Mexico fact of the day

by on December 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm in Current Affairs, Law | Permalink

Ciudad Juárez, once a byword for narco-violence, suffered 33 homicides in October, less than Chicago, with 36.

The article, on the economic surge of Mexico, is interesting throughout, though FT gated.

1 Jonathan December 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Charles Bowden is not as optimistic, in fact hes fairly pessimistic. He lives down there, the reason that the murder numbers are down is that the military is doing them (don’t worry they kill cops too). So please do not refer to this as being a “fact”.

Also Bowden was in a documentary on this so if you have HBO please check it out, and judge the fact:

2 Peter December 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm


Can we have some honesty here. Mexico is not doing well by any plausible standard. However, because Mexico has adopted the neoliberal agenda we get cheer-leading rather than derision. See

“More Affirmative Action for Mexico in Economic Reporting”

“NAFTA may not have done much to improve Mexico’s growth rate, but its approval sure did wonders for U.S. reporting on Mexico’s economy. The Washington Post in particular has run several pieces touting Mexico’s booming economy and rising middle class (e.g here and here). In fact, a 2007 Post editorial even claimed that Mexico’s GDP had quadrupled in the years from 1988 to 2007. (The actual growth figure was 83 percent.) ”


“Mexico’s Election: It’s the Economy Stupid” ( Quote

“If ever there were an election pre-ordained as a result of a country’s economic performance, it would be that of Mexico. The ruling PAN party was destined to lose because it presided over a profound economic failure for more than 11 years. Almost any government in the world would have lost under such circumstances.

While some have noticed that the economy has played a role in the election, almost no commentators seem to appreciate the depth of Mexico’s economic failure. Let’s start with the basics: Since 2000, when the PAN was first elected, income per person in Mexico has grown by just 0.9 percent annually. This is terrible for a developing country, and less than half the rate of growth of the Latin American region during this period – which was not stellar. The numbers are even worse if we just look at per-capita growth since the 2006 election: Mexico finishes dead last in Latin America.

But it is even deeper than that. Mexico, like the region as a whole, suffered a record-breaking economic growth collapse in the two decades prior to the election of the PAN (1980-2000). If the Mexican economy had simply continued to grow at the rate that it did prior to the 1980s, the country would have European living standards today. There would be relatively few Mexicans seeking work north of the border. And there is nothing implausible about this possibility: Mexico’s growth prior to 1980 was very good, but it was not at the level of China during the last 30 years, or anything record-breaking.

It is not fashionable among the punditry these days to mention that Mexico’s economy has performed so abysmally for more than 30 years. That is partly because this is also the period in which Mexico drastically shifted its economic policies to what in Latin America is called “neoliberalism”: abandoning state-led industrial and development policies, tightening monetary and fiscal policies, liberalization of foreign investment and trade. The 1994 NAFTA treaty was just one step in this transformation, but Washington had a big “invisible hand” in the process since the 1980s, both directly and through institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. And today, 80 percent of Mexico’s non-oil exports go to the United States.”

3 Peter Schaeffer December 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

As stated above, this is just more neo-liberal, Open Borders, rose-colored glasses flackery. The facts are not so nice. Quote from (but read it all)

“Mexico’s Economic Failure is Driving Force in Sunday’s Election, Says New CEPR Report” (

“Washington, D.C.- A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) looks at the performance of the Mexican economy over the past decade, including the 2008-2009 recession and recovery, and concludes that the country’s economic failure is a main reason for the likely loss of the ruling PAN party.

“Mexico’s economy has done terribly since 2000, and for the last three decades, by any comparison – compared to its past growth (e.g. 1960-1980), or even compared with the rest of Latin America, which has grown twice as fast in per capita GDP since 2000,” said Mark Weisbrot, lead author of the paper and CEPR Co-Director.

The paper notes that after Latin America’s record-breaking economic failure of 1980-2000, most of the region voted in left governments, whereas Mexico moved to the right. It looks at some of reasons for this difference.

“There is much evidence that Mexico’s media duopoly has a major influence on the electorate. This was true in the 2006 election, even though it was impossible to say who received the most votes in that election,” said Weisbrot.

Among the highlights of the report:

• Mexico’s economic growth since 2000 has not improved over that of the long-term failure of the previous two decades. Its average annual per capita growth of 0.9 percent for 2000-2011 is about the same as the 0.8 percent annual rate from 1980 to 2000, and a small fraction of the 3.7 percent rate of the pre-2000 era.

• Mexico’s economy since 2000 has also performed very badly as compared with the rest of Latin America. Its annual growth of GDP per person is less than half of the growth experienced by the rest of the region.”

4 Peter Schaeffer December 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm


The documentary is quite good and yes it’s not exactly bullish on Mexico. However, Charles Bowden only shows up in passing with his theory that the military is doing all of the killing. Bowden makes the claim (which might be true) but can’t substantiate it. The rest of the documentary strongly suggests that Bowden is wrong. 500+ street gangs would easily suffice for a very high death rate.

The documentary is actually a wonderful (if unintended) argument against Open Borders. Import the chaos, poverty, and violence of Mexico into the United States? Why would anyone with half a brain want to do that?

Yes, I do know that El Paso is a safe city by American standard. However, the documentary shows a well enforced border between the two countries. Good fences make for good neighbors.

5 Spencer December 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

But the Chicago population of 2.7 million is more than double the Ciadad Juarez 1.3 million population.

6 JWatts December 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

That depends, if it’s the Metro area Ciadad Juarez is 1.6 million and Chicago is 9.4 million. In either case, the comparison is apples to oranges. By the best interpretation Ciadad Juarez had a homicide rate of nearly twice Chicago’s. Which is a violent city even for the US.

7 DocMerlin December 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm

“Which is a violent city even for the US.”
Its twice as violent as the most violent city in the US.

8 Roy December 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Wow! Better than Chicago!!!

Chicago has twice the population and is one of the murderingest major cities in the world, it beats out Sao Paulo, it makes Oakland feel better.

Juarez is right across the border from El Paso, a city that has one if the lowest murder rates in the US.

9 collin December 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

In the future, to champion the success of falling crime rates you might want to avoid comparing yourself to Chicago. Sort like saying your batting average is above the Mendoza Line. Or you draft better than the Portland Trailblazers.

Or since you have been linking a lot to Ross’s more babies post, your fertility rate is higher than Japans.

10 Diogo December 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

São Paulo had 148 murders in october. Same month in 2011 had 78.

11 Roy December 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm


See what I get for getting news from Btw, I seeing your comment I dug up the article I remembered.


12 prior_approval December 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Well, how many kindergarteners are shot in Mexico? Because as it stands, the U.S. is still No. 1 in having leading political figures say things like this –

‘Shooters attack an elementary school in CT – another “gun-free zone.” Makes children sitting ducks.’

— Bryan Fischer

Which makes one wonder – was this is a prescheduled post, because it is in truly appalling taste, even by the standards of this blog.

13 JWatts December 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I seldom understand the intent or logic of your posts.

14 Rahul December 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I wish you were the only one.

15 Steve December 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm

@prior_approval – probably one of the most distasteful comments I have ever read on the internet… and that’s saying a lot.

16 Andrew' December 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Can you link to the appalling/distasteful part?

17 Andrew' December 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I’d like to see a long hallway with a receptionist who works a double “air-lock” entryway with electronic open buttons with mesh reinforced glass. And probably each class should have some emergency exit-only doors. Everyone can have one of these ( or improvise with a zip tie.

18 Andrew' December 15, 2012 at 4:24 am

If we were to spend 1% of the money that we spent “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” we could make every school impenetrable.

But we make kids go through metal detectors…sigh.

19 Andrew' December 15, 2012 at 5:01 am

Maybe it’s appalling and distasteful and too soon but what frosts me is these guys couldn’t get away with this at MY HOUSE (I know some of you won’t believe me- and yet these guys manage to do what they do with zero of the vaunted (alleged) training that law enforcement receives, and I couldn’t possibly be expected to stop one of them, so go figure). So, just the security measures I have compared to a school of say 1000 would be 1/1000th of the burden. They seem to not even try. $2000 (overpaying) for a double entryway and an electronic lock and instructions to the receptionist behind reinforced glass not to let in guys you don’t know carrying guns. We do this (or something half-assed and much more as expensive) for about every other government building, just to protect government workers. Hmmm, why not for something vastly more important? These guys kill 30 or so people. So, you have to stop them in the first 30. The Virginia Tech shooter did that with the EXACT same pistol MOST cops wear, so rifles don’t matter. And don’t say someone with a gun can’t stop them because that is the only way anyone ever has. I’m not being political.

20 Andrew' December 15, 2012 at 5:42 am

The first thing would be to develop an active shooter protocol, and since schools do little other than copy eachother that protocol which costs nothing to obtain can be critiqued and tested. At least once it is written down it has to be somewhat reality-based.

Here is some simple math questions. What is the probability of a known and vetted person to become an active shooter? Extremely low. The active shooters really do choose these “gun free zones” where victims are concentrated. That is what terrorists will do too, btw, except that they aren’t psychotic. What is the elasticity of an active shooter to entry security? I think pretty high. The fact that they choose these vulnerable victim environments shows they don’t want to fight their way in. What is the cost of an entry security measure versus the reduction of probability of an active shooter gaining access? Some still might gain access. What is the cost of vetting and training a known individual to become an armed defender? What is the probability of a vetted and armed defender stopping an active shooter who gains access? Compared to that known, vetted, and trained defender being a problem? So, we trust cops. We don’t trust the general public. Everything in between we don’t KNOW we can trust (I do, but hey). How many more people could we trust so that we could put a cop or an armed citizen in every school entry hall?

21 maguro December 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

Apparently there was a pretty significant security apparatus at this school, but they waved the shooter through because he was known to be the son a teacher there.

22 Andrew' December 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I’m not sure why you need non-staff to have access throughout the day without appointment.

23 affenkopf December 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

You must spend your time on the different parts of the internet. That’s not even among the top 50 most offensive.

24 vanderleun December 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Dear prior_approval, Would it be possible for you to take a brief break and recheck the space between your ears with an ice pick and report back with the measurement?

Thanking you in advance.

25 Ray Lopez December 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Anecdote: I was actually in this town and several others at the very height of the violence, and nothing happened to me. Something about God protecting drunks and fools.

26 Ashok Rao December 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The lesson here is that good and sound politics can have a powerful effect on economic confidence. Imagine if Congress had the political wherewithal to pass a “Pact for America” that outlined both social and fiscal objectives of a grand level that earn bipartisan support and hence show the people that government is working for htem.

27 maguro December 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Cheap chalupas AND fewer murders than Chicago last month. Sounds pretty inviting.

28 Richard December 16, 2012 at 4:22 am

Hold on,

There are about twice as many people living in Chicago as in Ciudad Juárez.

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