First off, yes. The title needs some clarification.
While recent events more than likely come to mind for most of us now, the reality is that Puerto Rico has been in dire straights for decades. The nation-state equivalent of an indentured slave with a cruel owner. To take the analogy to the present, the nation-state equivalent of a poverty-stricken and indebted inner-city resident that has had to downgrade and sell so much just to get by that there is literally NOTHING LEFT to part with. And then came the divorce.
Fine, maybe a bit distasteful. But being the sexist habit of associating predatory women with dramatic weather phenomena, and having a storm named Maria involved . . . I couldn’t help myself.
Either way, despite being a US holding with residents that are technically American citizens, their treatment at the hand of the homeland is FAR from that enjoyed by any of the 50 more well-known states. Along with apathy, the nation was also allowed to become a sort of playground for corporations to do what they do best. Slap down roots and demand the world, while giving very little in return for these favors of the commons.
Either way, without the help of the homeland or its corporate parasites making use of the island for all it can give (and then some, because fuck you Puerto Rico!), the Island’s government in its desperation, had to get creative (albeit short-sighted) in its dealing. Enter Wall street and the addictively convenient financial instrument that is the bond.
Now, because of the widespread use of this instrument, not only is the fate of Puerto Rico at stake. Also at stake, are many, MANY investors of all kinds. Some of which may not even know that they have a stake in it.
People like me, with pension plans embedded in bonds and other financial instruments that are managed at arm’s length. And for those that DO want to gain some nuance as to where your stakes may lie . . . good luck.
As is his style, John Oliver puts it nicely in this segment.
When watching the clip for the first time not too long ago, I was surprised to see it dated April of 2016. Imagine that bitter pill. Decades of pillage and indentured servitude, plus hurricane, plus the Jones act, multiplied by orange snowflake more triggered by a female authority than death and destruction, equals they are screwed. Short of the guts of the US governing system doing one of the least psychopathic things in the history of the nation . . . Its hard to see any silver lining.
Either way, while the hurricane has put the island back on the map, if only briefly (I once tweeted San Juan is the new Allepo), few knew of the disaster that unfolded long before the storm. Something that is important for a couple of reasons:
1.) Problems we are ignorant to are not problems we can even HOPE to begin to fix
2.) Past actions tend to dictate future actions, even if we don’t always like (want?) to admit it
Which is where the next part of this post comes in. Companies and corporations donating goods and manpower towards the cause of rebuilding the Island. The two most notable that I have seen so far being Tesla and Google (with help from AT&T).
By now, most of us have likely heard about the Whitefish Energy fiasco. Corruption right out in the open, essentially. Or so it seems.
That is not all that is happening on the ground in Peurto Rico in terms of the energy infrastructure, however.
Enter Tesla, and Elon Musk.
I do have some issues with the man (as previously written about) that should be gotten out of the way right off the bat.
In terms of AI, he seems more prone to fear mongering than much else. I am not much of a fan of the Hyperloop, as the whole concept seems WAY more complicated and impractical in terms of the real world than even just focusing on more fuel efficient (or ideally, electric!) airliners.
And I am almost certain that Mars (and other Alein worlds) are NOT the answer to our future earthly inferno. The ultimate manifestation of our arrogant throwaway culture.
Such solutions are but the product of the scientificly engrained YET AGAIN persuing easy results without adequate contemplation. Otherwise known as, how we ended up here in the first place!
If science reunited with philosophy centuries ago, would nuclear weapons still be a thing?
Either way, a bit off topic. Having said all that, I do not dismiss ALL of Elon Musks work. Tesla is great in terms of electric vehicles and further advancing battery storage technology. Technology that the company is now donating to Peurto Rico in order to help the island build more microgrids.