To rebuild our government institutions and provide services of excellence and quality, we must have markets that encourage and facilitate the creation of wealth and its effective redistribution.
If today we told a young Puerto Rican that the Puerto Rico of 30 years ago, was one full of opportunities, where there was upward mobility, in where an academic preparation, commitment, and effort you got ahead, I don't know if she or he would believe us. Who would have thought that three decades later, all those things are almost impossible?
I am deeply convinced that socioeconomic prosperity lies in the creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation of Puerto Ricans. Our development must be brought about by the free exercise of economic activity, under the fundamental right of every individual to control their own work and property.
Public economic policy in Puerto Rico is inappropriate and has created significant market failures. The market has been overregulated, sometimes to protect particular interests and other times with the intention of correcting a problem, but it ended up creating additional failures. Today, the market in Puerto Rico is not capable of self-regulation and correction, much less capable of attracting new competitors that contribute to that self-regulation.
“Puerto Rico tiene una de las tasas laborales más bajas del mundo y la mayor desigualdad económica de todos los estados de la nación norteamericana.”
We have not left it to the markets and their actors to create the necessary efficiencies to keep it competitive and innovative. The existing barriers have destroyed competitiveness, innovation, and the entrepreneurship that the market itself produces and that satisfies and benefits the whole of society. That is why we must remove the existing barriers in the public sector, to correct the deficiencies in our market and reinvigorate creativity and competitiveness.
The chances of success for an entrepreneur and a local company are in themselves a challenge in such a competitive world and if they have to operate in a market with flaws, the chances of getting ahead are even less. Our current situation limits prosperity and economic development, including having high wages, attractive prices for consumers, and the ability to export.
Many studies have shown that high levels of economic freedom produce more opportunity, investment, jobs, economic growth, and prosperity. It should not surprise us, therefore, that Puerto Rico has one of the lowest labor rates in the world and the greatest economic inequality of all the states within the United States; and that, in the last 10 years, over 530,000 Puerto Ricans have left the Island. This is the result of inhospitable and closed markets that nullify wealth instead of creating it; markets that do not favor merit, the desire to pursue dreams, creativity, entrepreneurship; and markets that do not encourage investment, but rather discourage it.
To rebuild our government institutions and provide services of excellence and quality, we must have markets that encourage and facilitate the creation of wealth and its effective redistribution. Our public policy must recognize and support the four pillars of the free market: individual freedoms, the rule of law, property rights, and a limited government. These pillars will give us the greatest opportunity for freedom and prosperity.