Wealth Rules

Posted on November 17, 2017

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Mexico’s presidents have manipulated the country’s economic policies to create millions of poor citizens and to support monopolies that ensure entrepreneurial wealth. In 1993 Carlos Salinas de Gortari confronted the country’s financial crisis and tumbling peso-to-the-dollar rate by assembling twenty-nine of Mexico’s wealthiest and most successful magnates and asserting that those assembled, being highly successful and convincing entrepreneurs, had the ability to raise 75 million pesos each to resolve the country’s overwhelming debt. The magnates responded positively; in fact, Emilio Azcárraga, the owner of Televisa, averred that he could come up with more than the suggested 75 million.

This bailout—business to the government rather than the reverse—carried a long-term price tag. Televisa became a controlling political power, as did other major contributors: enormous tax breaks, the granting of monopoly powers, lessening environmental restrictions, permitting company controlled unions to replace independents. Presidential candidates courted these entrepreneurs and obligingly repaid them once the candidates were elected.

Government collaboration with the television duopoly and financial control of much of the print media transcended laws limiting and/or prohibiting government officials from profiting financially from activities they were supposed to regulate. Despite the deteriorating financial situation that was driving millions of workers below the poverty level the federal government excused billions of dollars in corporation taxes owed by the major corporations and failed to pursue investigations of other billions that the Pemex, the state-operated oil monopoly, and other government agencies could not account for. Meanwhile high-ranking federal officials, including the late Juan Camilo Mouriño and current Supreme Court justice Genero García-Luna, accumulated wealth that far exceeded what they were earning from their salaries.

The amounts that they acquired didn’t equal what entrepreneur Carlos Slim was hauling in. At various times calculated by Forbes to be the richest man in the world, Slim manipulated the entrepreneurial system to his advantage. His wealth and control of a major portion of the country’s communications systems through his phone company Telmex gave him a privileged position vis-à-vis government regulators.

“He tells them what to do,” a business competitor complained, “not the reverse.”

What he and other magnates tell the government benefits them, not the millions of people in the country who are struggling to survive.

See Hidden Dangers, Mexico on the Brink of Disaster, by Robert Joe Stout, now available both in print and as a ebook from Amazon

 

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