Mexico: Worthy of our Best Efforts
When Arnold Toynbee revealed that the criteria for growth was self-determination, he espoused principles deeply resonating with any nation state alloyed to our Judaeo-Christian heritage. A love of liberty alone remains insufficient as Tocqueville explained throughout the 19th century; the requirement that cultural-political institutions hue closely to moral principles of federalism, subsidiarity and due process remain inalienable.
This Anglo mercantile heritage never found a home south of the border. Having monarchist Spain as a progenitor has not helped the vast sprawling southern continent. Change has been slowly brewing with the arrival of geopolitics and globalism, witnessing capital transfers throughout the 1990’s helped pull disparate oligarchies into the productive commons. When Carlos Salinas linked Mexico to North America, economic integration pulled Mexico’s dominant political class into range of Milton Friedman’s Chicago school of monetarist thought. Today, Mexico’s central bank possesses leadership rivaling any first world nation. NAFTA underwrote Mexico’s modernization and liberalization efforts that are only beginning to pay off in petrochemicals, education and medicine. This is a long slog equal to an act of war, but Mexico is slowly winning.
What team Trump needs to learn fast is that cross border capital flows of $1.4 billion is now inextricably bound to the U.S. How so? Mexican cooperation in migrants, trade and drugs dominates any longterm bilateral interest.
Given current trends in liberalization efforts from its central bank, Mexico can be a hot bed for FDI, but the permanent scandal of violent crime continually damages Mexican leadership. The fault line is social. The Mexican revolution that began in 1911 ended in a near socialist monopoly of PRI’s one party rule, when that ended in 2000, Mexico’s dominant political class was openly defeated electorally, but the nation states political heritage remained stagnant. Currently, monopoly power is held by a defeated PRI President, but power is shared by state governments along with binary federal opposition. This arrangement does not provide any check or balance on the exercise of a federal mandate. The consequence is illustrated by the larceny of state governors.
How does Mexican political leadership gain traction matching efforts led by its central bank? With very little time left in office, Enrico Pena needs to appoint a truly independent attorney general. A grant of permanent autonomy would help shape a federalist structure that would stabilize the rule of law. Secondly, Pena must tackle the declining legitimacy of Mexican politics. With a staggering approval rate of barely 25%, Pena must address radical political fragmentation of America’s southern neighbor.
Mexico is worth our best efforts.
Originally published on William Holland’s website