8.27.2007

Mexico’s Plutocracy Thrives on Robber-Baron Concessions

Eduardo Porter writes (Mexico’s Plutocracy Thrives on Robber-Baron Concessions, NYTimes - 8.27.07) that "[g]rowing up in Mexico City, I always knew Mexico was an unjust country — a place where small coteries of the privileged control all power and wealth while half the population lives in poverty.

He says, it "...never occurred to me that Mexico would have billionaires."

It does. According to Forbes magazine, last year there were 10 Mexicans among the world’s billionaires--with Carlos Slim as the world's richest.
The point of Mr.Porter's letter is that the Mexican super rich have gotten rich--and their status as such is preserved and enhanced--through government. For example,

In 1990, the government of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari sold his friend Mr. Slim the Mexican national phone company, Telmex, along with a de facto commitment to maintain its monopoly for years. Then it awarded Telmex the only nationwide cellphone license.
Not only does Slim (and his class) own a larger share of the local economy than has ever been the case with America's own super rich, but he's even less philanthropic. Porter cautions that America is on the road towards it's own Mexican-like rich-poor divide.

My view is that U.S.--and global--immigration policies must be: 1) humane towards the displaced workers; and 2) tough on the ruling classes which have rigged all of the rules in their favor.

Also, see Slim's the Richest (but at whose expense?).