FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paul Krugman Visits Mexico, But Only Sees Disneyland

by

Readers of CounterPunch and other left publications have by now seen the hypocrisy of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman exposed regularly, but his recent junket to Mexico deserves some scrutiny. He spoke on October 25 at the “Annual Convention of Industrialists,” organized by business groups and the government. The host was Miguel Alemán, former governor of Veracruz and son of the first president to break with the legacy of the Revolution, also named Miguel Alemán, in the 1950s.

Here’s what Krugman said: Mexico’s economy is improving, thanks to recent “reforms” and Mexico now “seems more like Canada than like Brazil”. What reforms does he admire most? Maybe the energy reform, which accelerates the return of foreign oil companies (expelled in 1938), invites fracking and shale gas operators into a country that is largely desert and faces severe water shortages, and leads to the seizure by eminent domain of individually-and communally-owned arable lands. The education reform? Sure. Mexico will now have a first-world education system, without having to bother with increasing per-student expenditure, now among the lowest in the world. How? Easy. Fire teachers whose students score low on standardized tests.

Mexico, according to this esteemed columnist, has a booming manufacturing sector, way ahead of Brazil, which depends more on the exportation of raw materials. Which part of the manufacturing sector does he find most appealing? The automobile plants that sprouted when GM, Ford, Honda, and Naziwagen realized that they could break unions and destroy cities like Detroit by moving south? These companies maintain a dual manufacturing system, a little bit less sophisticated than the cyberfraud that VW carries on: most of the cars are exported, but those that are made for sale within Mexico have inferior pollution controls. This practice, condoned by the government, helps to maintain Mexico City’s status as one of the most polluted cities in the world. An estimated 80 percent of the pollution here comes from motorized vehicles. Easy credit provided by the manufacturers and dealers has more than doubled the number of cars in the city in less than 10 years (though the vast majority of people continue to rely on mass transit and to spend an average of three hours per day commuting).

Or maybe he wasn’t talking about cars. Maybe he was speaking of the maquiladoras, foreign-owned factories that make clothing, electrical components, and other goods in border states. On Tuesday, November 3, workers at three maquiladoras in Ciudad Juárez—world capital of state-condoned misogynist violence, just across the border from El Paso—and one in the city of Chihuahua, a few hours to the south, occupied factory entrances to protest management violence against male and female workers and to assert their right to form independent unions. (Most are linked to the PRI, the ruling party to which Krugman’s patrons in Mexico (including Alemán and Carlos Slim—see below) are loyal. Lexmark and Foxconn are the owners of the factories in two cases. Details of the protests and the violations of labor rights carried out by these companies can be seen in the newspaper La Jornada, page one, November 4.

The minimum wage in Mexico is less than five dollars a day. This is one of the lowest in Latin American—lower than in Honduras. Lower than in El Salvador. This means that young people can’t afford to live independently and that young women, in particular, literally can’t move away from violent partners or parents.

Even in mainstream terms like growth projection, Mexico is hurting. El Financiero, a business-oriented newspaper as the name suggests, reported on November 5 that the government just revised growth projections downward. The peso has lost about 30 percent of its value against the dollar since August of last year.

Who pays Krugman?

Carlos Slim, by most accounts the second-richest person in the world and by far the richest in Mexico, owns 16.9 per cent of Class A stock of The New York Times. As such, he is the owner of the biggest share of the business, except for members of the Sulzburger-Ochs family. Before his most recent stock purchase early this year, he had lent considerable sums of money to the corporation. The newspaper has a long history of uncritical or superficial coverage of Mexico, with reporters who apparently never leave the fasionable Condesa neighborhood. The arrival of Slim has made the coverage even worse.

Had he talked to any unbought reporters, Krugman would know that Mexico is a leader in some other dubious categories, like the murder of journalists. Only in Veracruz, home state of host Miguel Alemán, dozens have been murdered in the last two years and current governor Javier Duarte (of Aleman’s party) is credibly accused of having ordered many of these crimes.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s government implements its policy of aggressive speculative development to cover up the aformentioned crimes and the well-known cases of the murder of students and activists, with Krugman as accomplice.

More articles by:

Johnny Hazard is somewhere where the banks won’t find him, but he can often be reached at jhazard99@yahoo.com.

February 21, 2018
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein’s on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail