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Before my libertarian friends get entirely up in arms I’d like to preface this article with a disclaimer. This is not a’ beat up on libertarian inanity’ post, I have plenty of those already, but rather an examination of the role of the state when it comes to managing the affairs of a country. Now as to what the optimal mix is between the public/private is, is quite contentious. In my opinion, the social democratic state a la Sweden or to a lesser extent Canada does the best at preserving choice and liberty while keeping its citizens safe from “free-market” discipline and providing the social services necessary for a smoothly running society. Unfortunately for Mexico, they have been herded far away from anything resembling a social democratic state.
Mexico, the biggest loser in the NAFTA free investors agreement has never recovered from the trauma. Local industry and manufacturing was gutted with the influx of tariff free American goods. Local agriculture was hollowed out as tariff free food-stuffs made farming unprofitable with people leaving the land en mass (Our churlish Canadian federal conservatives are dismembering our single desk wheat board, moving us merrily closer to the Mexico model, yaaaa!) . What was left intact in Mexico was drug cultivation and production, as illegal trade tends not to respect treaties or borders (kinda like a different shade of NAFTA, creepy eh?) While the Mexican economy is going on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the government was forced to adopt many of the notorious structural adjustments that we tend to enforce on even poorer countries to cut the ‘fat’ out of government spending.
What constitutes “fat” are programs that strengthen the social fabric and cohesion of society: Health Care, Education, and Welfare. Obviously the state has no business in areas like these, and the inevitable cuts destroy the social safety net for a countries citizens. Another step toward that lovely Darwinian state of being that is so often bandied about by libertarians. Survival of the fittest, personal liberties and freedom from government interference. Most of the time, your freedom consists of choosing how you and your family can starve or how quickly you can be come destitute if your unlucky enough to get sick. As the structures of the state fall away society morphs closer to the “me first, once I get mine, fuck you” attitude that exemplifies the majority of libertarian thought. Altruism, community, social supports all decay as the struggle to survive quickly marginalizes these now luxurious concerns. “How can I help my community?”, is trumped by, “How can I feed my family?” and necessarily so.
The emergence of the Mexican Narco state is the response to “how can I feed my family?”. The Narcotics industry is profitable, and there are many jobs available, positions that need to be filled and are filled by desperate people who struggle to exist in Mexican state that has been economically and socially hollowed out by ‘market forces’. The violence continues as the Cartels struggle for territory and power while the enfeebled state attempts to maintain order.
“The bound and gagged bodies of 26 young men were found dumped in the heart of Mexico’s second-largest city, in what experts said could mark a new stage in the full-scale war between the country’s two main drug cartels.
The bodies were found early on Thursday in two vans and a pickup truck abandoned on an expressway near the Milennium Arches in Guadalajara, one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city, according to several local media.Most of the men died of asphyxia, according to officials in Jalisco state where Guadalajara is located, though initial reports indicated some had been shot. Mexican drug cartels frequently leave threatening messages with the bodies of their victims as a way of sowing fear and taking credit for their actions.”
This is a version of the free market in action. With no rules, no regulation, everything is on the table.
“The victims, apparently between the ages of 25 and 35, all had the words “Milenio Zetas” or “Milenium” written on their chests in oil, said Jalisco state Interior Secretary Fernando Guzman Perez. A law enforcement official who was not authorised to speak on the record said the writing was apparently meant as the killers’ calling card, identifying the assassins as being from the Zetas and a smaller, allied gang, the Milenio Cartel. The official said a banner found in one of the vehicles, whose contents Guzman Perez refused to reveal, was in fact signed by the Zetas. The killings, apparently carried out before dawn, bore an eerie similarity to the September 20 dumping of 35 bodies on an expressway in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz.”
The desperate poor a set on each other killing themselves for their small slice of “the action” so they and their families might survive another day.
“Our correspondent said the federal government was steadfast in its decision to continue using the full force of the state to battle the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel.
“Despite all of those efforts … these kinds of killings continue here and there’s a sense at times that the federal government is really unable to control these kinds of possible revenge killings by trafficking organisations,” he said. Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, has deployed the army to crack down on powerful criminal gangs and some 45,000 people have died in the conflict since he took office.”
The Drug War continues in Mexico. We are at least partially responsible for what has happened there, and what continues to happen there (we provide the market for the narco state’s end products).
“Last year was the bloodiest yet in Mexico’s war against organised crime as drug-related deaths jumped to a record high.
More than 15,000 people lost their lives in Mexico’s conflicted with the traffickers in 2010.”
Watch, read and be depressed. I’m curious as to how long the US is going to ignore the Mexican Meltdown. Maybe when the death toll doubles? Triples?
What was particularly interesting was the poll cited during the interview saying that the Mexican government strategy of using the Army to tackle the Drug Lords was wrong, and rather a negotiated settlement between the government and the drug dealers should be reached, as the current plan is causing too much death and upheaval.
Not mentioned is the idea that the major consumers of Mexican drug trade, the US and Canada could probably do away with a large portion of this violence by simply legalizing and taxing the heck out of these substances.