Puerto Rico "is not a country that generates admiration" politically and economically.

Chilean writer Axel Kaiser told EL VOCERO that the island is not a political or economic reference for other Latin American countries.

Writer Axel Kaiser to Visit Puerto Rico Next Week.

Although Puerto Rico usually stands out for the quality of its artists, athletes and tourist attractions, it does not seem to be a political and economic reference for the rest of the countries in the Latin American region, according to Axel Kaiser, lawyer and president of the Foundation for the Progress of Chile.

When asked by EL VOCERO about how Puerto Rico is perceived in Latin American countries, the Chilean-German writer responded that "it is not a country that generates admiration" in the socio-political aspect.

"Puerto Rico is best known for its artists, obviously, but not as an example of policies and economies for the region, not at all. Nobody talks about Puerto Rico. There is much more talk about Paraguay than about Puerto Rico," Kaiser added.

The author of The Street Economist will visit the island next week to serve as keynote speaker at the seventh annual forum of the Retail Trade Association (Acdet) to be held on August 17, where he will address the topic of "The Poverty of Nations and How to Overcome It," with a focus on economic freedom.

As of 2021, Puerto Rico ranked 69th out of 181 countries with the most economic freedom, according to the Index of Economic Freedom shared by Kaiser.

However, for the political analyst this represents a "mediocre" position, given that Puerto Rico has more political and economic advantages than other countries in the region that are in a better position in economic freedom indicators.

"That's bad, it's mediocre. Consequently, there is much room for improvement in terms of corruption, rule of law, efficiency of public spending and the effectiveness of the judiciary, (Puerto Rico) has the problem of a very large government and inflexible labor regimes, so there are several issues there that Puerto Rico needs to improve on in the economic freedom indicators," Kaiser said.

In the region, the United States, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Barbados and Mexico surpass Puerto Rico in their degree of economic freedom and ease of doing business.

Economic freedom is the ability of a country's residents to buy, sell, produce, consume and trade freely, without government mediation.

Four aspects of the economic environment are typically considered in determining the degree of economic freedom in a region: the rule of law, size of government, regulatory efficiency and openness of markets.

In the Economic Freedom of North America (EFNA) 2022 report, Puerto Rico scored 2.04, which was less than half the lowest score in the United States, with the state of New York, which scored 4.25, surpassed by California, with 4.59, and Hawaii, with 4.65.

Meanwhile, the writer insisted that one of the most important factors that keep Puerto Rico from having good economic liberty is its dependence on federal funds.

"A situation of dependence is generated and that is negative, because there is a lack of incentives for there to be a real willingness to solve the problems," said the writer.

Against this backdrop, in his participation in the Acdet forum in San Juan, Kaiser will delve into the importance of making reforms that extend economic freedom and, in turn, aims to encourage the business class to take action to achieve better economic freedom on the island.

This article was originally published in Spanish in El Vocero

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