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Things are tough all over

I've often said that the United States' problem with illegal aliens is a unique one in this world, as no other country has as large, diverse group of people trying desperately to come here. Recently, though, I have found that opinion challenged.

It turns out that there's another nation with a substantial group of non-citizens living within its borders, literally hordes of people who either sneaked across the border or overstay their visas and decide to simply stay in the new nation. And this nation, too, is finding itself trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation.

On the one hand, there is no talk of massive roundups and mass deportations in this editorial. On the other, there is no call for amnesty and the granting of permanent residency status, let alone a "path to citizenship." The idea of allowing just ANYONE to waltz across the border and become a citizen is simply unheard of over there.

Instead, the author's suggestion is to ignore the stated reasons for the aliens' presence and instead focus on the material. It is the nation's duty -- and in the nation's best interests -- to help those aliens' home nations develop their economies to the point where they will not be fleeing economic hardships at home.

It's an idea that has some merit. Mexico's economic structure is horrific. The stratification between the haves and the have nots is almost criminal. Perhaps we ought to put some serious effort into reforming Mexico's government and economy -- and not necessarily with the current government's assent.

It pains me to say it, but perhaps we could learn something from Saudi Arabia after all...


Comments (24)

Well, since borders have no... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Well, since borders have no meaning, we should have no hesitation about going into Mexico and setting up a new government.

I am in complete agreement ... (Below threshold)
Max:

I am in complete agreement that the problem is in Mexico, and the only way to solve it is to somehow help Mexico fix it IN Mexico. As long as a significant economic disparity exists, they will continue to find ways to get into our country in large numbers. But the problem with haves and have-nots is clearly not exclusive to Mexico. We here in the U.S. have a growing problem with wealth concentrating into too few hands. I know I am in complete agreement that the problem is in Mexico, and the only way to solve it is to somehow help Mexico fix it IN Mexico. As long as a significant economic disparity exists, they will continue to find ways to get into our country in large numbers. But the problem with haves and have-nots is clearly not exclusive to Mexico. We here in the U.S. have a growing problem with wealth concentrating into too few hands. I know this is a little off topic, but is abolishing the estate tax about the stupidest idea Washington has come up with in a long time? This great country was built not on unearned, inherited wealth, but in being the "land of opportunity" for those willing to work hard on a dream. But the opportunity is becoming increasingly harder to achieve, because those with entrepreneurial spirit but limited resources have to compete with SO much "old money" to make a business survive. Am I off base here?

I had a suggestion; what if... (Below threshold)

I had a suggestion; what if America (which is a very rich country) uses a part of the money it has and decides to develop countries such as Mexico (and other Latin American countries).
That would automatically stop Illegal immigrants from entering America as they would now find jobs in there own country. America could also benefit from the investments it makes there, not only economically but also in terms of reducing illegal immigrants from entering its own lands.

Hmmm.1. The differ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. The difference between the "haves" and the "have nots" is based almost entirely on attitudes. Look at many Vietnamese Boat People. They arrived on America's shores with literally the clothes on their backs and then many of them made very successful business careers and became wealthy. Look at lottery winners many of whom completely self-destruct and go bankrupt.

I frankly reject utterly your assertion about opportunity in America. If you look at many highly successful and wealthy people you'll find that the single most common trait amongst them is a driving need to succeed, a willingness to work extremely hard and a great deal of resilience when their latest venture goes belly-up.

2. Nothing short of revolution will change Mexico. And as long as we have an open border policy, then there will *never* be a revolution.

Hmmmm.I h... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I had a suggestion; what if America (which is a very rich country) uses a part of the money it has and decides to develop countries such as Mexico (and other Latin American countries).

1. Because Mexico, like many other countries in Latin America, are extremely Socialist rather than Capitalist. There are enormous barriers and restrictions on foriegn, i.e. American, investment.

2. Many Latin American countries have an extremely bad habit of defaulting on loans.

3. Many Latin American countries have an extremely bad habit of *nationalising* private corporations. Venezuala and Bolivia are just the latest examples. Bolivia alone just nationalised $1+ billion dollars of corporate investment.

4. Latin America suffers from extraordinary amounts of corruption. If America made the mistake of putting money into a Latin American country that could be stolen, then it will be stolen.

5. Creating wealth in Latin American countries has little to do with how much money America either has or is willing to invest. The basic problems are:

1. ensuring property rights
2. enforcing the rule of law
3. eliminating corruption
4. reducing barriers to foreign investment
5. eliminating barriers to creating domestic businesses
6. improving education
7. embracing capitalism
8. keep government expenses and taxes reasonable

etc etc etc.

Look at Argentina. It recently made a take it or leave it offer to foreign bond holders of $0.25 on each dollar of bond debt. Those that accepted the deal lost 75% of their investments. Those that didn't lost 100% of their investments. And this is on $100+ billion dollars of bond debt. Now guess how eager people are to stick their money into Argentina?

In the 1960's both South Korea and Mexico had similar economies. Since that time Mexico's economy has largely stagnated while South Korea's economy has exploded. And frankly Mexico has a lot more natural resources than South Korea ever had. The difference is that South Korea applied the principles listed above while Mexico has not.

The problems that Mexico and other Latin American countries have are ones of structure and attitudes. A singular exception is, I think, Peru or Chile. I forget which. Probably Peru.

That's a good point about t... (Below threshold)
pjaykc:

That's a good point about the tendency to nationalize private companies. Also, doesn't Mexico have a lot of oil? I have a feeling that only a certain few benefit from that income.

Jay..Your intentions seem a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay..Your intentions seem admirable, but I think the problem is insurmountable..It is not only Mexico's economiy that will need to take-off, but the rest of Central America, and much of Latin America..and now parts of Africa that are using Mexico as a port of entry

It is not only Mexico's ... (Below threshold)

It is not only Mexico's economiy that will need to take-off, but the rest of Central America...

No, Central America won't be a problem -- Mexico actually secures its southern border.

Max might want to expand hi... (Below threshold)

Max might want to expand his reading of American history.

There were no paupers, there were not even "ordinary joes" among the founding fathers. In fact, you had to have inheritable real property in order to vote for quite a few of those early days.

The very idea of "estate tax" didn't take hold in the US until after the advent of socialist thought in Europe. And by that time, the West was fully flourishing, industries had been created, and "rich Americans" became the favored spouses of destitute European royalty.

ed: "1. The difference betw... (Below threshold)
jdavenport:

ed: "1. The difference between the "haves" and the "have nots" is based almost entirely on attitudes. Look at many Vietnamese Boat People."

That was here. The same advancement is more difficult in Mexico.

You need to remove that point from your argument.

Regards.

J in your comparison to Sau... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

J in your comparison to Saudi Arabia, you forgot to point out a few details:
The "immigrants" illegal or otherwise guest workers do not get welfare, are there to work and for no other purpose. And if they get unruly like the Palestinians did, they get deported en mass.
Perhaps Israel can learn a lesson on how to deal with unruly Arabs from the Saudis.

Latin America is a disaster and will continue to be a disaster as long as they refuse to accept responsibility for their condition. It's always the fault of the Yankees, the capitalists and so on. They will do anything rather than look in the mirror. That is the true legacy of Spain.

ed:Great post. Wel... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

ed:

Great post. Well thought out. Don't remove anything. Although, I would underline corruption as their major problem.

You might also consider the Catholic Church's attitude toward birth control as one of their problems. Don't get me wrong, it is't my place to advise anyone on their religion, but I do see it as a contributing factor.

McGhee-- No, Central Ame... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

McGhee-- No, Central America won't be a problem -- Mexico actually secures its southern border
It doesn't look very secure to me.

You're right, ed, that thro... (Below threshold)
Bemused:

You're right, ed, that throwing money at mismanaged socialist republics usually exacerbates their problems; under Allende, though, the Chileans nationalised a great deal of infrastructure and industry, and their standard of living shot up. Your country, for obviously self-interested reasons, wasn't happy with its trade prospects with Chile, and wasn't happy that its corporate citizens were thoroughly abused by a neo-Marxist, and thus was Pinochet allowed to ascend to power. Protections slashed, resources re-privatized, and the standard of living declined over night, contradicting pretty well everything Milton Friedman would have us believe.

So the solution is not always "Free trade!", because there's really no such thing. The most successfully developed rural regions of India have massive investment in healthcare and education, with very little growth of regional GDP relative to global increases. People there are healthier, happier, and better equipped to succeed in a globalized world. On the other hand, rural regions of China that have seen massive increases in GDP over the past few decades have often experienced a decline in quality of life. Same with regions of India made more "business-friendly". Same for Brazil, Indonesia, and even regions of the United States. All of this is carefully explained in Amartya Sen's 'Development as Freedom'. Complicated economic issues cannot be solved with simplistic calls for the elimination of tariffs and entitlements, but neither is protectionism and a state-controlled economy necessarily going to do any good. The point is that this stuff is harder than ideology.

pjaykc at June 11, 2006 10:... (Below threshold)
wave_man:

pjaykc at June 11, 2006 10:48 AM

Also, doesn't Mexico have a lot of oil? I have a feeling that only a certain few benefit from that income.

You're right. Mexico has one oil company, PEMEX. A national [i.e. guvmint] operation. The country avoided the dramatic fluctuations that we encountered post-Katrina, but my friends down there tell me that gas prices have risen about a 10th of a peso a month per liter for the last 3 years. That's about 4 cents a gallon a month. And it never goes back down.

They also told me that last year President Fox was pushing a plan to increase natural gas production, of which Mexico has a huge reserve, through a plan of private investment. It was defeated by the legislature through claims of payoffs and fraud, which may be true, but we know how government operations, especially in Mexico, are pure as the wind driven snow... In the meantime, those reserves continue to go untapped.

"Your country, for obviousl... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

"Your country, for obviously self-interested reasons, wasn't happy with its trade prospects with Chile, and wasn't happy that its corporate citizens were thoroughly abused by a neo-Marxist,"

Bemuse:

I'm curious; what nationality are you?

Bemused is in the state of ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Bemused is in the state of intoxication, by way of bong hits, but I think he resides in Canada.

Yeah and the outlaw goverme... (Below threshold)
Eon the terrible:

Yeah and the outlaw goverment of mexico is threatening to bring a law suit against our nation over this illegal alein issue well then we also bring suit against the mexican goverment for printing comic books on how illegals and get into this nation dont you think its time for us to have our illgal president VINCENTE FOX impeached?

If the Canadians don't star... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

If the Canadians don't start minding their own business, I think when the Bahamas desides to invade Canada we ought to let them do it. Couldn't take them more than a week or two to overrun the whole country. Canadians used to be a proud nation and good ally. Now they just moan and groan like a two bit whore, and let us defend them.

It doesn't look very sec... (Below threshold)

It doesn't look very secure to me.

Next time you want to rebut something I say, Crick, find something newer than January 2004, m'kay?

[email protected] jdavenport<... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ jdavenport

That was here. The same advancement is more difficult in Mexico.

Actually I was responding to Max's comment:

... But the problem with haves and have-nots is clearly not exclusive to Mexico. We here in the U.S. have a growing problem with wealth concentrating into too few hands. I know I am in complete agreement that the problem is in Mexico, and the only way to solve it is to somehow help Mexico fix it IN Mexico. As long as a significant economic disparity exists, they will continue to find ways to get into our country in large numbers. But the problem with haves and have-nots is clearly not exclusive to Mexico. We here in the U.S. have a growing problem with wealth concentrating into too few hands. ...

Specifically his application of this theory to the USA. My point was specifically to refute that assertion by Max as it concerned America.

[email protected] bemused</... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmmm.

@ bemused

You're right, ed, that throwing money at mismanaged socialist republics usually exacerbates their problems; under Allende, though, the Chileans nationalised a great deal of infrastructure and industry, and their standard of living shot up.

Of course their standard of living shot up. The goverment stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of private property and then used that money to fuel a Socialist set of programs. And considering that a fairly substantial portion of that property belonged to Americans, just what do you think America would do?

It's the same thing that's happened to Bolivia. They were supposed to get a very favorable trade agreement. But then the Bolivian government decided to steal $1+ billion dollars worth of American investment and poof, that trade agreement got dropped.

It's also much the same reason why Cuba is a shithole. Aside from the idiotic economic ideas that Castro's pushed his entire life his first, and biggest, mistake was nationalising American assets. Ever since then foreign companies have been very reluctant to invest in Cuba because they could only invest in properties that absolutely hadn't been nationalised. Otherwise these foreign companies would be liable, under US law, for liability in civil court.

But as for Chile's transient prosperity. Well Zimbabwe did pretty well after stealing all the properties from white farmers. Right up until the money ran dry. Just like in Chile.

Protections slashed, resources re-privatized, and the standard of living declined over night, contradicting pretty well everything Milton Friedman would have us believe.

*shrug* that's your theory. In other words the "soak the rich" party ended. But that's always been the problem of Socialists. They've always been great at spending other people's money for their own pet projects. The time a problem comes up is when fleecing the rich doesn't bring in the cash anymore because nobody's rich or they all moved away.

The most successfully developed rural regions of India have massive investment in healthcare and education, with very little growth of regional GDP relative to global increases.

Ok then. Name the province. Because not growing the regional GDP means either a reduction in the population, zero inflation or the residents are losing wealth every day and just don't realise it.

People there are healthier, happier, and better equipped to succeed in a globalized world.

Oh sure thing. With little GDP growth I'm sure it's all going gangbusters.

On the other hand, rural regions of China that have seen massive increases in GDP over the past few decades have often experienced a decline in quality of life.

It's call industrialisation & urbanisation.

A lot of economic growth draws in workers to continue fueling that growth. More people move in as family or to run businesses to support that growth. Which then has a secondary effect of fueling a little more growth on top of that.

And yes. If you're doubling the population of a region and shifting it from nearly empty farm land to a heavily populated and industrialised city. That does tend to reduce the quality of life.

On the other hand having running water and a flush toilet is worth to quite a few people.

Go figure.

Funniest story I heard about this subject happened a few years ago in West Africa. A group fo volunteers built a house and equipped it with a "traditional", for that area, toilet. I.e. a hole in the floor. The residents that were intended for that house had to ask indignantly:

"What? You think we don't want to crap on a regular toilet like you instead of a hole in the floor?"

Same with regions of India made more "business-friendly".

Yeah 'cause there's something so **pure** about people who sleep on the streets. So full of innocence because they've probably never been sullied, SULLIED, with the miasma of Western decadence such as a goddamn hot shower or a chance to sit down at a good frigging meal.

http://www.pbase.com/bvcuma/image/25388823

'Cause we all know that real **pure** prosperity comes from some Socialist type who'll spread that largesse around just as soon as he figures out from whom to steal it. And if he gets around to that specific bunch. Pity how it never does seem to trickle down to them eh? Good thing they don't have a job. Now that would be a fucking shame.

Same for Brazil, Indonesia, and even regions of the United States.

Golly. Socialist, socialist and socialst. A trifecta.

All of this is carefully explained in Amartya Sen's 'Development as Freedom'.

Otherwise translated as: Give me the fucking money now bitch, 'cause if you complain I'll call you a devil worshipping capitalist pig-dog!

And we all know how conservatives are afraid of that.

...

What I find amazing is just how fast those "complicated issues" just disappear when someone gets a job, earns some money and can buy his own breakfast. Real economic theory is what makes that happen. Bullshit covers everything else.

Next time you want to re... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Next time you want to rebut something I say, Crick, find something newer than January 2004, m'kay?
McGehee, I realised after I sent the article it was so dated..thought at first it was the latest edition of the Economist. Fox under US pressure has tightened up entry Mexico since then..I know Brasilians who make up the second largest intake of US illegals now, much to their chagrin, need a visa to enter Mexico...as to the Southern Mexican border another article feels it is still porous( by Grayson.. Southern Border.). google it if you want.. my quotation marks have disapperared on this pc. so I can`t, make a hyperlink. Mexico being Mexico, I wouldn`t think the situation has improved much, since then.. The operative words in Latin America continue to be ~Yankee go home...but take me with you~

The article in question is ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The article in question is from March 22, 2005 American diplomacy org.




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