15 May 2022


Naomi Klein: The Battle for Paradise

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to self-driven motives by an organization or a state government to ensure the well-being of its people is safeguarded. Corporate Social Responsibility creates a strong bond between an institution and its surrounding residents. Therefore, an environment where Corporate Social Responsibility is upheld, then standard of life for local residents is improved. On the other hand, in an environment where Corporate Social Responsibility is looked down upon, then the standard of living of the local people is negatively impacted. Lack of Corporate Social Responsibility by an organization or a government greatly contributes to the degradation of social aspects like economy status, provision of social services, and environmental pollution. Interference with these public social services results into conflicts between the people and institutions supposed to uphold Corporate Social Responsibility among the people. Lack of Corporate Social Responsibility also deprives people of most of their human rights.

The “Battle for Paradise” by Naomi Klein clearly sheds light on Corporate Social Responsibility related issues to the residents of Puerto Rico. The residents of Puerto Rico have a long history of going through unbearable life which is full of struggles and rebellions to advocate for their rights as citizens of United States of America. The struggles and Corporate Social Responsibility related issues range from economic issues to social amenities-related issues. The already unbearable situations of the Puerto Rico residents are worsened by the Hurricane Maria which brought enormous damage to the people’s property. There are several Corporate Social Responsibility related issues which are revealed by The Battle for Paradise by Naomi Klein. This paper will analyze deprival of social amenities to the residents of Puerto Rico, Voluntary community work, corporate policies that benefit the environment, and corruption to the residents of Puerto Rico.

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Deprival of Social Amenities

The Puerto Rican governance has the responsibility of ensuring necessary social amenities are availed to its residents. However, provision of essential social amenities has not been the norm in Puerto Rico from as early as its colonial period with the Spanish. It is a Corporate Social Responsibility of the Puerto Rican government to ensure that education is provided to all eligible school goers in the territory of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, this has not been the case to the many school goers in Puerto Rico. The State of education in Puerto Rico has faced various challenges which range from financial incapacitation to understaffing. The state of education in Puerto Rico was worsened by the Hurricane Maria which wiped out most of the learning institutions in the region (Klein, 2018). After the Hurricane Maria disabled the state of education in Puerto Rico, the State’s governance did very little to revive the education sector.

Instead of incorporating the necessary organizations to re-structure the damaged school buildings, the government of Puerto Rico left the whole burden to the already distracted and depressed residents of Puerto Rico (Klein, 2018). The residents of Puerto Rico out of devastation and love for education for their children went ahead to revive most of the schools closed due to the Hurricane Maria. There was still no positive response from the government, who are supposed to revive the education sector, but instead joined hands with the United States of America government to have the education sector in Puerto Rico privatized (Klein, 2018). Privatization of the education sector in Puerto Rico does not promote Corporate Social Responsibility by the government but exerts more pressure to the already terror-stricken persons. More violation of Corporate Social Responsibility was shown by the government through cutting on the revenue allocation to the only University in the region, the University of Puerto Rico.

Going by the ethical principles of Corporate Social Responsibility, the Puerto Rican government should have revived the dwindling education sector in its state and probably made it more accessible to its residents. Advocacy for privatization of the education sector and imposing higher payments for university students at the University of Puerto Rico brought more harm to the people instead of relieve. Corporate Social Responsibility is steered towards making life easier for local residents and not imposing more burdens on them. The Puerto Rican government together with the United States of American government was wrong in their attempt to privatize education in Puerto Rico. As a result of closing down schools in Puerto Rico and attempts to privatize the education sector, there were more school drop-outs in the State. Again, this is against the principles behind Corporate Social Responsibility.

The Hurricane Maria caused a big damage to the crops which were in the land. As a result there was an adverse scarcity of food in the whole of Puerto Rico. The government of Puerto Rico failed to take full charge of providing food to its citizens but instead left them to depend of scarce natural foods that survived the Hurricane Maria. The condition of food scarcity was further worsened by the poor state of transport system because most roads were blocked and rendered impassable by the Hurricane Maria. The residents of Puerto Rico were left to depend on food obtained from other States, which they still could not depend on due to the poor transport system. The government of Puerto Rico failed to take charge of implementing alternative ways of ensuring food from other States gets to its residents on time to ease their life status.

Voluntary Community Work

Voluntary community work entails the action of sacrificing one’s time and resources to serve the community without expecting any gains in return. In “The Battle for Paradise” by Naomi Klein, the need for voluntary community work arises in almost all scenarios caused by the Hurricane Maria. All the issues that arose due to the Hurricane Maria can be solved through giving more consideration to voluntary community work. The whole article depicts scenarios of people who are deprived of their social needs and right (Klein, 2018). Although there are a few characters that come out clearly to offer community service, it is still not adequate to quench the needs of the residents of Puerto Rico. Massol-Deyá is one of such characters who advocated for adoption of renewable sources of energy which could withstand any type of weather (Klein, 2018). Massol-Deyá went ahead to distribute solar lanterns to residents which eased their dark-stricken nights.

The issue of food scarcity is also seen to be partly solved through voluntary community work. Dalma Cartagena has mobilized school going kids to practice agro-ecological farming which supplements the scarce meals they expect from the government (Klein, 2018). Dalma Cartagena has a great devotion to changing the lives of Puerto Ricans through teaching them on reliable farming methods which can withstand harsh weather conditions like the Hurricane Maria. This resonates well with voluntary community work which is a principle strongly embedded on Corporate Social Responsibility. Dalma Cartagena does all this without expecting any gains or benefits but purely to uplift the lives of Puerto Rico residents who life has been affected by the Hurricane Maria. Part of the foods harvested from the farms is consumed in school, some is sold and the rest is distributed among the kids to take them back to their guardians at home.

Corporate Policies That Benefit the Environment

Environmental preservation is a vital principle which is highly advocated for by Corporate Social Responsibility. Before Puerto Rico was hit by the Hurricane Maria, its main source of power was electricity which was generated from fossil fuel (Klein, 2018). According to Massol-Deyá, this source of power was not eco-friendly because it emitted poisonous gases to the atmosphere (Klein, 2018). Massol-Deyá’s love for the environment saw an abandonment of a plan to open an open-pit mining which would be hazardous to the residents of Puerto Rico. Therefore, there is a need for corporates and governments to implement policies which would ensure that the environment is preserved. It is in line with Corporate Social Responsibility principles to initiate appropriate policies that would promote environmental conservation. For the case of Puerto Rico, more policies are needed to address the environmental issues arising every day.

At government level, Corporate Social Responsibility is very important in regulating the lives of citizens and operations of the government. The effects of Corporate Social Responsibility are more felt during the times of disasters like the Hurricane Maria for the Puerto Rico State. In a State where Corporate Social Responsibility is not adhered to then residents of such a state suffer during disasters. However, in a State where Corporate Social Responsibility is upheld, then such a State or government will be in a good position to deal with natural disasters. There is a need to reinstate the provision of essential social and human rights to the residents of Puerto Rico which is still recovering from the damages caused by Hurricane Maria. There is also a need to venture more into voluntary community work and to shun corrupt in order to better the lives of the Puerto Rico residents.


Klein, N. (2018).  The battle for paradise: Puerto Rico takes on the disaster capitalists . Haymarket Books.

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