Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Mexican Elections

The Presidential election in Mexico is getting to be a real nail-biter. As of this writing, Lopez Obrador leads by a sliver over Felipe Calderon but the difference is closing. Not clear whether it will close enough. See Mark in Mexico (who's liveblogging the count) and  El Universal, which is posting updates regularly (the Spanish is self-explanatory). The outcome will have a lot of bearing on the immigration debate.

Update

With nearly all the ballots counted, Felipe Calderon has a wafer-thin lead, in the tenths of a percent, so thin that I'm practically certain this election will be contested.

50 Comments:

Blogger desert rat said...

While in the long term, the Presidency of Mexico is an important position, and there are huge ideological differences betwee Mr Calderon and Mr Orbador, why would the occupant of that post have any bearing on US immigration policy debate?

41 million votes cast
a 1% lead for Mr Orbador
a 2% swing from yesterday

with almost 92% or nearly 38 million votes retallied.
Mr Orbador is up by 380,000 around votes.
Mr Calderon needs to recieve 64+% of the yet uncounted tallies to win.

If the uncounted tallies are from northern Mexico, Mr Calderon still has a chance. If not, it'll be curtains or count again, for Mr Calderon.

7/05/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

PAN and PRI together count for around 57-58% of the total vote. Also those two parties are heavy in the legislative assemblies. If Obrador does win, maybe it's six years of what amounts to a Mexican stand-off. On immigration, only speculation I might offer would be that Obrador winning might--at least temporarily--tempt some poorer folks to try it at home hoping to improve their lot through politics.

7/05/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Wretchard,

I'm very curious as to how you see the administrations of either candidate influencing the immigration debate within the US.

7/06/2006 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I figure that if Obrador wins, and there's a better than even chance he will, Mexico will find itself in even worse economic trouble than before. Third World countries have a choice of two evils. An feudal oligarchy or socialist oligarcy. The socialists call the feudals "capitalists", and the feudals call the socialists "communists" but that is all the difference there is. In the end the few will tell the many how to live.

It's in the Mexican elites interest to export their failure to America so they can remain elite. That much is clear to them. Nothing is equivalently clear to Americans. My opinion anyway, for whatever it is worth.

7/06/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Why is everyone focused on the consequences of immigration? The debate here seems simple - the welfare statist will almost certainly destroy his country's economy, the capitalist almost certainly will not. I care a lot more about whether Mexico has a shot at becoming a functioning state(which would render the whole immigration debate moot, among other things), than I do about a minor, short-term effect on an issue that has way more inertia than anyone will be able to stop.

7/06/2006 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Minute by Minute Update

7/06/2006 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Having gnawed through my fingers I am beginning on my toes.

7/06/2006 01:30:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

There will be no good news for the US in the Mexican elections. If Orbador wins, which seems likely, the South American swing to the Left will have spread north. Economic growth will further slow. This will be accentuated by capital flight out of Mexico. Real incomes will fall. Oil prices will be under pressure and rise on world markets.

Should Calderon win, the Left will claim a stolen election and social unrest will widen. The outcome will be similar with capital flight and slower growth. Calderon will try tepid market changes but not have the ability to do anything meaningful.

The US will be better off with Orbador, as Latin America is determined to try the socialist model. Mexico needs to suffer the inevitable consequences and future failure before any meaningful lasting changes occur.

The US has never been serious about helping Latin America work. It took the expedient route of buying inexpensive goods from China and cheap illegal labor from Latin America.

China is stronger, Latin America weaker and more dependant on inexpensive Chinese goods as real income falls. US Latin American policy makes the US policy in Iraq seem absolutely enlightened.

7/06/2006 01:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Slothfulbobal:
You think you'll lose all six?
---

35.65% Obrador

35.55% Calderon

Diferencia porcentual : 0.10 pts
Casillas computadas: 97.25%
---
Closing steadily:
Calderon should win, then ballots from the outback will straggle in, Algore fashion, and the scales will finally be balanced after the shameful SCOTUS putdown of Florida Supremes effort to stop Global Warming back when we had a chance.

7/06/2006 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Wretchard,

Thanks.

I believe you're quite right to make the point that the normal left/right labels do have a different meaning in Latin America.

A big problem, one that many of my libertarian or free-market friends seem unable to understand, is all the free trade and neo-liberal (as they call it here) policies do little good without sound institutional structures.

I suppose my fear with the leftist candidate is not so much economic ruin as it is that he'll deliberately pick fights with the US as a diversionary/populist tactic. This could in turn lead to a lack of cooperation on law enforcement and what little border security there is. That this could lead to harsher "anti-immigration legislation", which would be harmful for both countries.

The US could certainly benefit from a more prosperous and secure Mexico. Mexico's exporting of its most motivated citizens to the US economy is a temporary win for the US and it relieves the building pressure cooker in Mexico. In the long-run I fear that it's creating a more highly stratified US economy and society. And as far as Mexico, well, it's a good policy to try to export high value added products, but socio-economic well-being was never built on a policy of exporting people.

7/06/2006 02:00:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Cinco, cuatro, tres, dos, uno,
cero--Calderon wins. Buenas noches--hasta lumbego.

7/06/2006 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I fear that it's creating a more highly stratified US economy and society"
---
Then we will have become just like Mexico, and equilibrium will be acheived.

7/06/2006 02:16:00 AM  
Blogger ccliam said...

Interesting interview with Calderón with mention of the illegality of opening the ballot boxes, López Obrador's latest tactic.

7/06/2006 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

I'm with Alex. US immigration should only be of secondary interest below that of the welfare and future of Mexicans. One must assume the conservative candidate will be the best choice to generate economic growth. God knows, South and Central America have had their share of foolish socialist regimes, stunting economic growth. And the absolutely last thing we need, is another Chavez or Morales. Though I'm sure the liberal candidate is not as bad as all that.

Of course, if immigration is your number one thought, then I guess the candidate that is likely to be the best for the economy is still your best guess. Incidentally, from over here in Europe, it's a bit hard to see what all the gnashing of teeth re. Mexican and South American immigration to the US is about. They're Christian. Of European extraction, culture and language – like the US. And by all indications seem to be integrating very quick into US. I for one would swap our lot of impossible to integrate bunch of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, for Mexicans and Hondurans etc. any day.

7/06/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

rune,
LA School High School graduation rate is now down to 45%.
Emergency rooms have all gone bankrupt.
Half of LA Jails inmates are illegals.
Gangs worse than Bratton saw in New York.
Any other questions?

7/06/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rune,
There is little doubt that the migration of southern peoples north is less disruptive in the Americas then in Europe.
We in the US are bipolar in regards Immigration. Having created a situation where the reality is out of phase with law, most US citizens are in favor of the current law's enforcement, the Government has steadfastly refused to even try.
In a nutshell, that is the problem, a disconnect between reality and the law.
Federal Law enforcemnt of Social Security regulations and tax collection in regards the illegals does not exist. Employers are not sanctioned for breaking Federal Law, bottom line.

7/06/2006 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

One wonders if the millions of Mexican that fled north all voted, what would the result be.

On one hand, they are people who voted with their feet for change. On the other hand, they voted with their feet to go to a country that is less socialist.

In fact, if we did effect a mass deportation of Mexicans, what would the impact be in Mexico? A huge influx of people who have shown a willingness to go through hardship and work for a better life might actually straighten things out. Of course, a huge influx of people who have demonstrated a casual disregard for the law might not be a help, either.

Regardless who wins, there is no chance that he will recognize that the main problem with the country is its culture.

7/06/2006 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

The deep question is how do you make Mexico a first class country. This is something that Vincente Fox has brought up frequently recently.

The trouble is that no one quite sees that the very best thing we could do for Mexico is to send their now well trained citizens home.

Suddenly Mexico would have a skilled workforce who knew something about how a world class country worked.

Think these folk would propel a great leap forward for Mexico?

I do.

Basically the ruling class in Mexico is preditory to its own detriment and will not change of its own volition--even if those changes were in its own interest. But it can be forced to change.

The Mexicans in the USA have had the picture of what a well run country looks like tatooed on the back of their eyeballs. And they'll have an idea of how to get there. Send them back to Mexico and they'll get a revolution in Mexico that'll do that country some good.

The shock troops for that would be the 12 million repatriated Mexican citizens. Having seen what a well run country looks like they would not want to be stuffed back in the old wineskin.

There's something more.

I follow water desalination research pretty closely. While water desalination costs have dropped to about a third of what they were 15 years ago--the rate at which prices will drop over the next seven years will accelerate considerably. imo in even the next five years we will see desalination costs drop to 1/10th of today's costs. Or even faster than the fall the 3/4 fall that the LLNL researchers suggest.
http://www.physorg.com/news67262683.html
Basically, the foundations are being laid today to make it economically feasable to to turn all the world's deserts green. (The proper way to look at this is to recall that cars, tv's and computers were at first rich men's toys but when prices came down they changed the world. Desalinised water is still relatively speaking -- a rich man's toy. But when the price drops sufficiently--desalinised water will change the world--because most deserts are right beside the ocean. Pumping the water 1000 miles inland will require that the scientists collapse the cost cracking out hydrogen from water. I think that this nut will be cracked sooner than desalination.)

imho cheap desalinised water will do for the republicans (if they can get this on their agenda or even the democrats if the pubbies drop the ball) what the great dam building projects & the tva of the 1930's & 40's did for democrats because 1/3 of the US is deserts. We would increase the habitable size of the USA by 1/3.

Dirt cheap desalinised water will also do things like make it possible to double the habitable size of Mexico. Cheap water is no magic bullet but it will give the Mexican Nationalists a way to dream while the Mexican people do the real work.

A first generation crop that might be appropriate would be one that India has chosen for its biofuels program. The crop is Jatropha Curcas - a bush. This shrub produces a seed containing oil. This oil works well for biodiesel production ( see http://www.d1plc.com ).

Jatropha Curcas is native to Mexico and Central America. This shrub can be grown in large plantations on marginal soil - assuming some reasonable amount of, say, desalinated water).

Think Jatropha Curas could take up the slack from current oil production--that slated to go into steep decline in Mexico in the next ten years? I do.


And desalinated water in tandem with repatriation of now skilled Mexican citizens would propel Mexico into being a world class country.

Oh and one last thing. Mexico will need a stronger dose of of the Peruvian Hernando Desoto ideas. Basically DeSoto asked the question why are some countries poor and some countries rich. The basic answers is that in poor countries most of their economy is informal or off the books and their property--ie--land is not formally recognized. (Therefor these countries have no borrowing power.)De Soto's solutions are being implimented successfully in countries around the world. http://www.ild.org.pe/home.htm

Hernando de Soto's organization was invited to Mexico and did some work on the question. He says that only 6 percent of Mexican enterprises are legal, the rest are informal or off the books. So how do you reverse that so that only 6% of the economy is informal -- as is the case the USA.

De Soto would provide the ideas around which the 12 million american trained Mexican returnees could rally.

There is a winner here. The winner is Mexico.

The US profits too by having a prosperous politically stable country with a broad middle class to the south as we do to the north.

7/06/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I have met with quite of few of the illegals.
A Kinkos manager from Cancun, quite a few college educated laborers. While many are unskilled, many are quite capable. Most are not coming here looking for training. They are looking for economic opportunity.

The failures of Mexico are systematic. They will require more than contested elections to overcome. While Mr Fox has Mexico moving in the "right" direction, it'll be a long hard slog.

7/06/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Charles, yours is a very intriguing hypothesis. I wish you had posted this to a blog so that I could link to it.
Perhaps later in the day I will post some of it to mine with a few comments. Thanks.

7/06/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

For anyone looking for positive news from Ramadi, in the MSM, look hereIn Ramadi, a test of Iraqi forces

The Philadelphia Inquirer counts as MSM, right?

The story is by Wade Zirkle and David Bellavia. Both served multiple deployments to Iraq as U.S. infantrymen; now civilians, they are embedded with coalition and Iraqi forces. They are cofounders of Vets for Freedom

7/06/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

One more OT then I'm out the door.
NATO in Afghanistan, interesting piece at Westhawk about the British COIN techniques failing in the south.
Seems the Taliban is not as easy to get along with as the IRA or Mr al-Sadr's boys in Basra.

"... A company of about 150 British paratroopers posted inside a police compound had been attacked six out of the past seven nights. Three soldiers have died, one yesterday and two last Saturday night. ...

..."We are not going out to attack, they are coming to us. ..."


Hearts & Minds operations put on "hold" 'til there is better security.

7/06/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Russet Shadows said...

The problem with illegal immigration from Mexico is that we're not getting people "striving for a better life". No. We're getting rapists, narco-terrorists, welfare seekers, and other riff-raff. Check out Michelle Malkin's "Invasion" for the straight truth.

As far as the Mexican elections go, any candidate which improves the Mexican economy provides an incentive for its populace to stay in Mexico and not head north. So even if it's a small change for the better, that's still something.

7/06/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Clearly if Obrador wins it probably will be easier to use military force to seal the border.
Thats a simplistic view but I think its logical, even Bush is not trying to cozy up to Hugo Chavez.

A socialist will no doubt wreck the Mexican economy, not much to be done about that. I do not think the 12 million would be able to reverse the situation even if they took their "well trained" selves home, somehow the military always seems to come down on the side of the dictator.

If the border were sealed and the flow of money to the south cut off, that might be the best possible outcome. Stress the word "possible" it may not even be a half decent outcome.

7/06/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

What exactly is wrong with a country that cannot integrate millions of people willing to uproot and start a new life of hard work starting at the bottom in the USA?

The rich don't tax themselves. Neither do they ecourage class mobility through education or job improvement; I lived in Mexico and other parts of Latin America for many years; I was amazed at the hatred the middle and upper classes have for poor people. The country's judges are too beholden to a union, a party faction a police force or a mafia cluster to function with anything like minimal equity. Most legal disputes are decided by who gets to the judge first with the biggest bag of money; The rich are probably afraid to put money back into the system because the bureaucracies are so corrupt; the stealing that goes on in government offices is unbelievable. Where there is no trust there is no credit; you can imagine how this distorts the economy; cash is king; the concept of long-term investment is almost non-existent. To top it off, Mexico is not a poor country; it is mineral, oil rich, a bit short of farmland but not fatally so...

7/06/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Mark in Mexico said...

Mexican names (and Spanish - names in Spain are the same) can be confusing. It is Lopez Obrador, or Lopez or AMLO, not Obrador. Obrador is his mother's maiden name. Some people prefer to be identified by their full legal name, like Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Others, like Felipe Calderon, do not. All legal documents, like his birth cert., passport, drivers lic. etc. will show his name as Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. In any case, you can't refer to anyone only by their mother's family name because people won't know who you mean. To further complicate matters, women in the public eye commonly use their maiden names rather than their married names. Even more confusing, many women, when they marry, combine their maiden names with their husband's family name, like Marta Sahagun de Fox, the president's wife. If that isn't enough, a widow will sometimes legally change her last name (her husband's family name) from, for instance, Maria Hernandez Sanchez to Maria Viuda de Hernandez Sanchez (viuda de = widow of). Got all that?

7/06/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

DR

About Vets for Freedom.

Check out the short bio on David

"David is a former Army Staff Sergeant who served in the First Infantry Division (Task Force 2-2). He has been recommended for the Medal of Honor, nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross, and received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star (v), and the Conspicuous Service Cross."

Sounds like he's been there, done that!

7/06/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

Also OT,

Found via Captains Quarters.

"'Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves." Thus spoke Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, referring to Muslims. Explaining his apparent rejection of Jesus' admonition to his followers to "turn the other cheek," De Paolis noted that "The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century...and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights."

De Paolis is hardly alone in his thinking; indeed, the Catholic Church is undergoing a dramatic shift from a decades-old policy to protect Catholics living under Muslim rule. The old methods of quiet diplomacy and muted appeasement have clearly failed."


Captains Quarters

7/06/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Smacko said...

For my previous post:

The original article is Original from the JPost

7/06/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Latest headline:

Mexico's Calderon Has Insurmountable Lead

However, the same article also said:
"Roberto Madrazo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party had 22.27 percent and two minor party candidates split the rest of the vote."

So who are the Institutional Revolutionary Party? Anyone know about them? 22% is rather a lot, especially onsidering the two big leaders only got about 35% each.

7/06/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Institutional Revolutionary Party = PRI

Ruled for some 73 years. Many thought things worked alright back then, others realize that you can't put it back in the bottle.

7/06/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

PRI--Party that honed 'la mordida' to a high art form.

7/06/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

And that's the real problem: how to turn Mexico into a first world state.

I had hopes for NAFTA but so far it really hasn't ignited the economy. futher, as places even poorer than Mexico come on line, the low wage jobs are migrating away from the mexico factories.

there's no physical barrier that I can see. mexico has natural resources, deep water ports and wealthy neighbors.

Another poster mentioned the disparity between the haves and have nots in Mexico and I believe that this is the crux of the issue. Like most of the former Spanish empire, corruption is rampant in Mexico. so it is relatively easy for the haves to maintain their exalted position, even at the expense of their fellow mexicans.

Until this corruption is brought to a less pernicious level the Mexican economy will stagnate.

it's the same choice that the Iraqis face: stay with the traditional social model and remain in the third world or hold yourselves to a higher moral standard and achieve some measure of prosperity for a larger number of citizens.

fox has been quite clear that Mexico is perhaps a full generation or more away from true reform and until some people get prison terms for graft nothing much will change.

it will take a truly ballsy leader to take on the hide bound upper class. These jefes will not willingly see thier life style threatened by upstart peasants who want a better life. It's a real shame.

It seems that the Europeans don't understand America's concerns here. We're being used as a safetly valve. Instead of confront the impediments to prosperity, the Mexicans are simply relying on our good will and insatiable appetites to gloss over their problem.

a prosperous Mexico would do wonders for America. A solid trading partner and perhaps a member of an organization similar to the old common market would help us face the future together.

but Nooooooo the guys on top want to stay on top and screw the world in the process.

7/06/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Yes, I just read that the PRI was the party in control for 73 years, until Fox won.

Depending on the viewpoint they either new hold a key position since the two other parties are so close, or else they are teetering on the brink of extinction as their voters and politicans desert and head to one of the two big parties.

One would think that the PRI voters would naturally graviate toward the "conservative" party - but I guess you need to recall that present day American "conservatism" equates to radical liberalism in terms of the rest of the world, while modern radical liberalism usually equates to a return to the days of kings and queens.

7/06/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
Jim Gilchrist of the Minutement got 26% in the famous California 51st election just past.
---
"but Nooooooo the guys on top want to stay on top and screw the world in the process. "
---
We just thought it would be a lot better idea to Arm the Chicoms with limitless cash to buy deliverable Nukes than to turn Mexico into a prosperous trading partner tourist/investment paradise.
...would have required making a JUDGEment of their corrupt system, which is of course sinful to the religion of PC. pbui

7/06/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" modern radical liberalism usually equates to a return to the days of kings and queens."
---
Proof that inbreeding works, just as it did with the royals.
...or as the liberals would say:
The results are "interesting."

7/06/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Productivity and efficiency of slave labor camps/"free trade" far outstrips other notions of economics weighted down by notions of equity, standards, and values, much less morality or enlightened self-interest.
WSJ Uber Alles!

7/06/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Let the Riots Begin!

7/06/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ObraAlgore, aka "El-Gore" Demands a Recount!

7/06/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

What happens when a lower IQ population floods a higher IQ population? Crime goes up, tax receipts go down, welfare burdens go way up, the region becomes another part of the undeveloped world. Yeah, you bet! By flooding the developed world with low IQ immigrants you turn it into part of the undeveloped world. That's what's happening in Europe and North America. Entropy, things fall apart.

7/06/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Rune said...

Well it seeems to be final. Calderon, the conservative won. By the smallest margin. Close save!

7/06/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Buffy, it's the ones with the brains that are leaving, fast as their legs will allow.

7/06/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

bobalharb, here is where one needs to think in relative terms. Being "one with brains" in a population with an average IQ of 83, isn't the same as being "one with brains" when placed inside a population with an average IQ of 100. The developed world receives millions of economic refugees and the crime rates go up up up, the hospitals are overloaded with indigent nonpaying customers, the social welfare programs sink.

You may be thinking about the educated immigrants from India, China, Phillipines, Arab countries, etc. That's small scale immigration that's beneficial to developed nations. No, we're talking about large scale in the millions. That many people of sub-normal IQ pouring into a formerly developed country will have devastating effects in the long run.

7/06/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But, on average, little education, and the highest dropout rate of any group here.
...prior to the welfare state, it was almost ALL highly motivated people.
Since Socialism's arrival, the dregs come also and are greeted with open arms and our tax dollars by the socialist cogs.

7/06/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

my post was to bobalharb

7/06/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I had had high hopes for NAFTA but my Mexican friend was opposed to it. I asked if it would not improve the lot of his fellow countrymen and, though he thought it would offer short term gain, that it would again prop up the elites, who, through their use of money and power, would be the sole beneficiaries of the agreement.

Again I met a bar owner in Puebla who thought Fox was a scoundrel. He was a PRI man through and through and thought I was a nosey gadfly for my high accolades of him. I thought Vicente and his close friendship with GW would be a watershed for our national relationship but I was wrong. Fox was a scoundrel, but not for the reasons I'd of imagined. Watershed…, feel like I've been pissed on my head instead.

7/06/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Watercloset Malfunction.

7/06/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I am having a little problem with the IQ argument. Suffice it to say that making an illegal crossing under potentially lethal conditions is enticing to a certain criminal element. If you think that the people pouring over our borders are nothing but a bunch of noble bread winners, try spending a year or more in an Los Angeles suburb like San Ppedro, get to know the gang members, get to know the police, see the dead bodies, have your life threatened, start carrying firearms when you go out of your house…. Better yet, put one right between your own eyes. Bobalharb won’t flinch. Your life doesn’t matter, only the right of noble savages to over run and to make theirs what once was ours. Better yet, go on a killing spree. Ain’t no law worth followin’ anyhow. Death to whitey. Viva la raza.

7/06/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

das 9:58, made some excellent observations. I add. The middle classes in all countries advance with property rights and ownership. The cost of holding land in Latin America is close to nil. That makes land very expensive. A real estate tax based on potential use would drive down the price of land and encourage best use and a wider ownership. Without land tax reform, not redistribution, there will be no credible economic change in Latin America.

7/06/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

A friend of mine has been teaching in a college in Ciudad Mexico while working on his Phd. He's married to a Mexican woman and has spent a lot of time down there on and off since 1992.

He describes Mexico as being run like a 'private club for the rich'. Presumably if the socialists get in, it will become a private club for the nouveaux riche (or the nuevos ricos).

In any case, I see this as reinforcement for Wretchard's 'feudalism' assessment. Mexico has a history of 'strong man' rule, as exemplified by Porfirio Dias, or in the 80+ years of PRI rule in the 20th C. There was a semi-informal system of 'caciques' or 'chiefs', who were basically the law (or the state) within their feudal fiefdom. Or at least that's what I remember from some of Eric Wolf's writing, I'm sure the situation hasn't changed that much.

7/06/2006 09:04:00 PM  

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