A problem that shouldn’t be
Mexico enjoys the 10th-largest economy in the world, but fully half of its population lives below a poverty line set by their government at $300 a month for a family of four. Nearly half of those under this bar subsist on $150 or less a month for a family of four.Mexican journalist Sergio Samiento uses these figures to illustrate his country’s contrast between economic force and its crushing poverty for the latest edition of a trade magazine, Associated Press Managing Editors News.Of course, we see both sides of Mexico here: The fabulously wealthy Mexicans visit on ski vacations, most prominently during Easter holidays that fall during ski season. And the illegal aliens have poured across the border to fill our most menial, low-paying jobs, still a comparative lodestar for them and their families back home.Professors Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman, assessing Russia’s place in the world since the Soviet Union’s collapse for the March-April Foreign Affairs magazine, place Russia and Mexico roughly in the same sphere as “emerging capitalist” countries – never mind that Mexico has been more or less “emerging” for some 200 years, and Russia for barely a decade.Democracy at Russia and Mexico’s level is best described as rough. Corruption is rampant. Tycoons dominate. The state still controls too much. (Nonetheless, Russians vote in higher percentages than we do in the U.S.)Samiento laments that countries once behind Mexico per capita, have passed her up economically: South Korea, Spain, Ireland. Mexico stays stuck. Why? That’s a problem for us, her neighbor to the north who bears the burdens of that nation’s crushing failures. D.R.