertido en un termino común que se escucha casi a diario en los medios de comunicación y se utiliza para diversos fines. Mientras estos significados abundan y varían de un aspecto a otro, también comparten ciertos elementos que caracterizan a grandes rasgos, las nuevas tendencias que surgen a nivel global.

La importancia de las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYMES) en el entramado institucional de la nueva economía resulta ser uno de los temas de consenso entre los especialistas y uno que amerita mayor discusión.  Según nos explica uno de los teóricos principales de la nueva economía, el profesor Manuel Castells: “La nueva economía emerge en un momento especifico, la década de los 90’s en un espacio especifico, los Estados Unidos, e influyo y fue influida por industrias especificas, mayormente aquellas relacionadas con las tecnologías de la información y finanzas con la biotecnología asomándose en el horizonte.”

To view full report, please click on the following link:
Pymes

Category: Article, CNE Blog, Publications · Tags:

CNE Newsletter

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to the CNE Newsletter below: