Puerto Rico’s Displaced Commonwealth Economy and Social Security Recipients on the Island

Puerto Rico has an unusually high rate of social security disability recipients compared with the mainland rate. Many islanders are displaced by widely held trade practices for otherwise cheap labor in the region in the form of NAFTA trade agreements. For many, the social security status on the island is the difference between poverty and displaced work, or work in a field that has not been trained or prepared for, usually at a premium. Much like the colonial state of the island, it is difficult to make comprehensive argument for one outcome versus another. Like the status of many puerto rican islanders, the island itself faces economic isolation from the united states or complete cultural absorption in the form of statehood, both inauspicious economic alternatives. Resultingly, the island much like it’s citizens faces stiff competition for cheap international labor from other spanish-speaking countries, dearth of white collar, legal or otherwise professional positions, and relatively few economic prospects on the home land. Like many of it’s citizens, the easiest most amenable alternative is colonial commonwealth status for the time being save some horizon-altering shift in political international politics that would shake it from it’s compromising cradle-haven.


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